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Proud Yeomanry history to be remembered as Guidon laid to rest

Soldiers from E Squadron The Royal Yeomanry have laid to rest the Guidon of their forebearers, the Leicestershire and Derbyshire (Prince Albert’s Own) Yeomanry (LDY).

The ‘laying up’ ceremony means the old Guidon, which symbolises the spirit, courage and dedication of the Regiment will no longer be used for ceremonial events.

It was laid to rest during a ceremony at All Saints Church, Newtown Linford where it will remain for perpetuity and will be placed on display in its final resting place at a later date.

“The Squadron was honoured to participate in this important ceremony to lay up the Guidon that was once carried by our forebears. It was fitting that it was laid up in the countryside between Leicester and Derby which is one of the areas where Yeomen would have been recruited.” Squadron Sergeant Major Simon Weston, The Royal Yeomanry

The Guidon is a Light Cavalry standard embroidered with battle honours awarded to the LDY for their participation in famous battles from our country’s history. It was traditionally carried in battle by cavalry to provide a rallying point for troops on the battlefield. 

Around 30 soldiers from the Squadron marched the Guidon through the village of Newton Linford to the church which is approximately halfway between Leicester and Derby.

The ceremony was conducted by Rev Richard Trethewey and was followed by an Act of Remembrance at the Frezenberg Memorial in Bradgate park. The memorial honours the 94 Leicestershire Yeomen who fought and were killed at the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge in 1915. 

The Derbyshire Yeomanry served as dismounted infantry at Gallipoli during the First World War and provided two reconnaissance regiments serving with much distinction in the Second World War. It amalgamated with the Leicestershire Yeomanry in 1957 to become the Leicestershire and Derbyshire (Prince Albert’s Own) Yeomanry. It later became part of the Royal Yeomanry - the senior Light Cavalry regiment in the Army Reserve. Its lineage is maintained by the E (Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry) Squadron.

Squadron Sergeant Major Simon Weston, who was responsible for the drill and ceremonial aspect of the parade, said: “The Squadron was honoured to participate in this important ceremony to lay up the Guidon that was once carried by our forebears. It was fitting that it was laid up in the countryside between Leicester and Derby which is one of the areas where Yeomen would have been recruited.”

“The Guidon is the most treasured possession of a regiment and its spirit. It is a permanent memorial to the sacrifices made. We are very proud of our history and the Squadron will continue to honour the legacy of our forebears.” Major Benjamin Hayler, The Royal Yeomanry

Major Benjamin Hayler, Officer Commanding E (Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry) Squadron said: “The Guidon is the most treasured possession of a regiment and its spirit. It is a permanent memorial to the sacrifices made. We are very proud of our history and the Squadron will continue to honour the legacy of our forebears.”

The laying up of the Guidon follows a presentation by Her Royal Highness The Princess Alexandra of a single regimental Guidon to The Royal Yeomanry in 2016. Prior to that each Squadron had kept its antecedent regiment's guidon.

E (Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry) Squadron is based at the Army Reserve Centre on Tigers Road in Leicester. It is a highly mobile reconnaissance force equipped with the Jackal. Their job is to operate in front of other friendly forces to gather intelligence on the enemy and the environment.

Last year, soldiers from the Royal Yeomanry deployed to Poland and Estonia alongside troops from 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards. Together they formed the light cavalry reconnaissance capability for the United States 2nd Cavalry Regiment Battlegroup as part of the NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence deterrence posture.