West Essex Yeomanry - A Brief History

The following history was published in 1896 in the 'Duke of York's Own Loyal Suffolk Hussars Gazette@

The Regiment appears to owe its origin to Colonel Palmer who enlisted as a private in the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers in 1819 and remained in that Corps until it was disbanded in 1828.

It seems that the origin of this Regiment was during the political agitation of 1830 when Colonel Palmer raised the West Essex Yeomanry Cavalry at the request of Lord Melbourne.

The object of the organisation appears to have been principally to protect the Government establishments at Waltham Abbey and Enfield Lock, there being no other volunteer body in the county.

In 1836, shortly after the accession to the throne of Her present Majesty, an attempt was made to disband the Corps at the insistence of Lord John Russell, then Secretary of State for the Home Department, whereupon Colonel Palmer was induced to volunteer the gratuitous services of his Regiment to the Queen.

This offer was accepted and the West Essex Yeomanry was maintained at the Colonels charge for five years; and in 1843 we find a notification that it was replaced on the establishment as formerly, with the same allowance as other Yeomanry Corps.

The birthplace and throughout its career the headquarters of the Regiment were at Nazing, Waltham Abbey and from what we are able to gather it was carried out with varying success. The indomitable pluck and determination of the Commanding Officer at all times bolstering up its existence.

In 1851 Lord Hardinge added a demi battery when the Regiment was styles the West Essex Yeomanry Artillery and Cavalry.

A communication from the War Office dated 31 March 1877 records that on the inspection in 1876 the Regiment was only able to parade 46 men and thus was disbanded on account of its not being able to keep up its establishment.

At the time of disbandment  Major V Cater was in command with Officers : Adjutant R G Upton, Captain F Edenborough, Lieutenants F C Moojen and Frederick Moojen.

The uniform was of Hussar pattern, blue and silver with red facings.

The Waltham Abbey Weekly Telegraph records the order for disbandment being issued at the end of 1875 and the actual closure as taking place on 22 January 1876. The reason given by the War Office in this paper was that the functions of Yeomanry Cavalry should be exclusively directed to the proper duties of light cavalry and the discontinuance of artillery and unmounted troops is recommended as not forming part of the establishment of a Cavalry Regiment in modern times.