1st The Royal Dragoons

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This article is about the British military unit. For the US unit, see 1st Cavalry Regiment (United States).
Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons)
Uniform of the 1st Dragoons, 1839
Active 1661–1969
Country  Kingdom of England (1661–1707)
 Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1969)
Branch Army
Type Cavalry
Motto Spectemur agendo (Let us be judged by our deeds)[1]
Colors Scarlet uniform with blue facings, black plume[1]
March "The Royals"
Engagements Dettingen, Waterloo, Second Boer War, El Alamein
The 1st Dragoons at the Battle of Waterloo

The Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons) was a mounted infantry and later a heavy cavalry regiment of the British Army. The regiment was formed in 1661, and served until 1969, when it was amalgamated with the Royal Horse Guards to form The Blues and Royals.[2]


The regiment was first raised as a single troop of veterans of the Parliamentary Army in 1661, shortly thereafter expanded to four troops as the Tangier Horse, taking the name from their service in Tangier. Three of the four troops of the Tangier's regiment were originally troops in Sir Henry Jones's Regiment of Light Horse attached to the French army of Louis XIV.

They were ranked as the 1st Dragoons, the oldest cavalry regiment of the line, in 1674; on their return to England in 1683 the three troops were joined with three newly raised troops and titled The King's Own Royal Regiment of Dragoons, named for Charles II. In 1690 they were renamed as simply The Royal Regiment of Dragoons, and formally titled in 1751 as the 1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons. The title was simplified in 1877 to the 1st (Royal) Dragoons. After service in the First World War, the regiment retitled as the 1st The Royal Dragoons in 1921.[2]

The regiment mechanised shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War and was transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps in 1940. The regiment survived the immediate post-war reduction in forces, and was retitled as The Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons) in 1961, but this name was short-lived; it was amalgamated with the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues), to form The Blues and Royals in 1969.[2][3]

Colonels —with other names for the regiment[edit]

from 1661 Tangier Horse
from 1674 1st Dragoons
from 1683 The King's Own Royal Regiment of Dragoons
  • 1683–1685 John, Lord Churchill. app. 19 November 1683 —Lord Churchill's Dragoons
  • 1685–1688 Edward, Viscount Cornbury. app. 1 August 1685 —Hyde's Dragoons or Lord Cornbury's Dragoons
  • 1688–1689 Richard Clifford. app. 24 November 1688 —Clifford's Dragoons
from 1690 The Royal Regiment of Dragoons
  • 1689–1694 Edward, Viscount Cornbury. app. 31 December 1688 —Lord Cornbury's Dragoons
  • 1689–1694 Anthony Hayford. app. 1 July 1689 —Hayford's Dragoons
  • 1694–1697 Edward Mathews. app. 24 October 1694 —Mathews' Dragoons
  • 1697–1715 Thomas, Earl of Strafford. app.30 May 1697 —Wentworth's Dragoons or Lord Raby's Dragoons or Earl of Strafford's Dragoons
  • 1715–1721 Richard, Viscount Cobham. app. 13 June 1715 —Temple's Dragoons or Lord Cobham's Dragoons
  • 1721–1723 Sir Charles Hotham. app. 10 April 1721 —Hotham's Dragoons
  • 1723–1739 Humphrey Gore. app. 12 January 1723 —Gore's Dragoons
  • 1739–1740 Charles, Duke of Marlborough. app. 1 September 1739 —Spencer's Dragoons, or Sunderland's Dragoons or Duke of Marlborough's Dragoons
  • 1740–1759 Henry Hawley. app. 10 May 1740 —Hawley's Dragoons

On 1 July 1751 a royal warrant provided that in future regiments would not be known by their colonels' names, but by their "number or rank".

from 1751 1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons
from 1877 1st (Royal) Dragoons
from 1921 1st The Royal Dragoons
from 1969 Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) amalgamated with the Royal Horse Guards


  1. ^ a b Regimental Nicknames and Traditions of the British Army. London: Gale & Polden. 1916. p. 12. 
  2. ^ a b c Mills, T.F. "The Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons)". regiments.org. Archived from the original on 3 March 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
  3. ^ "The Blues and Royals". British Army. Archived from the original on 12 December 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 


  • Ainslie, Charles P.de (1867). The Royal Regiment of Dragoons. Chapman and Hall. 
  • Anglesey, Marquess of (1961). One Leg: The Life of and Letters of henry William Paget, First Marquess of Anglesesy. Jonathon Cape. 
  • Anglesey, Marquess of (1973–1997). A History of the British Cavalry 1816-1939, in 8 vols. Leo Cooper. 
  • Atkinson, C T (1934). The History of Royal Dragoons 1661-1934. Robert Maclehose at Glasgow University Press. 
  • Childs, John (2013) [2006], Army of Charles II, Routledge, p. 38, ISBN 9781134528660 
  • Pitt-Rivers, Julian (1956). The Story of the Royal Dragoons 1938-1945. William Clowes & Sons. 
  • Rocksavage MC, Earl of (1947). A Day's March Nearer Home: Experiences with the Royals 1939-1945. John and Edward Bumpus Ltd. 
  • Watson, J N P (1993). Through Fifteen Reigns. Spellmount. 
  • Woodham-Smith, Cecil (1953). The Reason Why: Behind the Scenes at the Charge of the Light Brigade. Penguin. 

See also[edit]