The Association is very sad to share the news of the death on 14th July of Maj Gen Sir Desmond Rice, the first Commanding Officer of The Royal Yeomanry. He was 95 years old. We extend our condolences to his family.
General Desmond was educated at Marlborough and commissioned into The Queen's Bays (now QDG) in 1944 and saw service in Italy at the very end of World War II. after the war he spent time ion teh Canal zone and the War Office before joining the Regiment in Fallingbostel. When the Royal Yeomanry was formed as the only armoured Yeomanry Regiment in 1967 he was faced with the task of merging 5 Squadrons into a Regiment fit for purpose. Former CO of the Regiment Col Jonathan Hunt writes was a junior officer at the time and writes below about what this task involved.
"When the idea of a fully equipped Armoured Recce Regiment, which was effectively all that would remain of twenty or so Yeomanry regiments, none of us thought it was a runner. A typical RAC yeomanry regiment held at squadron level two troops of three short wheel based land rovers with 19 sets with the controls annotated in Russian the language of our supposed foe and a Heavy troop of three Mk II Ferrets. Our main weapon was the three .30 Brownings in the Ferrets. Two week Camps accounted for two thirds of our collective training. The rest consisting of one Drill night a week and one Sunday a month devoted to individual training.
It was that sort of sub-unit which was going to be issued with 30 Armoured Cars and 15 B Vehicles up to and including a Wrecker since the establishment included a fully equipped Fitters section. They had an establishment of about 150.
Apart from the Fitters who needed to be fully trained up in REME trades up to and including Artificer the whole of the rest needed training in Saladin (10) Saracen (8) and Ferret (12). Most people would have radio trades a few D & M and hardly any gunnery before they could even leave the drill hall.
How did he do it?
Posted: Sunday, 16 August 2020