THE KING’S ROYAL HUSSARS - A BRIEF HISTORY
The King’s Royal Hussars was formed by the amalgamation of The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) and the 14th/20th King’s Hussars on the 4th December 1992. It is an Armoured Regiment equipped with the Challenger II Main Battle Tank.
Stationed at Aliwal Barracks, Tidworth, Hampshire, the Regiment is part of 12 Mechanised Brigade. Since its formation the Regiment has conducted operational tours worldwide, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Operation CABRIT in Estonia.
The origins of the regiment can be traced back to 1715 and the famous regiments from which it is formed. These are the regiments which have, over the years, amalgamated to form the KRH, and whose myriad of traditions and honours have given the KRH as it exists today its rich heritage and personality.
10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)
The 10th was raised as Gore’s Dragoons at the time of the First Jacobite Rebellion in 1715. They subsequently saw service in the Second Jacobite Rebellion in 1745 and then during the Seven Years War in Germany.
In 1783 the Regiment changed its title to the 10th Light Dragoons (Prince of Wales’s Own) by command of King George III who appointed his son, the then Prince of Wales, as Colonel. In 1806 the Prince of Wales clothed and equipped the Regiment as Hussars – thus making them the first Hussar Regiment in the British Army.
In 1808 the Regiment landed at Corunna and distinguished itself in the ensuing campaign of the Peninsular War. In 1815 it was Captain Grey’s patrol that brought news of the Prussian retreat at Wavre, thus influencing the Duke of Wellington to fight at Waterloo. Throughout the rest of the 19th Century the Regiment saw service in the Crimea, Sudan, India, Afghanistan and in the South African War.
During the First World War, the Regiment fought in France and Belgium, and in the Second World War served in North Africa, Italy and Germany. Thereafter the Regiment served in England, Jordan, the Arabian Peninsula and Germany.
11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own)
The 11th was raised in 1715 as Honywood’s Dragoons, and also saw service in both the First and Second Jacobite Rebellions. Like the 10th they next saw action during the Seven Years War. Under the Duke of Wellington, the Regiment saw action in the Peninsula War, traditionally earning the name “Cherrypickers” for an action in an orchard. Later at Waterloo they captured the last French guns in action.
In 1840, the Regiment escorted Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg from Dover to Canterbury before his marriage to Queen Victoria. Impressed by their smartness Prince Albert requested that the Regiment should henceforth be called the 11th Prince Albert’s Own Hussars, and should wear his crimson livery trousers, which survive to this day.
During the Crimean War, the Regiment played a prominent part at Balaklava in the Charge of the Light Brigade. From 1856, the Regiment served in England, Ireland, India, Abyssinia and South Africa.
For the duration of the First World War, the Regiment fought dismounted in Flanders. In 1928 the Regiment became the first Cavalry Regiment to be mechanised. During the Second World War they saw distinguished service in the Desert Campaign and in North West Europe. Thereafter the Regiment served in Malaya, Northern Ireland, Aden, Kuwait and Germany.
14th King's Hussars
The 14th was raised as Dormer’s Dragoons in 1715 to combat the First Jacobite Rebellion. They were immediately sent north to face the Jacobites and were involved in the Battle of Preston, 9–14 November 1715. Following the Second Jacobite Rebellion in 1745, the Regiment was subsequently employed on internal security duties in Ireland for the greater part of the 18th century.
Perhaps the period of greatest achievement for the 14th was the 6-year Peninsula War in Portugal and Spain. The 14th gained a reputation second to none as Light Cavalry, and were particularly highly thought of by the Duke of Wellington who did not always have kind things to say about the British Cavalry. The Officers’ Mess still has a silver chamber-pot that a patrol of the 14th removed from the carriage of Napoleon’s brother (Joseph, King of Spain) after Vittoria in 1813, earning themselves the nickname of “the Emperor’s Chambermaids”.
The 14th played a major role in the Sikh Wars, 1846-1849 and in the invasion of Persia in 1857, following which the Regiment returned to India and operated with conspicuous success against rebels in the Indian Mutiny. Following the South Africa War, where the Regiment was heavily involved, the 14th served in Mesopotamia and Persia from 1915-1919.
The 20th, originally raised in Inniskilling in 1759, served only in wartime until 1862, and being a junior regiment, was subjected to a number of disbandments after each successive conflict.
In 1861 it was re-raised from European Cavalry in the service of the East India Company and saw action in Sudan and South Africa. The 20th were also actively involved in the First World War, seeing the majority of their service in France and Flanders.
They then took part in operations against Turkish Nationalists in Ismid in 1920 where they carried out the last regimental cavalry charge in British military history.
The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)
The Royal Hussars (PWO) was formed on 25th October 1969 by the amalgamation of the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) and the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own).
After formation in 1969 The Royal Hussars (PWO) saw service in Cyprus, Hong Kong, Belize, BAOR, Canada and Northern Ireland. In 1983 they became the first Regiment to receive the Challenger Main Battle Tank.
In early 1990, following a short time at Tidworth, D Squadron was detached to Cyprus while the remainder of the Regiment moved to Munster, Germany, where it remained until amalgamation in 1992.
14th/20th King's Hussars
The 14th/20th King’s Hussars were formed on 1 October 1922 by the amalgamation of the 14th (King’s) Hussars and 20th Hussars.
After formation in 1922 and mechanisation in 1938 the 14th/20th King’s Hussars found itself in India at the outbreak of the Second World War. It formed the spearhead for the invasion of Persia in 1941, and remained in the Middle Eastern theatre until the end of 1944 when it joined the British 8th Army in Italy. On the 16th April 1945 the Regiment, with the Gurkhas, took by assault the strongly fortified town of Medicina.
Since the Second World War the Regiment has carried out every conceivable role including active operations in Cyprus, Northern Ireland and the Middle East. In 1988, one squadron was detached to Berlin while the remainder of the Regiment moved to Münster.
During the Gulf War in 1990-91, the Regiment, equipped with Challenger Main Battle Tanks, played a leading part in the land offensive to force the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait. Following the Gulf War they returned to their base in Munster, Germany where they remained until amalgamation in 1992.
The 23rd Hussars and 26th Hussars were two of many regiments raised during WW2 and then disbanded at the end of the war.
The 23rd Hussars was raised in December 1940 from a cadre of personnel taken from the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) and the 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars. It was assigned to 29th Armoured Brigade of 11th Armoured Division, landing in France in June 1944 and fighting throughout the western Europe campaign. In 1945 the 23rd liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp before crossing the Elbe and capturing Lübeck. It was disbanded at the end of January 1946.
The 26th Hussars was was raised at Meerut in June 1941 from a cadre of personnel taken from the 14th/20th King’s Hussars and assigned to the 2nd Indian Armoured Brigade. It was later moved to the 255th Indian Armoured Brigade at Sialkot.
It was disbanded at Bolarum, near Secunderabad, in October 1943. Some of the personnel were transferred to the 3rd Carabiniers, but the majority joined the Chindits force under Orde Wingate.