The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

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  • Western Front 1st to 22nd Aug 1914
    Western Front 1914 - Mons to the Marne
    Western Front 1914 - 1915

26 August 1914 -  At Le Cateau, 2nd Battalion part of rear-guard to 13th Brigade, 5th Division (Fergusson), II Corps (Smith-Dorrien).

Le Cateau

The biggest battle fought by the British Army since Waterloo. General Smith-Dorrien, commanding XI Corps during the retreat from Mons, blocked the onrushing Germans for 11 hours, thus enabling the B.E.F. to escape the German sweep. The Corps of three-and-a-half divisions lost 8,077 men and 36 guns.

1914-1918 - 26 Battalions fought in Flanders and other theatres of war. 

Battle honours for The Great War are 59 in number between 23rd August 1914 and 11th November 1918. In the four years' slaughter, 9,447 members of the Regiment were killed and died of wounds or disease. Eight V.C.s were won and amongst the other decorations awarded were D.S.O. 64, M.C. 175 (including nine to Warrant Officers), D.C.M. 192, M.M. 828 and M.S.M. 80. 

The Regular Battalions.

  • 1st - France and Flanders 16 Jan 15. Salonika 7 Dec 15. France and Flanders 9 July 18. India Aug 19. (Iraq) 8 Sept 20 to 25 Feb 21. Ireland July 21 to Jan 22. Silesia Apr to July 22.

    The 1st Battalion arrived in England from Singapore in November, 1914. Two months later it was in France and soon in the line. It took part in the Second Battle of Ypres and Loos but, in October, 1915, it left for Greece where it remained on the Salonika front until June, 1918. Returning to France then, it was in time to take part in the final advance and was still in close contact with the Germans on 11th November, 1918.

  • 2nd - France and Flanders 14 Aug 14. 2nd was part of 13th Infantry Brigade, 5th Division, Second Corps. Whilst acting as rearguard at Le Cateau won two V.C.s and lost 600 officers and men. One of the V.C. recipients, a major wounded and taken prisoner, was killed in 1915 on his last and most spectacular escape bid from Germany. Ireland Dec 20 to Dec 21. India Mar 22. 1916 - 32nd Division, 97th Brigade.

    The 2nd Battalion was among the first troops into France and took part in the retreat from Mons and Le Cateau (where Major Yate and Corporal Holmes won V.C.s). For the rest of 1914 it was desperately involved in the battles of the Marne, Aisne, La Bassee, Messines and the first Battle of Ypres. 1915 was spent entirely around Ypres (including the fierce battle of Hill 60) and, in the latter half of 1916, the Battalion took part in the Somme battles. 1917 saw the Battalion around Ancre, at Arras (where Sergeant Ormsby, M.M., wont he V.C.) and at Passchendaele. Later in the year it was involved in stemming the German offensive and then fought at Amiens and Albert before joining the general advance which took the Adjutant, three Warrant Officers and 31 Other Ranks back over the country through which they had retreated with the Battalion in 1914.

The Territorial Battalions.

  • 4th - France and Flanders 12 Apr 15. 1/4th - 1916 - 49th (W. Riding) Division (T.F.), 148th Brigade.

    The 4th Battalion arrived in France in April, 1915 and within three weeks was in the thick of the fighting at Hooge. Long periods in the line followed until in the Summer of 1916 when, from July to September, it took part in the battle of the Somme. April, 1917, found the Battalion at Neuve Chapelle and, in October of that year, it fought in the grim battle of Passchendaele. It received the brunt of the German offensive around Ypres in the first half of 1918, taking its part in the final allied advance into Germany in November.

  • 2/4th - France and Flanders 15 Jan 17.

    The 2/4th and 2/5th Battalions were raised initially as Reserve Battalions in October, 1914, to train recruits for their First Battalions. both went to France in January 1917, as part of 62 West Riding Division and fought in that year at Arras, Cambrai and Havrincourt. They too were involved in the German offensive in March, 1918, during which Lt.-Col. Watson, Commanding the 2/5th (which by then included the 5th Battalion), was awarded a posthumous V.C. for his gallantry at Rossignol Wood. In May they joined with the French Army in the Marne offensive and took part in the general advance leading to the Armistice. It was in this last phase of the war that Sergeant Calvert of the 5th Battalion was awarded his V.C. at Havrincourt.

  • 1/5th - France and Flanders 12 Apr 15 - absorbed 2/5th on 2 Feb 18 and became 5th Bn. 1916 - 49th (W. Riding) Division (T.F.), 148th Brigade.

