2nd Dragoon Guards
Origin and History
The regiment was created on June 20, 1685 to curb Monmouth's rebellion and was designated as the "Earl of Peterborough's Regiment of Horse". It consisted of four troops (each of 3 corporals, 2 trumpeters and 60 men) and ranked as 3rd Horse. Two troops were soon added to its establishment but the number of privates in each troop was reduced to 40. The rebellion being defeated, the regiment marched into quarters at Battersea, Mile-End, Bow, and Stratford. In 1686, it was transferred from Oxfordshire to London and took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath. It then returned to its former quarters at Oxford and Woodstock. In 1687, it once more took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath before returning to Oxford. In 1688, it trained on Hounslow Heath again and then proceeded to Northampton and Wellingborough, and then to Colchester. The establishment of the regiment was increased to 50 men per troop. After the Prince of Orange had landed at Torbay, the regiment marched by Marlborough to Salisbury. The regiment remained faithful to King James II until he abandoned the throne. When the regiment entered the service of William III, the Earl of Peterborough was replaced by Edward Villiers as colonel of the regiment.
In 1689, the regiment was quartered at Bedford. In June, it marched towards Scotland to quench a Jacobite rebellion. On its way, it was ordered to halt at Ripon, in Yorkshire. During the summer it returned to the south of England.
The regiment was then sent to Ireland where it took part in the battles of the Boyne (1690) and Aughrim (1691). The regiment then returned to England where it assumed police duty in the commons of Hounslow and Blackheath.
In September 1689, at the beginning of the Williamite War (1689-91), the regiment was sent to Ireland. In 1690, it took part in the siege of Charlemont, in the Battle of the Boyne and in the unsuccessful siege of Limerick. In August, four troops of the regiment were attacked by surprise near Cullen. In October, it took part in the investment and capture of Kinsale. In 1691, it was employed in the siege of Athlone and fought in the Battle of Aughrim and in the siege and capture of Limerick.
In 1692, the regiment returned to England.
In 1694, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was sent to the Netherlands where it participated in the siege and capture of Huy. In 1695, it took part in covering the siege of Namur. In 1697, the regiment returned to England where it was quartered in Yorkshire.
In 1698, the regiment was transferred to Ireland.
In September 1703, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was sent from Ireland to Portugal, arriving there after much delay in March 1704. In 1705, it took part in the capture of Valencia de Alcantara, in covering the siege of Albuquerque and in the unsuccessful siege of Badajoz; in 1706, in the combat of Brocas, in the capture of Alcantara and in the occupation of Madrid; in 1707, in the Battle of Almansa; in 1709, in the capture of Balaguer and Ager; in 1710, in the Battle of Almenar, in the Battle of Saragossa and in the Combat of Brihuega where it was forced to surrender as prisoners of war and was sent to France. In 1711, the regiment was exchanged and sent to England where it arrived in October. In November 1712, it proceeded to Ireland.
In 1715, the regiment was recalled from Ireland to England to curb the Great Jacobite Rebellion. It took part in the combat of Preston. The same year, it was renamed the "Princess of Wales's Own Regiment of Horse".
In the autumn of 1716, the regiment marched back to Windsor. In 1717, it took up quarters in the maritime towns on the coast of Kent; in 1718, in Bedfordshire; in 1719, in Warwickshire; in 1720, in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire; in 1722, at Newbury; in 1723, at Northampton, Daventry and Stony Stratford; in 1724, at Warwick and Coventry; in 1725, in Devonshire; and in 1726, in Northamptonshire
In 1727, on the accession of the Prince of Wales to the throne as King George II, the regiment was renamed the "Queen's Own Regiment of Horse" and immediately quartered in the vicinity of London. In 1728, it took up quarters in Nottingham and Stamford; in 1729, in Coventry and Warwick; in 1730, in London; in 1731, along the coast of Kent and Sussex; in 1732, in Bedforshire and Northamptonshire; in 1734, in the counties of Hants, Salop and Chester; in 1735, in Newcastle, Ashburn and Burton; and later in Coventry, Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon; in 1737, in Windsor and later at Coventry and Warwick; in 1738, in Essex, Kent and Northamptonshire; in 1740, in Windsor; in 1741, in Essex and Kent; and in 1742, in London.
