Happy Yorkshire Day!

Aug 1, 2020Personal reflections

Happy Yorkshire Day!

And Happy Minden Day to those few remaining members of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

This year, more than most let’s celebrate Yorkshire’s individuality and independence, its cheerfulness and wry humour and its generosity. (Yes,I know people describe Yorkshire folk as Aberdonians with the generosity sucked out, but the last few months of lockdown have shown how truly generous and helpful Yorkshire can be).


Yorkshire Day was founded in 1975 by the Yorkshire Ridings Society as a protest against the boundary re-organisations of 1974 (remember when we were the North Riding of Yorkshire). The date was chosen because it is also the anniversary of the battle of Minden in 1759 in which the then King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry played a pivotal (if accidental) role in the defeat of the French army by a combined Anglo-German army.

Today, the Rifles (the successor regiment to the KOYLI) still follow the tradition of wearing the White Rose of Yorkshire in their berets on this day.

Willberforce and the abolition of slavery

This day is also the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, a result of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 promoted by William Wilberforce (the then independent MP for Yorkshire) and the culmination of his twenty year campaign to abolish slavery.

The bill had been passed the previous year, on 26 July 1833, three days before Wilberforce died. It received Royal Assent a month later and came into force on 1 August 1834.

Keep smiling!

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