Essex Imperial Yeomanry

At the start of the Boer War, Essex Yeomanry volunteered for duty in South Africa but this offer was turned down by a War Office that failed to realise the importance that mounted troops would play in the Boer war.

In 1899 the War Office realised their mistake and asked the Yeomanry Units to  supply volunteers to form an Imperial Yeomanry  and many men volunteered to join this new Regiment and serve in the Boer war.

The recruiting was so successful that 2,800 men sailed to South Africa as part of the Imperial Yeomanry.

On 8 November 1901 the War Office approved the establishment of the Essex Imperial Yeomanry as a territorial unit based in Essex.

Captain R B Colvin ( by then a Colonel) had already volunteered to fight in the Boer War and had raised an Essex Troop which formed part of the Imperial Yeomanry. The men were drawn from the 4 packs of foxhounds in Essex with command as follows-

A Squadron Major H J Lermitte from the Essex and Suffolk Hunt at Colchester

B Squadron Major E Deacon from the East Essex Hunt at Braintree

C Squadron Major L Pelly from the Essex Hunt at Epping

D Squadron Major F H D C Whitmore from the Essex Union Hunt at Southend on Sea

Regimental HQ was established at B Block Cavalry barracks, Colchester

The establishment was 27 Officers and 569 other ranks plus a machine gun section of 1 officer and 16 other ranks.

Summer Camps would include a Church Parade, gymkhana and social activities like a formal dinner for the officers and entertainment for the men as well as squad drill, rifle  shooting, maxim gun drill, horse skills, marshes and of course large scale military exercises.,

Summer camps were held at Colchester in 1902.1903 and 1904 before a move to Easton park at Dunmow in 1905, then Clacton on Sea in 1906, North Weald in 1907 and Colchester in 1908 by which time the creation of the Territorial Army saw the regiment change its name to the familiar Essex Yeomanry that we know today.