15th The King's Hussars

The 15th The King's Hussars was a cavalry regiment in the British Army. First raised in 1759, it saw service over two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated with the 19th Royal Hussars into the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars in 1922.

15th The King's Hussars
15th The King's Hussars Cap Badge
Badge of 15th The King's Hussars
Country Kingdom of Great Britain (1759–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1922)
BranchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
TypeLine cavalry
Motto(s)Merebimur (We shall be Worthy) (Latin)
ColorsBlue - Yellow - Red and Blue
AnniversariesSahagún Day (21 December)
George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield
Lieutenant General James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan
General Lord Robert Manners
NCOs - Royal Crest


Louis Nolan, an officer of the 15th Hussars who gained notoriety as the bearer of the ill-fated order precipitating the Charge of the Light Brigade

Early wars

The regiment was raised in the London area by George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield as Elliots Light Horse as the first of the new regiments of light dragoons in 1759.[1] It was renamed the 15th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons in 1760.[1] The regiment landed in Bremen in June 1760 for service in the Seven Years' War.[2] The regiment were largely responsible for the victory, suffering 125 of the 186 allied casualties at the Battle of Emsdorf in July 1760. Lieutenant Colonel William Erskine, commanding the regiment, presented King George III with 16 colours captured by his regiment after the battle.[3] During the battle the French commander, Major-General Christian-Sigismund von Glaubitz, was taken prisoner.[4] The regiment charged the French rear guard twice at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal in June 1762[5] and then returned home in July 1763.[6] In 1766 it was renamed for King George III as the 1st (or The King's Royal) Regiment of Light Dragoons, the number being an attempt to create a new numbering system for the light dragoon regiments.[1] However, the old system was quickly re-established, with the regiment returning as the 15th (The King's) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons in 1769.[1]

The regiment landed at Ostend in May 1793 for service in the Flanders Campaign and fought at the Battle of Famars in May 1793.[7] It formed part of the besieging force at the Siege of Valenciennes in June 1793[7] and formed part of the covering force at the Siege of Dunkirk in August 1793[8] and at the Siege of Landrecies in April 1794.[9] It undertook successful charges at the Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies in April 1794[10] and at the Battle of Willems in May 1794[11] and was present, but not actively engaged, at the Battle of Tournay later in May 1794.[12] The regiment returned to England in December 1795[13] and was next in action at the Battle of Alkmaar in October 1799 during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland.[13]

Napoleonic Wars

The regiment was reconstituted as a hussar regiment in 1807 as the 15th (The King's) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars).[1] It landed at Corunna in November 1808 for service in the Peninsular War[14] and defeated two regiments of French cavalry at the Battle of Sahagún in December 1808.[15] At the battle two French lieutenant colonels were captured and the French 1st Provisional Chasseurs à cheval, who lost many men captured, ceased to exist as a viable regiment.[16] However, the commanding officer of the 15th Hussars, Colonel Colquhoun Grant, was wounded in the battle.[17] The regiment embarked at Corunna for their journey home in January 1809.[18]

The regiment were ordered to support Sir Arthur Wellesley's Army on the Iberian Peninsula and landed at Lisbon in February 1813.[19] It took part in the Battle of Morales in June 1813[20] and the Battle of Vitoria later in the month.[21] It then pursued the French Army into France and supported the infantry at the Battle of Orthez in February 1814[22] and at the Battle of Toulouse in April 1814.[23] It returned to England in July 1814.[24] The regiment was recalled for the Hundred Days and landed at Ostend in May 1815:[25] it took part in a charge at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815[26] and returned to England in May 1816.[27]


Peterloo Massacre
The Peterloo Massacre, August 1819
Officer of the 15th King's Hussars mounted on his Charger
Officer of the 15th King's Hussars mounted on his Charger, c.1830

The regiment played a pivotal role in the notorious Peterloo Massacre in August 1819, when a 60,000 strong crowd calling for democratic reform were charged by the Yeomanry. Panic from the crowd was interpreted as an attack on the Yeomanry and the Hussars (led by Lieutenant Colonel Guy L'Estrange) were ordered in. The charge resulted in 15 fatalities and as many as 600 injured.[28]

Victorian era

The title of the regiment was simplified in 1861 to the 15th (The King's) Hussars.[1] It was stationed in Ireland between July 1824 and May 1827[29] and between April 1834 and May 1837.[30] It was then stationed in India between spring 1840 and 1854.[31] The regiment returned to India in 1867 and moved on to Afghanistan in 1878 for service in the Second Anglo-Afghan War before being deployed to South Africa in January 1881 for service in the First Boer War.[31]

