7th Dragoons

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Origin and History

In May 1689, during the commotions which followed the Revolution of 1688, independent troops were raised on Scots Establishment. Two of these troops took part in the combat of Killicrankie. At the beginning of 1690, three such troops were formed into a regiment of horse. On December 13, 1690, the three troops of the regiment of horse and three other troops of dragoons were merged into regiment of dragoons known as the “Queen's Own Regiment of Dragoons” or “Robert Cunningham's Dragoons”. It then ranked as “8th Dragoons”.

In 1691, the regiment was quartered near the confines of the Highlands, to hold in check the disaffected clans; and was afterwards removed to the vicinity of Edinburgh. The same year, it was renumbered “7th Dragoons”.

In 1694, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was placed on the English Establishment, increased to eight troops and sent from Scotland to England and then Flanders to join the King's Army. In 1695, it took part in covering the siege and capture of Namur. In December 1697, the regiment returned to England.

In 1698, the regiment was sent back to Scotland and transferred to the Scots Establishment.

In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was selected to remain in Scotland. In 1708, each troop of the regiment was augmented to 54 men and transferred back to the English Establishment. In March 1711, the establishment of the regiment was augmented to 60 men per troop. It was then sent to the Dutch Republic. In 1712, after the suspension of hostilities, the regiment retired to Ghent. In 1713, it was sent to Ireland.

In 1714, the regiment was disbanded, its troops being absorbed by the 1st Dragoons and the 2nd Dragoons.

On February 15 1715, the regiment was re-formed from troops of the 1st Dragoons and the 2nd Dragoons. It became the “Princess of Wales's Own Regiment of Dragoons”. At the end of October, the new regiment marched up to Scotland. On November 13, it took part in the Battle of Sheriffmuir against the Scottish insurgents.

In 1716, the regiment took up quarters in Fife but was soon transferred to Yorkshire. In 1717, it was quartered in Lincolnshire and later in Yorkshire; in 1720, in Lancashire; in 1721, in Scotland; in 1722, in Manchester; in 1723, near York and later in Berkshire; and in 1724, in Yorkshire and Durham.

In 1727, the regiment was augmented to nine troops and renamed the “Queen's Own Regiment of Dragoons”. It took up cantonments in Dorsetshire and Somersetshire. In 1729, it was reduced from nine to six troops. In 1730, it occupied cantonments in Dorsetshire, Somersetshire and Wiltshire. In 1732, it was removed to Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. In 1733, it was sent to Scotland where it remained in 1734. In 1735, it returned to England and proceeded into quarters in Leicestershire and Staffordshire, with detachments on revenue duty on the coasts of Lincolnshire and Norfolk. In 1738, the regiment took up quarters in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

In 1739, on the eve of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the establishment of the regiment was augmented to 435 men. In 1740, it was encamped near Newbury and later near Kingsclear before taking cantonments in Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire. In 1741, it was sent to Scotland. In 1742, it returned to England and embarked for the Netherlands. On June 27, 1743, it fought at the Battle of Dettingen where it received its first Battle Honour. On May 11, 1745, the regiment took part in the Battle of Fontenoy. It also fought at Rocoux (October 11, 1746) and Lauffeld (July 2, 1747).

In 1749, the regiment returned to England where it was reduced to a peace establishment. It took up quarters at Norwich and Yarmouth.

On July 1, 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British cavalry, the regiment was designated as the “7th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of Dragoons”.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons and was mounted on horses of different colours.

In October 1753, the regiment was sent to Scotland. In 1755, the establishment of the regiment was augmented to 347 officers and men. On December 25, 1755, a seventh troop of light dragoons was added to the regiment. This new troop was placed under the command of Captain William Erskine; officers and men were mounted on small horse and the troop consisted of:

  • 3 officers
  • 1 quartermaster
  • 2 sergeants
  • 2 drummers
  • 63 light dragoons

The light troop was subsequently augmented to upwards of 100 officers and men.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from August 12, 1741: Lieutenant-General Sir John Cope (died on July 28, 1760)
  • from August 18, 1760 to May 13, 1763: Lieutenant-General John Mostyn

Service during the War

In the spring of 1758, the regiment quitted Scotland, and was stationed in Yorkshire, the head-quarters being at York. From whence the light troop was detached to Portsmouth to take part in an expedition against the French coast, under the orders of Charles Duke of Marlborough. A brigade was formed of the light troops of nine regiments of dragoons, under the orders of Colonel Eliott. On June 6, when a landing was effected on the coast of Bretagne, the light horsemen gave signal proof of their usefulness on several occasions. They took a distinguished part in the capture of the suburbs of Saint-Malo and in the destruction, by fire, of the privateers and other vessels, amounting to upwards of 100 sail in the harbour; also in the destruction of extensive magazines of maritime stores. The light cavalry subsequently advanced several km up the country, and evinced zeal and activity in skirmishing with the French troops. The expedition not being of sufficient strength to undertake the siege of Saint-Malo, the troops re-embarked and returned to England. The light cavalry subsequently took part in a second enterprise against the French coast when Cherbourg was captured and the works with the shipping in the harbour and iron ordnance destroyed. A second landing was also effected near Saint-Malo but no advantage resulted and considerable loss was sustained on re-embarking during the Combat of Saint-Cast. After landing at Portsmouth in September, the light troop of the regiment proceeded to Hackney, and afterwards to Romford; the remainder of the regiment occupying cantonments in Essex and Middlesex.

