Origin and History
The regiment was raised on October 21 1661 as a single troop of veterans of the Parliamentary Army. Shortly after it was increased to 4 troops and designated as the "Tangier Horse" because of its service in this Moroccan town. In 1674, it returned to England. In 1683, it became the "King's Own Royal Regiment of Dragoons" then in 1690, the "Royal Regiment of Dragoons". Its usual nickname was "The Tangier Cuirassiers".
During the Williamite War, the regiment campaigned in Ireland where, on July 11 1690, it took part in the battle of the Boyne and then besieged Limerick.
At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Sucession, the regiment was shipped to the Netherlands before being transferred to Spain in 1705. In 1710, part of the regiment was taken prisoner at Brihuega.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was sent to the Low Countries in 1742. On June 27 1743, it fought at the battle of Dettingen where it captured the standard of the II./Mousquetaires de la Garde. On May 11 1745, it took part in the battle of Fontenoy before being recalled to Great Britain to quench the Jacobite Rising.
The regiment counted 2 squadrons and was always mounted on black horses.
On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British cavalry, the regiment was designated as the "1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons".
At the end of 1755, a company of light dragoons was added to the regiment.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- in 1759 and 1760: Conway
Service during the War
As of May 30 1759, the regiment was stationed in England and counted 2 squadrons for a total of 390 men.
In May 1760, the regiment was among the second British contingent sent to reinforce the Allied army of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. The troops were shipped to Bremen on the Weser instead of, as heretofore, to Emden, and seem to have been despatched with commendable promptitude since some regiments were reviewed by Ferdinand in his camp at Fritzlar on June 17. On July 31, the regiment took part in the battle of Warburg where it was placed at the extreme right of the first line. It was set loose on the broken French battalions who had vainly tried to dislodge the Allied from a hill to their rear. On October 16, the regiment fought in the battle of Clostercamp where it formed part of the advanced guard.
On July 16 1761, the regiment took part in the battle of battle of Vellinghausen.
To do: more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762
|Headgear||black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade|
|Coat||double breasted red lined dark blue with yellow buttons and very narrow yellow buttonholes grouped 2 by 2
|Waistcoat||dark blue with very narrow yellow buttonholes|
|Breeches||dark blue with white knee covers|
Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols and a musket and usually rode black horses with hunter's tails. Their horses were lighter than those of most other dragoons.
As per the regulation of 1751, the officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:
- a narrow golden lace at the lapels, cuffs and pockets
- a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
- crimson and gold striped sword knot
- blue housings and holster caps laced gold
Sergeants were distinguished by a narrow golden lace on the lapels, cuffs and pockets; a golden aiguillette; a blue worsted sash about their waist.
Corporals were distinguished by a narrow golden lace on the cuffs and shoulder strap; yellow silk aiguillette.
Drummers rode grey horses. They wore red coats lined and turned up with blue and laced with the royal lace (yellow and blue). 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. Blue front decorated with regimental badge (crest of England within the Garter); little frontal red flap with the White Horse and the the motto “Nec aspera terrent”; red backing, blue headband with a drum and the rank of the regiment (I. D.) in the middle part behind.
The drums were of brass with a blue forepart carrying the regimental badge (crest of England within the Garter).
The guidons were made of silk, fringed and embroidered with gold. The tassels and cords were of crimson silk and gold mixed.
King's Guidon: 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 rank of the regiment on a blue field.
Regimental Guidon: blue field with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (crest of England within the Garter). In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a red compartment. In the second and third corners: the rank of the regiment on a red ground within a small wreath of roses and thistles.
Aylor, Ron; British Regimental Drums and Colours
English Wikipedia - 1st The Royal Dragoons
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
Household Cavalry – Royal Dragoons
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)
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.
Digby Smith for additional info provided on the regiment.