First World War

The regiment, which was stationed at Longmoor at the start of the First World War, landed at Rouen in France on 18 August 1914: the squadrons were attached to different infantry divisions to form the divisional reconnaissance element: A Squadron was attached to 3rd Division, B Squadron was attached to 2nd Division and C Squadron was attached to 1st Division. On 14 April 1915, the squadrons returned to regimental control and the regiment was placed under the command of the 9th Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division.[32] The regiment remained on the Western Front throughout the war. It participated in most of the major actions where cavalry were used as a mounted mobile force. They were also used as dismounted troops and served effectively as infantry.[33] On 11 November 1918, orders were received that the 1st Cavalry Division would lead the advance of the Second Army into Germany, by 6 December 1918, having passed through Namur, the division secured the Rhine bridgehead at Cologne.[33]

Post war

After service in the First World War, the regiment, retitled as the 15th The King's Hussars in 1921[1] was amalgamated with the 19th Royal Hussars into the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars in 1922.[1]

Regimental museum

The regimental collection is held by the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne.[34]

Battle honours

The Regiment was awarded the following battle honours:[1]

  • Early wars: Emsdorf, Villers-en-Cauchies, Willems, Egmont-op-Zee, Sahagun, Vittoria, Peninsula, Waterloo, Afghanistan 1878-80
  • The Great War: Mons, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, Ypres 1914 '15, Langemarck 1914, Gheluvelt, Nonne Bosschen, Frezenberg, Bellewaarde, Somme 1916 '18, Flers-Courcelette, Cambrai 1917 '18, St. Quentin, Rosières, Amiens, Albert 1918, Bapaume 1918, Hindenburg Line, St. Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1914-18

Victoria Cross

Charles Garforth
Charles Ernest Garforth V.C.

Regimental Colonels

Colonels of the regiment were:[1]

William Newton's Regiment of Dragoons (ranked as 15th Dragoons)
  • 1715–1718: Col. William Newton
  • 1718 Regiment disbanded
Duke of Kingston's Regiment of Light Horse (ranked as 10th Horse)
15th Light Horse, or Duke of Cumberland's Dragoons (1748)
15th (or Light) Regiment of Dragoons (1759)
15th (The King's) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (1769)
15th (The King's) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars) (1807)
15th (The King's) Hussars (1861)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mills, T.F. "15th The King's Hussars". regiments.org. Archived from the original on 15 April 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2007.
  2. ^ Cannon, p. 18
  3. ^ Savory, p. 227
  4. ^ Cannon, p. 21
  5. ^ Cannon, p. 29
  6. ^ Cannon, p. 32
  7. ^ a b Cannon, p. 38
  8. ^ Cannon, p. 40
  9. ^ Cannon, p. 42
  10. ^ Cannon, p. 44
  11. ^ Cannon, p. 55
  12. ^ Cannon, p. 61
  13. ^ a b Cannon, p. 65
  14. ^ Cannon, p. 73
  15. ^ Cannon, p. 75
  16. ^ Fletcher, p. 95
  17. ^ Cannon, p. 77
  18. ^ Cannon, p. 79
  19. ^ Cannon, p. 82
  20. ^ Cannon, p. 83
  21. ^ Cannon, p. 85
  22. ^ Cannon, p. 91
  23. ^ Cannon, p. 97
  24. ^ Cannon, p. 98
  25. ^ Cannon, p. 99
  26. ^ Cannon, p. 100
  27. ^ Cannon, p. 103
  28. ^ Reid, p. 175–181
  29. ^ Cannon, p. 106
  30. ^ Cannon, p. 107
  31. ^ a b "15th The King's Hussars". British Cavalry Regiments. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  32. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Hussars". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  33. ^ a b Baker, Chris. "The 1st Cavalry Division, Order of Battle". The Long Long Trail. The British Army in the Great War of 1914–1918 (website). Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  34. ^ "Charge! The story of England's Northern Cavalry". Light Dragoons. Retrieved 2 June 2018.


Further reading

External links

19th Royal Hussars

The 19th Royal Hussars (Queen Alexandra's Own) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army, created in 1858. After serving in the First World War, it was amalgamated with the 15th The King's Hussars to form the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars in 1922.

Alexander Gordon (British cavalry officer)

For the contemporary British Guards officer killed at the Battle of Waterloo, see Alexander Gordon (British staff officer).Alexander Gordon (1781–1873) was a British officer during the Napoleonic Wars. He was commissioned a captain in the 15th Hussars and he fought in the Peninsular War. His correspondence during the Corunna Campaign were collated and published early in the 20th century.