As of May 30, 1759, the regiment was still stationed in Essex and Middlesex in England and counted 2 squadrons for a total of 390 men. In November, it marched to Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

In March 1760, the six heavy troops of the regiment received orders to proceed to Germany, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel George Lawson Hall. They were among the second British contingent sent to reinforce the Allied army of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. The regiment was not shipped to Germany until June. On July 31, the regiment took part in the battle of Warburg where it headed the southern column. It was set loose on the broken French battalions who had vainly tried to dislodge the Allied from a hill to their rear. The regiment was encamped near the banks of the Diemel, until winter, when the soldiers were directed to build huts to protect themselves and horses from severe weather. They subsequently went into cantonments in the villages in that part of the Bishopric of Paderborn.

In February 1761, the regiment was suddenly called from its winter-quarters and, launching a surprise offensive in Hesse against the enemy’s cantonments, captured several towns and extensive magazines of forage and provisions. Afterwards, the regiment returned to its former quarters. At the beginning of May, it took the field and was formed in a brigade with the 2nd Dragoons and 11th Dragoons commanded by Colonel Harvey. After much manoeuvring, some skirmishing, and many long and toilsome marches, the regiment encamped on the heights of Dinkerberg, between the rivers Ahse and Lippe, forming part of the Marquis Granby's Corps, which had its right in front of the village of Kirch-Dinker. On July 15 and 16, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it was formed in column behind the centre of this part of the position, and supported the infantry. The enemy was repulsed and the cavalry dashed forward, but were prevented charging by the nature of the ground. The regiment was subsequently employed in operations which brought on slight skirmishes; but no general engagement occurred. In August, it was employed on the Diemel. On November 5, it took part in an engagement near Eschershausen in the Duchy of Brunswick. On November 6, it marched to Einbeck where other skirmishes took place. On November 7, it was at Weenzen. During the night of November 7 to 8, it marched, with several other corps, through a heavy snow and along roads almost impassable to Vorwohle where the tents were erected. There, another skirmish occurred. After this affair, it marched to the heights between Mackensen and Lüthorst. Shortly afterwards, the Allied army went into winter-quarters and the regiment marched to East Friesland.

About the middle of May 1762, the regiment took the field. It was encamped a short time at Brakel in the Principality of Paderborn. It was formed in brigade with the 11th Dragoons under Lieutenant-Colonel George Lawson Hall. On June 24, it took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. The regiment pursued the French through the towns of Wilhelmsthal to the vicinity of Kassel, and captured several prisoners. After this battle, the regiment was employed in detached services. Detachments of the French army were dislodged from several important posts and fortified towns, and the campaign concluded with the capture of Kassel.

In February 1763, the regiment commenced its march from Germany, through the Dutch Republic, to Willemstad in North Brabant where it embarked for England. After landing at Harwich, it was stationed in Chelmsford, Springfield and Colchester. Shortly afterwards, the light troop, which had not been on foreign service, was disbanded, and the establishment was reduced to six troops.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Ibrahim90 from a template made by Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1758
Headgear black tricorne laced silver and ornamented with a white metal loop and a black cockade
Neck  stock white
Coat double breasted red lined white with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes grouped 3 by 3
Collar none
Shoulder strap left shoulder: red fastened with a white button
right shoulder: white worsted aiguillette
Lapels none
Pockets long vertical pockets with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes in a chevron pattern
Cuffs white (slashed in the British pattern) with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes in a chevron pattern on the sleeve
Turnbacks white
Waistcoat white with very narrow white buttonholes
Breeches white with white knee covers
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather coloured yellow
Waistbelt n/a
Cartridge Box buff leather coloured yellow
Scabbard n/a
Bayonet scabbard n/a
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Housings white with pointed corners decorated with the regimental badge (Queen's cypher within the Garter); bordered with a yellow braid with a blue stripe
Holster caps white with pointed corners decorated with the regimental badge (Queen's cypher within the Garter) and the rank of the regiment (VII. D.); bordered with a yellow braid with a blue stripe
Blanket roll white and red


Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols and a musket.

Officers

As per the regulation of 1751, the officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • a narrow silver lace at the lapels, cuffs and pockets
  • silver button-holes
  • a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
  • crimson and silver striped sword knot
  • white housings and holster caps laced silver

N.B.: in 1753, officers had white lapels and red breeches

NCOs

Sergeants were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the shoulder-strap, cuffs and pockets; a silver aiguillette; a blue and white worsted sash about their waist.

Corporals were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the cuffs and shoulder strap; white silk aiguillette.

Musicians

Drummers rode grey horses. They wore red coats lined and turned up with blue and laced with the royal lace (yellow and blue). Blue (white according to Cannon) waistcoats and breeches.

Drummers wore a mitre cap similar to the grenadier mitre cap but with a lower crown and the tassel hanging behind. White front decorated with regimental badge (Queen's cypher within the Garter); little frontal red flap with the White Horse and the the motto “Nec aspera terrent”; red backing, white headband with a drum and the rank of the regiment (VII. D.) in the middle part behind.

The drums were of brass with a white forepart carrying the regimental badge (Queen's cypher within the Garter).

Colours

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 (VII D.) in silver characters on a white ground.

Regimental Guidon: white field with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (Queen's cypher 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 (VII D.) on a red ground within a small wreath of roses and thistles.

King's Guidon - Source: Richard Couture from a template by PMPdeL
Regimental Guidon - Source: Richard Couture from a template by PMPdeL

References

This article incorporates texts of the following source:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the Seventh or The Queen’s Own Regiment of Hussars, London: John W. Parker, 1842

Other sources

English Wikipedia – 7th Queen's Own Hussars

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

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.

Acknowledgements

Digby Smith for additional info on the regiment.