Origin and History
The regiment was created on July 29, 1685 as the "Duke of Shrewsbury's Regiment of Horse" from troops previously raised to curb Monmouth's rebellion. It then ranked as 7th Horse. It consisted of 2 squadrons (each of three troops) and was initially quartered near Hounslow but then took up quarters in Warwickshire. In 1686, the regiment took part in the training camp on Hounslow Heath. In 1687, the Duke of Shrewsbury resigned his command and proceeded to the Dutch Republic to join the Prince of Orange. Marmaduke Lord Langdale succeeded him to the colonelcy of the regiment. A few months later, he himself was succeeded by Hon. Richard Hamilton.
In 1688, King James II assembled an army of some 30,000 men, fearing the intervention of the Dutch Prince of Orange (the future William III) in British domestic affairs. On November 5, the Prince of Orange landed on the western coast. The regiment was then ordered to march to London and from thence to Salisbury. When James II fled to France, the Prince of Orange ordered the regiment to march to Fenny Stratford and its colonel was confined in the Tower of London. On December 31, 1688, John Coy became colonel of the regiment.
In August 1689, the regiment embarked for Ireland where it took part in the covering of the siege of Carrickfergus. In 1690, it participated in the Battle of the Boyne; and in 1691, in the siege of Limerick.
In 1691, when then old 5th Horse was disbanded, the regiment was renumbered 6th Horse. In 1692, it returned to England.
In 1694, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was sent to the Netherlands where it joined the confederate army. In 1695, the regiment formed part of the covering army during the siege of Namur. In 1697, a detachment of the regiment took part in an engagement near Enghien. On July 1 1697, Charles Earl of Arran became colonel of the regiment.
In 1698, the regiment returned to England and was quartered at Coventry, Daventry and Towcester. In 1700, it was selected to proceed to Ireland where its numbers were reduced to 36 privates per troop.
In 1701, the regiment was ordered to be augmented to a war establishment of 3 corporals, 2 trumpeters and 57 troopers per troop. There were 6 troops organised in two squadrons. However, only 3 troops could be sent to the Dutch Republic because of difficulty of recruitment.
At the beginning of March 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), three troops of the regiment were sent the Dutch Republic where they were employed in the covering the sieges of Venloo, Roermond, Stevensweert and Liège. In 1703, these three troops took part in a slight skirmish near Haneff and in the covering of the sieges of Huy and Limbourg. At the beginning of 1704, the three troops left in Ireland rejoined those stationed in Holland. The whole regiment then took part in the march to the Danube, in the battles of Schellenberg and Blenheim and in the covering of the siege of Landau. In 1705, it took part in the forcing of the French lines at Neer-Hespen and Helixem; in 1706, in the Battle of Ramillies, and in the capture of Antwerp and Dendermond; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde, in the covering of the siege of Lille and in the Engagement of Wijnendale; in 1709, in the siege and capture of Tournai, in the Battle of Malplaquet and in the covering of the siege of Mons; in 1710, in the covering the sieges of Douai, Béthune, Saint-Venant and Aire; and in 1711, in the passage of the lines at Arleux and in the siege of Bouchain. In June 1713, the regiment was placed upon the Irish establishment; but it was not withdrawn from the Netherlands; the negotiations being prolonged until the succeeding year.
In August 1714, the regiment was ordered home from Flanders. It then proceeded to Ireland where the cuirasses were returned into store and each of its troops was reduced to 25 privates. Around 1717, the distinctive colour of the regiment was changed from buff to green and its lace from silver to gold.
In 1740, each troop of the regiment was increased to 35 privates; and in 1741, to 45 privates.
At the beginning of 1743, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment contributed 60 men and horses to complete the three regiments of horse campaigning in Flanders. Another similar detachment was also sent in 1744.
On December 25, 1746, when the Royal Horse Guards ceased to bear a number and three Regiments of Horse were converted to Dragoon Guards, the “6th Regiment of Horse” became the “2nd Regiment of Horse” also known as the “Green Horse” and was transferred to the Irish establishment.
In 1749, the regiment was reduced to 21 privates per troop. It consisted of six troops organised in two squadrons, as usual for heavy cavalry regiments.
At the beginning of the Seven Years’ War, the establishment of the regiment was augmented to 49 privates per troop.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from December 22, 1747: Lieutenant-General Thomas Bligh
- from October 23, 1758: Major-General Hon. John Waldegrave (afterwards 3rd Earl Waldegrave)
- from September 1759: vacant
- from November 27, 1760 till August 27, 1789: Major-General Hon. John Fitzwilliam
In 1763, the establishment of the regiment was reduced to 21 privates per troop.
In 1788, the four last "Regiments of Horse" were converted into "Dragoon Guards". Thus, the "2nd Regiment of Horse" became the "5th Dragoon Guards".
Service during the War
As of May 30 1759, the regiment was stationed in Ireland and counted 2 squadrons for a total of 120 men. It was not involved in any campaign during the war.
|Headgear||black tricorne laced gold with a brass loop and a black cockade|
|Coat||red lined full green
|Waistcoat||full green with yellow buttons and very narrow yellow buttonholes|
|Breeches||full green with white knee covers|
Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols and a musket.
As per the regulation of 1751, the officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:
- a narrow gold lace at the bindings and buttonholes
- a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
- crimson and gold striped sword knot
- housings and holster caps laced gold
Corporals were distinguished by a narrow gold lace on the lapels, cuffs, pockets and shoulder straps; a full green worsted sash about their waist.
The trumpeters wore full green coats faced and turned up with red and laced with a white braid with a central red stripe. Hanging sleeves fastened at the waist. Red waistcoats and breeches.
The banners of the kettle drums were full green with the rank of the regiment (II. H.) in gold characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk in its centre. The banners of the trumpets were full green carrying the king's cypher and crown with the rank of the regiment (II. H.) underneath.
The standards were made of damask, fringed with gold and embroidered with gold. The tassels and cords were of crimson silk and gold mixed.
King's Standard: 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 (II. H.) in gold characters on a full green ground.
Regimental Standard: full green field fringed gold with its centre decorated with the rank of the regiment (II. H.) in gold characters on a crimson ground within a wreath of roses and thistles on the same stalk. Underneath the central decoration: the regimental motto “VESTIGIA NULLA RETRORSUM”. In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a red compartment. In the second and third corners: the rose and thistle conjoined upon a red ground.
This article incorporates texts of the following source:
- Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Fifth, or Princess Charlotte of Wales’s Regiment of Dragoon Guardss, London: Longman, Orme, and Co., 1839
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
George II: The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751
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)
Digby Smith for additional info on the regiment.