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Yorkshire Hussars in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Yorkshire Hussars

    Regular Battalions:

  • 1/1st Battalion, Yorkshire Hussars
  • 2/1st Battalion, Yorkshire Hussars
  • 3/1st Battalion, Yorkshire Hussars

       The Yorkshire Hussars, were a Territorial unit, who were mobilised on 5th Aug 1914, and the men assembled at their squadron headquarters: A Squadron - Leeds (Maj F H Fawkes) B Squadron - York (Maj Viscount Helmsley) C Squadron - Knaresborough (Maj A E Collins) D Squadron - Middlesborough (Maj E A Herbert)

    They were issued with horses and infantry rifles. The yeomanry rank and file were not issued with swords. Within two days they had stationed themselves along the east coast of Yorkshire with the HQ at Scarborough. Lt-Col Stanyforth was CO. with Lord Deramore 2nd in Command. D Squadron was split up and distributed among the other 3 squadrons.

    Later in August the Foreign Service Regiment was formed from those willing to serve overseas plus recruits. This was later called the 1/1st Yorkshire Hussars, commanded by Lt-Col Viscount Helmsley. They spent the winter of 1914-15 in Harlow, Essex, waiting impatiently to go to France. In February they were told that the regiment was to be split up and the 3 squadrons to serve in the 46th 49th and 50th Divisions.

    Their machine-gun section, commanded by Lt T Preston, was sent to the Essex Yeomanry, 8th Brigade and took part in the Battle of Loos in September. In 1916 the Machine Gun Corps was formed and the YH section became part of the 8th MG Squadron in the 3rd Cavalry Division. They were in the Thiepval trenches on the Somme in August 1816 and took a prominent part in the Battle of Arras in April 1917. They sustained casualties in the cavalry operations of the spring and autumn of 1918 and were awarded many decorations. They were thus the only part of the Yorkshire Hussars to serve as cavalry throughout World War 1.

    Major G R Lane Fox commanded A Squadron which was assigned to 50th Division. They arrived in France on the eve of the 2nd Battle of Ypres. From 22nd to 25th May they were in the dismounted role in the Menin road where they lost 5 men killed and 5 wounded, including Maj Lane Fox. The next few months were spent in the Bailleul-Hazebrouk area providing men for digging parties, police duties etc.

    B Squadron, commanded by Maj W G Eley who had served in 14th Hussars, was with the 46th Division. They were also in the Menin Road area but later moved to Bethune. At the end of Aug 1915 they lost an officer, Lt E S Turton who was killed by a sniper whilst he was attached to the Sherwood Foresters. In Jan 1916 the division was sent by train to Marseilles where it was intended that they be shipped off to Mesopotamia, but the idea was scrapped and they were sent back to the trenches in the St Pol area.

    C Squadron was commanded by Major E York who later commanded the regiment in 1924. They were part of the 49th (West Riding) Division, billeted in turn at places like Merville, Steenwerck, Proven and Esquelbecq.

    In May 1916 it was decided that the static nature of the war required a rethink of the cavalry role and that the cavalry regiments were to work as units within a Corps, and that the Corps Commander would control their movements. On 10th May 1916 the Yorkshire Hussars were reunited as a regiment under 17th Corps, at Gouy-en-Ternois. On 1st June there was a new CO, Lt-Col W Pepys of 13th Hussars. They later moved to Berles, between Arras and St Pol, where they remained for more than a year. The initial delight at being a united regiment with the prospect of cavalry action began to wear off as winter approached and the new year produced no more hope. In Nov 1916 their CO left and was replaced by newly promoted Lt-Col Eley. They spent the winter at Warne and then moved to Berles and Habarcq. Here, on 14th Aug 1917, they were given the sad news that the regiment was to be broken up and used as reinforcements to various infantry battalions.

