Queen's Regiment of Horse
Origin and History
The regiment was raised on 6 June 1685 to curb Monmouth's rebellion and was designated as the "Queen's Regiment of Horse" in honor of Queen Mary. It then ranked as 2nd Horse and consisted of nine troops. The first service performed by the regiment, appears to have been the escorting of the Duke of Monmouth and other prisoners taken after the battle of Sedgemoor, from Winchester to London. With the rebellion curbed, the regiment was reduced to 40 men per troop. At the end of August, it took up quarters at Winchester, Ilchester and Blandford. In 1686 and 1687, the regiment took part in the training camps on Hounslow Heath. It also furnished a guard to attend the queen during her residence at Bath.
During the summer of 1688, the king fearing an invasion led by the Prince Of Orange, an encampment was formed on Hounslow Heath. Towards the end of the year, the army was ordered to assemble near London and the regiment was quartered at Colnbrook, Chertsey and Byfleet. After the Prince of Orange had landed at Torbay, the regiment marched by Newbury and Marlborough to War- minster, which was the most advanced post of the King's army. The King gave orders for his army to assemble at Salisbury, intending to command them in person but alarmed by the daily desertions which took place, he returned in haste to London, and orders were given for the troops to retire and take up a position beyond the Thames. When the king fled to France, the Prince of Orange ordered the regiment to march to Cambridge. In March 1689, the regiment was ordered to proceed to Huntingdon and afterwards into Lincolnshire. It was later sent to intercept the Duke of Schomberg’s Foot, which had declared for King James II, taking them prisoners at Sleaford in Lincolnshire.
In June 1689, the regiment marched to Scotland to quench a Jacobite rebellion. On 13 June, the British force captured Edinburgh. At the beginning of October, the regiment was transferred to Ireland. In 1690, it took part in the Battle of the Boyne, in the unsuccessful siege of Limerick and in the relief of the Castle of Birr; in 1691, in engagements near Streamstown and Wyands Town, in the capture of Ballymore, in the siege of Athlone, in the Battle of Aghrim, in the encounter near Charleville and in the siege and capture of Limerick.
In 1692, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment returned to England and was sent to North Brabant soon afterwards. In 1693, it took part in the Battle of Landen; in 1695, in the siege and capture of Namur; and in 1697, in the engagement of Enghien. In 1697, the regiment returned to England where it was quartered in Salisbury and Dorchester.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive colonels of the regiment were:
- from 1692 to 1717: Honourable Henry Lumley
In 1714, the regiment became the "King's Own Regiment of Horse".
Service during the War
In July 1701, the regiment occupied quarters at Windsor and the neighbouring villages, and had the honor of furnishing a daily guard for the Princess Anne, and also the travelling escorts for Her Royal Highness and for His Majesty.
On 27 February 1702, the regiment embarked at Woolwich. On 17 March, after a boisterous passage, which caused the loss of several troop horses, it landed at Helvoetsluys. It was quartered at Breda, with three other regiments of horse and two of foot. On 2 July, these regiments commenced their march under Lieutenant-General Lumley to join the main army. The French endeavoured to intercept this detachment, but by forced marches the British troops eluded the enemy. On July 7, they arrived at the camp at the camp of Dukenburg. The regiment was with the covering army during the sieges of Venlo, Roermond, Stevensweert and Liège. It was one of the first corps which entered the city of Liège after its surrender. The British army then returned to Holland for winter-quarters.
In the campaign of 1703, the regiment took part in the taking of Bonn. On 10 June, a detachment of the regiment was engaged in a skirmish with the enemy near Haneffe. The regiment was afterwards engaged with the main army, in covering the sieges of Huy and Limbourg; which last place held out until 28 September.
In May 1704, the regiment formed part of Marlborough’s army when it undertook its famous march to the Danube. On 2 July, in the Battle of Schellenberg, the Allies attacked the enemy's fortified post on the heights near Donauworth. The regiment 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. After crossing the Danube, the regiment penetrated with the army into Bavaria which was devastated. On 13 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Blenheim where it was posted in the left wing and supported the attack of the infantry on the village of Blenheim. The British squadrons dashed forward, and were met in mid-onset by the Gens d'Armes, the elite of the French army; the hostile squadrons rushed upon each other, a deadly conflict ensued, and the field was covered with slain. In the midst of the contest, the British and Dutch on the left, after attacking, fighting, rallying, and attacking again, gained considerable advantage, and put several French corps into confusion. The Duke of Marlborough seized the decisive moment, the Queen's Horse and other cavalry were again ordered forward; the trumpets sounded the charge, and the heroic squadrons once more rushed forward with tremendous force, overthrew the French horse, and pursued them to the banks of the Danube, where about 30 squadrons perished. The French forces in the village of Blenheim were surrounded and forced to surrender themselves prisoners of war. The regiment marched back to the Dutch Republic for winter-quarters.
