2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays)

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2nd Dragoon Guards (The Queen's Bays)
Queen's Bays Cap Badge.jpg
2nd Dragoon Guards (The Queen's Bays)
Active 1685–1959
Country  Kingdom of England (1685–1707)
 Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1959)
Branch  British Army
Type Cavalry
Role Royal Armoured Corps
Size Regiment
Nickname(s) The Bays
Motto(s) Pro rege et patria (Latin "for King & Country")
March Quick – Rusty Buckles
Slow – The Queen's Bays

The 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army. It was first raised in 1685 by the Earl of Peterborough as the Earl of Peterborough's Regiment of Horse by merging four existing troops of horse.

Renamed several times, it was designated the Queen's Regiment of Dragoon Guards in 1746 as it evolved into a dragoon unit. (Dragoons described a force of highly mobile mounted infantry equipped with lighter,faster horses and carrying firearms) and later named the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) in 1767 to reflect the custom of its soldiers riding only bay horses.

The regiment served as horse cavalry until 1937, when it was mechanised with light tanks. The regiment became part of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1939. After service in the First and Second World Wars, the regiment amalgamated with the 1st King's Dragoon Guards in 1959 to form the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards.

History

Early history

Battle of Aughrim, July 1691

The regiment was raised in 1685 as the Earl of Peterborough's Regiment of Horse when James II expanded his army after the Monmouth rebellion. [a][1] Peterborough was a Catholic who remained loyal to James and was replaced by Edward Villiers on 31 December 1688.[b][2]

During the Nine Years' War, it served as Villiers Regiment in Ireland between 1689-81, fighting in the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim.[c] At Aughrim, it was ordered to cross a bog under heavy fire, prompting French general the Marquis de St Ruth to shout "It is madness, but no matter, the more that cross the more we shall kill;" he was decapitated by a cannon ball shortly thereafter.[3] When the Treaty of Limerick ended the war in Ireland in October 1691, the regiment returned to England.[4]

Brigadier-General Richard Leveson became Colonel on 19 January 1694 and as Leveson's Regiment of Horse it was based in Flanders until the Treaty of Ryswick ended the war in 1697.[5] It escaped disbandment by being placed on the Irish establishment;[d] Leveson died in March 1699 and Daniel Harvey took over as Colonel.[6]

During the War of the Spanish Succession Harveys Regiment moved to Portugal in March 1704 to support the Allied campaign in the Iberian Peninsula. In July 1710 it fought at the Battle of Almenar but in December was overwhelmed by superior forces at Brihuega, the survivors being taken prisoner.[4]

In recognition of its involvement in suppressing the 1715 Jacobite rising it changed names to The Princess of Wales's Own Regiment of Horse and after Caroline of Wales became Queen in 1727 The Queen's Own Regiment of Horse.[4] After the 1745 Jacobite rising it changed titles again to The Queen's Regiment of Dragoon Guards in 1746 then 2nd (The Queen's) Regiment of Dragoon Guards in 1751.[7]

During the Seven Years' War, it fought at Corbach and Warburg in July 1760 and then captured several French regiments at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal in June 1762.[1] After starting to ride on bay horses, the regiment were renamed as the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) in 1767.[7] In an incident during the Peninsular War, a single squadron of the regiment, under Major Robert Craufurd, attacked and defeated a unit of 150 French troops; the regiment was not present at the Battle of Waterloo.[8] The regiment next saw action when a squadron under Major Piercy Smith charged the rebels at the capture of Lucknow in March 1858 during the Indian Rebellion.[9] It suffered heavy losses in an action at Leeuwkop in March 1902 during the Second Boer War.[10]

First World War

Troops of the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) on the march approaching Hardecourt Wood, 18 September 1916.

The regiment, which had been was stationed at Aldershot at the start of the war, landed in France as part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division, part of the Expeditionary Force, in August 1914 for service on the Western Front.[11] The regiment took part in the Great Retreat in August 1914, the Battle of Le Cateau in August 1914, the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914, the Battle of Messines in October 1914, the First Battle of Ypres in October 1914, the Battle of the Somme in Autumn 1916, the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, the Battle of the Scarpe in August 1918 and in the final advance of Autumn 1918.[12]

Inter-war

The regiment was renamed the Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) in 1921.[7] The regiment served as horse cavalry until 1937, when it was mechanised with light tanks. The regiment became part of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1939.[12]

Second World War

The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) advance through the Gabes Gap, Tunisia, 7 April 1943

