Origin and History
The regiment was created on 29 July 1685 as the "Duke of Shrewsbury's Regiment of Horse" from troops previously raised to curb Monmouth's rebellion. It then ranked as 7th Horse. It consisted of 2 squadrons (each of three troops) and was initially quartered near Hounslow but then took up quarters in Warwickshire. In 1686, the regiment took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath. In 1687, the Duke of Shrewsbury resigned his command and proceeded to the Dutch Republic to join the Prince of Orange. Marmaduke Lord Langdale succeeded him to the colonelcy of the regiment. A few months later, he himself was succeeded by Hon. Richard Hamilton.
In 1691, when then old 5th Horse was disbanded, it was renumbered 6th Horse.
In 1688, King James II assembled an army of some 30,000 men, fearing the intervention of the Dutch Prince of Orange (the future William III) in British domestic affairs. On 5 November, the Prince of Orange landed on the western coast. The regiment was then ordered to march to London and from thence to Salisbury. When James II fled to France, the Prince of Orange ordered the regiment to march to Fenny Stratford and its colonel was confined in the Tower of London. On 31 December 1688, John Coy became colonel of the regiment.
In August 1689, the regiment embarked for Ireland where it took part in the covering of the siege of Carrickfergus. In 1690, it participated in the Battle of the Boyne; and in 1691, in the siege of Limerick.
In 1691, when then old 5th Horse was disbanded, the regiment was renumbered 6th Horse. In 1692, it returned to England.
In 1694, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was sent to the Netherlands where it joined the confederate army. In 1695, the regiment formed part of the covering army during the siege of Namur. In 1697, a detachment of the regiment took part in an engagement near Enghien. On July 1 1697, Charles Earl of Arran became colonel of the regiment.
In 1698, the regiment returned to England and was quartered at Coventry, Daventry and Towcester. In 1700, it was selected to proceed to Ireland where its numbers were reduced to 36 privates per troop.
In 1701, the regiment was ordered to be augmented to a war establishment of 3 corporals, 2 trumpeters and 57 troopers per troop. There were 6 troops organised in two squadrons. However, only 3 troops could be sent to the Dutch Republic because of difficulty of recruitment
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive colonels of the regiment were:
- from 1 July 1697: Charles Earl of Arran
- from 2 March 1703: Brigadier-General William Cadogan
- from 22 December 1712 to 1717: George Kellum
Service during the War
At the beginning of March 1702, 3 troops of the regiment landed at Highlake in Cheshire and marched to London. At the beginning of April, these 3 troops embarked in transports and sailed for the Dutch Republic. They were attached to Wood’s Horse and served under the command of the Earl of Marlborough during the campaign of 1702, covering the sieges of Venloo, Roermond, Stevensweert and Liège.
For the campaign of 1703, the 3 troops of the regiment continued to serve with Wood’s Horse. At the beginning of June, they took part in a slight skirmish near Haneff. They then covered the sieges of Huy and Limbourg. They took up their winter-quarters in the Dutch Republic.
At the beginning of 1704, the 3 troops left in Ireland were transferred to Northampton. On 4 April, they embarked for Holland. The whole regiment was thus reunited. In May, the regiment left Holland and marched to Coblenz, where it passed the Rhine and the Moselle, and directed its march with the army through the several states of Germany to the assistance of Emperor Leopold I, whose troops were unable to withstand the united forces of France and Bavaria. Marlborough to the distant Danube and joined the forces of the empire. On 2 July, in the Battle of Schellenberg, the Allies attacked the enemy's fortified post on the heights near Donauworth. The regiment under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Kellum supported the attacks of the infantry. When the fortifications were forced, the British cavalry charged and completed the overthrow of the French and Bavarians, who fell in great numbers beneath the sabres of the pursuing horsemen. In this combat, the regiment lost, Major Napier, Lieutenant Tettefal and several privates wounded. After crossing the Danube, the regiment penetrated with the army into Bavaria. On 13 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Blenheim. The regiment then marched with the army through the Circle of Swabia to Philipsburg, where, early in September, it crossed the Rhine and encamped at Croon-Weissemberg, while the Imperialists, besieged the important fortress of Landau. After the capture of this place, the regiment marched back to the Dutch Republic for winter-quarters.
