The Hertfordshire Regiment: 1947 -1961
Ahead of the re-formation of the Territorial Army in 1947, the War Office had proposed that only one Territorial Infantry Battalion be raised in the counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, with headquarters based in the latter and only two Companies in Hertfordshire. During the War, the 1st and 2nd Battalions The Hertfordshire Regiment and 5th and 6th Battalions The Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment had been in place.
The proposal to remove Hertfordshire’s own Territorial Infantry Unit from the Army List was “vigorously resisted”, and it was finally agreed that each County should raise a separate battalion. The 1st and 2nd Herts Battalions were placed in suspended animation and recruiting began for the new 1st Battalion The Hertfordshire Regiment, with Headquarters and the Headquarters Company again based at Hertford.
For the remainder of the lifetime of the Regiment, volunteer strength was low and on mobilisation, former National Servicemen were posted with the Battalion to complete the volunteer element of their service. During the early 1950s, reservists also underwent training and annual camp with the Battalion. This caused some difficulties, due to the mix of “true” Territorials, and men fulfilling compulsory obligations.
Equipment and vehicles were also difficult to come by as war time stocks dwindled and Territorials were way down the list of priorities for new issues. As such, the Battalion’s fitness for War was well below par.
In 1960, it was announced in Parliament that the Territorial Army was to be reorganised; The Hertfordshire Regiment was once again under threat. The proposed order of battle for the 54th Division, of which the 1st Herts were part, should no longer be limited to East Anglian Regiments, but would now include a London Infantry Brigade. The East Anglian component of the Division was to be reduced to one Brigade, consisting of four Battalions. One of these Battalions was to be formed from an amalgamation of the 1st Hertfordshire Regiment and the 5th Bedfordshire Regiment (as the 5th Beds & Herts had been known since 1958).
The Hertfordshire Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Association “fiercely resisted” this proposal, not wishing to lose a major unit recruited exclusively in Hertfordshire. They made a counter proposal of amalgamating the 1st Herts with the 286th (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. However, no suitable role could be found for this suggested battalion, and it still left a query over what to do with the 5th Bedfordshire. A White Paper in November 1960 announced that the Bedfordshire Regiment and the Hertfordshire Regiment would amalgamate to form a Territorial Battalion of the 3rd East Anglian Regiment (16th/44th Foot) by May 1961. This was the end of the Hertfordshire Regiment.