In 1745, at the beginning of the Jacobite Rising, the regiment was ordered to Nottingham and Derby. Field Marshal Wade was directed to proceed to the north with a body of troops (including the present regiment). In December, the regiment was despatched in pursuit of the Highlanders who were retreating from Derby. It later took part in the siege of Carlisle. In 1746, it was at the capture of Carlisle and then went to York.
On December 25 1746, when 3 regiments of horse were converted to Dragoon Guards, the "3rd Regiment of Horse" also known as the "Queen's Regiment of Horse" became the "2nd Dragoon Guards". At the same time, drummers and hauthoy-players were substituted for trumpeters; the carabines were returned into store, and muskets with bayonets were received. The flask-string was removed from the pouch-belt and the equipment was altered to correspond with other regiments of dragoons. The regiment then counted 2 squadrons, always mounted on bay horses. It was organized as follows:
- 1 colonel
- 1 lieutenant-colonel
- 1 major
- 1 chaplain
- 1 surgeon
- 1 adjutant
- six troops, each consisting of:
- 1 captain
- 1 lieutenant-colonel
- 1 cornet
- 1 quartermaster
- 3 sergeants
- 3 corporals
- 2 drummers
- 1 hautboy
- 59 dragoons
In 1747, the regiment left York and went to Derby and Nottingham. In 1748, it took up quarters at Bristol and other towns in Somersetshire; in 1749, in Gloucester, Worcester, Tewksbury and Pershore. The same year, a reduction of 6 sergeants, 6 corporals and 138 men was made in the establishment. In 1749, it took up quarters in the maritime towns on the coast of Sussex; in 1751, in Kent and Essex; in 1752, in Worcestershire; in 1753, at York and Bradford; and in 1754, in Durham and afterwards in Scotland.
In 1755, one corporal, and 15 men were added to each troop of the regiment. At the end of the year, a company of light dragoons was added to the regiments. These light dragoons had brass helmets. This troop initially consisted of 3 officers, 1 quartermaster, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers, and 60 privates; but it was soon afterwards augmented to 89 private men.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from January 27, 1753: Honourable William Herbert (died in 1757)
- from April 5, 1757: Lieutenant-General Lord George Sackville (deprived of his commission in 1759 for disobeying orders at the Battle of Minden)
- from September 10, 1759 to 1773: Honourable John Waldegrave
On March 26, 1763, the light troop was disbanded.
Service during the War
In the autumn of 1758, the regiment left Scotland, and was quartered in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, two troops being placed in garrison at Hull and the light troop detached to Northampton.
In 1759, the regiment was removed to the south of England. As of May 30, it counted six troops (excluding its light troop) organised in two squadrons for a total of 390 men.
Early in the spring of 1760, the regiment was ordered to hold itself in readiness to proceed to Germany. It had been selected to form part of the second British contingent sent to reinforce the Allied army of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. In the early part of May, the regiment embarked in transports on the river Thames. The contingent was shipped to Bremen on the Weser instead of, as heretofore, to Emden. On May 17, it arrived in the Weser, below Bremen. The regiment was immediately landed. On June 14, after traversing an immense extent of country, it arrived at the banks of the Eder and joined the Allied army in its camp of Fritzlar where it formed a brigade with the 1st Dragoon Guards and 3rd Dragoon Guards under the command of Brigadier-General Webb. On June 17, the regiment was reviewed by Duke Ferdinand. By July 27, it was encamped at Kalle in Hesse-Kassel. About 11:00 p.m. on July 30, the regiment advanced with the main army to Liebenau and crossed the Diemel. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it formed part of 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. In this battle, the regiment lost 3 NCOs and 9 privates killed; Captain Arnot, Lieutenant Mattack, Cornet Callender, 1 NCO and 10 men wounded. On August 3, the regiment joined the main army encamped near Warburg and passed several months in position on the banks of the Diemel, remaining in camp until December, when a deep snow having fallen, it proceeded into village cantonments in the Bishopric of Paderborn, where the men and horses suffered much from the scarcity of provision and forage.