At the outbreak of the Second World War, in September 1939, the regiment was in England, assigned to the 2nd Light Armoured Brigade (serving alongside the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers and the 10th Royal Hussars) of the 1st Armoured Division. In May 1940, the Bays went to France and was heavily engaged on the Somme during the Battle of France. In mid June, with the collapse of French resistance, the regiment was evacuated to England through the port of Brest.[13] The regiment was deployed to the Middle East in November 1941, equipped initially with the Crusader tank, and took part in the Battle of Gazala in May 1942, where its men were in action for 19 days, a record for an armoured regiment in the Western Desert. The regiment also took part in the First Battle of El Alamein in July 1942, the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942, the Battle of the Mareth Line in March 1943 and the Tunisia Campaign in May 1943.[13] The regiment was deployed on the Italian Front in May 1944: its men took part in the Battle of the Argenta Gap in April 1945 during the final offensive of the Italian Campaign.[13]

Post war

After the war, the regiment remained in northern Italy, at Pegi on the River Isonzo, and then moved to Egypt in June 1947 before returning to Dale Barracks in Chester in October 1947.[14] The regiment moved on to Bad Fallingbostel in Germany in 1949, before returning to Tidworth Camp in September 1954 and then deploying to Aqaba in Jordan later in the year.[14] It deployed to Libya in February 1956 and then returned to Perham Down in August 1957 before transferring to Northampton Barracks in Wolfenbüttel in 1958.[14] The regiment amalgamated with the 1st King's Dragoon Guards in 1959 to form the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards.[14]

Regimental museum

The regimental collection is displayed at Firing Line: Cardiff Castle Museum of the Welsh Soldier in Cardiff.[15]

Battle honours

The regiment's battle honours were as follows:[7]

  • Early Wars: Warburg, Willems, Lucknow, South Africa 1901-02
  • The Great War: Mons, Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, Messines 1914, Armentières 1914, Ypres 1914 '15, Frezenberg, Bellewaarde, Somme 1916 '18, Flers-Courcelette, Arras 1917, Scarpe 1917, Cambrai 1917 '18, St. Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Rosières, Amiens, Albert 1918, Hindenburg Line, St. Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1914-18
  • The Second World War: Somme 1940, Withdrawal to Seine, North-West Europe 1940, Msus, Gazala, Bir el Aslagh, Cauldron, Knightsbridge, Via Balbia, Mersa Matruh, El Alamein, Tebaga Gap, El Hamma, El Kourzia, Djebel Kournine, Tunis, Creteville Pass, North Africa 1941-43, Coriano, Carpineta, Lamone Crossing, Defence of Lamone Bridgehead, Rimini Line, Ceriano Ridge, Cesena, Argenta Gap, Italy 1944-45

Regimental Colonels

Regimental colonels have included:[16]

The Earl of Peterborough's Regiment of Horse (1685); Villiers (1689); Leveson's (1694); Harveys (1699);
The Princess of Wales's Own Regiment of Horse - (1715)
The Queen's Own Regiment of Horse - (1727)
The Queen's Regiment of Dragoon Guards - (1746)
2nd (The Queen's) Regiment of Dragoon Guards - (1751)
2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) - (1767)
The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) - (1921)

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ At this time, regiments were typically named after the Colonel and changed names when a new Colonel was appointed.
  2. ^ Commissions were private assets that could be bought, sold or used as an investment; many Colonels played no active military role which seems likely with Villiers.
  3. ^ Villiers died in July 1689 but this would not have impacted operational command, which appears to have exercised by Lt-Colonel George Carpenter.
  4. ^ Until 1707, Scotland, England and Ireland were treated as separate kingdoms, which paid for their own military units.

References

  1. ^ a b "1685 to 1899 - A Short History of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". Regimental Museum of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Horse). Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. ^ "English Cavalry Regiments". Spanish Succession.nl. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  3. ^ Richards, p. 26
  4. ^ a b c Richards, p. 27
  5. ^ Dalton, Charles (1894). English army lists and Commission Registers, 1661-1714. Rare Books. p. 34. ISBN 1152896717.
  6. ^ "English Cavalry Regiments". Spanish Succession.nl. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d "The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards)". Regiments.org. Archived from the original on 9 January 2006. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  8. ^ Richards, p. 28
  9. ^ Richards, p. 29
  10. ^ "2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays)". Anglo-Boer War. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  11. ^ "The Dragoon Guards". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  12. ^ a b "1899 to 1938 - A Short History of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". Regimental Museum of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Horse). Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b c "1938 to 1959 - A Short History of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". Regimental Museum of the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Horse). Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d "Queen's Bays". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Museum of the Welsh Soldier". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  16. ^ "The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards)". regiments.org. Archived from the original on 9 February 2006. Retrieved 29 September 2016.

Sources

  • Richards, Walter (1890). Her Majesty's Army (PDF). London: J. S. Virtue and Co.

External links

  • Regimental museum

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