Origin and History
The regiment was created on July 30, 1685 for Richard Lord Lumley from six independent troops of horse, after the suppression of the Monmouth Rebellion, under the name of "Queen Dowager's Regiment of Horse". It then ranked as 9th Horse and was mounted on large long-tailed horses of superior weight and power.
In 1686 and 1687, the regiment took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath.
In 1688, as King James II feared the intervention of the Dutch Prince of Orange (the future William III) in British domestic affairs, four troops of the regiment were selected to form the garrison of Portsmouth. James II then assembled an army of some 30,000 men. On November 5, when the Prince of Orange landed on the western coast, the order to proceed to Portsmouth was countermanded. The regiment was then ordered to march to Salisbury. When James II fled to France, the Prince of Orange ordered the regiment to march to Guildford and Godalming and a new colonel, Sir George Hewytt took command.
In 1689, the regiment was sent to Scotland to quench troubles. Before the commotions in Scotland were suppressed, the services of the regiment were required in Ireland. During the following winter, it suffered heavy losses from disease. In 1690, it participated in the Battle of the Boyne and in the unsuccessful siege of Limerick. The same year, it ranked as 8th Horse. In 1691, the regiment was at the capture of Athlone, fought in the combat of Aghrim and contributed to the capture of Banagher. For its conduct, the regiment was often designated as the "King's Regiment of Carabineers." At the end of the year, it returned to England.
In 1692, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was sent to the Netherlands where it joined the confederate army. It was present at the Battle of Steenkerque but was not involved in combat. In 1693, it fought in the Battle of Landen. In 1695, it formed part of the covering army during the siege of Namur.
In 1698, the regiment returned to England and was quartered at Chichester, Petworth and Arundel.
In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment embarked for the Dutch Republic where it joined the army covering the sieges of Venloo, Roermond, Stevensweert and Liège. In 1703, the regiment took part in covering the sieges of Huy and Limbourg; in 1704, in the Battle of Schellenberg, in the Battle of Blenheim and in covering the siege of Landau; in 1705, in the forcing of the French lines at Neer-Hespen and Helixem; in 1706, in the Battle of Ramillies and in the capture of Ostend; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde, in the covering of the siege of Lille and in the relief of Bruxelles; in 1709, in the siege of Tournai, in sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet and in the covering of the siege of Mons; in 1710, in the covering of the sieges of Douai, Béthune, Saint-Venant and Aire; in 1711, in an engagement during the surprise attack against its camp, in the passage of the lines at Arleux and in the covering of the siege of Bouchain.
In the summer 1713, the regiment were reduced from 57 to 31 privates per troop, and it was placed on the Irish establishment. However, it was not withdrawn from the Netherlands; the negotiations being prolonged until the succeeding year. The same year, it was renumbered 7th Horse. In the spring of 1714, the regiment proceeded to Ireland. The same year, the distinctive colour of the regiment was changed from sea-green to yellow.
On the eve of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the name of the regiment was changed once more to "His Majesty's 1st Regiment of Carabiniers". In 1742, it became known as the "7th Regiment of Horse" or alternatively as the "Irish Horse". In 1743, after the Battle of Dettingen, each troop of the regiment contributed 10 men and horses to replace the losses of the regiments of horse on foreign service. In 1744, each troop of the regiment once more contributed 10 men and horses to complete the regiments of horse on foreign service. In 1746, when three Regiments of Horse were converted to Dragoon Guards, the "7th Regiment of Horse" became the "3rd Regiment of Horse".
This regiment had 2 squadrons as it was usual for heavy cavalry regiments.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from 1757 to 1764: Major-General Louis Dejean
In 1768, the four last "Regiments of Horse" were converted into "Dragoon Guards". Thus, the "3rd Regiment of Horse" became the "6th Dragoon Guards".
N.B.: In his "A History of the British Army", Fortescue refers to this regiment as the 6th Dragoon Guards. However, it was not yet renamed this way. In fact the regiment was only renamed in 1768.
Service during the War
In the summer of 1758, the regiment, still stationed in Ireland, marched to Athy, Tullow and Carlow.
As of May 30, 1759, the regiment was stationed in Dublin and counted 2 squadrons for a total of 120 men. It subsequently marched to Tullamore and Philipstown.
