7th Queen's Own Hussars

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7th Queen's Own Hussars
Crest and tie colours of the 7th Hussars
CountryScotland Scotland 1689–1694
England England 1694–1697
Scotland Scotland 1697–1707
 Great Britain (1707–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1958)
TypeCavalry of the Line/Royal Armoured Corps
RoleLight Cavalry
Sizeone regiment
Nickname(s)The Saucy Seventh/The Lilywhite Seventh
Motto(s)Honi soit qui mal y pense (French, Evil Upon Him who Evil Thinks)
March(Canter) The Campbells Are Coming
(Quick) Bannocks o'Barley Meal
(Slow) The Garb of Old Gaul
AnniversariesWaterloo Day
Field Marshal Earl Haig

The 7th Queen's Own Hussars was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first formed in 1689. It saw service for three centuries, including the First World War and the Second World War. The regiment survived the immediate post-war reduction in forces, but following the 1957 Defence White Paper, it was amalgamated with the 3rd The King's Own Hussars, forming the Queen's Own Hussars in 1958.


Sir John Cope, Colonel 1741–1760; a competent soldier, now remembered for the 1745 defeat at Prestonpans

Formation; 17th Century[edit]

In April 1689, several Independent Troops of Scots Horse were formed as a short-term response to the 1689-1691 Jacobite Rising in Scotland. These were re-organised in December 1690 as two regiments, one commanded by Colonel Richard Cunningham and in line with prevailing practice, it was known as Cunningham's Regiment of Scots Dragoons.[1] In February 1694, it was transferred onto the English military establishment and shipped to Flanders, where it took part in operations associated with the 1695 Siege of Namur.[2]

All participants in the Nine Years War were financially exhausted, and there was little military activity after the fall of Namur. On 1 October 1696, Cunningham was promoted to Brigadier-General; Lord Jedburgh succeeded him and the regiment became Jedburgh's Regiment of Dragoons.[3]

Wars of the 18th Century[edit]

Uniform of the 7th Hussars, c.1815

The regiment spent most of the 1702-1714 War of the Spanish Succession based in Edinburgh; in 1707, Jedburgh transferred the Colonelcy to Lord Polwarth, who sold it to William Kerr in 1709.[4]

In 1711, Kerr's Dragoons joined the field army in Flanders but the war was winding down and the regiment disbanded in 1714, before being reconstituted in July 1715 by George I, as HRH the Princess of Wales's Own Royal Regiment of Dragoons, in honour of Princess Caroline.[4] During the 1715 Jacobite rising, it fought at Sheriffmuir, but this was its only significant action until 1743. Renamed The Queen's Own Royal Regiment of Dragoons after the coronation of George II in 1727;[5] William Kerr finally stepped down in 1741 and Sir John Cope took over as Colonel.[6]

The unit returned to Flanders in 1742 during the 1740-1748 War of the Austrian Succession, taking part in the battles of Dettingen, Fontenoy, Rocoux and finally Lauffeld in July 1747.[7] The 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the war and the regiment returned to England.[8]

When the Seven Years' War began in 1756, the regiment took part in the June 1758 Raid on St Malo,[9] at which 100 enemy vessels were burned, the Raid on Cherbourg in August 1758[10] and the Battle of Warburg in July 1760.[11] In 1783, it was classed as 'light dragoons,' light cavalry used for reconnaissance and retitled the 7th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons.[5] During the French Revolutionary Wars, it fought at Beaumont in April 1794 and Willems in May.[12]

Wars of the 19th Century[edit]

British hussars at the Battle of Benavente, 29 December 1808, by William Barnes Wollen
7th Hussar private, ca 1810, from the Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess of the Queen's Royal Hussars; note blue & white barrel sash around the waist, instead of the usual red & yellow for hussars.

In 1807, the regiment was designated as Hussars and retitled 7th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars).[5] Sent to Corunna in October 1808 to support Sir John Moore's retreat, they fought at the Battle of Sahagún on 21 December 1808 and Benavente on 29th.[13] Part of the Queen's Own was shipped home in the Dispatch, which was wrecked just south of the Lizard on 22 January 1809; 104 men were lost from the regiment, only seven in total were saved.[14][15] The unit returned to the Peninsula in August 1813 and made several charges at the February 1814 Battle of Orthes, Wellington reporting that the 7th Hussars distinguished themselves on this occasion and made many prisoners.[16] In March 1814, the unit moved to Brighton, where it was used to put down rioting caused by the imposition of the Corn Laws.[17] When Napoleon was restored in 1815, the regiment returned to the Netherlands; during the rearguard action at Genappe on 17 June, Lord Uxbridge ordered it to attack French lancers under Colonel Jean Baptiste Joseph Sourd.[18] The following day, at the Battle of Waterloo, the regiment was held in reserve until the evening, but then again undertook a series of charges. Standish O'Grady, then a lieutenant in the 7th Hussars, wrote to his father:

