B (LDYPAO) Squadron - Review 18 September 2014

 

We are now in the 220th year since the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry Regiments were raised in 1794, and the 22nd year since our reformation as B Sqn the RY. Things very rarely stand still for long in the Army, particularly in the face of fundamental changes imposed by virtue of major Defence reviews and a shift in focus for the UK’s Armed Services from Operational campaign commitments to a return to contingency. For the RY we have just seen A & B Sqns RMLY in Dudley & Telford join the Regiment and we have bid a sad farewell to A Sqn in Swindon to the RWxY in July. The former A & B Sqns RMLY who have just joined us are to amalgamate in October and, as you are aware, this Sqn was to amalgamate with S Sqn to form the new A (SRY, LDY, SNHY) Sqn with SHQ in Nottingham. I am delighted to be able to report to you now that following a subsequent review of the announcement made last year led by Lt General Nick Carter, Commander Land Forces, direction has now been given that amongst other changes B (LDY) Squadron is to remain a fully formed sabre Squadron of The Royal Yeomanry. This is subject to review in December 2016 and the outcome of that review will be largely determined by our recruited and trained strength as at April 2016.There is also another Defence Review due next year. The Sqn continues to recruit hard, train hard and remains firmly at the forefront in Operational deployments within the Regiment.

                           

On Op HERRICKs 16, 18 and 19 some 22 LDY Yeomen deployed to Afghanistan, 4 are currently deployed on Op TOSCA in Cyprus and 7 were deployed on Op OLYMPIC at home in the UK. That brings a total of 33 deployed on Ops in the past 2 years, representing over 50% of our actual strength. This is not the first time I have pushed out these numbers, and nor will it be the last. There are very few other British Army Reserve Sub Units, if any to my knowledge, who can boast that figure in that timeline, which represents an incredible endorsement as to the utility, employability, proficiency, courage and commitment of the men of this Sqn, something we should all be extremely proud of and not too shy in promoting.

 

Sqn level trg has been operating at full tilt with a series of Sqn Field Trg Exercises on Salisbury Plain, Thetford, Swynerton and Yardley Chase providing training on platform tactical manoeuvre skills, mounted OP’s, dismounted raids and route recce’s building our mounted platform skills. This progressive Sqn training is leading up to a Regt Field Trg Exercise in a full Combined Arms Battle Group scenario for Annual Camp in October at Warcop and Otterburn, at which time the current Commanding Officer, former B Sqn Trg Capt, Lt Col Kingsley Donaldson, hands over to the CO Designate, Maj Simon McMenemy.

 

Annual Camp held last Sept at the Armour Centre in Bovington and Lulworth saw a good number of Sqn pers qualifying on the RWMIK platform, HMG & GPMG weapon systems. B Sqn made a very good account of ourselves – securing the award for Best Soldier by Commanding Officer for performance on the Close Target Recce during the Regimental Field Training Exercise phase, B Sqn won the inter Sqn sports competition and we were the only Sqn to successfully complete the Regimental Patrolling Competition.

 

Our affiliation with the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters continues to develop successfully, with the granting of awards from the Company to Sgt Davie and LCpl Morrison for outstanding service to the Sqn this year. The Sqn also provided an escort to the Companies carriage at the Lord Mayors parade in London in November.

 

Recruiting remains a top priority for the Sqn, we currently stand at over 75% of our revised establishment as a Light Cavalry Sqn. The challenges experienced with CAPITA controlling the recruiting process are now starting to be overcome. We have a good number of individuals in our recruiting pipeline, of which we expect to see at least another 5 new additions to the Sqn over the next 2-3 months – a mix of new recruits, some ex Regulars and transferees from other Units.

 

The Sqn Messes are thriving – for the first time in a long while we can boast a full complement of Officers and we also have a further 2 PO’s expected to Commission next year, thereby bringing the Sqn Reserve Officer count to 8, allowing progression through, and depth to, the Officer plot over the next 2 – 3 years.

 

The Sgts Mess is similarly well established currently under Sgt Maj Haldane now with 2 x SSgt and 4 x Sgts on strength. A Sqn Promotions Board was also held recently to ensure further promotions to Junior and SNCO posts over the months ahead.

 

Postings in and out of the Sqn have included IN – Sgt Mitchell QDG as MT PSI, Sgt Byrne from the National Recruiting Centre into the Sqn Recruiting Team, Sgt Williams late 9/12L into 2nd troop and LCpl Hughes, Tprs Reynolds, Ollin, Bradbury, Kirkwood and new Recruits Clarke, Pearce, Tyler, Fitzpatrick and Clifford into the Troops. OUT SPSI SSgt Fleetwood who left Regular service but is now on our Reserve ORBAT , MT PSI Sgt Stanley who has been posted to the Cheshire Yeomanry Sqn in Chester, SSgt Veall who has retired from military service after a long and illustrious service with the Sqn, SSgt Hanson QDG and QPSI SSgt Andy Acton, who has served with great distinction with the Sqn for 8 years.

 

Our relationship with our affiliated cap badged ACF Sqn, F Sqn LNR ACF has also been active, with our providing supplementary training at field training events at Yardley Chase and it is my intent for that to develop further this year with instructor interaction and joint training opportunities with F Sqn and the other Coy’s & Sqns in Leics, Rutland and Northants.

 

We have hosted a visit by Helen Briggs, CEO Rutland County Council in December and Sir Edward Garnier MP in February, during which he presented campaign medals to LCpl’s Illic, Perace & Tpr Edwards upon their return from Afghanistan.

 

There have been two memorial services attended by the Sqn this past year. Lt Col Aubrey Ridley-Thompson in Oct last year, who commanded the LDY when a Regt in the early sixties and was Chairman of the LDY Association from 1979 to 2008. Marcus Kimball, Baron Kimball of Easton, in April this year, who served as A Sqn Ldr LY, late of Royal Horse Guards & MP for Gainsborough. He also commanded the LY contingent at the Queen’s Coronation, was Chairman of the British Field Sports Society & Countryside Alliance & was Deputy Lieutenant for both Leicestershire and Rutland.

 

We, therefore, continue to train hard, commit to Operational requirements at every given opportunity, and lean into an active Sqn Recruiting and Community Engagement programme. I am confident the Sqn has a bright future beyond the planned review in December 2016.

 

Major Paul Davey

Officer Commanding

B (LDYPAO) Squadron

The Royal Yeomanry