5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards

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5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards
5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards badge.jpg
Regimental Badge
Active 1922-1993
Country  United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Type Armoured
Role Cavalry
Size One regiment
Part of Royal Armoured Corps
Nickname The Skins
Motto Vestigia nulla retrorsum
(Latin: We do not retreat)
March Quick: Fare Ye well Enniskillen
Slow: The Soldier's Chorus from Gounod's Faust
Anniversaries Oates Sunday
Balaklava Day
Waterloo Day
Salamanca Day

The 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1922 to 1992, when it was amalgamated into the Royal Dragoon Guards.[1]

The beginning[edit]

The regiment was formed in 1922, as the 5th/6th Dragoons, at Cairo, Egypt by the amalgamation of the 5th Dragoon Guards (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) and The Inniskillings (6th Dragoons).

In 1923, the regiment was deployed to Risalpur, India. In 1927, the regiment discarded the "6th" and inserted Inniskilling into its title, thereby becoming the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. In the following year, the regiment returned to the UK for the first time, as the 5th Dragoon Guards. In 1935, it gained the Royal accolade to become the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.

In 1938, as part of the preparation for the Second World War, the regiment was mechanised; in the following year, it joined the newly formed Royal Armoured Corps (RAC).

Second World War[edit]

On 3 September 1939, two days after Germany had invaded Poland, the UK, France and their Allies declared war on Germany.

Equipped with Vickers Mk.VI, the regiment acted as the reconnaissance regiment of the British 4th Infantry Division of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) that was deployed to the continent shortly after war broke out. On 10 May 1940, the Germans launched their invasion of the Low Countries, thus ending what was known as the Phony War. The German invasion was swift and successful; the Allied forces in Belgium having to retreat to the Scheldt River which the regiment was part of. Fierce fighting continued, the BEF continuing to withdraw further until the order was given for them to withdraw to Dunkirk in northern France. What followed, from 27 May to 6 June, known as Operation Dynamo, was the remarkable evacuation of more than 330,000 British and Allied troops back to the UK; the regiment was successfully evacuated, with the exception of their equipment.

In December 1940, cadres drawn from the regiment and the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards were used to form a new regiment, the 22nd Dragoons, which was disbanded in December 1945.

The 5th Dragoon Guards remained in the UK until 1944, when it landed in Normandy a month after the D-Day landings and joined the 22nd Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division (the famed 'Desert Rats'). Heavy fighting was still raging in Normandy and the Regiment took part in actions in Mont Pincon in early August and, subsequently, at St Pierre La Vielle. The regiment saw further service in Northern France, including helping in the capture of Lisieux on 23 August, and later crossing the Risle, advancing rapidly to the Seine. Paris had been liberated on 25 August.

The Inniskillings began their advance on Belgium on 31 August-the 7th Armoured Division's objective was the city of Ghent-and crossed the Somme, where the regiment's predecessor regiments had fought during World War I, and Authie rivers. The division's remarkable advance on the Franco-Belgian border could not be maintained as the enormous amounts of fuel consumed had depleted available supplies. Instead, a smaller force, including the Innsikillings, was employed in the effort to capture Ghent; the Inniskillings and the 11th Hussars entered the city on 5 September. The 7th Armoured Division remained in Belgium to take part in operations against the remnants of the German forces and, thus, did not take part in Operation Market Garden. The regiment subsequently took part in heavy fighting around the Maas river that began in late October.

The regiment saw action during Operation Blackcock, the plan to clear the west bank of the Roer of Germans, which commenced on 16 January 1945. The 5th DG subsequently took part in the crossing of the Rhine, which began on 25 March, with the objective of heading eastward, straight for the city of Hamburg. The regiment was now firmly inside German territory, encountering fierce resistance from the Germans. The regiment took part in the capture of a number of towns during the rapid advance into Germany. In April the regiment took part in the efforts to capture Ibbenburen, seeing heavy fighting against the fierce defenders. The regiment saw further heavy fighting elsewhere before it, with the rest of its brigade, headed south for Bremen, where they helped capture Wildehausen. Later, the Inniskillings took part in the successful attack on Soltau before the advance on Harburg, a suburb of Hamburg, resumed. Towards the end of April, the Germans negotiated the surrender of Hamburg, a city that had been devastated by the Allied bombing campaigns; the 7th Armoured Division entered the city on 3 May.

Germany surrendered to the Allies, after almost six years of war, on 7 May and VE Day took place on 8 May. The regiment moved with the rest of the division to Berlin, taking part in the Victory Parade there in July. The 5th Inniskillings remained in Germany as part of the Occupation forces, known as the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), for a number of years. When battle and theatre honours were awarded to the British Army during the late 1950s, the regiment gained ten battle honours and two theatre honours.

Post-WW II[edit]

In December 1951, the regiment arrived in Korea to take part in the Korean War—a war that had been raging ever since North Korea had launched a surprise attack against South Korea—as part of the 1st Commonwealth Division. The Chinese launched a massive attack on 'The Hook', a tactically important position held by the British, on 18 November 1952, commencing the second battle for 'The Hook'. The Black Watch, having stoutly defended their positions, were forced back by the overwhelming Chinese attack. Subsequently, the British launched a counter-attack that supported the Black Watch as they began the methodical effort to dislodge the Chinese from 'The Hook'; B Squadron of the regiment, which was armed with the powerful Centurion main battle tank, was part of this attack. Fighting raged on into the early hours of 19 November but, as dawn broke, the Chinese retreated, unable to consolidate their position on 'The Hook'. The 5th Inniskillings left Korea the following month, arriving in the Suez Canal Zone just prior to its handover to the Egyptians. It returned home to the UK the following year.

In 1964, the regiment had squadrons in the three British territories of Aden, Bahrain and Hong Kong; the following year, the regiment was posted to the British military bases in Libya. In 1966, A Squadron deployed to Cyprus to act in the reconnaissance role for the United Nations (UN) forces, which were there to prevent conflict from breaking out between the opposing Greek and Turkish Cypriots. In 1968, the regiment returned home and shortly afterwards deployed to [MUNSTER]], West Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine. In October 1973, the regiment joined the UN forces in Cyprus; returning to its base in May 1974.

In April 1981, the regiment deployed to Northern Ireland on a 4-month tour before returning to Osnabrück. In 1984, the Inniskillings returned to the UK, to Tidworth. A Squadron was detached to serve as the armoured component of the United Kingdom Mobile Force, tasked with reinforcing the Baltic approaches in time of war. D Squadron was based in Warminster as the armoured support squadron to the school of infantry. The regiment returned to Germany (Barker Barracks, Paderborn) just two years later as part of 11 Armd Bde, 4 Armd Div. Another 4-month Northern Ireland tour began in September 1989.

In 1992, as a consequence of the Options for Change defence cuts, the regiment was amalgamated with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards to form the Royal Dragoon Guards.[2][3] Its traditions are carried on by the new regiment.

Battle honours[edit]

Regimental colours in St. Macartin's Cathedral displaying the honors from Mons to Korea

Pre-War (Battle Honours for predecessor regiments): Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet, Dettigen, Warburg, Beaumont, Willems, Salamanca, Vittoria, Toulouse, Peninsula, Waterloo, Balaklava, Sevastopol, Defence of Ladysmith, South Africa 1899–1902

[4]

Museum[edit]

The regimental museum, along with that of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, is housed in Enniskillen Castle.

Colonels-in-Chief[edit]

Alliances[edit]

Yeomanry

Former officers[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Evans, Roger (1951). The Story of the Fifth Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. Gale & Polden.

External links[edit]