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91st Coy, I.Y. - Sharpshooters (S.S.) 8 years 2 months ago #22300

  • Rory
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William Norton Mepstead was his name Frank

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91st Coy, I.Y. - Sharpshooters (S.S.) 8 years 2 months ago #22302

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A 21 year old from Camberwell in the city, very nice too, don't be fooled by those papers, this unit was not the norm, it was rather special.
Regards Frank

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91st Coy, I.Y. - Sharpshooters (S.S.) 8 years 2 months ago #22305

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Thanks for that Frank

I know so little about these chaps and this unit. Is there any other information which you are able to provide or point me in the direction of?

Regards

Rory

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91st Coy, I.Y. - Sharpshooters (S.S.) 8 years 2 months ago #22315

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Hello Rory,
It's not so much what they were actually doing out on the veldt, it's more about who they were and how they were raised, the reputation that they had from inception and what they went on to become, from my way of thinking, they were rather like Lord Lovats's Scouts, i.e. not the typical IY recruit, those wretched "seedy" looking youths, out for a "sky lark" on a sea voyage to the Cape, with no idea whatsoever as to what actually awaited them.
It has been suggested that there were a good number of gentlemen in the City Imperial Volunteers, but, there were a hell of a lot in the Sharpshooters, moreover, they were all very keen exponents of the Lee Metford too.
Regards Frank

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91st Coy, I.Y. - Sharpshooters (S.S.) 8 years 2 months ago #22345

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I'll expand that last post a little, a good number of very patriotic people in the city got together after Black week to discuss the way the war was going and concluded that what was really needed were people who could both ride and shoot better than the enemy.
Henry Fletcher, who was the chairman of the National Rifle Association, the Earl of Dunraven and other exponents of rifle shooting formed a committee and approached the War Office with their thoughts.
At the end of the year, the War Office granted permission to raise a single squadron of sharpshooters and it all started from there really.
These men actually became the original 18th Battalion, where these men differ from the IY is the way they were recruited, it was no use saying you could use a Lee Metford if you could not, each man was carefully chosen and his skills were proven before he was accepted, references were also needed, it was rather like joining the Life Guards.
It had been intended to raise a single squadron but this ended up becoming the three battalions that we all know about.
For every hundred men who joined, there would have been another couple of hundred who were not successful upon applying to join, and they came from across Great Britain too, though, most were from the home counties and the city.
When the Home Service Imperial Yeomanry force was raised, members of the Sharpshooter's who had served in the war formed the initial squadrons of a new regiment, the 3rd County of London Imperial Yeomanry, both "A" and "B" Squadrons would have all worn the QSA ribbon to a man.
This regiment went on to serve in both world wars and continued the high standards of it's original members.

The Earl of Dunraven, himself a veteran of the war and commanding officer of the 3rd County of London Imperial Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) in late 1902.

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91st Coy, I.Y. - Sharpshooters (S.S.) 8 years 2 months ago #22358

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Thanks for that very comprehensive answer Frank. It has provided much needed context.

Could I ask your permission to include this summary in my write up of Mepstead?

Regards

Rory

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