1st King's Dragoon Guards

The 1st King's Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment in the British Army. The regiment was raised by Sir John Lanier in 1685 as the 2nd Queen's Regiment of Horse, named in honour of Queen Mary, consort of King James II. It was renamed the 2nd King's Own Regiment of Horse in 1714 in honour of George I. The regiment attained the title 1st King's Dragoon Guards in 1751. The regiment served as horse cavalry until 1937 when it was mechanised with light tanks. The regiment became part of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1939. After service in the First World War and the Second World War, the regiment amalgamated with the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) in 1959 to form the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards.

1st King's Dragoon Guards
1st King's Dragoon Guards Cap Badge
1st King's Dragoon Guards Cap Badge
Country England (1685–1707)
 Great Britain (1707–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1959)
BranchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
RoleRoyal Armoured Corps
Nickname(s)Bland Dragoons, The KDGs, The Trades Union, The Kings Dancing Girls
MarchQuick: Radetzky March
Slow: The King's Dragoon Guards
Ceremonial chiefEmperor Franz Joseph I of Austria


Early history

The regiment was raised by Sir John Lanier in 1685 as Lanier's Regiment of Horse or the 2nd Queen's Regiment of Horse, named in honour of Queen Mary, consort of King James II, as part of the response to the Monmouth Rebellion.[1]

The regiment saw action at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690 and the Battle of Aughrim in July 1691 during the Williamite War in Ireland.[1] It also fought at the Battle of Blenheim in August 1704, the Battle of Ramillies in May 1706, the Battle of Oudenarde in July 1708 and the Battle of Malplaquet in September 1709 during the War of the Spanish Succession.[1] The regiment was renamed the 2nd King's Own Regiment of Horse in 1714 in honour of George I.[1] It saw action again at the Battle of Dettingen in June 1743 during the War of the Austrian Succession.[1] The regiment was renamed the 1st King's Dragoon Guards in 1751.[1] The regiment made a desperate charge which saved the army at the Battle of Corbach in July 1760 and then made another famous charge at the Battle of Warburg later that month during the Seven Years' War.[1] The regiment charged again with devastating effect at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 during the Napoleonic Wars.[1]

The regiment took part in the response to the Indian Rebellion in 1857 as well as the Battle of Taku Forts in August 1860 and the capture of Peking during the Second Opium War. A detachment of the regiment was responsible for the capture of King Cetshwayo at the Battle of Ulundi in July 1879 during the Anglo-Zulu War and the regiment saw action again at the Battle of Laing's Nek in January 1881 during the First Boer War.[1]

The Habsburg connection

Franz Josef of Austria K.G. Colonel-in-Chief 1st King's Dragoon Guards 1896 - 1914
Franz Josef I in the uniform of a Colonel of the 1st Dragoon Guards

In March 1896 Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria became Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment. At the same time the double-headed Austrian eagle became the cap-badge of the regiment, and it adopted Radetzky March as its regimental march. On the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee on 2 December 1908, the Emperor instituted the Inhaber-Jubiläums-Medaille für Ausländer (Commander's Jubilee Medal for Foreigners) to celebrate his 60 years on the throne. Some of the 40 golden, 635 silver and 2000 bronze medals were awarded to officers and private soldiers in the regiment.[2] The ceremonial helmet with the badge of the 1st King's Dragoon Guards which was given to Emperor Franz Joseph I on his appointment as colonel-in-chief is now on display at the Museum of Military History, Vienna. The regiment was employed chasing the elusive General Christiaan de Wet in spring 1901 during the Second Boer War.[3]

First World War

Cavalry squadron charging (Photo 24-174)
A very distant view of the King's Dragoon Guards charging across open country in France in July 1915

The regiment, which had been was stationed at Lucknow in India at the start of the war, landed at Marseille as part of the 8th (Lucknow) Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Indian Cavalry Division in November 1914 for service on the Western Front.[4] The regiment saw action at the Battle of Festubert in May 1915, the Second Battle of Ypres also in May 1915 and the Battle of Morval in September 1916[5] but returned to India in October 1917.[4]

Third Anglo-Afghan War

The regiment remained in garrison at Meerut until October 1918 when it exchanged stations with 21st (Empress of India's) Lancers and moved to Risalpur. On 2 May 1919 Afghan troops seized control of wells on the Indian side of the border. The Afghan Amir Amanullah was warned to withdraw, but his answer was to send more troops to reinforce those at the wells and to move other Afghan units to various points on the frontier. The regiment was mobilised on 6 May and formed part of the British Indian Army's 1st (Risalpur) Cavalry Brigade. It served throughout the Third Anglo-Afghan War and saw action at the Khyber Pass. At Dakka – a village in Afghan territory, north west of the Khyber Pass[6] – on 16 May, the regiment made one of the last recorded charge by a British horsed cavalry regiment as it was already apparent the old world would be giving way to mechanisation.[7]

