Origin and History
The regiment was raised on July 17, 1685 to curb Monmouth Rebellion. It was known as the “Princess Ann of Denmark's Dragoon” and ranked 4th. Before its establishment was completed, the regiment was ordered to be reduced to six troops. In October, they were sent into Lancashire and quartered at Manchester, Preston, Warrington and Liverpool. In 1686, 1687 and 1688, the regiment took part in the training camp of Hounslow heath.
In 1688, when the Prince of Orange planned to land in England, the regiment was ordered to London where it arrived at the beginning of November. When the king fled to France, the Prince of Orange ordered the regiment to occupy quarters at Burford in Oxfordshire. Soon afterwards, the regiment abandoned the name of “Princess Ann of Denmark's Dragoon” and adopted the names of its successive colonels. In 1689, the regiment was sent to quench troubles in Scotland where they took part in the engagement of Forfar. In September, it returned to England where it was quartered at Newark, Grantham and Stamford.
In 1692, during the Nine Years' War (1688-1697), the regiment was sent to the Spanish Netherlands where it took part in the Battle of Steenkerque. In 1693, it fought in the Battle of Landen. In 1695, it escorted a convoy of bread-waggons, driving back the French attackers. It later formed part of the covering force during the siege of Namur. In 1697, it served in Brabant until hostilities were terminated by the treaty of Ryswick.
In January 1698, the regiment returned to England and took up quarters in Yorkshire. In 1700, it was transferred to Ireland where it would remain nearly two years.
In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was recalled to England and its establishment augmented to six troops. In 1706, a detachment of the regiment was sent to Portugal. In 1707, this detachment took part in the Battle of Almansa where it suffered heavy losses. During the winter of 1707-1708, the remnants of the detachment were transferred to other cavalry corps in Spain, and the officers returned to England to recruit. During the summer of 1708, now at full strength, the regiment proceeded to the Isle of Wight and later took part in a fruitless expedition against the coasts of France. In 1711, the regiment was initially sent to Scotland where it should embark for foreign service but it finally remained in Scotland. In 1713, the establishment was reduced and the regiment proceeded to Ireland.
The regiment remained in Ireland until the autumn of 1715 when it proceeded to Scotland to quench the Jacobite Uprising. It then took part in the engagement of Dumblain. In 1716, it returned to England where it was quartered in Berkshire. In 1718, it was quartered in Cumberland. In 1719, it marched southward, and a detachment was employed on coast duty in Kent. In 1720, it was at York; in 1721, in Scotland; in 1722 in England; in 1723, in Somersetshire.
In 1727, the regiment was stationed in the south of England.
By 1737, the regiment consisted of six troops of 49 privates each. In 1739, each troop was augmented of 10 privates.
In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was sent to Flanders. In 1743, it took part in the Battle of Dettingen. In 1745, it reinforced the garrison of the Fortress of Ghent and took part in the engagement of Melle. At the end of the year, it was recalled to Great Britain during the Jacobite Uprising. In 1747, the regiment was sent back to the Dutch Republic and took part in the Battle of Lauffeld.
During the winter of 1748-49, the regiment returned to England and its establishment was reduced to 285 officers and men. In 1750, it was stationed in Scotland.
On July 1, 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British cavalry, the regiment was designated as the “4th Regiment of Dragoons”.
In 1752, the regiment returned to South Britain. It then counted 2 squadrons.
At the end of 1755, a company of light dragoons (71 officers and men) was added to the regiment. In 1756, this company was augmented to 100 officers and men.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- from May 13, 1735 to February 1768: Sir Robert Rich
In 1788, the regiment was converted into a light dragoon regiment.
Service during the War
In 1757, as the British feared a French invasion, the regiment encamped on Salisbury plain under command of Lieutenant-General Hawley. After the camp was broken up, the regiment was ordered to proceed to Scotland.
In the summer of 1758, the company of light dragoons was detached to the south of England to perform coast duty during the absence of the brigade of light cavalry, participating in an expedition against the French Coasts.
As of May 30 1759, the regiment was stationed in Scotland and counted 2 squadrons for a total of 390 men.
In 1760, the regiment returned to England and was stationed near London. The light company of the regiment, along with the light company of the 3rd Dragoons, had the honour to be employed at the traveling escort duty for [[George III|King George III].
At the conclusion of the peace, in 1763, the company of light dragoons was disbanded. The remaining six companies were reduced to 28 privates each; and eight men per troop were equipped as light dragoons, and mounted on small horses for skirmishing and other light services.
|Headgear||black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade|
|Coat||double breasted red lined green with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes grouped 2 by 2
|Waistcoat||green with very narrow white buttonholes|
|Breeches||green 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 lapels, cuffs and pockets
- a crimson silk sash worn across the left shoulder
- crimson and gold striped sword knot
- 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 green and blue worsted sash tied round the waist.
Corporals were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the cuffs and shoulder strap; white silk aiguillette.
Drummers rode grey horses. They wore green coats lined and turned up with red and laced with a white braid with a blue stripe. 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. Green front decorated with a trophy of guidons and drums; little frontal red flap with the White Horse and the motto “Nec aspera terrent”; red backing, green headband with a drum and the rank of the regiment (IV. D.) in the middle part behind. The drums were of brass with a green forepart carrying the rank of the regiment (IV. D.) in silver characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk.
The guidons were made of silk, fringed and embroidered in 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 rank of the regiment (IV. D.) in silver characters on a green ground.
Regimental Guidon: green field with its centre decorated with the rank of the regiment (IV. D.) in silver characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk (or withing the garter?). 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 Fourth, or, The Queen’s Own Regiment of Light Dragoons, London: John W. Parker: 1843
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 - 4th Queen's Own Hussars
Digby Smith for additional info on the regiment.