18th King Edward's Own Cavalry

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18th King Edward's Own Cavalry
Active 1842 -
Country British India
Allegiance British Crown
Branch British Indian Army
Type Cavalry
Size Regiment
Part of Indian Cavalry Corps
Patron King Edward VII
Engagements Gwalior Campaign
First Anglo-Sikh War
Third Ango-Burmese War
1882 Anglo-Egyptian War
World War I
Second Mohmand Campaign
World War II
Battle honours Punniar
Moodkee
Ferozeshah
Sobraon
Egypt 1882
Tel-El-Kebir
Punjab Frontier
Commanders
Colonel of
the Regiment
Walter Cowan

The 18th King Edward's Own Cavalry was a regular cavalry regiment in the British Indian Army. It was formed in 1921 by the amalgamation of the 6th King Edward's Own Cavalry and the 7th Hariana Lancers. These regiments served the British Crown from before the Indian Mutiny to World War II.

6th King Edward's Own Cavalry[edit]

The 6th King Edward' Own Cavalry was raised at Fatehgarh in 1842 by Lt W H Ryves as the 8th Regiment of Bengal Irregular Cavalry,

In 1861 became the 6th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry
In 1883 became the 6th (the Prince of Wales) Regiment of Bengal Cavalry
In 1901 became the 6th (Prince of Wales) Bengal Cavalry
In 1906 became the 6th King Edward's Own Cavalry

Their first action was in 1843 during the Gwalior Campaign in central India for which they earned the battle honour Punniar. In 1845 they were involved in the First Anglo-Sikh War and participated in the Battle of Moodkee the Battle of Ferozeshah and the Battle of Sobraon They were next in action in Egypt during the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War where they were awarded the battle honours Egypt 1882 as a theatre honour and also honours for the Battle of Tel-El-Kebir. It was while on service in Egypt that khaki was worn by all ranks for the first time.[1]

During World War I they were part of the 1st Indian Cavalry Division, 2nd (Sialkot) Cavalry Brigade which arrived in France in November 1914. They were involved in the First Battle of Ypres and other actions on the Western Front but notably in, the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the Battle of Cambrai[2]

The brigade formation was;

17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge's Own)
6th King Edward's Own Cavalry
19th Lancers (Fane's Horse)
Brigade Signal Troop

They moved to Egypt in March 1918 and were transferred to 22nd Mounted Brigade. They took part in Allenby's campaign in Palestine.

The regiment then spent the period 1919-20 in West Asia on occupation duties. It returned to India in October 1920, landing at Bombay from where it took a train to Ferozepur which is reached on 15 October 1920.

7th Hariana Lancers[edit]

The 7th Hariana Lancers was formed in 1846 as a regiment of Bengal Irregular Cavalry raised in Meerut and Cawnpore by Captain Liptrott. The Regiment was raised after the First Sikh War in anticipation of the Second War starting. When the Second Sikh War broke out, they did not become involved in any engagements but found themselves in the reserve force. In 1857 when the Indian Mutiny broke out they were stationed on the North West Frontier the regiment remained loyal and did not mutiny. As a result of the mutiny and the reconstruction of the Bengal army, the irregular cavalry regiments 8th to 16th were disbanded and the 17th became the 7th Bengal Cavalry. They went to Burma in 1886 during the 3rd Burmese War which would be their last action until the Great War. In 1915 during World War I they were part of the forces sent to Mesopotamia and fought in the Battle of Shaiba where on 13 Apr Major Wheeler received a posthumous VC. They would lose a squadron in the actions at Kut-Al-Amara, they returned to Bolarum in October 1916. Like all regiments of the Indian Army, the 7th Cavalry underwent many name changes in the various reorganisations. They are listed below. There seems to be no reason for the name chosen in the 1904 reorganisation other than a large number of the men came from that district.

In 1846 16th Irregular Cavalry
In 1847 became the 17th Irregular Cavalry
In 1861 became the 7th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry
In 1900 became the 7th Regiment of Bengal Lancers
In 1901 became the 7th Bengal Lancers
In 1903 became the 7th Lancers
In 1904 became the 7th Hariana Lancers.

