The regiment was formed on the creation of the Territorial Force in April 1908 and placed under orders of the North Midland Mounted Brigade. It was headquartered at Bailey Street in Stafford with the squadrons being headquartered as follows:
- A Squadron: Walsall (with drill stations at West Bromwich, Tamworth, Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield)
- B Squadron: Stoke-on-Trent (Stafford, Leek, Cannock and Newcastle-under-Lyme)
- C Squadron: Burton-on-Trent (Uttoxeter)
- D Squadron: Wolverhampton (Himley).
1/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry
- August 1914 : moved with the brigade to Diss (Norfolk) and placed under orders of 1st Mounted Division.
- 27 October 1915 : brigade embarked at Southampton for Salonika. En route, the destination was altered and by the end of November the regiment had arrived at Cairo. Remained in Egypt/Palestine theatre until May 1918.
- April 1916: brigade renamed 22nd Mounted Brigade and under orders of Western Frontier Force.
- February 1917: brigade under orders of Anzac Mounted Division.
- July 1917: brigade under orders of Yeomanry Mounted Division.
- April 1918 : Yeomanry Mounted Division renamed 1st Mounted Division.
- July 1918 : formation names changed to 12th Cavalry Brigade and 4th Cavalry Division.
2/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry
- Formed as a Second-Line (that is,reserve) regiment in September 1914 and remained at home throughout the war.
- Under orders of 2/1st North Midland Mounted Brigade from January 1915.
- October 1915 : moved with the brigade to Norfolk and placed under orders of 1st Mounted Division, replacing 1/1st North Midland Mounted Brigade when it left for Salonika.
- April 1916 : brigade renamed 3rd Mounted Brigade.
- July 1916: at Holt. Converted into a cyclist unit, under orders of 3rd Cyclist Brigade in 1st Cyclist Division.
- November 1916 : became a mounted unit again, at Bishop’s Stortford; brigade renamed 2nd Mounted Brigade. Under orders of a new 1st Mounted Brigade (formerly 3rd and 2/2nd Mounted Divisions).
- By May 1917: moved to Leybourne in Kent.
- August 1917: converted into a cyclist unit, under orders of 12th Cyclist Brigade in Cyclist Division. Moved to Tonbridge.
- July 1918: moved to Canterbury and then remained there.
3/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry
- Formed as a Third-Line training unit in 1915.
- 1916: affiliated to 12th Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot.
- Early 1917: absorbed into 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment at the Curragh.
In the 1917 renumbering of the Territorials, the Staffordshire Yeomanry issued numbers from the block 300001-305000. Corps of Hussars. (Note: men of North Midland Mounted Brigade Signal Troop of the Royal Engineers were also given numbers from this block).
Detailed history of the 1/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry
Summarised from the regiment’s war diary
30 September 1915
Langley Park. Instructed to proceed overseas after reorganising to full war establishment. (This re-equipment and reorganisation took until almost the end of October 1915, at which time the North Midland Mounted Brigade was detached from the 1st Mounted Division and became an independent command).
26 October 1915
11 officers detailed to embark at Devonport, leaving next day of Hired Transort ‘Northland’. Lt-Col. H.A. Clowes, Major Viscount W. Lewisham, Captain R.A. Ratcliffe, Captain R. Vaughan-Williams, Lt G.H. Anson, Lt S.G. Loveridge, Lt R. Sidebottom, 2/Lts G.D. Paul, A.V. Negus, J. Radford-Norcop, A. Bromley Davenport. (This group moved via Mudros, and rejoined the regiment on 22 November). 11 men and 11 mules embarked Hired Transport ‘Victorian’, with the East Riding Yeomanry. The rest of the regiment marched to Norwich, where it entrained for Southampton. The regiment embarked the Hired Transport ‘Nessian’, and at 5.45pm next day sailed for Malta. The main body consisted of 16 officers, 501 other ranks, 512 horses and 39 mules.
2 November 1915
Passed Gibraltar. Received orders to proceed for Salonika.
