3rd Dragoon Guards
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Origin and History
Six independent troops were raised in 1685 to curb Monmouth's rebellion. However, Monmouth was defeated at Sedgemoor before they had taken the field. On 15 July, these six troops were incorporated into a regiment which was designated as the "Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Horse" and ranked as 4th Horse. The regiment was armed and equipped as cuirassiers.
In August 1685, the regiment took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath. In 1686, it was stationed in London and once more took part in the camp on Hounslow Heath before taking up quarters at Cambridge, Huntingdon and St. Ives. In 1687, it was quartered for a short time in London, then encamped on Hounslow Heath. In the summer of 1688, it again erected its tents on Hounslow Heath. It then proceeded into quarters at Oxford and Woodstock. At the beginning of November, it marched to Alresford ; and when the Prince of Orange (the future William III) landed at Torbay, it was ordered to advance to Salisbury, where King James's army was assembled. The regiment remained faithful to King James II until he abandoned the throne. When the regiment entered the service of William III who ordered it to Dorking and Ryegate. The Colonelcy of the regiment was given to Lord Colchester.
In 1689, the regiment marched to Scotland to quench a Jacobite rebellion. The regiment having sustained considerable loss in this campaign from fatigue and privation, particularly in horses, marched into England to recruit, and was quartered at Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1690, the regiment assisted the Life Guards in their attendance on the court. In 1691, it marched to Lancashire but was recalled to the South of England in November and embarked for the Dutch Republic.
In 1692, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment took part in the unsuccessful attempt to relieve Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen; in 1694, in the covering of the siege of Huy; and in 1695, in the covering of the siege of Namur. At the end of 1697, it returned to England.
During the summer of 1698, the regiment occupied quarters at Uttoxeter and Penxridge. It then remained in Staffordshire until the month of June 1700, when it proceeded to the vicinity of London.
In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was sent to the Dutch Republic where it participated in the covering of the sieges Venloo, Roermond and Stevensweert and in the capture of Liège. In 1703, it took part in the covering the siege of Huy and in the siege of Limbourg; in 1704, in the Combat of Schellenberg, in the Battle of Blenheim and in the covering of the siege of Landau; in 1705, in the expedition against Trier, and in the forcing of the French lines at Neer-Hespen and Helixem; in 1706, in the Battle of Ramillies and in the capture of several towns and fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde, in the the covering of the siege of Lille; in 1709, in the covering of the siege of Tournai and in the Battle of Malplaquet and in the covering of the siege of Mons; in 1710, in the passage of the lines at Pont-à-Vendin, in the covering of the siege of Douai, in the siege of Béthune and in the covering of the sieges Saint-Venant and Aire; and in 1711, in the siege of Bouchain. In 1713, the regiment remained on the continent.
In 1714, the regiment returned to England and was reduced from 400 to 226 officers and soldiers. In 1718, it was quartered at Nottingham and Northampton; in 1720, in Oxfordshire; in 1721, at Dorchester and Salisbury; in 1722, at Warwick and Coventry; in 1724, in the vicinity of London; in 1725, at Stamford, Huntingdon and Peterborough; and in 1726, at Warwick and Coventry.
In 1727, on the accession of King George II, the regiment marched to the vicinity of London and was in attendance on the Court until May 1728, when it returned to its former quarters at Coventry and Warwick.In 1734, it was in attendance on the Court before taking quarters at Nottingham and Derby. In 1737, it returned to Coventry and Derby. In 1738, it was quartered in Staffordshire; in 1743, in London. The same year, a squadron was sent in pursuit of deserters of the 42nd Highlanders.
