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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

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InLong Long Trail I have been looking at the Yeomanry Units.

Take for instance Westmoreland & Cumberlabd Yeomanry- B Squadron. Its has its HQ at Penrith but then it goes on to say Drill Stations at Keswick,Temple Sowerby and Cockermouth.

It is the term "drill station" which I would like to know what it is? I am sure there is a simple answer but I have never come across the term before.

I under stand that there are 3 towns as well as Penrith. Does each town have a few members of B squadron who train together, and then at various times they all come to gether to train as a whole Squadron?


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The Yeomanry, after 1908 were part of the Territorial Force and recruiting areas were defined, usually within the geographic confines of a County or Counties. The Yeomanry and the TF Infantry have histories going back to 1859 in most cases, and some Yeomanry units have histories going back further. The drill stations were inherited from the pre-Haldane (1907-08) reforms which created the TF. A drill station was typically a building similar in size to a small school which was owned and operated by the Territorial Force County Associations. They were often shared by a number of TF units from different Arms; Yeomanry, Infantry, Artillery, etc.

For practical reasons it was difficult for men to congregate in one town on a regular basis, so drill stations were established in towns and villages which acted as the local centres for separate Squadrons or in some cases individual Troops of Squadrons in the case if the Yeomanry and as centres for Companies for the Infantry. Pre 1914 the TF Infantry was based on an eight-Company Battlion structure, so it was not unusual to see these eight companies spread about the County each with their own Company HQ in different towns. This was more likely to happen in large Counties with widely distributed populations. In the more industrial areas it was not uncommon for most of the Squadrons or Companies to be located in one or two locations. The concentration of HQs and drill stations was highly correlated with population densities for obvious reasons.

In the case of the Yeomanry, pre War the Regiments were based on a four-Squadron structure (changed to three on mobilisation) so it is quite common to see each Squadron centred on one of the County's larger towns. Similarly those Squadrons might typically have Troops based in satellite villages. For example the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Yeomanry had a Welsh Troop.

Some Counties did not have a Yeomanry regiment, so it was possible for the Counties that did to recruit in neighbouring counties and have drill stations in these locations. The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Yeomanries recruited in each other's county for example. Similarly the TF Infantry sometimes crossed borders; the 6th Bn Cheshire Regiment TF had a drill station in Glossop in Derbyshire and the 6th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby) Regt TF had a drill station in Whaley Bridge in Cheshire by mutual agreement between the County Associations. I believe this reflected the fact that County borders did not always reflect the transport links. The transport logistics (roads, railways) of these towns/villages were probably easier to access from the neighbouring county.


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Thank you Martin a most comprehensive answer and totally explains my question.

Thank you


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