In the summer of 1705, the regiment marched with the army through the Duchy of Jülich, and crossed the Moselle and the Sarre to carry on the war in Alsace. However, Marlborough, being disappointed of the promised cooperation of the Imperialists, marched back to the Netherlands. On July 18, the regiment took part in the forcing of the French lines at Neer-Hespen and Helixem where it was among the squadrons which, after passing the works, engaged and defeated the Bavarian horse guards, capturing four standards.
On 23 May 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies where the British horse were held in reserve until towards the close of the engagement, when they were ordered forward, and by their powerful and resolute attacks completed the victory. After pursuing the enemy until 2:00 a.m. on the following day, the regiment was ordered to halt. The regiment was one of the corps detached under Brigadier-General Cadogan to summon Antwerp. After the surrender of that fortress, the regiment was employed in the blockade of Dendermond, which place was delivered up on 5 September.
In the spring of 1707, the British heavy cavalry regiments were supplied with cuirasses. The campaign passed without either a siege or general engagement.
On 11 July 1708, the regiment took part in the Battle of Oudenarde where it was they was kept in reserve. For a short time, it was formed in column behind the right wing and advancing from thence, supported the attacks of the infantry but the enemy was overpowered, and darkness put an end to the conflict before the regiment was called upon to charge. It then formed part of the covering army during the siege of Lille. On 28 September, it took part in the Engagement of Wijnendale.
On 29 June 1709, the regiment formed part of the a corps which invested the Fortress of Tournai. On 11 September, the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet where it supported the infantry in its fierce and sanguinary attacks on the enemy's entrenchments and other defences which covered his front. When the position was forced, the cavalry was ordered forward, and the British horse defeated and chased to the rear the renowned French Gens d’Armes; but as the regiment, and the other cavalry under Major-General Wood, pursued their adversaries, they were charged by a compact line of household troops who broke the British horsemen and drove them back in disorder. The French cavalry having been checked by fire of the infantry, the British cavalry rallied and, along with Prussian and German squadrons, counter-attacked and defeated the French cavalry. After this victory, the regiment formed part of the covering army during the siege of Mons.
During the summer of 1710, the regiment was employed in covering the sieges of Douai, Béthune, Saint-Venant and Aire; also in protecting convoys of provision and ammunition for the army, and in keeping up the communication with the towns in the rear.
On 5 August 1711, the regiment took part in the passage of the lines at Arleux. In August, it was at the siege of Bouchain.
In 1712, the regiment took the field and advanced with the army commanded by the Duke of Ormond to Cateau-Cambrésis where it was encamped during the siege of Le Quesnoy. A cessation of hostilities was soon afterwards published, and the British army retired from the frontiers of France to Ghent.
In June 1713, the regiment was placed upon the Irish establishment; but it was not withdrawn from the Netherlands; the negotiations being prolonged until the succeeding year.
In August 1714, the regiment was ordered home from Flanders. It then proceeded to Ireland.
In 1685: hats, long scarlet coats with buff facing, jacked-leather boots, cuirasses, iron head pieces, swords, pair of pistols, and short carbines; buff waistcoat and buff breeches; and buff horse furniture.
At the end of May 1700, deserters from the regiment are depicted "in new red regimental clothes lined with large pewter buttons". In mid-June of the same year, the uniform is described as red lined with white, white waistcoat and pewter buttons, and a red cloak lined in red.
In March 1711, the uniform of the regiment is described as: a hat with silver lace, a red regimental coat faced with green, with broad silver lace on the sleeves; the sleeves and pockets bound with narrow braid, a green waistcoat and green shag breeches, and a green saddle cloth.
In 1685: each troop had a standard of buff-silk damask.
This article incorporates texts of the following source:
- Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Fifth, or Princess Charlotte of Wales’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards, London: Longman, Orme, and Co., 1839
Sumner, Percy: 18th Century Notices of Uniform, In:. Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Vol. 1, No. 5 (September 1922), p. 214
Linney-Drouet, C.A.: 1692-1799: Extracts from the Notebook of the Late Revd Percy Sumner, In: Journal of the the Society for Army Research, Vol. 78, No. 314 (Summer 2000), pp. 91, 95-101
Jörg Meier for additional info on the uniform of the regiment