At the beginning of 1744, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment sent a draft of 60 men and horses to Flanders to be incorporated in the three regiments of horse on foreign service. The regiment remained in the south of England. In 1745, it was sent to Nottingham and then to Newcastle-upon-Tyne where it joined troops assembling to curb the Jacobite Rising in Scotland. In 1746, it returned to Bristol. On January 9, 1747, three regiments of horse were converted to Dragoon Guards, the "4th Regiment of Horse" became the "3rd Dragoon Guards". The establishment of the regiment consisted of:
- 1 colonel
- 1 lieutenant-colonel
- 1 major
- 1 chaplain
- 1 surgeon
- 1 adjutant
- 6 troops, each of
- 1 captain
- 1 lieutenant
- 1 cornet
- 1 quartermaster
- 3 sergeants
- 3 corporals
- 2 drummers
- 1 hautboy
- 59 dragoons
The regiment then took up quarters at Leicester and Coventry. In 1748, it was transferred to Durham and Newcastle. In 1749, it was stationed at York and Barnard Castle; and in 1750, in Loughborough, Norwich and North Yarmouth. From 1752 to 1754, detachments of the regiment were employed on coast duty in Suffolk, Essex and Devonshire.
The regiment had six troops organised in two squadrons.
At the end of 1755, a troop of light dragoons was added to the regiments. These light dragoons had brass helmets. The troop consisted of:
- 3 officers
- 1 quartermaster
- 2 sergeants
- 3 corporals
- 2 drummers
- 60 privates
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from February 1748 to 1765: Honourable Sir Charles Howard
Service during the War
In 1756, the establishment of the regiment was 24 officers, 7 quartermasters and 427 NCOs and privates. During the summer, a detachment of the regiment was stationed at Kensington to assist the Life Guards in the performance of the travelling escort-duty for the royal family.
In July 1757, the regiment was encamped, with several other corps, on Salisbury Plain, under the command of Lieutenant-General Hawley; and a brigade was there formed of the light troops of several regiments, for instruction in the evolutions, and in service peculiar to light cavalry. In autumn the regiment marched to quarters at Colchester, Malden, and Witham.
In the spring of 1758, the light dragoon company of the regiment was called upon to hold itself in readiness for actual warfare. In April, it was ordered to encamp near Petersfield, where a brigade was formed of the light troops of nine regiments under the command of Colonel Eliott. Towards the end of May, the brigade embarked on board transports for a first expedition against the French Coasts. In June, the brigade landed near Saint-Malo and took part in the destruction of shipping, naval stores at Saint-Servan and a few privateers. The fleet then returned to England, and the light cavalry landed and encamped near Portsmouth and subsequently on Southsea Common. In August, the light dragoon company of the regiment took part in a second expedition against the French Coasts.
Meanwhile, in July 1758, the heavy cavalry squadrons of the regiment were among the first British contingent (6,000 men) sent to reinforce the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. The contingent embarked at Gravesend on July 27, disembarked at Emden on August 3 and arrived at Coesfeld on August 17, after marching through a very heavy rain. The regiment passed the winter in quarters in the Bishopric of Osnabrück.
In June 1759, the regiment was part of the main Allied army under the command of the duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, forming a brigade with the 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons and 10th Dragoons . On August 1, it was present at the battle of Minden where it was deployed in the right hand column under lord George Sackville. This cavalry corps did not take part to the battle despite several orders requesting its intervention. Lord Sackville was later court-martialed and lost his command. In November the regiment was posted on the banks of the river Lahn, and it subsequently occupied cantonments near Osnabrück.
In the early part of May 1760, the regiment left its cantonments. On May 12, it arrived at Paderborn. On May 20, it encamped on the heights near Fritzlar where it formed a brigade with the 1st Dragoon Guards and 2nd Dragoon Guards under the command of Brigadier-General Webb. On July 9, the regiment, along with the 1st Dragoon Guards, was sent forward to Sachsenhausen to reinforce a separate body of troops commanded by the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. On July 10, the regiment fought in the Combat of Corbach. After the defeat, the rearguard was so hard pressed that the Hereditary Prince only extricated it by putting himself at the head of two squadrons of the 3rd and 1st Dragoon Guards, and leading them to a desperate charge. Fortunately the squadrons responded superbly. The Allied rearguard was saved. In this action, the regiment lost 35 men killed; and 1 man wounded. By July 27, it was encamped at Kalle in Hesse-Kassel. A few weeks later, on July 31, the regiment fought in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the first 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 1 man killed; and 8 men wounded. On August 3, the regiment joined the main army encamped near Warburg and passed several months in position on the banks of the Diemel, remaining in camp until December, when a deep snow having fallen, it proceeded into cantonments in the Bishopric of Paderborn, where the men and horses suffered much from the scarcity of provision and forage.
