The Battle of Warburg was fought during the Seven Years War between Britain and the Hanoverians against the French. Twelve British regiments were involved including the 10th and 11th Dragoons.

The Seven Years War, in which Britain and the Hanoverians (rulers of a German kingdom) opposed the French, lasted from 1756 to 1763. Initially the 11th Dragoons took part in raids on the French ports of St Malo and Cherbourg, prior to serving in Germany from 1759.

At the Battle of Minden, 1st August 1759, when the Allied cavalry of five regiments was called to charge in support of the infantry, Lord George Sackville refused to give the order to advance three times, and thus lost an opportunity to influence the battle. Sackville’s conduct has never been satisfactorily explained.

Map of the Battle of Warburg on 31st July 1760 during the Seven Years War: map by John Fawkes

At the Battle of Warburg, 31st July 1760, the left Brigade of the first line was commanded by Major General Honywood, the nephew of the founder of the 11th Dragoons, Philip Honywood, who had served in the regiment from 1735 to 1741. The Marquess of Granby was determined to recover the good name of the cavalry after the Battle of Minden. He personally led the cavalry charge against overwhelming odds, during which he lost his hat and wig, which gave rise to the phrase “going bald-headed at it.” The French were routed and suffered heavy casualties of 1,500 men killed and wounded. The battle honour ‘Warburg’ was awarded exclusively to cavalry regiments, the first to be granted to both the 10th and 11th Dragoons. Both regiments subsequently fought at the Battle of Villinghausen in 1761.

Marquess of Granby relieving a sick soldier: Battle of Warburg on 31st July 1760 during the Seven Years War
Farrier, 11th Dragoons at the time of the Battle of Warburg: Picture by David Morier