Searching for Yorkshire’s warriors

Normandy veteran Ray Lord who will be returning for the 70th anniversary at his home in  Hull. Picture by Nigel Roddis
Normandy veteran Ray Lord who will be returning for the 70th anniversary at his home in Hull. Picture by Nigel Roddis
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A 93-year-old D-Day veteran is supporting his former regiment in its quest to find more of its former members - who the regiment have dubbed the “Yorkshire Warriors.”

East Yorkshire Regiment soldier Ray Lord, from Hull, landed in Normandy on June 6 1944.

Private Philip Morris  from the 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, Ray Lord 93 from the East Yorkshire Regiment who went ashore on D Day  and Sir Gary Verity  at the Yorkshire Regiment Museum in York

Private Philip Morris from the 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, Ray Lord 93 from the East Yorkshire Regiment who went ashore on D Day and Sir Gary Verity at the Yorkshire Regiment Museum in York

And today he attended a launch party for the newly formed Yorkshire Regiment Association (YRA) at the Regiment’s Museum in York.

The Regiment has a 300 year heritage – with roots going back to the North American wars and the Battle of Waterloo through to the Second World War and Afghanistan operations.

It has existed in its current form since 2006 after three regiments, including Mr Lord’s, merged.

And this year the Regiment will celebrate its 10th birthday - coincedentally on June 6.

More than 1,200 soldiers currently serve with The Yorkshire Regiment while 4,000 soldiers have left the Regiment for civilian life since 2006.

The Regiment – the only one in the British Army to retain its county title - wants to reconnect with its veterans to form an all-inclusive, regimental association.

Mr Lord is one of the more senior members of the new Yorkshire Regiment Association

Regiment assistant secretary Wing Commander Alan Bartlett said: “Ray helps keep the spirit alive. He is a lovely example of what service means.”

Also helping to launch the search for new YRA members is Sir Gary Verity, the businessman famous for bring the Tour de France to Yorkshire.

Sir Gary said: “The military, and especially The Yorkshire Regiment, play an important role in communities across the county. The launch of The Yorkshire Regiment Association will only strengthen these ties.

“I feel privileged to be involved from the start of this new initiative and will wear my membership badge with pride.

Sir Gary met with servicemen past and present, including James Cairns from Huddersfield who had his leg amputated after being wounded in Afghanistan.

The Colonel of the Regiment, Major General Graham Binns CBE said: “It is right and fitting that as we approach our tenth anniversary, we take the opportunity to reconnect with all our veterans.

“We want to make sure that they can meet up and understand that their personal service in the Regiment means something and has not been forgotten.”

The YRA is establishing new branches in Barnsley, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Sheffield, York and Scarborough.

They will also establish branches for serving soldiers in Warminster, Wiltshire, home of 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and in Catterick where 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment is based.

Association leaders will use social media to organise ‘pop-up’ reunion events in whatever town it is visiting.

Association member Mick Thornton, whose son Matthew was killed in Afghanistan in 2011, said: “The regiment has been so welcoming, and we’ve never lost ties with it. The regiment have been brilliant, without them I don’t know where me or my wife would be. It’s not just for veterans, it’s for families too.”