Charles Ernest Garforth

Charles Ernest Garforth VC (23 October 1891 – 1 July 1973) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Garforth was 22 years old, and a corporal in the 15th (The King's) Hussars, British Army during the First World War when the following deeds took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 23 August 1914 at Harmingnies, France, Corporal Garforth volunteered to cut wire under fire, which enabled his squadron to escape. On 2 September when under constant fire, he extricated a sergeant who was lying under his dead horse, and carried him to safety. The next day, when another sergeant had lost his horse in a similar way, Corporal Garforth drew off the enemy fire and enabled the sergeant to get away.He was taken prisoner in October 1914 and was repatriated in November 1918. He later achieved the rank of sergeant. His Victoria Cross and other medals are displayed at the Imperial War Museum, London.

Upon his death, Garforth was cremated, and no monument or headstone was laid, as he technically had no grave. This was rectified on 30 August 2008, when a headstone was dedicated to him at Wilford Hill Cemetery in Nottingham, where his ashes were originally scattered.

Charles Mawhood

Lt. Col. Charles Mawhood (23 December 1729 – 29 August 1780) was a British army officer during the 18th century, most noted for his command during the Battle of Princeton.

Charles Stanhope, 10th Earl of Harrington

Charles Joseph Leicester Stanhope, 10th Earl of Harrington DL, MC (9 October 1887 – 16 November 1929) was a British captain and peer.

He was the son of Dudley Stanhope, 9th Earl of Harrington and Kathleen Wood. He succeeded in the earldom on the death of his father on 13 November 1928.Harrington was a captain in the 15th Hussars, Reserve of Officers and was awarded the Military Cross. He also served as a Deputy Lieutenant of Derbyshire.

Colquhoun Grant (British cavalry general)

Lieutenant General Sir John Colquhoun Grant (1764 – 20 December 1835) was a British soldier.

George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield

George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield, PC, KB (25 December 1717 – 6 July 1790) was a British Army officer who served in three major wars during the eighteenth century. He rose to distinction during the Seven Years' War when he fought in Germany and participated in the British attacks on Belle Île (France) and Cuba. Eliott is most notable for his command of the Gibraltar garrison during the Great Siege of Gibraltar, which lasted from 1779 and 1783, during the American War of Independence. He was celebrated for his successful defence of the fortress.

Henry Hodgson (British Army officer)

Major General Sir Henry West Hodgson (29 June 1868 – 5 February 1930) was an officer of the British Army.

He was born 29 June 1868 and died 5 February 1930 and buried at the St Mary Magdalene Church Bolney England. He was the Regimental Colonel of the 14th King's Hussars and the commanding officer of the 15th (The King's) Hussars. He also commanded the Australian Mounted Division during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War.

Henry John Wale

Henry John Wale (1827 – 14 March 1892 in London) was an English author, soldier and church minister. He came from Little Shelford near Cambridge and was the son of General Sir Charles Wale. He served in the Crimea.

He was the tenth and youngest son of Major General Sir Charles Wale and his third wife Henrietta Brunt. He went to school in Bury St Edmunds, and was admitted to Magdalene College, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, on 9 December 1857, where he gained a B.A. in 1861 and an M.A. in 1864.He was a Lieutenant in the 15th Hussars 1845-51; Scots Grays, 1854-7; served in the Crimea. Ord. deacon (Salisbury) 1861; priest, 1862; C. of Holy Trinity, Weymouth, 1861-3. C. of Ringwood, Hants., 1863-5. R. of Folksworth, Hunts., 1865-78. Organising Secretary, S.P.G., dio. of Rochester, 1881-92. Married Caroline, dau. of Edward Prest, of York, and had issue.

John Hamilton Gray (Prince Edward Island politician)

For the Father of Confederation from New Brunswick, see John Hamilton Gray (New Brunswick politician)

John Hamilton Gray (14 June 1811 – 13 August 1887) was Premier of Prince Edward Island from 1863 – 1865 and one of the Fathers of Confederation.

Gray began his political career in 1862 when he was elected to the provincial assembly as a reformer, despite his conservative roots. He became a leading member of the opposition, with a reputation even among his opponents as a great orator. He impressed the governor so much that he was invited to become a member of the Executive Council. However, his acceptance of the position drew criticism from his reform colleagues, and gained him a reputation for vacillation that followed him for the rest of his career. Gray became the Tory leader in the assembly, but when the Liberals won a majority in 1854, he was once again relegated to the opposition. Two years later, in 1856, the provincial governor dismissed the Liberal Executive Council and replaced them with a government led by Gray.

