History of the Regiment


History of the Regiment
The York and Lancaster Regiment was formed from an amalgamation of two Regiments of Foot, the 65th and 84th of Foot.  

The 65th Foot.   The 12th Regiment of Foot raised a second battalion in 1756 which in turn became a separate regiment in 1758 and was named the 65th Regiment of Foot.  In 1782 the 65th was given the secondary title of 2nd North Yorkshire with the intention for the regiment to recruit in Yorkshire. The regiment became the 65th (2nd North Yorkshire) Regiment of Foot.

The 84th Foot.  The 84th was raised on three separate occasions. The first raising in 1759 was as a response to a request from the East India Company for additional military support. It was disbanded in 1763. The second raising of the regiment was during the American War of Independence when in 1775, the 84th Foot was known as the Royal Highland Emigrants  having drawn its soldiers from Scottish settlers. The regiment was disbanded in 1783 when the war ended but was raised for a third and final time 10 years later in 1793.
In 1809 the 84th of Foot was given a secondary title of York and Lancaster to reflect the fact that the 84th had raised a battalion at York in Yorkshire and a battalion in Preston in Lancashire.
The regiment became 84th (York and Lancaster) Regiment of Foot.

The Cardwell Reforms.
  The 1881 Cardwell Reforms led to a wholesale restructuring of the army which involved the merging of numbered regiments, in this case the 65th with the 84th. The intention was to create regiments of 2 regular battalions with county affiliations, recruiting areas, a shared regimental depot and for one of the battalions to serve overseas whilst the other would be based at home.  In addition, the reforms linked the local militia with the regular battalions. In 1883, the local volunteer units known as Rifle Volunteer Corps (RVC) were also added to the regimental family.

So by 1883, the Regimental family was as follows:

  • The 65th of Foot had become the 1st Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. 
  • The 84th of Foot had become the 2nd Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. 
  • The 3rd West Yorkshire Militia had become the 3rd Battalion York and Lancaster  Regiment. 
  • The 2nd Yorkshire, West Riding, (Hallamshire) Rifle Volunteer Corps had become the 1st Volunteer (Hallamshire) Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. 
  • The 8th Yorkshire West Riding RVC had become the 2nd Volunteer Battalion York and  Lancaster Regiment.

Interestingly, the title of the new regiment was originally to be the Hallamshire Regiment to reflect the link to a part of the regimental area in the West Riding known as Hallamshire. This proposed title proved to be unpopular with the units due to be amalgamated and they looked for an appropriate title that would identify the new regiment with its main recruiting area in the county of Yorkshire. A vote was taken by Officers of the battalions concerned and the new title chosen, The York and Lancaster Regiment, was taken from the 84th of Foot.

The regiment raised 22 battalions during World War 1 and had some 57,000 men serve in its ranks. After 1919, the regiment returned to its pre war state of 1st and 2nd Battalions being regular, 3rd Battalion being the depot battalion and the 4th and 5th Battalions being Territorial’s.

The York and Lancaster Regiment raised 10 battalions during World War 2 which were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd (Depot), Hallamshires, 67th (Y&L) HAA Regiment RA, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Battalions. All except the 1st, 2nd and Hallamshire Battalions were disbanded at the end of the war. Due to post war army re-organisations, in 1947 the 2nd Battalion was disbanded and amalgamated with the 1st Battalion.

The 1st Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment became part of the Yorkshire Brigade in 1958 along with the West Yorkshire Regiment, the East Yorkshire Regiment, the Green Howards and the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. The Brigade adopted a common cap badge which depicted a white rose with a crown above it and a scroll inscribed with the word ‘Yorkshire’. However, each regiment retained its own collar badges.

Further army re-organisations led to the 1st Battalion being disbanded in 1968 leaving just the very much reduced Hallamshire Battalion and a handful of local army cadet units still wearing the Tiger and Rose badge of the York and Lancaster Regiment.

The Volunteer Battalions

Invasion scares in 1850's led to the creation of Rifle Volunteer Corps (RVCs) in towns across the country. These Corps were approximately of company strength and were made up of part time soldiers. A large number of RVC were raised in the West Riding of Yorkshire, including the Hallamshire Rifles, Barnsley Rifles and the Rotherham Rifles.

As part of the Cardwell Reforms in 1881, the 8th Yorkshire West Riding RVC (8th YWRRVC) was linked with the 2nd (Hallamshire) West Riding RVC, the 3rd West Yorkshire Militia and in turn, to the Regular 65th and 84th Regiments.

In 1883, the 2nd (Hallamshire) West Riding RVC became the 1st (Hallamshire) Volunteer Battalion and the 8th YWRRVC became the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment.