In December 1919 the regiment moved to Mesopotamia, landing at Basra on 31 December. They served here until July 1920 when it returned to India, returning to its depot as Risalpur on 12 July.

Victoria Cross[edit]

One member of the 7th Hariana Lancers was awarded the Victoria Cross, Major George Godfrey Massy Wheeler. On 12 April 1915 at Shaiba, Mesopotamia, Major Wheeler led his squadron in an attempt to capture a flag which was the centre-point of a group of the enemy who were firing on one of his troop's picquets. He advanced, attacked the enemy's infantry with the lance, and then retired while the enemy swarmed out of hidden ground where Royal Artillery guns could attack them. On 13 April Major Wheeler led his squadron to the attack of the North Mound. He was seen far ahead of his men, riding straight for the enemy's standards, but was killed in the attack.

An Indian Pattern Carrier Mk IIA named 'Dhar IV', North Africa, 10 April 1942 of the type used by 3rd Indian Motor Brigade

World War II[edit]

In World War II the regiment was mechanised in December 1940 and attached to the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade which as initially part of the 31st Indian Armoured Division.[3] The brigade was sent to Egypt and the Western Desert Campaign and was attached to a number of different formations including the 2nd Armoured Division, 7th Armoured Division and the 9th Australian Division who they were with at the Siege of Tobruk.[3] It also supplied men for the Indian Long Range Squadron. The brigade was later overrun by the Italians during the Battle of Gazala and took some days to reform.

The Brigade formation was:

2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse), equipment Cavalry Carrier – 2 x Recon Sqn, 1 x AT Sqn.[4]
11th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force) equipment Cavalry Carrier - 2 x Recon Sqn, 1 x AT Sqn.[4]
18th King Edward's Own Cavalry, equipment Cavalry Carrier - 2 x Recon Sqn, 1 x AT Sqn.[4][5][6]

However the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade part of the desert war was over. On 30 June the Brigade was ordered to hand over 50% its vehicles to the 8th Army. The brigade was dispersed in July, initially allotted to the defence of the Delta then ordered to perform guard duties however it was reformed in August. It travelled overland to Sahneh in Persia via Baghdad, again under the command of 31st Indian Armoured Division where it remained until late November, when they moved to Shaibah, seven miles 7 miles (11 km) from Basra. From here the Regiment returned to India in January 1943 and the brigade was reconstituted as the 43rd Indian Infantry Brigade (Lorried) at Shaibah at the end of January 1943.

When in India it moved to Rawalpindi in the middle of 1943 and commenced conversion and reorganisation as a light cruiser regiment. By the end of the year the regiment successfully converted into a light cruiser tank regiment. The regiment was split up after that, serving in different parts of India when the Japanese surrender came in August 1945.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bengal Cavalry Regiments 1857–1914 By R. G. Harris, Christopher Warner
  2. ^ "1914–1918". Retrieved 6 July 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "mod.nic". Retrieved 6 July 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c Mackenzie (1951), p. 71
  5. ^ "axisforam". Retrieved 6 July 2008. 
  6. ^ "rothwell". Retrieved 6 July 2008. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kempton, C (1996). A Register of Titles of the Units of the H.E.I.C. & Indian Armies 1666–1947. Bristol: British Empire & Commonwealth Museum. ISBN 978-0-9530174-0-9
  • Gaylor, J (1992). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903–1991. Stroud: Spellmount Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0-946771-98-1
  • Bengal Cavalry Regiments 1857–1914 By R. G. Harris, Christopher Warner. ISBN 978-0-85045-308-9
  • Gurcharn Singh Sandhu, I serve ("Ich dien"): saga of the Eighteenth Cavalry, Lancer International, 1991 (Original from the University of California) Digitized 4 Sep 2008, ISBN 81-7062-104-6, ISBN 978-81-7062-104-1

External links[edit]

Follow this link to view the uniforms of the late 19th Century