Second World War

The regiment took part in all the major battles of the North African Campaign including the Relief of Tobruk in November 1941.[8] The regiment, then serving as the armoured car reconnaissance regiment of Lieutenant General Richard McCreery's X Corps, landed at Salerno during the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943 against concentrated enemy opposition and were the first Allied unit into the city of Naples in early October 1943.[8] The Welsh writer Norman Lewis, in his celebrated account of life in Naples claimed that the King's Dragoon Guards was the first British unit to reach Naples in 1943, and that many of its officers immediately went on a looting spree, cutting paintings from their frames in the prince's palace.[9] The regiment later took part in the Battle for Monte la Difensa in December 1943 and the advance to the Gothic Line in late 1944.[8]


The regiment was posted to Palestine in September 1945 and to Libya in January 1947 before being deployed on home duties at Omagh, Northern Ireland in February 1948.[10] The regiment moved to Adams Barracks in Rahlstedt in November 1951 and to Mcleod Barracks in Neumünster in April 1953.[10] In 1956 the regiment was sent on active service in Malaya during the Emergency: during this time the regiment took part in counter-insurgency operations in both mounted operations (armoured cars) and on foot in the dense jungles operating from a base at Johor Bahru.[10] The regiment merged with the Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) in 1959 to form the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards.[10]

Regimental museum

The regimental collection is displayed at Firing Line: Cardiff Castle Museum of the Welsh Soldier in Cardiff.[11]

Battle honours

The regiment's battle honours were as follows:[12]

  • Early wars: Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet, Dettingen, Warburg, Beaumont, Waterloo, Sevastopol, Taku Forts, Pekin 1860, South Africa 1879, South Africa 1901–02
  • The Great War: Somme 1916, Morval, France and Flanders 1914–17
  • Between the Wars: Afghanistan 1919
  • The Second World War: Beda Fomm, Defence of Tobruk, Tobruk 1941, Tobruk Sortie, Relief of Tobruk, Gazala, Bir Hacheim, Defence of Alamein Line, Alam el Halfa, El Agheila, Advance on Tripoli, Tebaga Gap, Point 201 (Roman Wall), El Hamma, Akarit, Tunis, North Africa 1941–43, Capture of Naples, Scafati Bridge, Monte Camino, Garigliano Crossing, Capture of Perugia, Arezzo, Gothic Line, Italy 1943–44, Athens, Greece 1944–45

Notable members of the regiment


Colonels-in-Chief were as follows:[12]

Regimental colonels

Regimental colonels were as follows:[12]

The Queen's Regiment of Horse
The King's Own Regiment of Horse – (1714)
1st (The King's) Dragoon Guards – (1751)
1st King's Dragoon Guards – (1921)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "1685 to 1899 – A Short History of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". Regimental Museum of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Horse). Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. ^ Stolzer & Steeb, p. 274
  3. ^ "1st (King's) Dragoon Guards". Anglo-Boer War. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b "The Dragoon Guards". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  5. ^ "1899 to 1938 – A Short History of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". Regimental Museum of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Horse). Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Afghanistan". Regimental Museum of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Horse). Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  7. ^ "1899 to 1938 – A Short History of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". Regimental Museum of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Horse). Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "1938 to 1959 – A Short History of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". Regimental Museum of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Horse). Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  9. ^ Lewis, p.31
  10. ^ a b c d "1st King's Dragoon Guards". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Museum of the Welsh Soldier". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  12. ^ a b c "1st King's Dragoon Guards". Regiments.org. Archived from the original on 10 January 2006. Retrieved 26 July 2016.


  • Lewis, Norman (2005). Naples '44: A World War II Diary of Occupied Italy. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0786714384.
  • Stolzer, Johann; Steeb, Christian (1996). Österreichs Orden vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt Graz. ISBN 3-201-01649-7.

External links

1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards

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The fourth son of John Wallop, 1st Earl of Portsmouth, Bluett was appointed a Page of Honour to George II on 8 November 1739. He served the King on campaign in Flanders in 1743 and 1744. In the latter year, he left the King's service, having obtained a commission as a cornet in Honywood's Regiment of Horse. He was with his regiment at Fontenoy, and soon thereafter got a captaincy in Lord Sempill's Regiment of Foot. He fought at Culloden, and later got the captaincy of a troop of horse and served as equerry to the Duke of Cumberland.In 1747, he was returned to Parliament as a member for Newport, Isle of Wight, owing to his father's influence as Governor of the Isle of Wight. He died of smallpox in 1749.