"We charged twelve or fourteen times, and once cut off a squadron of cuirassiers, every man of whom we killed on the spot except the two officers and one Marshal de Logis, whom I sent to the rear".[19]

In May 1838 the regiment was deployed to Canada as part of the response to the Lower Canada Rebellion.[20]

Indian Rebellion[edit]

7th (Queen's Own), Hussars, charging a body of the Mutineer's Cavalry
A plaque installed by the Regiment at Christ Church, Mhow in Central India.
Privates of the 7th Hussars on patrol, c.1850

The regiment was deployed to India in late 1857 as part of the response to the Indian Rebellion. Cornet William Bankes, died fighting off his attackers in an incident at Musa Bagh in March 1858[21] and Major Charles Fraser saved three non-swimmers from the regiment stranded in the middle of a sandbank on the River Rapti in December 1858.[22]

The regiment's title was simplified in 1861 as the 7th (Queen's Own) Hussars.[5]

The regiment provided a contingent for the Nile Expedition in autumn 1884.[23] The regiment was deployed to South Africa in November 1901 and was stationed at Leeuwkop during the Second Boer War.[24]

First World War[edit]

Lieutenant Douglas Haig; commissioned into the 7th Queen's Own Hussars in 1885, commanded the BEF in France 1915-1918

The regiment, which had been stationed in Bangalore at the start of the First World War landed in Mesopotamia as part of the 11th Indian Cavalry Brigade in November 1917.[25] The regiment took part in the action of Khan Baghdadi in March 1918 and the Battle of Sharqat in October 1918.[26]

Uniform of the 7th Hussars, c. 1840

After service in the First World War, the regiment retitled as 7th Queen's Own Hussars in 1921.[5] The regiment, which was re-equipped with Mark II tanks, transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps in 1939.[5]

Second World War[edit]

The regiment had been converted to tanks in 1937 and subsequently been trained in Cairo giving them a reasonable advantage. Although they might have thought that they were misplaced in Egypt, when Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940, that thought quickly slipped their mind. They formed part of the 7th Armoured Brigade in the 7th Armoured Division and were joined by the 8th and the 11th Hussars. On 14 June 1940 the 7th Hussars, with a company of the King's Royal Rifle Corps and a battery of 4th Royal Horse artillery captured Fort Capuzzo,[27] while the 11th Hussars captured La Maddalena.[28] They took part in the Battle of Sidi Barrani in December 1940 and at the Battle of Bardia in January 1941.[29] Hitler created the Afrika Korps under the command of General Erwin Rommel to re-inforce the Italians: in April 1941, the allied troops in Tobruk were cut off by the Germans and Italians but in June 1941 the 7th Armoured Division was again prepared for battle as part of Operation Battleaxe, having received new tanks and additional personnel.[30] Rommel then started to push the Allies back into Egypt. The regiment helped delay Rommel's advance although the commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Freddie Byass and many others were killed at the Battle of Sidi Rezegh in November 1941.[31][32]

Crusader I tanks in Western Desert, 26 November 1941, with "old" gun mantlets and auxiliary Besa MG turret. These were the tanks predominantly used by the 7th Hussars in North Africa.

In January 1942 the regiment was sent to Burma and engaged with the Japanese Army at Pegu. Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander spoke highly of the regiment when he said:

"Without them we should never have got the Army out of Burma; no praise can be too high for them."[33]

The regiment was ordered to destroy its tanks as it crossed the Chindwin River in May 1942.[34] It then re-deployed to the Italian Front and, having been seconded to the Polish 2nd Corps, fought at the first Battle of Ancona in June 1944 and in the battles for the Gothic Line in autumn 1944. The Polish Army granted the regiment the privilege of wearing the "Maid of Warsaw" for their "Magnificent work – fine examples of heroism and successful action".[35]

The regiment reached Bologna in October 1944 and then took part in the battle for the Po plains in the spring of 1945.[36]


The regiment was deployed to Bournemouth Barracks in Soltau, in Northern Germany in June 1946.[37] It returned to the UK in December 1947 and then moved to Alma Barracks in Lüneburg in 1949 and to Lumsden Barracks in Bad Fallingbostel in October 1951.[37] The regiment was sent to Hong Kong in 1954 and returned home in 1957.[37] It survived the immediate post-war reduction in forces, but was slated for reduction in the 1957 Defence White Paper, and was amalgamated with the 3rd The King's Own Hussars, to form the Queen's Own Hussars in 1958.[5]

Regimental museum[edit]

The regimental collection is located in Warwick in an area known as "Trinity Mews"[38]

Battle honours[edit]

The regiment's battle honours were as follows:[5]

  • Early wars: Dettingen, Warburg, Beaumont, Willems, Orthes, Peninsula, Waterloo, Lucknow, South Africa 1901-02
  • The Great War: Khan Baghdadi, Sharqat, Mesopotamia 1917-18
  • The Second World War: Egyptian Frontier 1940, Beda Fomm, Sidi Rezegh 1941, North Africa 1940–41, Ancona, Rimini Line, Italy 1944–45, Pegu, Paungde, Burma 1942