At the beginning of 1760, Each troop of the regiment was completed to 3 corporals and 49 privates. On February 22, the regiment marched to Dublin, and having received a draft of men and horses from the cavalry regiments which were to remain in Ireland, it embarked for England and landed at Highlake in Cheshire towards the end of March. The regiment was selected to form part of the British Contingent sent to reinforce the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. For the coming campaign, each of its cavalrymen received a cuirass and an iron skull-cap. After remaining a few weeks in England it was shipped to the Weser instead of, as heretofore, to Emden. It was despatched with commendable promptitude and, on June 30, it joined Ferdinand’s Army at the camp between Ziegenhayn and Freysa where it was formed in brigade with the Royal Horse Guards and 4th Horse commanded by Major-general Honeywood. On July 25, a detachment of the regiment took part in a sharp skirmish near Wolfshagen. On July 31, the regiment took part 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. The loss of the regiment on this occasion was 3 men and 10 horses killed; and 3 men and 9 horses wounded. The regiment bivouacked that night on the heights of Wilda, 6.5 km in advance of the main body of the army. On August 3, it quitted the heights of Wilda, repassed the Diemel, and joined the main army encamped near Warburg. The regiment was stationed along the banks of the Diemel for five months. The weather becoming severe, and provision and forage difficult to procure, the men suffered severe hardships. In December, the regiment went into quarters in the Bishopric of Paderborn.
In February 1761, the regiment was engaged in the Allied winter offensive in Hesse, when the French were surprised in their winter-quarters, and several towns containing extensive magazines of provision and forage were captured. After returning from this expedition, the regiment went into quarters near the river Lippe, where it was joined by a remount from England. In the middle of June, it was quartered at Hamm. On June 24, it joined the main army at Soest in Westphalia. For the coming campaign, the regiment once more formed a brigade with the Royal Horse Guards and 4th Horse. On June 28, the brigade quitted Soest and encamped near Werl. On June 29, it advanced against a French corps posted behind Werl; but the French made a precipitate retreat towards the main body of their army; some skirmishing took place, and at night the brigade encamped between the Unna and the Roer. On July 16, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it took post near the Asse river to support the infantry. The day was passed in hard fighting, and ended in the defeat of the French with considerable loss but owing to the nature of the ground the heavy cavalry could not act. On July 28, it marched in the direction of Paderborn. On August 5, it was engaged in the action near Stadtberg (present-day Marsberg). On August 24, the regiment proceeded towards the Diemel, and was employed in forcing the enemy’s posts in that quarter. On August 30, it repassed the Diemel and encamped at Buhne until September 17 when it crossed the river a second time at Warburg. On September 18, it took part in the engagement of Immenhausen. It was subsequently encamped near Wilhelmsthal. In October, it was involved in several skirmishes in the Electorate of Hanover. On December 4, it proceeded to its quarters in East Friesland.
In 1762, the regiment remained in its quarters until June. On June 18, it joined the camp at Brakel, where it was brigaded with the 4th Horse under the orders of Brigadier-General Napier. On June 20, the brigade advanced from Brakel in the direction of the Diemel. On June 21, it encamped with the army between Corbeke and the heights of Tissel. At daybreak on June 24, the regiment advanced towards the Diemel, crossed the river at Libenau, and took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. The regiment then pursued the enemy in the direction of Cassel, and bivouacked at night on the heights near Weimar. In November, it went into quarters in the Bishopric of Münster.
On January 25, 1763, the regiment commenced its march through the Dutch Republic to Williamstadt where it embarked for England. After its arrival,its establishment was reduced to 2 corporals, 1 trumpeter and 20 privates per troop. In mid-May, it was ordered to proceed to Ireland. The last division arrived in Ireland on May 20.
|Headgear||black tricorne laced silver ornamented with a white metal loop and a black cockade|
|Coat||red lined pale yellow
|Waistcoat||pale yellow with silver buttons and very narrow white buttonholes|
|Breeches||pale yellow 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 silver lace at the bindings and buttonholes
- a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
- crimson and silver striped sword knot
- housings and holster caps laced silver
Corporals were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the lapels, cuffs, pockets and shoulder straps; a pale yellow worsted sash about their waist.
Trumpeters rode grey horses. They wore pale yellow coats lined and turned up with red and laced with a white braid with a red stripe. Hanging sleeves fastened at the waist. Red waistcoats and breeches.
The banners of the kettle drums were pale yellow with the rank of the regiment (III. H.) in gold characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk in its centre . The banners of the trumpets were pale yellow carrying the king's cypher and crown with the rank of the regiment (III. H.) underneath.
The standards were made of damask, fringed with gold and embroidered with gold. 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. H.) in silver characters on a pale yellow ground.
Regimental Standard: pale yellow field fringed gold and silver with its centre decorated with the rank of the regiment (III. H.) 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 Sixth Regiment of Dragoon Guards or The Carabineers, London: Longman, Orme and Co., 1839
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
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.