1st Volunteer Battalion

The Hallamshire Volunteer Rifle Corps was formed in June 1859 with its headquarters at Sheffield. The title Hallamshire came from the ancient Saxon Manor area of the West Riding. By August 1859, 3 companies had been formed and by the end of the year, John Brown, owner of the Atlas Steel Works had raised a further 2 companies.

HQs were in Eyre Street in Sheffield with drills being carried out at the Collegiate School and Bramhall Lane cricket ground. The Hallamshires moved into Hyde Park Barracks in 1883 and stayed there until the start of WW1.

The Hallamshire Rifles wore light grey tunics with scarlet facings on the collars and cuffs, with buttons and badges bearing the Sheffield Corporate Arms and the motto 'Dieu est mon Ecu' (God is my shield). Trousers were also grey with a thin scarlet band running through a wider black strip running down the outer seems. A grey peaked forage cap with an oak leaf band was worn. 

In 1862, their tunics were changed scarlet with purple facings.

2nd Volunteer Battalion

In 1860 the following Rifles Corps were grouped into the 4th Administrative Battalion, Yorkshire West Riding Rifle Volunteer Corps who had their HQ in Doncaster.

18th (Pontefract) Yorkshire West Riding Rifle Volunteer Corps
19th (Rotherham) Yorkshire West Riding Rifle Volunteer Corps
20th (Doncaster, Great Northern Railway) Yorkshire West Riding Rifle Volunteer Corps
21st (Doncaster Burgesses) Yorkshire West Riding Rifle Volunteer Corps
36th (Rotherham) Yorkshire West Riding Rifle Volunteer Corps (joined 4th AB 1862)
37th (Barnsley) Yorkshire West Riding Rifle Volunteer Corps (transferred from 3rd AB 1863)
40th (Wath-upon-Dearne) Yorkshire West Riding Rifle Volunteer Corps

All the RVC in the 4th Administrative Battalion were consolidated as the 8th Yorkshire West Riding Rifle Volunteer Corps in 1880 and re-designated as:

18th RVC as A Company at Pontefract
19th RVC as B & E Companies at Rotherham
20th RVC as C Company at Doncaster
21st RVC as D Company at Doncaster
37th RVC as F & H Companies at Barnsley
40th RVC as G Company at Wath-upon-Dearne
36th RVC as J Company at Rotherham

In 1863, the uniform of the 8th YWRRVC in grey with scarlet facings but in 1875, this was changed to scarlet tunic with green facings.

As part of the Cardwell Reforms, the 8th YWRRVC was linked with the 2nd (Hallamshire) West Riding RVC, the 3rd West Yorkshire Militia and in turn, to the Regular 65th and 84th Regiments. In 1883, the 8th YWRRVC became the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment in 1883.

The 2nd VB adopted the white facings of the York & Lancaster Regiment.

The Territorial Battalions

The Haldane Reforms led to the formation of the Territorial Force (TF) in 1908 which in turn led to Volunteer Battalions being re-designated. 

The 1st VB became the 4th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment but in 1909 it regained its previous title when it became 4th (Hallamshire) Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. The number was dropped by order of King George V in 1924 in recognition of service during WW1 with the unit now being known as The Hallamshire Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment.

Most of the 2nd VB became the 5th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment (the companies from Doncaster and Pontefract became 5th Bn Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry). The 5th Battalion had companies at:

Rotherham
HQ, A, B and F Companies based at the drill hall, Wharncliffe Street, Rotherham

Barnsley
C and E Companies based at the drill hall in Eastgate, Barnsley
G and H Companies based at the drill hall Sheffield Road, Birdwell

Wath-upon-Dearne
D Company based at the drill hall in Moor Road which was built in 1911

The Territorial Force changed its name to The Territorial Army (TA) in February 1920.

Conversion to Royal Artillery

In the 1930's the need for anti-aircraft (AA) defence in Britain led to some TA infantry battalions being converted into AA units. The 5th Battalion was one of these units and became the 67th (The York & Lancaster Regiment) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery on 10 December 1936. The Regiment consisted of HQ Battery with 187th, 188th and 189th AA Batteries at Rotherham

When the 5th Bn was converted to artillery in 1936, all ranks continued to wear York & Lancaster cap badges with Royal Artillery collar badges and shoulder titles. The cap badges were replaced by RA badges at some stage during WW2.

When the TA was reconstituted in 1947, the regiment reformed at Rotherham as 467 (The York & Lancaster Regiment) (Mixed) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA. In March 1955, 467 HAA Regiment merged with 271 (Sheffield) Field Regiment, becoming 'R' (5th York & Lancaster) Battery.

In May 1961, R Battery reverted to infantry as B (Barnsley) Company of the Hallamshire Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment.