Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire
The 1st Battalion, Prince Of Wales's Own Regiment Of Yorkshire (1PWO) was formed on 25 April 1958 by amalgamation of the 1st Bns of the West Yorkshire Regiment (14th of Foot, Prince Of Wales's Own) and the East Yorkshire Regiment (15th of Foot, Duke Of York's Own).
The major battle honours of Imphal and Quebec were adopted for the new unit, and the quick marches of both regiments - Ca Ira and 'Yorkshire Lass' respectively - were both adopted as the new Regimental Quick March.
1950s & '60s
First overseas posting for the newly-formed unit was Aden (September 1958 to June 1959). This was followed by Gibraltar (June 1959 to June 1961). The battalion served in Wuppertal from 1961 to 1964, Berlin 1964-1965, then Aden from September 1965 till September 1966. The 1st Battalion was based at Roman Barracks in Colchester from 1966 until 1969.
The year 1967 saw some interesting tasks, including deployment of operational elements to Cornwall to assist with the clean-up following the Torrey Canyon oil-spill disaster, and a return to Aden in June after the mutinies by the Federal Police and Federal Regular Army.
The battalion finished their hallowed Geddes Cup inter-platoon skills competition, before deploying to Aden at 48 hours notice. By the time they arrived in-country, they had been training at high pressure for over a week, and were in the right frame of mind for top military performance.
After distinguished service in Aden, which saw the deaths in action of two soldiers, as well as the awards of one Military Cross one Military Medal and a Mention In Despatches, the battalion returned to Colchester in late 1967.
Ulster & Elsewhere
The battalion then entered a period of quiet consolidation, including training in American-inspired Sky Cavalry concepts from the Vietnam War. In April 1969, the battalion flew to Ulster as part of the UK Government's response to terrorist attacks on infrastructure in the troubled province.
1PWO's presence and constant patrolling of vital points stabilised the situation in the operational area of County Down. On 12 July, sectarian violence led to a rapid redeployment to Londonderry. Decisive action by the Royal Ulster Constabulary stabilised the situation, and the battalion moved to a tactical base at Magilligan's Point, further north.
On 12 August, the violence erupted in a concerted campaign which, after nearly three days of street battles, saw the RUC exhausted and defeated. On 14 August 1969, 1PWO - on behalf of the British Army - took over responsibility for the security of Londonderry.
1973-1978 1PWO was stationed in West Germany at Celle as part of the 7th Armoured Brigade, equipped with FV432. From 1978 - 1983 the battalion served as AMF(L) North and exercised extensively in Norway where companies were fully ski-borne.
In May 1983 the battalion started a two year tour as part of the Berlin Infantry Brigade, where in 1984 it was presented with new colours. In April 1985 the Battalion moved again to Abercorn Barracks, Ballykinler, Northern Ireland and was heavily committed in maintaining law and order, particularly in the terrorist plagued countryside of South Armagh.
In May 1987 1PWO moved to Catterick, North Yorkshire, to join 24 Infantry brigade equipped with the Saxon APC This was the battalion's first tour in Yorkshire since amalgamation. The battalion re-roled in 1988 to become 24 Airmobile Brigade and be able to deploy forty-two Milan ATGMs.
The '90s and Beyond
In August 1990 the battalion moved to Osnabruck in West Germany to take up a Mechanised Infantry role as part of 12 Armoured Brigade. During the Gulf War, or Operation GRANBY (also known as Desert Storm) the battalion deployed formed units that include a Milan Section and a Mortar Section to 1st Battalion The Staffordshire Regiment, many men deploying on an individual basis reinforcing units.
Up to one third of the battalion was deployed to the Gulf. During Winter 1991 the battalion was back in Northern Ireland, as the West Belfast Roulement Battalion and had as successful tour. On return the battalion re-equipped the Warrior AFV with visits to the delights of Soltau training area.
As a result of the 1992 Strategic Defence Review the (then) government of John Major decided to bring TA and Regular Army units closer together, thus as a result The 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Volunteers became 3PWO. The 3rd Battalion was based at York. 3PWO lasted for seven years until defence cuts reduced the size of the TA by up to a third.
1993 Saw 1PWO deployed to Bosnia as part of UNPROFOR with companies in Gornji Vakuf and Vitez. 1PWO picked up the unofficial nickname of "Gun Bat" due to the robustness of the battalion's actions.
1994 saw 1PWO training in BATUS, Canada and a move to Warminster to take up duties as Infantry Demonstration Battalion. 1997 saw the battalion stationed in Chester with deployments to Ulster, West Africa, support to Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food during the foot and mouth outbreak. Exercises took troops to Kenya, Jamaica, Italy and Oman.
A New Century
Known as the 'Yorkies', they like to keep ferrets.