9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers



Brothers James Wynne and Owen Wynne represented a prominent Irish Protestant family in the turbulent years following the 'Restoration of the Monarchy' (King Charles II) in 1660 and the subsequent 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688 which saw the Protestant William of Orange invited to replace the Roman Catholic James II as King.

James Wynne (by Royal Warrant dated 1st January 1689) raised a 'troop of horse' to support King William III, and Wynne's Regiment of Dragoons was later to become the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers. James' younger brother, Owen, joined the Regiment as a major in 1694, at which time the Regiment fought in the Flanders campaign of 1694 to 1697.

Owen Wynne was promoted lieutenant-colonel in July 1695, and was to pursue a stellar career in the Army. When the First Jacobite Rebellion broke out in 1715, (then) Maj. Gen. Wynne raised a new cavalry regiment in the Southern Counties of England, another Wynne's Regiment of Dragoons (not to be confused with his brother's earlier regiment). The Regiment consisted of 6 troops, roughly 300 officers and men, billeted in the first months in Bedford.



In November 1715, the Regiment marched to Manchester and then Preston to join a brigade under command of Maj. Gen. Wills engaging some 1,200 rebel troops who had invaded from Scotland. In bitter fighting, the Regiment lost 6 men and 15 horses killed.

With the rebellion put down, in 1717 the Regiment was in Sussex on coast-watch duty, still with an establishment of 6 troops. In 1718, the Regiment crossed the Bristol Channel to Ireland, where they would spend the next eighty-six years.

In 1719, Colonelcy of the Regiment passed to Brig. James Crofts, hence Crofts' Dragoons. Brigadier Crofts was, interestingly, son of the Duke of Monmouth who had previously rebelled against the Roman Catholic King James II in 1685. When Croft died in 1732, various Colonels assumed patronage of the Regiment over later years.

By 1751, the Regiment had been designated the 9th Regiment of Dragoons and a Royal Warrant specified the uniform as having scarlet jackets with buff facings, tricornered cocked hats with a white band and black cockade, and boots reaching to the knee. Officers wore silver lace and a crimson sash over the shoulder. Horse furniture was buff and marked 'IX.D'. Their guidons, or pennants, featured the white horse of Hanover.

The next thirty years saw the Regiment accommodated at various postings in Ireland with a frequent change in Colonels.

1783 saw a number of regiments, including the 9th, re-designated as 'light dragoons' and in 1784 the colour of the jacket of all 'light dragoon' regiments changed from scarlet to blue.

1798 saw the Regiment threatened by the Irish Rebellion, in which the Irish were supported by the French. The rebellion brought with it the usual atrocities and cruelty. The 9th Light Dragoons were active in policing duties from the start of hostilities. At Kilkullen, in May, a party under the command of Capt. John Beevor was surprised by a large body of rebels and lost 8 men killed (with one man later shot in captivity) and at the same time a party at Ballymoor under command of Capt. Erskine lost Capt. Erskine and 9 men killed.

On the same day in May, 20 men from the Regiment under command of Cornet Richard Love, augmented by 30 local militia troopers, took the offensive against about 400 rebels and triumphed at Stratford-Upon-Slaney. The Commanding Officer at this time, based at Carlow, was Lt. Col. Thomas Mahon.

Constant, vicious skirmishing followed throughout June, including the Battle of Vinegar Hill after which the rebellion collapsed. After eighty-six years in Ireland, the Regiment (with an establishment of 640 men) returned to England in 1803. With war raging in Europe, the Regiment's establishment was increased to 10 troops totalling 1,100 men. After taking part in the major 'review' at Hounslow in June, the Regiment was spread throughout Sussex on coast watch duties and thence to Kent.

In 1806 the Regiment was chosen for the expedition against Spanish possessions in South America, in particular the city of Buenos Aires. Dismounted, they embarked in November in the expedition commanded by Brig. Sir Samuel Auchmuty. Arriving in the River Plate in March 1807 (just after the capture of Monte Video), No effort was made to acquire horses for the Regiment, which remained as infantry. In July, the assault on Buenos Aires began.