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John Mostyn (British Army officer)

General John Mostyn (c.1709 – 16 February 1779) was a British soldier, MP and colonial administrator.

He was a younger son of Sir Roger Mostyn, 3rd Baronet and educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford.

He joined the army as an Ensign in 1733 and rose to the rank of General in 1772. He served as Groom of the Bedchamber to King George II from 1746 to his death. From 1751 to 1754 he held the colonelcy of the 7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fuzileers), from 1754 to 1758 that of the 13th Regiment of Dragoons, from 1758 to 1760 that of the 5th (or Royal Irish) Regiment of Dragoons, from 1760 to 1763 that of the 7th (The Queens Own) Regiment of Dragoons and from 1763 to 1779 that of the 1st King's Dragoon Guards.

Mostyn served as Governor of Menorca for a ten-year period between 1768 and 1778. It was a titular role and Mostyn was not in residence on the island, which meant that his deputy was in effective charge - from 1774 this was James Murray, his eventual successor who was forced to surrender the island in 1782 to a Spanish force.He died unmarried.

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Lord Charles Petty-Fitzmaurice

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Petty-Fitzmaurice was the younger son of Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne and Maud Evelyn Hamilton.

He joined the 1st King's Dragoon Guards in 1895, and served as an aide-de-camp to Frederick Roberts during the Boer War 1899-1900. He stayed as a Lieutenant of the 1st Dragoon Guards until January 1901, when he was seconded for service on the army staff as Aide-de-camp to Lord Roberts, who had been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Forces. Lord Roberts resigned when this post was abolished in early 1904, and Petty-Fitzmaurice was promoted to Captain of his former regiment the 1st Dragoons in October 1904.In May 1902, he was part of a delegation led by the Duke of Connaught to take part in the enthronement ceremonies in Madrid for the young King Alfonso XIII of Spain, and he was awarded the First class of the Spanish Order of Military Merit.On 20 January 1909, he married Violet Mary Elliot-Murray-Kynymound (daughter of Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound and Mary Caroline Grey) and they had two children:

Mary Margaret Elizabeth Petty-Fitzmaurice (1910–2003), married Lieutenant Colonel Ririd Myddleton.

George Petty-Fitzmaurice, 8th Marquess of Lansdowne (1912–1999)From 1909 he was an equerry to the Prince of Wales (later George V) until he was killed in action in World War I. He is buried in Ypres Town Cemetery. The inscription on his gravestone reads: NOT IN VAIN NOT UNHONOURED NOT FORGOTTEN THEY GAVE UP THEIR LIVES.His widow Violet remarried to John Jacob Astor V on 28 August 1916.

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Robert Sloper

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Robin Whetherly

Robin Evelyn Whetherly MC (23 July 1916 – 27 November 1943) was an English first-class cricketer and soldier who died in action in World War II.

The son of Lieutenant Colonel William Stobart Whetherly, a decorated veteran of the Boer War and World War I, Whetherly was educated at Harrow School, where he kept wicket for the first XI in his final year, 1935, before going up to Magdalen College, Oxford, to read history.He played several matches as a wicket-keeper for Oxford University in 1937 and 1938, but was overlooked for the annual match against Cambridge University in favour of Michael Matthews in 1937 and Roger Kimpton in 1938. He usually batted in the lower order, his only innings of more than 22 coming in the match against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at Lord's in 1937 when he batted at number four and made 63, adding 132 for the third wicket with Mandy Mitchell-Innes.After working for a travel agency, he accepted a commission in the 1st King's Dragoon Guards on the outbreak of World War II. He served in Libya, where in April 1941 his regiment was attacked by the Afrika Korps. For his actions during the battle, in which he saved many of his men from capture, he was awarded the Military Cross. He continued to serve in North Africa until 1943, when he joined the Special Operations Executive, and parachuted into Yugoslavia to serve as part of Macmis under Fitzroy Maclean, in assisting the Yugoslav Partisans. He died near Glamoč in November 1943 while saving a fellow officer from a bomb during a German raid.

Samuel Harvey (politician)

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William Augustus Pitt

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William Smyth Bernard

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Bernard was the son of Francis Bernard, 1st Earl of Bandon and his wife Lady Catherine Henrietta Boyle, daughter of Richard Boyle, 2nd Earl of Shannon. He became a captain in the 1st Dragoon Guards.At the 1832 general election Bernard was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Bandon. He held the seat until 1835. He was re-elected for the seat in 1857 and retained it until his death in 1863.Bernard died at the age of 70.

Bernard married Elizabeth Gillman, daughter of Lt.-Col. Edward Gillman, of Clan Coole, co. Cork on 31 May 1831. There were no issue.

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