Brentwood Borough Council May 2003
A lasting tributeEssex Yeomanry’s gift to the people of Brentwood
TWO REGIMENTAL plaques have been presented to the Council in commemoration of the long association of 414 (Essex Yeomanry) Battery Royal Horse Artillery with Brentwood.
The plaques more especially remember those members, both local and across the UK, who served in various formations of the Regiment in the Middle East, Burma, India, Italy and northwest Europe, during two World Wars, many of whom were seriously incapacitated or did not return.
The gift to Brentwood was presented by Major General TA Richardson, President of the Essex Yeomanry Association, and was received by the Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Derek Hardy, at the recent Ordinary Council meeting. The plaques are accompanied by a brief history of the Regiment, its links with Brentwood, and an outline of its wartime service in the Middle East, Burma, Italy and northwest Europe.
Apart from the Essex Regiment, the county’s distinguished infantry which had its depot at Warley Barracks, foremost in its links with Brentwood was the 104th (Essex Yeomanry) Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery (TA), which prior to World War II consisted of two Batteries, each of two four-gun troops. 339 Battery and RHQ were centred on drill halls in Colchester and Chelmsford, whilst 414 Battery was based at Brentwood and Southend. 339 Battery was armed with 4.5 inch howitzers and 414 Battery with 18-pounder field guns, all of which were replaced by 25-pounder field guns as they became available during 1940 when the Regiment became fully mechanised. When mobilisation orders were received on 1st September 1939, all of 414 Battery was concentrated on the Brentwood drill hall in Ongar Road and adjacent premises, notably a petrol and car service garage and a bus depot. Initially, when not on duty, men who lived locally were permitted to sleep at home whilst those from Southend and elsewhere were billeted with families in or near Ongar Road. The Regiment left Essex in November 1939 to become part of the 1st Cavalry Division which was assembling in the Midlands prior to sailing for Palestine in February 1940.
The plaques and historical details are on display in the Council’s main reception area. Of particular interest to many families in the Brentwood and Southend districts will be the movements of 414 Battery which was detached from the Regiment for a special mission early in 1942 and subsequently enlarged into a new Regiment, the 14th Royal Horse Artillery.