18th Light Horse
Origin and History
The regiment was created on November 7, 1759 under Lieutenant-Colonel John Hale from the 47th Foot who was the bearer of the public despatches announcing the victory at Québec on September 13, 1759, and the fall of Major-General James Wolfe.
The first rendezvous of the regiment was at Watford and Rickmansworth, and it consisted of four troops. The first troop was raised by Captain Franklin Kirby, formerly Lieutenant in the 5th Foot; the second by Captain Samuel Birch, formerly Lieutenant in the 11th Dragoons; the third by Captain Martin Basil, formerly Lieutenant in the 15th Light Horse; and the fourth by Captain Edward Lascelles, formerly Cornet in the Royal Horse Guards.
The regiment was embodied in Hertfordshire and was originally designated as the “18th Light Dragoons” although it was more commonly known as the “Hale's Light Horse”.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- from November 7, 1759 to 1770: Lieutenant-Colonel John Hale (promoted to the colonelcy on April 27, 1763)
On July 24, 1763, the unit became a regular regiment and was re-designated as the “17th Regiment of Light Dragoons” when the former 17th Light Horse was disbanded.
In 1766, the regiment was renumbered as the “3rd Regiment of Light Dragoons”, but recovered its former name of “17th Regiment of Light Dragoons” soon afterwards in 1768.
This regiment was in North America during the American War of Independence.
Service during the War
At the beginning of December 1759, the completed regiment marched to Warwick and Stratford upon Avon, and soon afterwards to Coventry where it was augmented to six troops The two additional troops were placed under Captain John Burton and Captain Samuel Townshend.
In September 1760, the regiment was directed to march to Berwick and place itself under the orders of the Commander-in-Chief in North Britain. In October, the regiment arrived in Scotland where it was stationed during the following three years.
In the spring of 1761, the regiment sent a draft of 50 men and horses to Germany, to serve under the Lieutenant-General Marquis of Granby.
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||gold or copper helmet; the front plate with brown fur and a red semi oval plate decorated with a black skull and two black bones + underneath the Motto "Or Glory"; red horsehair tail; brown fur band round the base of the helmet|
|Coat||short double breasted red coat with white lining and with silver 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 with a black line at the lapels, cuffs and pockets
- a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
- crimson and silver striped sword knot
- housings and holster caps laced silver with a black line through the lace
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 lapels, cuffs and collar and laced with the regimental braid. 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 (XVIII LD) in the middle part behind.
The drums were of brass with a white forepart carrying the initials of the regiment (XVIII LD) in silver characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk.
Lieutenant-Colonel Hale procured the King’s authorisation for his regiment to bear on its standards the “Death’s Head” with the motto “Or Glory”.
We have not found any primary source describing the colours of this regiment during the Seven Years’ War. Several part of our description are assumptions based on the colours of the regiments of dragoons and on the standards carried in 1768.
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 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 (XVIII LD) in silver characters on a white ground.
Regimental Guidon: White field with its centre decorated with two black bones above a black skull and with underneath the Motto "Or Glory" (for 'Death Or Glory'). It seems that, at the end of the war, the two black bones were behind the black skull. In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a red compartment. In the second and third corners: the initials of the regiment (XVIII LD) in silver characters on a white ground within a wreath of roses and thistles.
This article incorporates texts of the following source:
- Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Seventeenth Regiment of Light Dragoons – Lancers, London: John W. Parker, 1841