Former Castle Douglas Student Launches ‘Never Better Served’ – The History of the Ayrshire Yeomanry Squadron

“Never Better Served” – The History of the Ayrshire Yeomanry Squadron

A new book, “Never Better Served”, The History of the Ayrshire Yeomanry Squadron, was launched on Monday 10th June 2019 week by Major Peter Kennedy at Yeomanry House in Ayr. Written by William Purdie, the book covers 60 years of history and all the various changes which have taken place since the Ayrshire Yeomanry Regiment was disbanded and became a Squadron.

Major Peter Kennedy who launched the book said, “I am delighted that this history of the Ayrshire Yeomanry Squadron which started as an idea has come to fruition. It is also a tribute to my grandfather who fought with the Ayrshire Yeomanry in the First World War and my father who also fought with the Ayrshire Yeomanry in the Second World War”.

William Purdie, the author, added, “It has been a great privilege to work with serving soldiers of the Ayrshire Squadron and the Old Comrades while writing this history. I’ve met some amazing people and heard some wonderful and amusing stories of what the Squadron got up to”.

Today the Squadron continues to support the regular army, carrying on the proud tradition of the Ayrshire Yeomanry Regiment which was founded over 200 years ago (becoming the Earl of Carrick’s Own) and which fought in the Boer War as well as both World Wars.

Over the years The Squadron has belonged to different regiments, starting on formation with The Queens Own Yeomanry followed 20 years later by The Scottish Yeomanry and today it forms part of The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry. As a result, the cap badge worn by the soldiers has changed from the griffin to the fox then the lion rampant and now the wolf.

Mr Purdie’s History of the Ayrshire Yeomanry 1964-2018 charts the events following the Regimental History narrated in “The Proud Trooper”, starting with the disbandment of the Ayrshire Yeomanry Regiment and going on to detail the exploits of the successor Squadron throughout the Cold War and the subsequent regional conflicts in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. All aspects of Squadron life are covered, as originally described in The Yeoman, the Regimental Journal, which first told the many funny and sometimes outrageous stories. Rich in anecdote, the Yeoman’s ever present sense of humour makes this book an enjoyable read, not just for the members of the Regiment, but also for the  ocal people of Ayrshire as well as historians interested in the Yeomanry’s contribution to the Territorial Army and Army Reserve over the last half century.

The various changes in the Territorial Army’s Order of Battle are set in their political context, enabling the reader to appreciate more fully how the Yeoman has adapted to the march of history. Illustrated with a wealth of black and white photographs and backed up by lists of key personnel, this account of a much loved county institution and Royal Armoured Corps Squadron is a valuable contribution to the annals of the Ayrshire Yeomanry.

Never Better Served is an essential addition to the library of military historians as well as those interested in the local area and all those who served in and alongside the Ayrshire Yeomanry over the last 60 years.

The book is dedicated to the memory of Sergeant David Smith and Staff Sergeant John “Jock” McKelvie who tragically died while serving earlier this year.

The book is available to buy online at www.ayrshireyeomanry.co.uk for £20 + p&p.

The book is published by The Ayrshire (ECO) Yeomanry Trust which holds the copyright.

About the author: William A K Purdie is from Hardgate, Castle Douglas. He went to Hardgate Primary School and then Castle Douglas High School. He was a member of 2329 (Castle Douglas) Squadron, Air Training Corps for all of High School. He now lives in Ayr. He attended the University of Stirling where he gained an Honours degree in Environmental Geography and a Masters in Environment, Heritage and Policy (similar to Environmental History) where his final work was pure history, with an exhibition at Dunblane Museum.

The Committee responsible for the publication included Major Peter Kennedy, Colonel Magnus Cormack, Major George Hay, Colonel John Dalrymple- Hamilton and William Purdie.