11th Dragoons

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised on July 22, 1715 by Brigadier-General Phillip Honeywood in Essex to quench the Jacobite rebellion. The regiment, based in Colchester, was known as the “Philip Honeywood's Regiment of Dragoons” and ranked 11th. It consisted of six troops. The regiment marched north to Preston where it fought against a mostly English force of Jacobite insurgents. The regiment was subsequently quartered in Lancashire.

In 1716, the regiment was successively quartered in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Lancashire; and in 1717, in Staffordshire and Lincolnshire. In 1718, three troops were stationed in Stamford and three troops in Peterborough. Each troop was reduced from 40 to 25 privates. It thus counted 207 officers and men. In 1719, the regiment was quartered at Gloucester and Tewksbury, and subsequently at Shrewsbury, Ludlow, and Bridgenorth; and in 1720 and 1721, it occupied cantonments at Coventry, Warwick and Lutterworth. In the summer of 1722, it was encamped on Hounslow-heath.

From 1723 to 1727, the regiment was generally stationed in the southern and midland counties of England. Its establishments was between 300 and 400 officers and men. In 1727, it was augmented to 552 men.

In the spring of 1728, the regiment marched to Scotland where its establishment was reduced to 309 men. In 1729, it returned to Lancashire. In 1730, it was in Berkshire; and in 1731 and 1732, in Leicestershire and Staffordshire.

In 1732, Major-general Lord Mark Kerr became colonel of the regiment. In 1733, the regiment took part in the training camp on Hounslow-heath before returning to Staffordshire. In 1734, it was stationed in Staffordshire; in 1735, in Gloucester and Hereford; and in 1736, in Norwich and Lynn. In 1739, the regiment was augmented to 435 men.

On December 18, 1745, during the second Jacobite Uprising, a troop of the regiment took part in the engagement of Clifton Moor. In January 1746, the regiment was quartered on the confines of Scotland. By the end of January, it was at Edinburgh. On April 16, it was present at Culloden and pursued the fleeing Scotsmen showing 'no quarter' as ordered by Cumberland.

In 1749, the establishment of the regiment was reduced to 285 men.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British cavalry, the regiment was designated as the “11th Regiment of Dragoons”.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons and was mounted mostly on dark brown horses (horses of other colours were also used due to the scarcity of dark brown horses).

In 1755, the establishment of the regiment was augmented to 357 officers and men. In December of the same year, a company of light dragoons (mounted on light horses), under Captain William Lindsay, was added to the regiment.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from February 4, 1752 till 1775: William Henry Earl of Ancram

In 1763, the light troop was disbanded and 8 men of each of the six heavy troops were mounted on light horses and equipped as light cavalry. In 1764, the regiment was ordered to be remounted with long-tailed horses.

In 1775, Major-general James Johnstone became colonel of the regiment. In 1783, the regiment was converted into a Light Dragoon Regiment known as the “11th Light Dragoon”.

Service during the War

In the summer of 1757, the regiment was encamped, with five other cavalry regiments, on Salisbury-plain, under Lieutenant-General Hawley. On April 28, the regiment was reviewed on Datchet-common by King George II.

In May 1758, the light troop of the regiment was formed in brigade, with the light troops of the 1st Dragoon Guards, 3rd Dragoon Guards, 1st Dragoons, 2nd Dragoons, 3rd Dragoons, 6th Dragoons, 7th Dragoons and 10th Dragoons, under Brigadier-General Eliott and employed in an expedition against the coast of France, under Charles, Duke of Marlborough. In June, a landing was effected in Bretagne; the troops advanced to Saint-Malo and destroyed by fire the magazines, naval stores, and shipping in the harbour. The light dragoons particularly distinguished themselves in this service. In August, the light troop of the regiment took part in a second expedition against the coast of France where the British destroyed the pier, docks, works, magazines, forts and the defences of the harbour of Cherbourg. Embarking from Cherbourg, the troops proceeded to the Bay of Saint-Lunaire, and a second landing was effected on the coast of Brittany; the light cavalry again distinguished themselves; but no advantage resulted. On September 11, as the troops were reembarking, the French attacked in the 1758-09-11 - Combat of Saint-Cast and the grenadiers of the army, with the 1st Foot Guards sustained a serious loss. On the return of the expedition to England, the troops of light dragoons landed and went into cantonments in villages near the coast.

As of May 30 1759, the regiment was stationed in England and counted 2 squadrons for a total of 390 men.

In 1760, the regiment was selected to proceed to Germany under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel William Gardner. At the beginning of April, the six heavy troops of the regiment embarked, leaving the light troop on coast duty in England. It was among the second British contingent sent to reinforce the Allied army of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. In mid-April, the troops were shipped to Bremen on the Weser instead of, as heretofore, to Emden, and seem to have been despatched with commendable promptitude since some regiments were reviewed by Ferdinand in his camp at Fritzlar on June 17. The regiment was then brigaded with 2nd Dragoons under the orders of Major-General Eliott. Towards the end of June, the regiment was encamped at Kalle. During the night of July 30 to 31, it left its camp, passed the Diemel and took position on the heights of Körbecke. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was in the second line of Granby's cavalry. Granby charged and broke the French cavalry right wing then wheeled and hit the French infantry in the flank, winning the day for the Allies. In this battle, the regiment lost 7 horses killed, a few men and horses wounded, and 1 sergeant and 2 privates made prisoners. Warburg became the first battle honour for the regiment. After this success, the regiment was encamped for some time near Warburg. On October 10, the weather being severe, the soldiers were ordered to build huts for themselves and for their horses. In December, the regiment marched into village cantonments.

Early in February 1761, the regiment left its quarters and advanced during a heavy snow towards the French winter-quarters when the Allies launched a winter offensive in Hesse. Several fortified towns and extensive magazines were captured. After returning from this enterprise, the regiment rested in cantonments until the beginning of May, when it took the field and was brigaded with the 2nd Dragoons and the 7th Dragoons under the command of Colonel Edward Harvey. Several weeks were passed in manoeuvring and skirmishing; long marches were performed through marshy grounds; days and nights were passed in open fields exposed to heavy rains. In July, the regiment was encamped between the Asse and Lippe rivers, forming part of the Marquis of Granby's Corps, which had its right in front of the village of Kirch-Denkern. On July 16, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it was formed in column to support the infantry. The French were repulsed and the cavalry galloped forward, but were prevented charging by the nature of the ground. The regiment was subsequently employed in defensive operations. In August, it passed the Diemel and took part in forcing the French beyond that river. On November 3, the regiment made a forced march to Copperbrugge; and on November 4, to Dusen, taking part in driving a body of French from Capelnhagen. On November 5, it was employed in preventing the march of an enemy division along the defile leading from Escherhausen to Einbeck. On November 6, it was at Weenzen. During the night of November 7 to 8, it marched through a heavy snow to Vorwohle where it took part in a sharp skirmish. The regiment was subsequently stationed on the heights between Mackensen and Lüthorst. It passed the winter in cantonments in East Friesland.

For the campaign of 1762, the regiment was brigaded with the 7th Dragoons under Colonel Hall. On June 24, the regiment took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. In the subsequent part of the campaign, the regiment was engaged in forcing the French to abandon several strong positions, and in covering the siege of Cassel. After the capture of this fortress, a cessation of hostilities took place, which was followed by a treaty of peace.

In February 1763, the regiment left Germany and marched through the Dutch Republic to Willemstad where it embarked for England. Soon after the arrival of the regiment in England, the light troop was disbanded and 8 men of each of the six heavy troops were mounted on light horses and equipped as light cavalry.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Ibrahim90 from a template made by Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1758
Headgear black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade and a white metal loop
Neck stock white
Coat double breasted red lined buff with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes grouped 3 by 3
Collar none
Shoulder strap left shoulder: red fastened with a white button
right shoulder: white worsted aiguillette
Lapels none
Pockets long vertical pockets with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes in a chevron pattern
Cuffs buff (slashed in the British pattern) with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes in a chevron pattern on the sleeve
Turnbacks buff
Waistcoat buff with very narrow white buttonholes
Breeches buff with white knee covers
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather slung over the left shoulder
Waistbelt n/a
Cartridge Box buff leather pouch
Scabbard n/a
Bayonet scabbard n/a
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Housings buff with pointed corners decorated with the rank of the regiment (XI D.) on a red ground within a small wreath of roses and thistles; bordered with a white braid with a green stripe
Holster caps buff with pointed corners decorated with crowned royal cypher; bordered with a white braid with a green stripe
Blanket roll buff and red


Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols and a musket.

Officers

As per the regulation of 1751, the officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • a narrow silver lace at the lapels, cuffs and pockets
  • a crimson silk sash worn across the left shoulder
  • crimson and silver striped sword knot
  • buff housings and holster caps laced silver

NCOs

Sergeants were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the lapels, cuffs and pockets; a silver aiguillette; a green and buff worsted sash round the waist.

Corporals were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the cuffs and shoulder strap; white silk aiguillette.

Musicians

Drummers rode grey horses. They wore buff coats lined and turned up with red and laced with a white braid with a green stripe. Red waistcoats and breeches.

Drummers wore a mitre cap similar to the grenadier mitre cap but with a lower crown and the tassel hanging behind. Buff front decorated with a trophy of guidons and drums; little frontal red flap with the White Horse and the the motto “Nec aspera terrent”; red backing, buff headband with a drum and the rank of the regiment (XI. D.) in the middle part behind.

The drums were of brass with a buff forepart carrying the rank of the regiment (XI. D.) in silver characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk. .

Colours

The guidons were made of silk, fringed in silver and green and embroidered with silver. The tassels and cords were of crimson silk and gold mixed.

King's Guidon: crimson field decorated with the rose and thistle conjoined surmounted by a crown. Underneath the central decoration: the king's motto “Dieu et mon Droit”. In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a compartment. In the second and third corners: the rank of the regiment (XI D.) in silver characters on a buff ground.

Regimental Guidon: buff field with its centre decorated with the rank of the regiment (XI. D.) in silver characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk. In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a red compartment. In the second and third corners: the Rose and Thistle conjoined upon a red ground.

King's Guidon - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Guidon - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

This article incorporates texts of the following source:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Eleventh, or, The Prince Albert’s Own Regiment of Hussars, London: John W. Parker: 1843

Other sources

Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

George II: The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II

Luscombe, Stephen: British Empire - 11th Dragoons

Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately does not seem to be online any more)

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.

Acknowledgements

Digby Smith for additional info on the regiment.