13th Hussars (Queen Mary's Own)



When, in 1715, King George I needed to raise extra troops for his army (in the face of rebellion by Roman Catholic supporters if James Stuart), a commission was given to Brigadier Richard Munden requiring him to recruit a regiment of dragoons - Brigadier Munden was one of a number of officers chosen for the task, having proved his loyalty to the Hanoverian succession.


Munden's Regiment of Dragoons was raised in the Midlands and established its head-quarters in Cheshire. As the rebel troops, marching from Scotland, entered Lancashire, Munden's Dragoons marched to meet them at Preston. After a brief, but intense, engagement, the rebels surrendered and their leaders were arrested. The Regiment then quartered in Manchester before marching south to Wiltshire (and later Worcester) in 1717.

In 1718, the Regiment crossed the Bristol Channel to Ireland, where they were to remain for twenty-three years until 1741. When the War of the Austrian succession broke out in 1742 and a British army was sent to Flanders, the Regiment - at this time known as Bland's Dragoons and then Gardiner's Dragoons - returned to Southern England. When the Second Jacobite Rebellion broke out in Scotland in 1745 (in support of Charles Stuart, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'), the Regiment marched north and took up quarters in Stirling. In September they fought the Battle of Prestonpans (sometimes 'Preston-Pans'), where the King's forces (commanded by Lt. Gen. Sir James Cope) were soundly defeated and where Colonel James Gardiner was killed.




The fight against the Scottish rebels continued, with the British commander, Gen. Cope, replaced by General Wade. Colonelcy of the Regiment was entrusted to Col. Francis Ligonier. Meanwhile, the rebel army, inspired by their success at Prestonpans, invaded northern England and captured Carlisle. Subsequently, Ligonier's Dragoons fought at Falkirk. The Regiment occupied Edinburgh whilst the rebel forces were finally defeated at the decisive Battle of Culloden in 1746.The Regiment remained in Edinburgh until 1749, at which time they returned to Ireland.

A Royal Warrant dated July 1751 saw the Regiment designated the 13th Dragoons with scarlet jackets showing light green facings, tri-cornered black hats with a black cockade and a 'yellow loop'. Further changes in 1768 saw the facings changed to deep green with white breeches. and a red and white feather added to the hat.

In 1782, whilst still in Ireland, the Regiment was designated 'light dragoons' with changes to the uniform and equipment. The cocked-hats were replaced by helmets and in 1784, together with other 'light dragoon' regiments, the colour of the jackets changed from scarlet to blue. The 13th Light Dragoons wore light buff facings. At this time, the Regiment's establishment was reduced to 144 men and the horses were turned out to grass. Despite the comparative peace, Ireland was constantly threated by Roman Catholic insurrection, a threat which kept the British troops active as police. And when the French Revolutionary Wars threatened to involve Britain in 1792, the establishment was increased.

The French Revolutionary Wars spread to the West Indies, and two troops from the 13th Light Dragoons embarked for Jamaica in 1795, with the entire Regiment following in 1796. The horses were left in England. The Regiment sailed to Barbados and then San Domingo, where they suffered from catastrophic disease, losing 20 officers and 240 other ranks within six months. The remnants of the Regiment returned to Jamaica, where they were engaged in a guerilla war with local French supporters.

The Regiment remained in Jamaica until 1798, at which time some men transferred to the 20th Light Dragoons whilst the remainder, a meagre 52 men, sailed for home. Stationed in York, the Regiment recruited locally. Marching subsequently to Birmingham, Coventry, Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon, the establishment soon reached nine troops totaling 802 officers and men, with an equivalent number of horses. The threat of a French invasion in 1803 saw the 13th transferred to southern England, notably Sandwich and Ramsgate. 1809 saw the Regiment stationed at Hounslow and Hampton Court.




In 1810 the Regiment, at that time under the practical command of Lt. Col. Michael Head, was chosen to join Wellington's army on the Spanish Peninsular. Armed with the Paget light cavalry carbine and 1796 pattern sabre, they landed at Lisbon in February 1811. Elements of the Regiment were immediately involved in heavy skirmishing and later the defence of the British line at Torres Vedras. In March, the 13th joined the allied advance as the French retreated. They fought a major engagement at Campo Mayor (near Badajoz), sustaining many casualties, and in May the Regiment fought the Battle of Albuhera. There followed months of intense skirmishing as Wellington's troops drove the French from Spain, and the Regiment fought the final battles of the campaign at Salamanca (May) and Vittoria (June) in 1813 before entering France and fighting at Toulouse in April 1814.

After an absence of four and half years, and having marched (and fought over) one thousand, five hundred miles in Spain and France, the 13th Light Dragoons returned to England in July, 1814. Apart from minor actions, the regiment had fought 32 major engagements, at a cost of 274 officers and men killed, and the loss of 1,009 horses.

Early in 1815 the Regiment crossed the Bristol Channel to Southern Ireland, only to be recalled to France in May as Napoleon Bonaparte once again threatened Europe. On 16th June, the Regiment (at this time under command of Lt. Col. Shapland Boyse) covered the allied retreat from Quartre Bras. They were subsequently brigaded with the 7th Hussars and 15th Hussars, and were in constant action throughout the battle on 18th, suffering numerous casualties including Col. Boyse. The Regiment returned to England in 1816 and marched to the north., where they were occasionally employed in quelling civil unrest.

In February 1819, commanded by Col. Boyse who had recovered from his wounds, the Regiment sailed for India. After a four month voyage, they disembarked at Madras in June, and from there they marched to Mysore, where they remained six years before travelling to different postings in Northern India.

In 1832, all light cavalry uniforms changed from blue to scarlet, although the 13th Light Dragoons retained their buff facings. A minor mutiny amongst native troops in 1832 was suppressed (the Bangalore Mutiny). Apart from this threat, the Regiment spent the twenty years until 1839 in comparative peace.

In 1836, the Regiment's facings were changed from buff to green.

In 1839, further insurrection occurred amongst Muslims, and in particular the Nawab of Kurnool. The Regiment joined a force of 6,000 men which marched against Kurnool in October. In a fierce engagement, the Regiment sustained minimal casualties but lost 32 men to cholera during the campaign.

Early in 1840, the Regiment marched to Madras to embark for England, but a further 40 men, and numerous wives and children, died from cholera before the Regiment set sail. The horses were left with the 15th Hussars in India, and the Regiment landed at Gravesend in June. (During its twenty-one years in India, 15 officers had died, and 1,051 other ranks had died, mainly from disease - only 5 officers remained from those who had sailed from England twenty years before.)

Home at last, the Regiment was stationed at Canterbury in 1840, where new horses were purchased and trained. At that time the uniform changed once more to blue jackets with buff facings. The Regiment remained in England until 1854.

On the outbreak of war in the Crimea, two squadrons of the 13th Light Dragoons, some 130 officers and men with their horses, set sail for the Black Sea, disembarking on the Crimean Peninsula in September and fighting the Battle of Alma, almost immediately, as part of Cardigan's Light Brigade. At Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade, the Regiment formed the right of the first line (the 17th Lancers were on their left). The Regiment lost 3 officers and 10 other ranks killed in the charge, with 32 other ranks wounded and 10 taken prisoner by the Russians. For his actions during the charge, Lance Sergeant Joseph Malone was later awarded the Victoria Cross.

The Regiment went on to fight at Inkerman and Sevastapol before returning to England in 1856.

Designated 'hussars' in 1861, the 13th Hussars adopted the European fashion of uniform featuring the busby, which sported a white busby-bag. The buff facings were retained on the blue uniforms, but the facings often have the appearance of white colour rather than buff.

In1866, in response to insurgency in Canada, the 13th Hussars (7 Troops comprising a total of 26 officers and 324 other ranks) marched from York to Liverpool where they embarked for Quebec. On arrival, two Troops were posted to Montreal and the rest of the Regiment marched to Toronto. (In Canada, the Regiment received the new Snider breech-loading carbines, although they were not required to fight any major engagements).


The 13th Hussars returned to India in 1874, where they remained for ten years. After seven years stationed in Lucknow, they marched to Kandahar (Afghanistan) in 1880. Although this was the period of the Second Afghan War (1878-80), the Regiment fought no major engagements. In 1876, Lieutenant Robert Baden-Powell had joined the Regiment. The founder of the Scout movement was to serve with the 13th Hussars in India, Afghanistan and Southern Africa.

In 1884, the Regiment sailed to South Africa to meet the threat of insurrection by local tribes. Arriving in Port Natal in November, the Regiment relieved the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons and one year later, in 1885, the Regiment returned to England where they were stationed at Norwich and then Colchester. When rioting broke out in Bolton in 1887, the Regiment was called upon for policing duties. They subsequently travelled throughout England and Ireland.

On the outbreak of the Second Boer War (1899-1902), the Regiment was amongst the first British troops shipped to Durban where they were brigaded with the 1st (Royal) Dragoon and the 14th Hussars. The Regiment was immediately in constant skirmishing with a number of significant engagements whilst marching to the relief of Ladysmith. At Langzeekoegat, in 1901, elements of the Regiment charged with drawn swords. They continued in constant action until the Boer capitulation in 1902, at which time the Regiment returned to the UK.