Sunday, 27 February 2011


This dinner, Alastair Ross and I all got a mention in the Daily Telegraph Service Dinners bit of the paper's Court and Social page.  It thus clearly deserves a mention in my blog.  For those to whom the Daily Telegraph  of 22 February is not immediately to hand I can inform that it announced that on Monday 21 February I attended the 29th Annual Officers' Club Dinner of 71 (City of London) Yeomanry Signal Regiment at the Cavalry and Guards Club, Piccadilly.

I have only tangentially mentioned this unit in my blog.  So, to start from the beginning.  It is one of our four military affiliations.  The other three being the HMS Monmouth, Welsh Guards and RAF Shawbury.

The naming and role of Territorial Army units is not a subject for the faint-hearted to tackle and units with a yeomanry tradition have particularly complex stories.  I will simplify and in so doing I hope I do not cause any unintended  offence. The yeomanry has roots stretching back to the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars when individuals who possessed horses volunteered to form cavalry regiments for local defence.  Initially this was against the threat of a French invasion. Many yeomanry units trace their origins back to that time.  However existence was not neccessarily continuous.  The nineteenth century was usually a story of disbandments and sudden resuscitations, normally in response to the, surprisingly, frequent French invasion scares that occurred throughout the period.

In Haldane's reforms around 1910 the yeomanry was incorporated into the Territorial Army as reserve cavalry.  However the decision in 1935 to mechanise the Army and dispense with horses meant another series of major changes occurred.  Many yeomanry regiments were redesignated as Royal Signals units and had distinguished service in the Second World War in this role. 

Since the 1950s it has, unfortunately, been a story of continuous reduction. Today, 71 (City of London) Yeomanry Signals Regiment combines the heritage and traditions of six former regiments in three squadrons:
  • 265 Kent and County of London Yeomanry Sharpshooters Support Squadron (Volunteers) located Bexleyheath.
  • 47 Middlesex Yeomanry Signal Squadron (Volunteers) located Uxbridge and Southfields.
  • 68 Inns of Court and City & Essex Yeomanry Signal Squadron (Volunteers) located City of London, Whipps Cross and Chelmsford
The regiment has a home defence communications role.

The Company is involved with the regiment in two events next month.  A visit by all ranks to the Hall on 4 March for lunch and a look round and a major event on 28 March to launch the regiment formally with its City of London title.  More news of these in due course.

Back to the dinner.  Brigadier Charles le Gallais, the regiment's honorary colonel, presided and Lieutenant Colonel Tim Allen, commanding officer, responded with an interesting overview of the regiment's current wide range of activity.  In common with all volunteer units these days it stretched from the local drill halls all the way to Afghanistan by way of a lot of places in between.

Although I am a member of the Cavalry and Guards Club I do not visit too often these days as it is currently a bit too far west for me.  But I was pleased to note that, as always, they put on a good dinner.

More news about the Drapers' relationship with the regiment over the next few weeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment