West Riding Artillery


West Riding Artillery

__TOC__In 1860, as the British government feared invasion from the continent, the Secretary at War recommended the formation of Volunteer Artillery Corps to bolster Britain's coastal defences. The 1st Yorkshire (West Riding) Artillery Volunteer Corps were raised at Leeds on 2 August and the 2nd Yorkshire (West Riding) Artillery Volunteer Corps at Bradford on 10 October. They began as Coastal Artillery with 32 pounder guns and in 1886 became Position Artillery with 40 pounders. By 1871 the 1st had grown to eight batteries and the 2nd had become the 1st Admin Brigade, Yorkshire (West Riding) Artillery Volunteers, containing five "Yorkshire (West Riding) Artillery Volunteer Corps", numbered the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th. By 1880 a number of these Corps had been disbanded or absorbed and the Bradford Brigade became the 2nd Yorkshire (West Riding) Artillery Volunteers.

Various reforms from 1889 resulted in the units being renamed as 1st and 2nd West Riding of Yorkshire Artillery Volunteers, then the 1st and 2nd West Riding of Yorkshire Volunteer Artillery. In 1898 they became 1st and 2nd West Riding of Yorkshire Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers) equipped with convert|4.7|in|mm|0|sing=on guns drawn by steam tractors.

Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907

After the end of the Boer War in 1902, a review of the Army took place and a Royal Commission reported on the Militia and Volunteers. The War Office was concerned over the different standards of efficiency but had to concede that this was in the hands of individual commanding officers. Secretary for War, Haldane, in the Liberal Government of 1905, was given the task of preparing legislation for reform. His Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, brought together volunteer units to form the Territorial Force (to become the Territorial Army in 1921) giving them the same role as before, but, in addition, giving them the capability of acting as backup to the Regular Army if the need arose. The result was that the Leeds and Bradford Artillery lost their heavy guns and became the 1st (with its headquarters at Fenton street, Leeds) and 2nd (with its HQ at Valley Parade in Bradford) West Riding Brigade Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Force). Each brigade had three batteries and an ammunition column and they were equipped with 15 pounder guns. With the change to the smaller guns, steam tractors were no longer required and the barracks had to be adapted to accommodate horses. In addition, the Act set up County Associations to help co-ordinate the work of the War Office and the new Territorial Force, and to recruit, house and administer the units.

First World War

In the Great War (1914-18) both West Riding brigades were part of the 49th (West Riding) Division, going to France in 1915, and each formed a second line brigade in 1915 (2/1st and 2/2nd West Riding Brigade RFA(TF) respectively) which then supported 62nd Division.

Inter-war period

By the end of the First World War the Leeds and Bradford brigades had become the 245th and 246th Brigade RFA respectively but were renamed back to 1st and 2nd West Riding Brigade RFA when they reconstituted into the Territorial Army in 1920. This was short-lived, however as they were again renamed 69th and 70th (West Riding) Brigade Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Army) in 1921. In 1924 the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery and the Royal Garrison Artillery were reunited under one name and the brigades became the 69th and 70th (West Riding) Field Brigade Royal Artillery (Territorial Army). Similarly, when artillery brigades were rebranded as regiments in 1938 the West Riding brigades became the 69th and 70th (West Riding) Field Regiment RA(TA). In 1939, the 69th formed a Second Line regiment at Bramley, Leeds, 121 Field Regiment RA(TA) and 70th similarly gave rise to 122 Field Regiment RA(TA) in Bradford.

econd World War

69th, as part of 49th (West Riding) Division served in Iceland for two years and later, after their return to the UK, took part in the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

121 Field Regiment went to Iraq in 1941, fought with the Eighth Army in North Africa and the American Fifth Army in Italy before returning to the UK to take part in the Normandy invasion as a Medium Regiment with convert|5.5|in|mm|0|sing=on Gun-Howitzers.

70th went to France in 1940 as part of the 52nd (Lowland) Division. When the British Expeditionary Force had to withdraw, 70th returned to the UK via Cherbourg with all their guns, vehicles and equipment intact. They were later transferred to 46th (North Midland) Division and fought with them in the Tunisian campaign and in Italy and Greece.

122, after training in the UK, went out to the Far East, suffering war casualties of 13 until the naval base at Singapore surrendered in February 1942. Thereafter, more than 200 died, mainly as a result of their treatment as prisoners of war.

Post-war

An honour, unique at the time for a TA unit, was conferred upon the 70th on 5 September 1945. They were granted the Freedom of the City of Bradford [ [http://www.army.mod.uk/269bty/gallery/freedoms.htm] . This freedom was transferred to 269 (WR) OP Bty RA(V) on 31 March 1983 ( [http://www.army.mod.uk/269bty/gallery/freedoms.htm] ).] .

269th and 270th (West Riding) Field Regiment RA(TA) reconstituted in the TA in Leeds and Bradford respectively on New Year's Day 1947. Both units were equipped with the 25 pounder self propelled gun (the Sexton), and both became part of 49th (West Riding) Armoured Division. In 1956 they were re-equipped with 25 pounder (towed), familiar to so many. When Anti-Aircraft Command was abolished in the mid-fifties 269th absorbed 321 (West Riding) HAA Regiment and the 270th absorbed 584 LAA Regiment RA (6th West Yorkshire) without changing their titles (although 270th did move their HQ from Valley Parade to 584's barracks at Belle Vue, Bradford).

To mark the centenary of the formation of the 1st Yorkshire (West Riding) Artillery Volunteer Corps the Freedom of the City of Leeds was granted to the 269th on 3 February 1960 [ [http://www.army.mod.uk/269bty/gallery/freedoms.htm Welcome to the new British Army Website - British Army Website ] ] . Shortly afterwards the 269th and 270th amalgamated with each other to form 249th (The West Riding Artillery) Field Regiment RA(TA), with Headquarters at Carlton Barracks in Leeds and batteries at Leeds, Bramley and Bradford. So came together two regiments who started out alongside each other a hundred years earlier.

TAVR III

This reform saw the Regiment reorganised as The West Riding Regiment RA (Territorials) on 1 April 1967: but by 1969 the Regiment was reduced to a cadre at Bradford (some of Q Battery absorbed into "E Company, The Yorkshire Volunteers; 272 (West Riding Artillery) Field Support Squadron, 73 Engineer Regiment RE(V)" also formed at Bradford). In 1971 this cadre was expanded to become "A" (West Riding Artillery) Battery, 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Volunteers.

269 (West Riding) Battery RA(V)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=269 (West Riding) Battery RA(V)


caption=Badge of 269 (WR) Bty
dates=1 April 1975-
country=United Kingdom
branch=Royal Artillery
type=Territorial Army
size=1 Battery (Company strength)
command_structure=101 (Northumbrian) Regt RA(V)
role=Surveillance and Target Acquisition
current_commander=Maj APC Strong RA(V)
current_commander_label=Battery Commander
garrison=Old Carlton Barracks, Leeds
ceremonial_chief=Col A C Roberts OBE CStJ TD JP DL
ceremonial_chief_label=Honorary Colonel
colonel_of_the_regiment=
nickname="The Yorkshire Gunners"
motto="Semper vigilantes" (Always vigilant) (Latin)
colors=Yellow, white, and blue
identification_symbol=
identification_symbol_label=Tactical Recognition Flash
march="British Grenadiers"
mascot=
battles=Operation TELIC, Operation HERRICK
notable_commanders=
anniversaries=Yorkshire Day (1 August)
St Barbara's Day (4 December)
On 1 April 1975 an independent observation post battery, 269 (West Riding) OP Battery RA (Volunteers), was formed at Leeds from the cadre (and the cadre disbanded), reviving the "West Riding Artillery" lineage in the Royal Artillery.

In 1989, 269 (West Riding) Battery RA(V) re-roled to the 105 mm L118 Light Gun, dropping "OP" from its title. 269 Battery joined 19 Regiment RA 'The Lowland Gunners', a regular regiment in 24 Airmobile Brigade, in 1993.

trategic Defence Review

On 1 July 1999 a new TA "war establish reserve" air defence artillery regiment, 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment RA(V), was formed from the transfer and conversion of existing sub-units, including 269 Battery who converted to the Rapier Field Standard B2 surface-to-air missile system and supported 22 Regiment RA 'The Welsh Gunners', then based at Rapier Barracks, Kirton-in-Lindsey.

When the decision was made in 2004 to scrap Rapier FSB2 and disband 22 Regiment RA, 269 Battery converted to Rapier FSC and their support role was transferred to 16 Regiment RA, based in Woolwich, London.

Future Army Structure

The FAS reforms, announced in 2004, resulted in a rebalancing of the TA in 2006. As part of this rebalancing the West Riding Artillery ceased training on its Rapier FSC equipment on 1 April 2006 in preparation for its new role as a Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Battery. 269 Battery was formally handed over to 101 (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) at a ceremony in Carlton Barracks, Leeds on 5 September 2006.

References

Further reading

*cite book|author=E Ackroyd|title=The Bradford Volunteer Artillery - 122 (WR) Field Regiment RA TA 1939 - 1942 / A freedom dearly bought
*cite book|author=J Douglas|title=The Bradford Volunteer Artillery - 70th (WR) Field Regiment RA TA 1939 - 1946
*cite book|author=RW Morris|title=121 Field/Medium Regiment 1939 - 46
*cite book|author=R T P Peacock MBE|title=The Bradford Volunteer Artillery - a Mini Archive 1914 - 1938
*cite book|author=W Seddon|title=The Leeds Volunteer Artillery
*cite book|author=J T Wyatt|title=The Leeds Volunteer Artillery 1947 - 1971

External links

*cite website|title=ARRSE-Pedia|url=http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/269_(West_Riding)_Battery
*cite website|author=D Barton|title=The Royal Artillery 1939 - 45|url=http://www.ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/index.html
*cite website|author=Maj H Craggs MC|title=70th Field Regiment Royal Artillery at Sedjenane, Tunisia in February-March 1943, the eyewitness account of Major Harry Craggs MC|url=http://16dli.awardspace.com/page196.html
*cite website|author=T F Mills et al|title=Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth|url=http://regiments.org/
*cite website|author=Lt Col J C Mitchell TD|title=The West Riding Regiment Royal Artillery (Territorials)|url=http://www.yorkshirevolunteers.org.uk/wrarty.htm
*cite website|author=Bdr M P York|title=Official website|url=http://www.army.mod.uk/269bty/


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