    However, the regiment did survive as a unit. They were initially sent for 5 or 6 weeks infantry training and then on the 11th Oct 1917 they went to Zudrove, 20 officers and 396 other ranks. They joined the 9th West Yorkshires in the 32nd Brigade, 11th Division. They were a complete battalion, called the 9th (Yorkshire Hussars) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. They wore their regimental cap-badges but West Yorks collar badges, and were commanded by Lt-Col F P Worsley DSO. They were at Passchendale in the line north of Lens and then carried out a successful raid on the Norman Brickstacks. This was led by Captain Roger Walker and consisted of 250 men. One of the officers was killed, Lt C S Haslam. They spent the winter in the depressing colliery district south of Bethune. They were holding the sector opposite Hulluch and Haisnes through the spring of 1918 and suffered gas shelling on 9th April, and the following days, at St Elie. On 15th June they carried out a raid on the St Elie Craters in which a tunnel was successfully blown up by 2nd LT A Dalley. On 24th Aug they were moved to the Arras front for the final advance. They lost two killed and 6 wounded in the line east of Pelves, but they captured a complete German clothing store. On 27th Sep, the battalion, now commanded by Maj R E M Cherry MC made a successful attack on Aubencheul-au-Bac, and on 3rd Oct Marquion Quarry was assaulted and captured. The enemy were in retreat and the battalion crossed the Sensee Canal on 10th Oct.

    A new CO was taken on in October, Captain R H Waddy. The battalion was sent back for a short rest and they then advanced south and east of Valenciennes. They dug in on the evening of 3rd Nov just beyond the Jenlain-Curgies railway line, and advanced at dawn through thickly wooded country. They captured Le Triez, taking prisoners and releasing civilian captives. They pushed on to Roisin but had to retire because their flank was exposed. They were in a sunken road but it gave them no protection from enemy shelling. They lost 5 officers and 12 other ranks killed, and 2 officers and 57 other ranks wounded, and a further 44 missing. They sustained 43 more casualties the following day when the Germans shelled the densely populated village of Roisin.

    On 10th and 11th November 1918 the 11th Division was relieved and the 9th Battalion's active part in the Great War had come to an end. They marched back and spent the winter at Wallers, 5 miles west of Valenciennes. On 20th Feb 1919 they were presented with Colours and were demobilised. There were 6 officers and 41 men remaining.

    24th of April 1915 Units in position

    24th of April 1915 Appendix 19 - Positions of Northumberland Division

    15th of May 1915 Working Parties

    16th of May 1915 Digging parties

    17th of May 1915 Move of York Hussars

    25th of May 1915 Move to billets

    31st May 1915 

    31st of May 1915 Report

    1st of June 1915 Preparation for relief

    4th of June 1915 Troop Movements

    25th Dec 1915 A Cheery Christmas

    26th Aug 1917 Yorkshire Hussars dismount  The Yorkshire Hussars were dismounted on 26th August 1917 and sent to Etaples for training

    13th Nov 1917 Yorkshire Hussars Disband  400 men of the Yorkshire Hussars were absorbed into the 9th (Service) Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment which now adopted the title 9th (Yorkshire Hussars Yeomanry) Battalion, following the disbanding of the Yorkshire Hussars.

    13th Nov 1917 9th West Yorks absorb 1st Yorks Hussars  All 400 men of the 1/1st Yorkshire Hussars join the 9th West Yorks, the battalion being renamed, 9th (Yorkshire Hussars Yeomanry) Btn.

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Those known to have served with

Yorkshire Hussars

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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Pte. George Heppenstal 2nd/1st Btn. Yorkshire Hussars Yeomanry

George Heppenstal died on 26th September 1919 aged 22. He is buried in the North part of the Castlecomer (St. Mary) Church of Ireland Churchyard, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.

S Flynn


Alfred Ellis Yorkshire Hussars

My father, Alfred Ellis and his brother George both enlisted into the Yorkshire Hussars on 1st Feb 1913 a Territorial Army Unit. They went into training camp in Harrogate in May/June 1914. I have photos of this training camp, in hussars uniform and working in camp with the horses.

Richard Ellis


Pte. Alfred Ellis Yorkshire Hussars

My father Alfred Ellis, served in the Yorkshire Hussars up to 1917: he enlisted as a reservist with his brother George in 1913. George only served till 1917 when he was demobilised having served the term of his service, but my father carried on and was wounded in 1917. The time and army unit are not known, though probably the Yorks & Lancs Infantry Regiment. I have a number of photos of these two brothers, but no other personal records except the service records of his brother George., those of Alfred were amongst the burnt records.

I am trying to establish any links and gather information about this unit and other existing records, in addition to the PRO war diary records of the Hussars, showing their work and movements behind the lines etc.

Richard Ellis


Pte. Abel Bishop Yorkshire Hussars

Able Bishop served with the Yorkshire Hussars, his brothers Charles and Herbert and nephew Maurice served wth the West Yorkshire Regiment.

Richard Thomas Phillips

Want to know more about Yorkshire Hussars?

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