Victoria Crosses[edit]

Regimental Colonels[edit]

The regimental colonels were as follows:[5]

The Queen's Own Regiment of Dragoons - (1690)
The Princess of Wales's Own Regiment of Dragoons - (reformed 1715)
The Queen's Own Regiment of Dragoons - (1727)
7th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of Dragoons - (1751)
7th (or Queen's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons - (1783)
7th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars) - (1807)
  • 1842–1846: Lt-Gen. Sir James Kearney, KCH
  • 1846–1864: Gen. Sir William Tuyll, KCH
7th (Queen's Own) Hussars - (1861)
7th Queen's Own Hussars - (1921)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cannon, Richard (1842). Historical Record of the Seventh, or the Queen's Own Regiment of Hussars: Containing an Account of the Origin of the Regiment in 1690, and of Its Subsequent Services to 1842 (2017 ed.). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. p. 13. ISBN 978-1542960212.
  2. ^ Cannon, p. 14-16
  3. ^ Dalton, Charles (1896). English Army Lists and Commission Registers, 1661-1714 Volume IV (2015 ed.). Sagwan Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-1297889776.
  4. ^ a b Cannon, p. 20
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mills, T.F. "7th Queen's Own Hussars". regiments.org. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 30 March 2007.
  6. ^ Cannon, p. 32
  7. ^ Cannon, p. 35-37
  8. ^ Cannon, p. 38
  9. ^ Cannon, p. 42
  10. ^ Cannon, p. 43
  11. ^ Cannon, p. 44
  12. ^ Cannon, p. 35
  13. ^ Cannon, p. 71
  14. ^ Gossett, p. 70
  15. ^ Lockett, Graham. "Dispatch (+1809)". wrecksite. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  16. ^ Cannon, p. 77
  17. ^ Cannon, p. 78
  18. ^ Wit, p. 2
  19. ^ Printed in 'Waterloo Letters,’ edited by Major General H. T. Siborne (London, 1891, pp. 130–6)
  20. ^ Cannon, p. 86
  21. ^ "No. 22212". The London Gazette. 24 December 1858. p. 5519.
  22. ^ "No. 22445". The London Gazette. 8 November 1860. p. 4126.
  23. ^ "7th Queen's Own Hussars". British Empire. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  24. ^ "7th Queen's Own Hussars". Anglo-Boer war. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  25. ^ "The Hussars". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  26. ^ Perry, p. 33
  27. ^ "History of the 4th Armoured Brigade, Chapter I". War Links. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  28. ^ "World War II in Africa Timeline: June 1940". African History. Archived from the original on 1 December 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Diary and notes left by Trooper Ernest Arthur Barnes". BBC. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  30. ^ Playfair, Volume II, pp. 1–2, 32, 163–164
  31. ^ "Battles 1940". www.desertrats.org.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  32. ^ "Battles 1941". www.desertrats.org.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  33. ^ "Regimental History". Queen's Own Hussars. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  34. ^ "The Retreat to India". Steve Rothwell. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  35. ^ "Maid of Warsaw". The Queen's Own Hussars Museum. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  36. ^ "Engagements fought by the 7th Armoured Brigade in 1945". Archived from the original on 5 February 2008.
  37. ^ a b c "7th Queen's Own Hussars". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  38. ^ "The Museum of The Queen's Royal Hussars - Churchill's Own".


  • Anon. A Short History of the Seventh Queen's Own Hussars from 1689 to 1932. Gale & Polden Ltd. Aldershot. 1932.
  • Barrett, C. R. B. (1914). The 7th (Queen's Own) Hussars. Vol. (2 vols). London: Royal United Services Institution.
  • Brereton, J. M. (1975). The 7th Queen's Own Hussars. Barnsley: Leo Cooper.
  • Cannon, Richard; Parker, John W. (1842). Historical Records of the Seventh or The Queen's Own Regiment of Hussars. London. ISBN 9780665483752.
  • Davy, G. M. O. Brig (1953). The Seventh and the Three Enemies: The Story of World War II and the 7th Queen's Own Hussars. Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd.
  • Evans, Roger (1965). The Years Between, The Story of the 7th Queen's Own Hussars 1911–1937. Aldershot: Gale & Polden Ltd.
  • Gossett, William Patrick (1986). The lost ships of the Royal Navy, 1793-1900. London: Mansell. ISBN 0-7201-1816-6.
  • Perry, F.W. (1993). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 5B. Indian Army Divisions. Newport: Ray Westlake Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-23-X.
  • Playfair, Major General I.S.O. (2004) [1956]. The Mediterranean and Middle East Volume 2: The Germans Come to the Help of Their Ally, 1941. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. East Sussex, UK: Naval & Military Press. pp. 406 pages. ISBN 1-84574-066-1.
  • Wit, Pierre de (26 July 2011) [2005], "The action near Genappe" (PDF), The campaign of 1815: a study, Emmen, the Netherlands{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)