Origin and History
The regiment was created on 30 July 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 5 November, 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.
On 12 February 1702, 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.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive colonels of the regiment were:
- from 1692: Hugh Wyndham
- from 1 October 1706: Major-General Francis Palmes
- from 2 April 1712 to 1715: Leigh Backwell
At the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1713, the regiment was renumbered 7th Horse.
Service during the War
In the spring of 1702, the regiment embarked in transports and sailed for the Dutch Republic. It occupied quarters at Breda for a short period and then joined the Allied army under the command of the Earl of Marlborough. It then took part in the campaign in the Low Countries, covering the sieges of Venloo, Roermond, Stevensweert and Liège.
During the campaign of 1703, the regiment covered the sieges of Huy and Limbourg.
In May 1704, 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 marched to the distant Danube and joined the forces of the empire. On 2 July, the regiment fought in the Battle of Schellenberg where the Allies attacked the enemy's fortified post on the heights near Donauworth. After crossing the Danube, the regiment penetrated with the army into Bavaria. On 13 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Blenheim. In this battle, the regiment lost Major Cheveneux, Lieutenant Payne, Cornets Thompson and Payne, and Quarter-Master Crocker, killed; and Captain Wyndham, Lieutenants Hall and Edwards, and Cornets Ward and Neville, wounded. 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.
Early in 1705, the losses of the previous campaign were replaced by recruits and horses from England. In the summer, it 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.
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. The regiment captured the colours of the Royal-Bombardiers. 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 to besiege and capture Ostend.
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. It then formed part of the covering army during the siege of Lille. In November, the regiment formed part of the army which forced the passage of the Scheldt and compelled the Elector of Bavaria to retire from before Bruxelles.
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 sanguinary 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 army covering the siege of Mons.
During the summer of 1710, the regiment was employed in covering the sieges of Douai, Béthune, Saint-Venant and Aire.
On 12 July 1711, the regiment was surprised in its camp near Douai and had several men killed and wounded. Major Robinson was taken prisoner. On 5 August, the regiment took part in the passage of the lines at Arleux. In August, it was part of the army covering 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 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.
In the spring of 1714, the regiment proceeded to Ireland.
In 1685: armour on the head and body, called backs, breasts, and pots; armed with long broad swords, pairs of large pistols, and short carbines; scarlet uniform with sea-green distinctive. During a review, troopers exhibited sea-green ribands in their broad-brimmed hats, and the officers displayed ostrich feathers; both officers and troopers ornamented the heads and tails of their horses with sea-green ribands, and their waistcoats, breeches, and embroidered horse furniture were sea-green.
In 1685: each troop had a standard of sea-green silk damask ornamented with regimental devices.
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