    The 5th Battalion sailed to France at the same time as the 4th Battalion, both serving together in 49 Division. Its story is, therefore, substantially the same, until, in February, 1918, it amalgamated with the 2/5th Battalion.

The Service Battalions.

Kitchener's call for half a million volunteers was answered in the West Riding by the raising, between August and October, 1914, of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th Service Battalions. Officers and men from the Regular Battalions were drafted in to train and lead them and, by the end of 1915, all except the 12th Battalion (who served initially in Egypt) were in the trenches in France. They were the embodiment of the citizen army and between them fought in most of the battles, adding fresh glories to the Regiments name wherever they went.

  • 6th - France and Flanders 21 May 15 - disbanded in France 19 Feb 18. 1916 - 14th (Light) Division. 43rd Brigade.

    The 6th Battalion, after spending the best part of three years in France, mostly  in the trenches around Ypres and the Somme, was disbanded in February, 1918. At the same time the 7th Battalion, which had had a similar war and in which Private Edwards won his V.C. at Langemark in August, 1917, became the 14th Entrenching Battalion. 

  • 7th - France and Flanders 24 July 15 - disbanded in France 20 Feb 18. 1916 - 20th (Light) Division. 61st Brigade.

  • 8th - France and Flanders 28 Aug 15. Went into action on the first day of the Somme with 25 officers, a medical officer and 659 rank and file. The M.O. brought out the surviving 110 men. Italy 14 Nov 17. In Italy 8th was part of 70th Brigade, 23rd Division, which remained in Italy until the troops were domobilised in March 1919. 1916 - 23rd Division, 70th Brigade.

    In one of the many battles in which the 8th Battalion took part - the Somme offensive in 1916 - all the Officers were killed or wounded within a few seconds of the start of the battle. In 1917 it left France for the Italian front where it fought on the Piave and in the final advance from Vittoria Veneto.  

  • 9th - France and Flanders Sept 15. 1916 - 21st Division, 64th Brigade.

    The 9th Battalion was in almost continuous fighting from 1915 to the final advance in 1918 when the C.O., Lt.-Col. Greenwood, was awarded the V.C. Before the war ended it had received the men of the 10th Battalion, which also saw most of the fighting in France. (Private Waller won his V.C. with the 10th at Arras in May, 1917), and which was disbanded in February, 1918.

  • 10th - France and Flanders Sept 15 - disbanded in France 13 Feb 18. 1916 - 21st Division, 64th Brigade.

  • 12th Pioneers - Egypt 22 Dec 15. France and Flanders 9 Mar 16. 1916 - 31st Division. Pioneers.

    The 12th Battalion was called the Miners' Battalion on raising and spent the war in the front lines as a very gallant Pioneer Battalion.

  • 15th - formed in France May 18 as 10th Garrison Guard Bn., which became the 15th (Garrison) Bn. on 11 June 18 and 15th Bn. on 13 July 18.

    The 15th Battalion was raised in France in 1918 and saw service in the final advance, along with the 16th Entrenching Battalion which had been raised at the same time.

  • 2nd Garrison - France and Flanders July 16.

The Reserve Battalions.

  • The task of providing reinforcements for the fighting Battalions fell on the reserve Battalions. The 3rd Battalion (Militia) remained as a Depot Battalion throughout the war, reinforcing the Regular Battalions. Other Reserve Battalions which were raised at one time or another were: 4th, 5th, 11th, 13th, 14th (Home Service), 16th (Garrison) and 1st (Reserve Garrison).

1 July 1916 - (First day of Somme) - Fourth Army (Gen. Sir H. Rawlinson), III Corps (Lieut-Gen. Sir W. P. Pulteney), 8th Division (Maj.-Gen. H. Hudson), 70th Brigade, 8th K.O.Y.L.I., VIII Corps (Lieut.Gen. Sir A. G. Hunter-Weston), 31st Division (Maj.-Gen. R. Wanless O'Gowan), Pioneers, 12th K.O.Y.L.I. )Halifax Pals) - heavily involved in fighting. X Corps (Lieut-Gen. Sir T.L.N. Morland), 32nd Division (Maj.-Gen. W. H. Rycroft), 97th Brigade, 2nd K.O.Y.L.I. 49th (West Riding) Division (Maj.-Gen. E.M. Perceval), 148th Brigade, 1/4th & 1/5th K.O.Y.L.I. XV Corps (Lieut.-Gen. H. S. Horne), 21st Division (Maj.-Gen. D.G.M. Campbell), 64th Brigade, 9th and 10th K.O.Y.L.I. Both battalions heavily involved in fighting.


Friday, 26 September, 2008 19:25

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