16th Light Horse
Origin and History
The regiment was created on August 4 1759 when John Burgoyne was appointed colonel. It was raised in Nottinghamshire. The unit was originally designated as the “16th Light Dragoons” although it was more commonly known as the “Burgoyne's Light Horse”.
The regiment counted 2 squadrons and rode black horses.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- since August 4 1759: Colonel John Burgoyne (in 1762 in Portugal, Colonel Burgoyne was appointed brigadier and Lieutenant-colonel Somerville assumed effective command).
In 1766, the regiment became “Royal” and was designated as the “2nd or (The Queen's) Regiment of Light Dragoons” but changed back to its original number in 1769.
Service during the War
In 1761, the regiment took par in the 1761 - British expedition against Belle-Isle. On June 11, Palais, the fortress of the island surrendered.
In 1762, the regiment was part of the British Contingent sent to prevent the Spanish invasion of Portugal. On May 6, the 2 first troops, who had sailed from Portsmouth, arrived in Lisbon. In the third week of July, the remaining 4 troops, who had been stationed on Belle-Isle Island since its capture, arrived in Portugal. By August 3, Burgoyne had reached Sardoal near Abrantes with his regiment along with the 83rd Armstrong’s Foot and the 91st Blayney’s Foot. By August 20, a detachment of the regiment was attached to General Townshend's Corps consisting mainly of Portuguese troops. On August 24, the Count of Lippe-Bückeburg, commander of the Anglo-Portuguese Army sent Brigadier Burgoyne with a detachment of his own regiment (400 men), 6 British infantry coys, 11 Portuguese grenadiers coys, 2 howitzers and 2 light guns upon Valencia d'Alcantara, not very far from Badajoz, where the vanguard of the Spanish third division was with the main magazine. Burgoyne passed the Tagus at Abrantes. At Castel de Vide, Burgoyne was joined by 100 Portuguese foot, 50 irregular cavalry and about 40 armed peasants. On August 27, after forced marches totalling 70 km, Burgoyne's force carried the town of Valencia d'Alcantara in a surprise attack, annihilating 5 companies of Sevilla Infantry who had obstinately resisted and capturing the commanding Spanish general, several prisoners and 3 colours. The town was left undamaged but had to pay a heavy contribution in corn. In mid September, Brigadier Burgoyne was at Tolosa. He had been ordered to cover the border between Portalegre and Vila Velha de Rodao. Besides his own regiment, he had under his command the 85th Crawford’s Volunteers, 1st Olivença Infantry, and Cais Cavalry. He occupied a strong position on the Tagus, opposite Villa Velha.
In April 1763, the regiment returned to England.
We have not found any primary source describing the uniform of this regiment. Several part of our description are assumptions based on the uniforms of the regiments of dragoons.
|Headgear||black boiled leather helmet; the front plate edged white and decorated with a crowned GR cypher in white; red horsehair tail; black band round the base of the helmet; white metal fittings|
|Coat||short double breasted red lined white with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes
|Waistcoat||white with very narrow white buttonholes|
|Breeches||white with white knee covers|
Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of shortened pistols and shortened musket and, probably, a bayonet.
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 over the left shoulder
- crimson and silver striped sword knot
- deep green housings and holster caps laced silver
Sergeants were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the lapels, cuffs and pockets; a silver aiguillette; a black worsted sash about their waist.
Corporals were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the cuffs and shoulder strap; white silk aiguillette.
Drummers rode grey horses. They wore white coats lined and turned up with red (or white) and laced with the regimental braid (unknown). 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. White 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, white headband with a drum and the initials of the regiment (XVI LD) in the middle part behind.
The drums were of brass with a white forepart carrying the initials of the regiment (XVI LD) in silver characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk.
We have not found any primary source describing the colours of this regiment. Several part of our description are assumptions based on the colours of the regiments of dragoons.
The guidons were made of silk, fringed in silver 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 initials of the regiment (XVI LD) in silver characters on a black ground.
Regimental Guidon: black field with its centre decorated with the initials of the regiment (XVI LD) 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.
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
Kirby, Mike, The British Contingent - Uniform Information, Seven Years War Association Journal, Vol. XII No. 3
Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately does not seem to be online any more)
O'Hara, Danny, Eighteenth Century Wargaming Resources On-Line
Wikipedia 16th The Queen's Lancers