3rd Dragoons

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised around London from August 2 1685 to curb Monmouth Rebellion. It was known as the “Queen Consort's Own Regiment of Dragoons” and ranked 3rd. The Duke of Somerset was its first colonel. The regiment assembled at Acton.

In 1688, when the Prince of Orange landed in England, part of the regiment defected and joined the ranks of the army of William of Orange.

During the Willoiamite War, in August 1689, the regiment was transported to Ireland. On October 27, a detachment of the regiment took part in a raid on Ardee. On July 1 1690, the regiment took part in the battle of the Boyne. It was also present at the failed siege of Limerick. On July 22 1691, it fought in the battle of Aughrim. On September 2, the regiment ambushed and routed two regiments of Catholic cavalry and, several days later, subdued a number of Catholic garrisons between Cork and Limerick. In the spring of 1692, the regiment returned to England.

During the Nine Years' War, in 1694, the regiment was transported to the Netherlands. In 1695, it occupied Diksmuide where it surrendered as prisoners of war on July 18. It was exchanged later the same year. At the end of 1697, the regiment returned to England.

Durin the War of the Spanish Sussession, in 1702, part of the regiment was transported to Spain. After the failed siege of Cadiz, it returned to England. On October 12, on its way to England, it took part in a raid in Vigo Bay. In January 1707, the regiment landed at Alicante in Spain. On April 25, it fought in the battle of Almansa where it suffered heavy losses. After this defeat, it returned to England.

In 1714, the regiment was renamed the "King's Regiment of Dragoons".

During the Jacobite Rising of 1715, the regiment took part on November 13 in the battle of Sheriffmuir where it covered the retreat.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, on June 27 1743, the regiment took part in the battle of Dettingen where it suffered heavy losses while charging the more numerous French cavalry. It drove the French cavalry back and captured 2 kettle-drums. For its conduct, the regiment received its first battle honour. On May 11 1745, the regiment took part in the battle of Fontenoy. In October of the same year, the regiment returned to Great Britain to curb another Jacobite uprising. On December 16, it took part in an inconclusive skirmish. On April 16 1746, it was present at the battle of Culloden.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British cavalry, the regiment was designated as the “3rd (King's Own) Regiment of Dragoons”. It was also known as the “Bland's Dragoons”.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons and was always mounted on black horses.

At the end of 1755, a company of light dragoons was added to the Regiments.

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

  • in 1759: Major-general Earl of Albemarle

Service during the War

As of May 30 1759, the regiment was stationed in England and counted 2 squadrons for a total of 390 men. It was not involved in any campaign during the war.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Ibrahim90 from a template made by Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1758
Headgear black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade
Neck stock white
Coat double breasted red lined light blue with yellow buttons and very narrow yellow buttonholes grouped 3 by 3
Collar none
Shoulder strap left shoulder: red fastened with a yellow button
right shoulder: yellow aiguillette
Lapels none
Pockets long vertical pockets with yellow buttons and very narrow yellow buttonholes in a chevron pattern
Cuffs light blue (slashed in the British pattern) with yellow buttons and very narrow yellow buttonholes in a chevron pattern on the sleeve
Turnbacks light blue
Waistcoat light blue with very narrow yellow buttonholes
Breeches light blue 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 light blue with pointed corners decorated with the regimental badge (White Horse within the Garter); bordered with a yellow braid with a blue stripe
Holster caps light blue decorated with crowned royal cypher; bordered with a yellow braid with a blue stripe
Blanket roll light blue 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 gold lace at the lapels, cuffs and pockets
  • a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
  • crimson and gold striped sword knot
  • light blue housings and holster caps laced gold

NCOs

Sergeants were distinguished by a narrow gold lace on the lapels, cuffs and pockets; a golden aiguillette; a light blue worsted sash about their waist.

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

Musicians

Drummers rode grey horses. They wore blue coats lined and turned up with red and laced with the royal lace (yellow with a blue stripe). Blue waistcoats and breeches.

Drummers wore a mitre cap similar to the grenadier mitre cap but with a lower crown and the tassel hanging behind. Blue front decorated with the regimental badge (White Horse within the Garter); little frontal red flap with the White Horse and the the motto “Nec aspera terrent”; red backing, blue headband with a drum and the rank of the regiment (III. D.) in the middle part behind.

The drums were of brass with a light blue forepart carrying the regimental badge (White Horse within the Garter).

Colours

The guidons were made of silk, fringed and embroidered in gold. 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 (III D.) in gold characters on a light blue ground.

Regimental Guidon: light blue field with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (White Horse within the Garter) with the regimental motto (Nec aspera terrent) underneath. In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a red compartment. In the second and third corners: the rank of the regiment (III D.) in gold on a red ground within a small wreath of roses and thistles.

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

References

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

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

Wikipedia - 3rd Dragoons

Acknowledgements

Digby Smith for additional info on the regiment.