5 November 1915
Passed Malta, but did not stop there.
6 November 1915
Received wireless orders not to proceed to Salonika, but re-route for Alexandria. Arrived there at 8pm on 8 November, disembarking next morning .
10 November 1915
Marched to Chatby Camp, Alexandrai.
23 November 1915
Moved by rail to Cairo, marched into Mena House Camp.
28 November 1915
Moved by rail to Fayum, marched to Deir al Azab Camp. From 2 december, one troop was ordered to be on outpost duty each night .
6 December 1915
Brigade route march to El Agamiyin, via Fayum and Talat. B Squadron detached for duty at El Shawashna (returned 15 December, being replaced by C Squadron).
13 December 1915
Brigade route march to Senures.
3 January 1916
Marched to Tamia, via Fayum, El Maslub, Matar tares road. Over 21 miles. Cool day. Reutuned to Deir al Azab next day, by a longer route of 24 miles. Cool day. Roads in poor condition after rain.
10 January 1916
HQ and B and C Squadrons moved to Abu Gandir, D to Kasr el Gebazi. (In this period there is much route marching, patrolling, etc. On 30 January, the regiment is inspected by Major General W.E. Peyton). Returned to Deir al Azab on 7 February.
22 February 1916
Moved to Kasr el Gebazi. (Carried out patrols in direction of El Hamuli, Qasr Qarun.) A few days later the regiment moved to Karat, Fayum.
8 March 1916
Lt-Col Clowes died in hospital, being replaced by Lt-Col Bromley Davenport .
9 March 1916
C Squadron (6 officers, 135 men, 143 horses) left for El Azab, to entrain for Wadi Natrun.
13 March 1916
Lt-Col Bromley Davenport left to take command of Brigade. Lt-Col Sir Percival Haywood, Bart., takes command of regiment. (Regiment remains in position for quite some time, with usual routine of patrols, etc. On 17 April a system of leave was introduced such that 5% of the regiment would be allowed 4 days off, at any time. Several men transferred to the Imperial Camel Corps at this time. A replacement draft from 3/1st arrived on 12 June. On 8 September, the regiment was inspected by Major General Sir Charles Dobell, along with Brigadier-General Bromley Davenport).
11 September 1916
Headquarters and D Squadron moved to Deir el Aazab, C to Abu Gandir, B and the Machine Gun Section to El Shawashna. On 30 September, one NCO died as a result of a self inflicted wound by a service rifle .
11 October 1916
Moved to the outpost line. HQ and B Squadron to Gharak South, C to Gharak West and D to Abu Hamed. On 20 October, the regiment was inspected by Major General W. Watson, officer commanding the Western Frontier Force.
1 November 1916
Moved to Deir el Azab.
2 December 1916
Entrained at Fayum, and moved to Hill 40, Kantara .
11 December 1916
Marched to Romani. Bad going. (Standing patrols began, in the area of Bir el Nuss, and Katia. On 20 December, three Squadrons were inspected by Brigadier-General F. Fryer, commanding Romani Subsector, Canal Sector).
19 January 1917
Marched to Bir el Abd . A series of movements to the advanced positions along the Sinai coast began, as follows: (1 February) Hod el Bayid, (14) Abd, (16) Salmana, (17) Tilul, (18) Mazar, (19) Badarwil, (20) El Arish, arriving 23 February 1917 at Sheikh Zowaid, where the regiment was detailed to the outposts.
1 March 1917
Entrenching an observation post on Fryers Hill.
4 March 1917
Made a reconnaissance in force, together with 1/1st Lincolnshire Yeomanry Machine Gun Squadron and the 7th Australian Light Horse, on Khan Younis and Bei Sela. (This is the first time in the diary that it is noted that the troops were fired on, by artillery).
10 March 1917
Moved to Bir Eshsha, near Rafa.
12 March 1917
Carried out a reconnaissance in force, at Weli Sheikh Nuran and Wadi el Guzze.
13 March 1917
Sergeant G. Cranston accidentally drowned while bathing in sea .
25 March 1917
To Deir el Belah .
26 March 1917
Regiment was shelled while crossing Wadi el Guzze, from Gaza to Hareira.
27 March 1917
Detailed to hold the outpost line from sea west of Tel el Ajjul. Much sniping by enemy. Relieved next day, and 4 shells fell in camp area.
29 March 1917
Rejoined the Division at Belfih.
31 March 1917
Moved to outpost duty at In Seirat.
1 April 1917
To bivouac at Deir el Belah.
17 April 1917
Division was ordered to make a demonstration on the right, while the infantry attacked at Sheikh Abbas . Came under fire. Surgeon Major A. H. Palmer dangerously wounded in the back .
19 April 1917
General attack from Gaza – Hareira began. On 27 April, relieved to rest camp at Tel el Jemmi. (There are some very long, detailed, handwritten reports of the events of the attack in the war diary).
22 May 1917
Division moved to take part in raid on Beersheba – Auja railway.
28 May 1917
Moved to Tel el Marrakeb, on the beach, for a rest. Regimental strength 24 officers, 410 other ranks.
There is a gap in the diary here.
On 27 October, the Third, final and successful assault on Gaza took place. The British force in Palestine now moved forward on two fronts, assisted by an Arab force sweeping forwards in the east. One column moved north from Gaza, the other from Beersheba. Jerusalem fell in December, after which came a long opposed advance northward along the Jordan Valley, which commenced in February 1918.
1 April 1918
A move began, to Sukerier , (2) Mejdel, (3) Sukerier, (4) Khirbet Deiran, (24) Latrun, (25) Enab, (26) Talat el Dumm, via Jerusalem, (27) Wadi el Auja, via Jericho. A patrol was sent to Wadi Bakr, and came under shellfire but there were no casualties.
14 May 1918
Moved from Onslows Farm to Ain Hajla, taking over the line from Ghoraniye Bridge to the Dead Sea.
25 May 1918
Moved to north of Jericho
24 June 1918
Moved to bridgehead at Auja. Shelled by long range gun.
16 July 1918
Moved to Solomon Pools, Bethlehem.
1 August 1918
At Wadi Mellalah, advancing up the Jordan Valley. There are many patrols, fire fights, much sniping.
11 August 1918
300115 Lance Corporal E. Timmins DCM accidentally killed in Cairo .
16 August 1918
Moved to junction of Wadi Auja and River Jordan.
26 August 1918
Moved to Talaat ed Dumm.
28 August 1918
Moved to junction of Wadi Surar.
30 August 1918
Moved to Mejdel. Strength 19 officers, 363 other ranks, 466 horses and muls. Abnormal rate of sickness, 7 officers and 166 other ranks being evacuated in the month. “Without doubt due to trying climatic conditions”.
15 September 1918
Concealed night march to Ramleh, via Yebnah.
19 September 1918
Moved to 5 miles north of Hadreh. Moved to forward position of XXI Corps attack at 0430, and then cleared enemy as far as Tul Keram. 4 Cavalry Division pushed through and marched for Mejdel – Kakon area. Concentrated at Jelmie. In this advance, the regiment took over 1000 prisoners.
26 September 1918
A move began, to Shuni, (27) Remte, (28) Mexereib, (29) Dilli, 29 miles, (30) Zerikiye, 23 miles. Since 15 September, the regiment had covered 233 miles in all, and captured 3069 prisoners.
2 October 1918
Move continued, to Darajah, (6) El Hame, (7) Bar Elias, (16) Lebwe. The diary notes many men dying in hospital, presumably of sicknesses, at this time. The regiment remained at Lebwe for several weeks.
29 November 1918
Moved to An Sofar, and next day to Bir Hassan, 30 miles south of Beirut. The regiment remained here, demobilising, for several months.
This page is in memory of Private 300625 Gordon Charles Kennelly, my grandmother’s boyfriend or fiance, who was killed in action in Palestine on 28 November 1917.