Gray was born in 1811, the son of Robert Gray, a United Empire Loyalist from Virginia. The elder Gray held a number of important administrative appointments in the early colonial government.

John Hamilton Gray was educated in Charlottetown. He chose a military career, trained in England and was commissioned into the 15th Foot in 1831. He transferred to the 13th Light Dragoons later the same year, the 15th Light Dragoons in 1839, the 1st Dragoon Guards in 1840, the 14th Light Dragoons in 1841, and the 7th Dragoon Guards in 1844.

It was not long before he was asked to participate in the political life of the colony. In 1858 he was elected to represent the district of 4th Queens in the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island as a Conservative. He was re-elected in 1863.

Gray was Premier minister of Prince Edward Island from 1863 to 1865 and during that time he attempted to alleviate the problems of the tenants by passing the fifteen-year purchase act, but the final solution of this question had to await Confederation. Gray was chairman of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, which laid the groundwork for the British North America Act of 1867. He supported the entry of the Island into Confederation but when the Island rejected the scheme he left politics, turning the government over to James Colledge Pope.

He then returned to his first interest, the military. He was appointed adjutant-general of the PEI military in 1867 with the rank of colonel. He continued to be an administrator of military affairs until after the eventual Confederation of Prince Edward Island with Canada in 1873.

In 1887 John Hamilton Gray died at Inkerman House in Charlottetown. The name of the estate is in reference to the Battle of Inkerman where his father-in-law Sir John Pennyfeather, had lost honours to an older man. Inkerman Drive which once led to the house, is lined with trees planted by Gray and replacements of the same species, to represent the sides in the Battle. Linden on one side (Russian) and a mixture of white birch, beech, mountain ash and poplar on the other (French and English).

Joseph Jee

Joseph Jee (9 February 1819 – 17 March 1899) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Lovell Benjamin Badcock

General Sir Lovell Benjamin Lovell, KCB, KH (1786 – 11 March 1861) was a lieutenant-general in the British Army. He was a descendant of Sir Salathiel Lovell, through the marriage of Lovell's daughter, Jane Lovell, to Richard Badcock, the eldest son of William Badcock, a London goldsmith.

Robert Pollok (British Army officer)

Major-General Robert Valentine Pollok CB CBE DSO (1884–1979) was an Irish-born British Army officer who became General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland District.

Robert Thomas Wilson

General Sir Robert Thomas Wilson (17 August 1777 – 9 May 1849) was a British general and politician who served in Flanders, Egypt, Iberian Peninsula, Prussia, and was seconded to the Imperial Russian Army in 1812. He sat as the Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for Southwark from 1818 to 1831. He served as the Governor of Gibraltar from 1842 until his death in 1849.

Sir John Floyd, 1st Baronet

General Sir John William Floyd, 1st Baronet (22 February 1748 – 10 January 1818), was a British cavalry officer.

Sir William Erskine, 1st Baronet

Lieutenant-General Sir William Erskine, 1st Baronet (1728 – 19 March 1795) was a British Army commander and the 1st Baronet of the Erskine of Torrie creation.

William John Gray, 13th Lord Gray

William John Gray, 13th Lord Gray (1754–1807), was a Scottish nobleman and soldier.

He was the son of John Gray, 11th Lord Gray, and Margaret Blair. He served as a cornet in the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys), and was made lieutenant in 1776. He was promoted to captain in the 15th Dragoons in 1779, and retired in 1788.

He succeeded his brother as Lord Gray in 1786. On 12 December 1807 he committed suicide at his home, Kinfauns Castle in Perthshire. His suicide is attributed to a love disappointment. He was unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother.

William Jolliffe, 1st Baron Hylton

William George Hylton Jolliffe, 1st Baron Hylton (7 December 1800 – 1 June 1876), known as Sir William Jolliffe, Bt, between 1821 and 1866, was a British soldier and Conservative politician. He was a member of the Earl of Derby's first two administrations as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department in 1852 and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury between 1858 and 1859.

William Peyton

General Sir William Eliot Peyton, (7 May 1866 – 14 November 1931) was a British Army officer who served as Military Secretary to the British Expeditionary Force from 1916 to 1918. He was also Delhi Herald of Arms Extraordinary at the time of the Delhi Durbar of 1911.

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