In the spring of 1705, the regiment marched up the Moselle. In May, the army assembled near Trier. At the beginning of June, it crossed the Moselle and the Saar. However, Marlborough was forced to return to the Netherlands to put a stop to the French offensive in these quarters. On July 18, the regiment took part in the passage of the lines at Neer-Hespen and Helixem. It was one of the first corps which passed the lines; it charged and defeated several squadrons of the enemy's cavalry, and afterwards cut a battalion of infantry to pieces. On 30 September, a picquet of 30 men of the regiment, with as many hussars, under Lieutenant Alexander, posted at Wickstadt for the security of a foraging party, attacked with great bravery a detachment of the enemy, killed 30 men, and made 40 prisoners. After the capture of Sandvliet, the regiment marched to Breda where it was joined by a remount from England.
In the spring of 1706, the British troops on the Continent assembled from their winter-quarters. On 20 May, they were joined by the Dutch forces at Bilsen. On 23 May, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies where it was posted on the heights of Foulz, on the right of the Allied Army where it was held in reserve until towards the close of the engagement. It then descended from the heights of Foulz, dashed forward along the plain with its usual boldness, and overthrew all that opposed it. The enemy's horse rallied on the plain; but being closely pressed, fled in three directions. The fugitives were, however, soon overtaken by the Queen's Regiment of Horse and other British cavalry sent in pursuit. The French Regiment du Roi, after a severe loss, surrendered; seven squadrons of Spanish and Bavarian guards were cut to pieces, and great part of the cannon which was marching in front of them was taken; the Elector of Bavaria and Maréchal Villeroy narrowly escaped. The pursuit was not discontinued until 2:00 a.m. on the following day.
In the spring of 1707, the British heavy cavalry regiments were supplied with cuirasses. The campaign passed without either a siege or general engagement.
Until mid-May 1708, the regiment was stationed at Ghent where it had been joined by a remount of upwards of 100 men and horses. It then marched to Bruxelles and when the army took the field, it was posted on the right of the first line. On 11 July, the regiment was present at the Battle of Oudenarde. On 12 July at daybreak, it formed part of a detachment of 40 squadrons under Lieutenant-Generals Lumley and Bulau, sent in pursuit of the French. These squadrons overtook and attacked the enemy's rearguard, and continued the pursuit to within 3 km of Ghent. The regiment then took part in the covering of the siege of Lille. It was occasionally employed in escorting convoys of provision and ammunition during the siege, and, on 27 November, was also engaged in forcing the passage of the Scheldt.
On 17 June 1709, the regiment marched from Ghent. On 21 June, the whole army assembled near Menin. On 23 June, it encamped on the plain of Lille. On 29 June, it formed part of the force which invested Tournai which surrendered on July 30 (the castle held out until 3 September). On 11 September, the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet. When the enemy left gave way, the regiment and other British cavalry rushed with overwhelming fury upon the broken columns, threw part of the French army into disorder, and a most fearful slaughter followed. The pursuit was continued as far as the village of Quievrain. In this action, the regiment had Lieutenant Stormont and 10 men killed. This victory was succeeded by the siege of Mons which was taken in October, and the army then went into quarters for the winter.
In June 1710, the regiment was at the siege and capture of Douai. It was with the covering army during the sieges and capture of Aire and Saint-Venant. It then retired into winter-quarters.
Early in the spring of 1711, the British army assembled from its winter-quarters. On 29 May, the Duke of Marlborough reviewed the regiment in the camp near Warde. On 5 August, it took part in the passage of the lines at Arleux and formed part of the covering army during the siege and capture of Bouchain.
In 1712, the regiment took the field and advanced with the army commanded by the Duke of Ormond to Cateau-Cambrésis. A cessation of hostilities was soon afterwards published, and the British army retired from the frontiers of France to Bruges and Ghent.
In 1713, the regiment was quartered at Ghent until the treaty of Utrecht was concluded
In the spring of 1714, the regiment embarked for England. At the beginning of April, it landed at the Red House, Battersea, and marched into quarters at Northampton, Daventry, and Wellingborough and the cuirasses which the regiment had worn during the last six campaigns, were subsequently returned into store.
In 1686: scarlet coats faced and lined with yellow, jacked-leather boots, buff gauntlets, shoulder belts, cuirasses, iron head pieces called pots, swords, pair of pistols, and short carbines; (no details about the colour of the waistcoats, breeches and horse furniture).
In 1686: each troop had a standard of yellow satin.
This article incorporates texts of the following source:
- Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the First, or King’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards, London: William Clowes and Sons, 1837