In February 1761, the regiment took part in the Allied offensive in Hesse. Marching through snow and over ice, the Allies penetrated the enemy's winter-quarters and captured several extensive magazines and fortified towns. In March, they returned to their former position, and the regiment was again placed in cantonments on the banks of the Diemel. During the campaign of 1761, the regiment served in Conway's Corps. On July 15 and 16, it took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen. On August 24, the brigade of Dragoon Guards, with a number of other corps, under Prince Ferdinand, proceeded towards the Diemel, forced all the enemy's posts in that quarter, captured 300 prisoners, at Dringenberg. Early in November, after various unimportant movements, the brigade of Dragoon Guards, with several other corps, was engaged with the enemy's advance posts at Einbeck. It then marched in the night through a heavy snow to Vorwohle, and commenced erecting their tents; but just as the encampment was formed, an alarm was given by the outposts of the advance of the enemy in great force. The brigade instantly formed, advanced, attacked the French and drove them back with considerable loss. On November 9, the brigade had another sharp skirmish with the enemy near Vorwohle. This irregular warfare by detached parties, in which British troops sustained great loss in men and horses from fatigue, privation, and constant exposure to inclement weather, was continued until the beginning of December, when the regiment went into winter-quarters in East Friesland.
In June 1762, the regiment left its winter-quarters in East Friesland. On June 18, it joined the allied army encamped at Brakel where it formed in brigade with the 1st Dragoon Guards under the command of Major-General Henry Earl of Pembroke as part of Granby's Corps. While encamped at Brakel, this brigade was posted in the rear of the centre of the army. On June 24, the regiment took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal where its brigade, after supporting the attack on the enemy's centre, was engaged in surrounding the French troops in the woods of Wilhelmsthal, and after the pursuit encamped that night between Holtzhausen and Weimar. In the middle of July, the regiment took part in an attack on the enemy's posts on the Fulda; and was subsequently engaged in several military operations on that river, and also on the Eder. By a succession of combined operations the allies compelled the enemy to evacuate a considerable portion of territory, and the campaign ended with the taking of Cassel. In November, a suspension of hostilities took place and the troops went into quarters in the Bishopric of Münster.
On January 27, 1763, the regiment commenced its march through the Dutch Republic to Willemstad where it embarked for England. On embarkation, it counted 14 officers, 328 men and 434 horses with 32 officers’ servants and 33 women. After its arrival in England, the regiment was stationed at Canterbury. At the same time, its establishment was reduced to 28 privates per troop. The light troop was disbanded.
|Headgear||black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade|
|Coat||red lined white
|Waistcoat||white with very narrow yellow buttonholes|
|Breeches||white with white knee covers|
Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols and a musket.
As per the regulation of 1751, the officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:
- a narrow gold lace at the bindings and buttonholes
- a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
- crimson and gold striped sword knot
- housings and holster caps laced gold
Sergeants were distinguished by a narrow gold lace on the lapels, cuffs and pockets; a gold aiguillette; a white worsted sash about their waist.
Corporals were distinguished by a narrow gold lace on the cuffs and shoulder strap; yellow silk aiguillette.
The oboists and drummers rode grey horses. They wore white coats lined and turned up with red and laced with a yellow braid with a red stripe. Hanging sleeves fastened at the waist. 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 rank of the regiment (III. D.G.) in the middle part behind.
The drums were of brass with a white forepart carrying the rank of the regiment (III. D.G.) in gold characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk.
The standards were made of damask, fringed and embroidered with gold and silver. The tassels and cords were of crimson silk and gold mixed.
King's Standard: 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 (III. D.G.) in gold characters on a white ground.
Regimental Guidon: white field fringed gold with its centre decorated with the rank of the regiment (III. D.G.) in gold 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.
This article incorporates texts of the following source:
- Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Third, or Prince of Wales’ Regiment of Dragoon Guards, London: William Clowes and Sons, 1838
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
Grose, Francis: Military Antiquities Respecting a History of the English Army, London, 1801, pp. 222-223
Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II
Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth through the Way Back Machine
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.