In March 1797 Citizens of Uxbridge decided to form a Military Association. Its aims were clear – a quasi – Military Police to keep the internal defence of the neighbourhood in case of insurrection or violent breach of the peace: in aid of the Civil Powers or in case of invasion. This would permit the regular forces to act more effectively on the coasts.
London and nearby areas were a long way short of their proper quota of mounted men so only a Cavalry Troop was accepted. Sir Christopher Baynes formed the Troop and by May it had agreed to become Yeomanry Cavalry with increased responsibilities in case of invasion by the ‘Rascal Bonaparte’. Another Troop was added by 1798.
The ‘Peace of 1801’ brought disbandment and whilst other Yeomanry units were raised in Middlesex the Uxbridge Yeoman ‘slumbered on’ until 1830 when the country was drifting into anarchy. Two troops – 1st Harefield and 2nd West Drayton were raised on December 10th 1830, which is the correct date of the Units formation. Captain Newdegate was the first Commanding Officer. The Arms of Middlesex was adopted for a badge and the motto PRO ARIS ET FOCIS. (For Hearth and Home). They were established as Dragroons.
Throughout the 19th Century the Regiment was often required to perform es**rt duty to the Sovereign and the royal family. The first occasion was King William IV in 1834 travelling through Uxbridge to visit the Marquess of Westminster at moor Park. The Regiment was frequently called upon to es**rt Queen Victoria through Middlesex on her way to Windsor, and on reaching the County Boundary would hand over to a detachment of the Royal Horse Guards to es**rt her to the castle.
In 1843 a mounted band was formed, eventually a drill hall purchased and a rifle range at Runnymede. Royal Escorts, race meetings and general training were the usual ‘round’ until the Boer War. The unit grew – a third London Troop was added and in 1871 a fourth – West Middlesex. Whilst the title changed to Middlesex Yeomanry Cavalry (Uxbridge) and they became Hussars since Light Dragoons no longer existed in the Regular Army Lists.
By 1879 Uxbridge joined West Middlesex Troops to form a County Troop; two Troops were allotted to London and a new Troop was formed in Brighton and Sussex.
In I884, the Queen designated the Middlesex (Duke of Cambridge’s Hussars) Yeomanry Cavalry. In 1885 the unit was posted as no 27 in precedence of Yeomanry when the war Office bungled the new list.
January 1900 saw the formation of No 34 Company of the 11th Battalion Yeomanry for service in the Boer War; followed by two more Companies – the 35th and 62nd.
Sgt Major Roller was recommended for the VC for his conduct at Senekal by the General, but declined to give evidence as ‘he was only doing his duty’. The General therefor commissioned him instead. Over 25 troopers were eventually commissioned. The Companies fought well, but lost more to disease than the enemy.
After the war the title changed to Imperial Yeomanry and khaki was worn on all parades. In 1908 the Regiment joined the Territorials and changed it title to 1st County of London Yeomanry, Middlesex (Duke of Cambridge’s Hussars). Recruiting was in London only. They joined the London Mounted Brigade.
In 1914 the regiment mobilised and went to the East Coast for anti-invasion duties before moving to Egypt in early 1915. They fought at Sulva in the Gallipoli campaign before going to Macedonia to fight the Bulgarians.
By 1917 they were part of the Desert Mounted Corps and fought in Sinai and up to Palestine. On the 27th October the regiment made its famous stand against the Turks, defending the rail head at Karm. Casualties were heavy and awards reflected this and the courage displayed. Major A.M. Lafone won the VC. Later Lt. Col. Watson won the VC in France, commanding an infantry Battalion. The Middlesex Hussars took part in the capture of Jerusalem and the final surrender of the Turks.
On the 20th May 1920 the role of Cavalry Signals was accepted and the 2nd Cavalry Divisional Signal Regiment (Middlesex Yeomanry) formed and was integrated with the newly formed Royal Corps of Signals in June of that year. The regiment kept its old badge, motto and uniform, including the ancient tradition of NCO’s wearing a crown above their stripes. The shoulder title worn by the men changed to ‘Royal Corps of Signals’ with the concession of a ‘Y’ above it.
In 1938, the Regiment became Mobile Divisional Signals and in 1939 formed a second Regiment. The 1st Cavalry Divisional Signals (Middlesex Yeomanry) went to Palestine and served in Syria, Iraq, Crete and Tobruk. On mechanisation, Squadrons were formed as Signals for 10th Armoured Division and the Squadron with 9th Armoured Brigade fought at El Alamein and the Western Desert before serving in Italy. The 2nd Armoured Divisional Signals (Middlesex Yeomanry) served in the Western Desert and Greece. Signal Detachments were provided for Special Forces including SAS, SBS and Commando. Others served in clandestine situations in Yugoslavia and Crete. No.4 Squadron (Middlesex Yeomanry) served with 22nd Armoured Brigade, which in September 1942 became part of 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) under the command of General Montgomery’s 8th Army. They saw action at Caen, Villers Bocage, Falaise, Ghent, Eindhoven, Nimegan and then across the Rhine into Germany, the surrender of Hamburg and the end of war in May 1945.
In 1947 the Middlesex Hussars became 16th Airborne Divisional Signals, wearing the ‘red beret’ and Yeomanry cap badge. Later they became the 40th Signal Regiment with a ‘phantom’ special role and a Troop with Airborne TA forces.
In 1961 they were amalgamated with 47 (London) Signal Regiment, adopting the title 47 (Middlesex Yeomanry) Signal Regiment with Yeomanry cap badge, collar dogs, Royal Signals shoulder titles and 47th London Corps ‘Flash’. The new Regiment wag given the role SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) Troops.
When the Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) was formed in 1967 the Middlesex Yeomanry retained its title, but like so many other Yeomanry Regiments was reduced to Squadron establishment becoming 47 (Middlesex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron (V) and became part of 31st Signal Regiment (V).
In 1995 moved from Harrow and returned to its roots at Uxbridge and became part of 39th (Skinners) Signal Regiment (V) with the role of 2 Brigades Command and Control Squadron.
The Squadron today continues the ancient customs of NCO’s wearing a crown above their stripes and SSgt’s wearing 4 stripes and a crown.
The Great War
Macedonia Nebi Samwil
El Mughar Scimitar Hill