history / World War One

The Lanarkshire Yeomanry has its origins in the heartlands of Lanarkshire at the beginning of the 19th Century. Earlier decades had seen revolution throughout Europe and the well to do sections of society, including old Lanarkshire landowning families - the so called "Landed Gentry", had good reason to fear that their position was at risk.

There was little in the way of a formal civil peacekeeping body at that time - Lanarkshire would not have its own civil police force until 1857 - and, as a result, the landed families in the area decided to establish militia with officers drawn from the upper echelons of local society, and the troopers from farmers and those who either worked on the estates of the gentry or who depended on them for their livelihood. The first two troops of independent yeomanry were raised by Norman Lockhart of Lee in late 1819 at Carnwath and Douglas in Lanarkshire with a third troop being raised at Lesmahagow in 1821 by Daniel Vere of Stonebyre. In the following decade they were joined by a troop from Airdrie. They were cumulatively known as the Upperward of Lanarkshire and Airdrie Yeomanry Cavalry.

In the decades to follow, the Regiment was more often used in a civil policing role than in any recognised military action and it was not until the end of the century and the outbreak of the South African - or Boer - War that this was to change. In 1900, a squadron of 103 volunteers from the Lanarkshire Yeomanry, as part of the 11th Yeomanry Brigade, were amongst the first British troops to enter the Transvaal.

After the Boer War, and the reorganisation of the British Army in 1908, the Regiment became part of the newly formed Territorial Force with a greater emphasis on military training and discipline. This was to be put to the test a few years later on the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.

In World War One, the Regiment had its first taste of modern warfare in late 1915 when they were part of the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign. Following their withdrawal in January 1916, they later saw action in the Middle East in may of the famous desert campaigns of WW1. Some of the men were to later claim that they had ridden with Lawrence of Arabia!

In 1918, as part of the 12th Battalion (Ayrshire and Lanarkshire Yeomanry) Royal Scots Fusiliers, the men of the Regiment were on the Western Front where Sgt. Thomas Caldwell from Carluke won the Victoria Cross.