In February 1761, the regiment took part in the Allied offensive in Hesse. Marching through snow and over ice, the Allies penetrated the enemy's winter-quarters and captured several extensive magazines and fortified towns. In March, they returned to their former position in March, and the regiment was again placed in village cantonments, in a country reduced to a desert during the previous campaign. During the campaign of 1761, the regiment served in Conway's Corps. On July 15 and 16, it took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen. On August 24, the brigade of Dragoon Guards, with a number of other corps, under Prince Ferdinand, proceeded towards the Diemel, forced all the enemy's posts in that quarter, captured 300 prisoners, at Dringenberg. Early in November, after various unimportant movements, the brigade of Dragoon Guards, with several other corps, was engaged with the enemy's advance posts at Einbeck. It then marched in the night through a heavy snow to Vorwohle, and commenced erecting their tents; but just as the encampment was formed, an alarm was given by the outposts of the advance of the enemy in great force. The brigade instantly formed, advanced, attacked the French and drove them back with considerable loss. On November 9, the brigade had another sharp skirmish with the enemy near Vorwohle. This irregular warfare by detached parties, in which British troops sustained great loss in men and horses from fatigue, privation, and constant exposure to inclement weather, was continued until the beginning of December, when the regiment went into winter-quarters in East Friesland.
In the middle of May 1762, the regiment left its winter-quarters in East Friesland. On June 18, it joined the allied army encamped at Brakel. On June 24, the regiment took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal where it formed part of the centre column. It was engaged in surrounding the French troops in the woods of Wilhelmsthal and, after the pursuit, encamped that night near Holtzhausen. A few days afterwards, the regiment marched to Hoff. In November, a suspension of arms took place and the regiment went into quarters in the Bishopric of Münster.
At the beginning of February 1763, the regiment left Germany and marched through the Dutch Republic to Willemstad where it embarked for England. After its arrival in England, the regiment was quartered in Worcestershire. At the same time, its establishment was reduced to 3 officers, 1 quartermaster, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, 1 hautboy and 28 privates per troop. On March 26, the light troop was disbanded.
|Headgear||black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade|
|Coat||red lined buff
|Waistcoat||buff with very narrow yellow buttonholes|
|Breeches||buff 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 gold lace at the bindings and buttonholes
- a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
- crimson and gold striped sword knot
- housings and holster caps laced gold
Sergeants distinguished by a narrow gold lace on the lapels, cuffs and pockets; a gold aiguillette; a buff worsted sash round the waist.
Corporals distinguished by a narrow gold lace on the cuffs and shoulder strap; yellow silk aiguillette.
The oboists and drummers rode grey horses. They wore red coats lined and turned up with blue and laced with the royal lace (yellow and blue). Hanging sleeves fastened at the waist. Blue waistcoats and breeches.
Drummers wore a mitre cap similar to the grenadier mitre cap but with a lower crown and the tassel hanging behind. Buff front decorated with the badge of the regiment; little frontal red flap with the White Horse and the the motto “Nec aspera terrent”; red backing, blue headband with a thistle and the rank of the regiment in the middle part behind.
The drums were of brass and embossed (not painted). The banners of the kettle-drum and trumpets were buff. The banner of the kettle drum carried the badge of the regiment while the banners of the trumpets carried the king's cipher and crown with the number of the regiment underneath.
The standards were made of damask, fringed 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 badge of the regiment (the queen's cipher on a red field, surrounded by a blue garter carrying the motto “Honi soit qui mal y pense”).
Regimental Guidon: buff field fringed gold with its centre decorated with the badge of the regiment (the queen's cipher on a red field, surrounded by a blue garter carrying the motto “Honi soit qui mal y pense”). In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a red compartment. In the second and third corners: the rank of the regiment in a red compartment.
This article incorporates texts of the following source:
- Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Second, or Queen’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards, London: William Clowes and Sons, 1837
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)
Wikipedia - 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays)
N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.