In the face of overwhelming opposition from the entire population, Lt. Gen. Whitelock (then commanding) made the decision to abandon the attack, a decision for which he was later court-marshalled. The entire force embarked for England. Towards the end of the voyage, one of the ships, the James and Rebecca, was wrecked off the Cornish coast with the loss of 29 soldiers from the Regiment, but many lives were saved with the help of local Cornish people and the use of hawser and tackle. All the arms and baggage were lost.

After brief rest and recuperation, the Regiment was selected to take part in an attack on the French occupying the Netherlands in 1809, in the army commanded by Gen. John Pitt, Earl of Chatham (elder son of the former Prime Minister, William Pitt the Elder). Like the expedition to South America, the Netherlands expedition was an unmitigated disaster. Chatham quarrelled with the Naval Commander, the army succumbed to malaria (the Regiment losing 152 men to the disease) and the troops returned to England having achieved nothing.

In 1811, the Regiment (including their horses) joined Wellington's army in Portugal. At Aroyo-de-Malino, in October, the Regiment was involved in the rout of the French, a trumpeter from the 9th (named Martin) accepting the sword of the French general (Brune) in surrender. In January 1812, the Regiment engaged the French at Merida. Wellington won victories at Badajoz and Salamanca and the army advanced, with the 9th in the Corps commanded by Lt. Gen. Rowland Hill. After constant skirmishing, the Regiment was withdrawn to England in April 1813.

In 1816, the Regiment again joined a major 'review' by the Prince Regent (later King George IV) and his son, the Duke of York, on Hounslow Heath. At that time, a decision was made to re-introduce the lance as a cavalry weapon and the 5th, 9th, 12th, 16th, 17th and 21st regiments were re-designated 'lancers', with relevant changes to their uniforms and equipment.

For the next twenty-five years, the Regiment travelled throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. In 1830, at a review in St James' Park, London, King William IV conferred the title 'Queen's Own' on the 9th Lancers in honour of his wife, Queen Adelaide.

1831 saw the colour of cavalry uniforms revert from blue to scarlet, and on the ascension of Queen Victoria to the throne in 1937, the 9th Lancers furnished a royal escort, still retaining their title Queen's Royal.

In 1841 the Regiment shipped to India where they were to remain for eighteen years. Immediately the Regiment was involved in active campaigning The Mahratta rulers, who had previously been pacified by East India Company troops in 1818, rose again in revolt in 1843 and the Regiment became involved in the Gwalior Campaign. The British army was commanded by Sir Hugh Gough, and the 9th Lancers formed part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade (the brigade commanded by their CO, Lt. Col. Colin Campbell).

A superior Mahratta force attacked the British at Punniar Pass on 29th December and the Regiment was engaged in heavy fighting. No sooner were the Mahratta tribes subdued than the British were involved in war with the Sikhs (1845-46) and Gen. Gough marched his army north towards the Punjab State. The first major engagement was at Mudki (sometimes 'Moodkhee') in December 1845, although the 9th Lancers were not committed to the campaign until the Battle of Sobraon in February 1846.

An uneasy peace was settled in 1846, but resentment on the part of the Sikh Nation was to result in a second war (1848-49) and, ultimately, the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Throughout these troubled times, the 9th Lancer were constantly campaigning, earning many significant battle honours.

The Regiment was repatriated to England in May 1859. After sixteen years of comparative peace, the Regiment returned to India in 1875, where they were stationed in Kashmir. On the outbreak of the Second Afghan War (1878-80) they embarked on a rugged campaign in North West Frontier. Interestingly, comparisons can be drawn between this campaign and the American/British occupation of Afghanistan in 2003-2010.

In 1885 the Regiment returned to England, where they would remain until the outbreak of the (Second) Boer War (1899-1902).