The Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry was formed on 9th May 1794 as the Dorsetshire Regiment of Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry. It was a territorial unit, which being home-based had as its primary duty, the defence of England against invasion, a concept originating in the Napoleonic days, rather than for service overseas. Over the years it was subsequently disbanded and re-formed a number of times but in 1830, it was re-formed and consisted of troops at Wimborne, Blandford, Isle of Purbeck, Wareham and Charborough.
It gained royal patronage and served with distinction in the Boer War. When mobilisation was declared in August 1914, the regiment concentrated its squadrons at Sherborne, while one was based at Winfrith, on coastal defence patrols.
In November, following fears of a German invasion on the East Coast the whole regiment was sent to Fakenham.