The 20th rode the last British regimental cavalry charge in history against Turkish nationalist forces in Gebze, Turkey.
The 20th Hussars returned to England in March 1919, but sailed for Turkey in July. Turkish nationalists had defied the Peace Conference, rebelled and concentrated around Ismit. A British contingent was sent to reinforce the Army of the Black Sea. A rebel force had taken Gebze, east of Istanbul, blown the bridge and taken possession of the peninsula.
The 20th were part of a detachment consisting of the 20th Hussars, 2/39th Royal Garhwal Rifles, a Field Battery of artillery and some Royal Engineers, with the mission to retake and rebuild the bridge. On 13th July, the Gahwalis prepared to make a frontal attack on the Turkish troops. The 20th were 1,000 metres from the Turks on their right flank. When the artillery started firing, the Turks moved out of the village to get into their prepared trenches.
Infantry moving in the open is a classic target for cavalry and the Commanding Officer of the 20th, Lieutenant Colonel Richardson, ordered the charge. The Regiment charged over a ridge with two squadrons forward and the third squadron in depth behind them – nearly 300 men. The ground was flat and open, perfect for cavalry. The charge swept through the Turkish troops who were overwhelmed. The Regiment pulled up, regrouped and charged back through the Turks again. A Gahwali officer observed “….it was time for me to advance with my company and to take possession and complete the job begun so competently by the cavalry.”
This perfectly executed charge was the last regimental cavalry charge in British military history.