Royal Horse Guards

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This article is about the British military unit. For the Danish unit, see Royal Horse Guards (Denmark).
Royal Horse Guards
300pz
Member of the Royal Horse Guards, 1826
Active 1650–1969
Country  Commonwealth of England (1650–1660)
 Kingdom of England (1660–1707)
 Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1969)
Branch Army
Type Cavalry
Nickname The Blues
Motto Honi soit qui mal y pense
March Quick March: Grand March
Slow March: Regimental Slow March of the Royal Horse Guards
Engagements See Battle honours list
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Richard Howard-Vyse

The Royal Horse Guards (RHG) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army, part of the Household Cavalry.

Founded August 1650 in Newcastle upon Tyne by Sir Arthur Haselrig on the orders of Oliver Cromwell as the Regiment of Cuirassiers, also known as the London lobsters, the regiment became the Earl of Oxford's Regiment during the reign of King Charles II. As the regiment's uniform was blue in colour at the time, it was nicknamed "the Oxford Blues", from which was derived the nickname the "Blues." In 1750 the regiment became the Royal Horse Guards Blue and eventually, in 1877, the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues).

The regiment served in the French Revolutionary Wars and in the Peninsular War. Two squadrons fought, with distinction, in the Household Brigade at the Battle of Waterloo.

In 1918, the regiment served as the 3rd Battalion, Guards Machine Gun Regiment. During the Second World War the regiment was part of the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment.

The RHG was amalgamated with the Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons) to form the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) in 1969.

Origins[edit]

The Royal Regiment of Horse Guards began life in 1661 after the Venner Riots. It suited the new King Charles II and his brother, James, Duke of York, so as to make a force from expediency. Colonel Unton Croke's Regiment of Horse was used, a former Commonwealth officer, to found the Royal Horse Guards. Known as the Blues after the colour of the uniform, they first paraded at Tothill Field in London on 6 February 1661. They differed from the previous Blues, who were parliamentarians of the civil wars. However they were identifiably protestant, although influenced by the French mousquetaire.

Early duties included escort. There were three Troops: King's Troop was at Canterbury, but one was usually at Southwark. Henry Compton's Troop, posted at Bagshot, was responsible for protecting the Navy Office at Portsmouth. They were used to round up prisoners. Early policing included the arresting of contraband tobacco smuggled from the colonies.

The Royal Horseguards were wealthy gentlemen, sons of the well-to-do, not controlled by parliament. By 1685, Charles II was paying the guards £283,000. But the Blues deployed almost entirely outside London; in 1666, the duke of York's 'Articles and Rules of War' attempted absolute royal control over the army. In disciplinary disputes officers appealed to the Privy Council, the highest executive body in the kingdom.

In 1670, a scandal broke: Capt Gerard, who had assaulted Sir John Coventry MP for sneering at the Court's mistresses, was found to have misappropriated large sums of pay for 'false musters'. The Life Guards were more catholic and under York's influence, whereas the Duke of Monmouth by 1674 was Commander-in-chief. The champion of Protestantism had more support in the country and amongst the Blues. However fears of absolutism and dismissals of catholic officers undermined morale "they being incapable of employment."[1] The successful police work of the Blues may have save the Treasury money and urged upon the King abandonment of a Pro-French foreign policy. Monmouth's popularity and support of the Blues, led to his dismissal in 1679; and probably directly to the Rye House Plot. A chief conspirator was Sir Thomas Armstrong of the Blues. Armstrong fled abroad, as did Lord Grey. Plotters Lord Russell and Algernon Sidney were escorted to the scaffold by Life Guards.[2]

TO BE CONTINUED...

Battle honours[edit]

  • The Second World War: Mont Pinçon, Souleuvre, Noireau Crossing, Amiens 1944, Brussels, Neerpelt, Nederrijn, Nijmegen, Lingen, Bentheim, North-West Europe 1944-45, Baghdad 1941, Iraq 1941, Palmyra, Syria 1941, El Alamein, North Africa 1942-43, Arezzo, Advance to Florence, Gothic Line, Italy 1944


Colonels —with other names for the regiment[edit]

from 1750 Royal Horse Guards Blue

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sir G. Arthur, The Story of the Household Cavalry, 1, p.92.
  2. ^ Arthur, p.149

External links[edit]