Household Cavalry Regiment

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The Household Cavalry Regiment
Blues and Royals cap badge.jpg
Active 19 October 1992 – present
Country United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Role Armoured Cavalry Regiment
Part of Household Cavalry
Garrison/HQ Combermere Barracks, Windsor
Motto(s) Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense
(Evil be to Him who Evil Thinks)
March Life Guards: Quick – Millanollo
Slow – Life Guards Slow March
Trot past – Keel Row
Blues and Royals: Quick – Quick March of the Blues and Royals
Slow – Slow March of the Blues and Royals
Trot past – Keel Row
Equipment Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance Tracked
Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Ed Hayward MBE
Colonel-in-Chief HM The Queen
Tactical Recognition Flash GuardsTRF.svg

The Household Cavalry Regiment (HCR) is an Armoured Cavalry regiment of the British Army based at Combermere Barracks in Windsor. It is the brother regiment of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR) based at Hyde Park Barracks in London - both regiments together form the Household Cavalry. The Household Cavalry was formed in 1992, under the Options for Change reforms, by the union of The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals in order to preserve the distinct identities of the regiments. A precedent for the Household Cavalry Regiment has previously been set by the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment - active during the Anglo-Egyptian War, the Second Boer War and latterly during both the First and Second World Wars.

The HCR is part of the Household Cavalry, rather than the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC), which encompasses all other armoured and cavalry regiments of the British Army. It serves as the 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade's Formation Reconnaissance regiment and hence is equipped with the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family of vehicles, including the Scimitar, and is considered, for operational purposes, as part of the RAC.


Armoured Cavalry - successor role to Brigade Reconnaissance Regiment[edit]

In 2014, the Household Cavalry Regiment was re-designated from a Brigade Reconnaissance Regiment to Armoured Cavalry as part of the Army 2020 reforms.[1] The HCR's task is to provide timely and accurate information and intelligence to the Brigade Commander in order to enable decision-making. To fulfil this function, the HCR conducts surveillance and reconnaissance activities, mounted or dismounted, in all weathers by day or night. The regiment's vehicles enable information-gathering to be conducted whilst mobile, at pace, and whilst under fire. The change in designation from Brigade Reconnaissance Regiment to Armoured Cavalry reflects the evolving role of the HCR in preparation for Scout SV. The arrival of Scout will bring with it the capacity to operate in a far bolder and more offensive way than has been possible with CVR(T). The HCR is under the command of 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade, based at Tidworth in Wiltshire. As part of the Reactive Force cycle, the HCR rotates through training, readiness and other tasks, spending a year on each rotation.

UK Operations[edit]

At home, the HCR has contributed to a number of UK operations in recent years. In 2002, HCR soldier crewed fire appliances during the Fire Brigades Union strike.[2] In 2003, exceptionally, the HCR was tasked at short notice to provide additional armed security at Heathrow Airport, in response to a specific threat.[3] More recently, the HCR has contributed to security at the London Olympic Games in 2012 and flood relief in the local area during 2014.[4]

HCR soldiers move to their exfiltration HLS at the end of a search operation during their deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2013 during Op Herrick 18.


Regimental Headquarters

The small Regimental Headquarters fulfills a number of functions in-camp and provides the nucleus of the Battlegroup Headquarters on operations:

  • Adjutant: the Adjutant supports the Commanding Officer as his personal staff officer, deals with major discipline, service complaints, manning and junior officer career management.
  • Intelligence Cell: provides intelligence analysis in support of the regiment.
  • Career Management Office: delivers career management for Other Ranks, including administering the annual appraisals process and postings.
  • Operations and Plans: the Regimental Second-in-Command and Operations Officer co-ordinate the day-to-day operations of the regiment and longer-term future plans.
  • Regimental Signals Officer: the RSO is responsible for delivering effective voice and data communications and for the security of the system.
C Sqn HCR receive a lesson during a collective training exercise on Salisbury Plain during 2014.

Sabre Squadrons[edit]

A, C and D Squadrons are the regiment's Sabre Squadrons. Each is identically manned as follows:

  • Sabre Troops (four Scimitars in each of three troops): the Sabre Troops provide the Squadron's mounted reconnaissance and surveillance capability.
  • Support Troop (four Spartans): Support Troop carries out dismounted tasks for the Sqn. The Sqn Engineer Recce Sergeant, attached from the Royal Engineers, conducts Engineer reconnaissance of routes and obstacles. The troop is also likely to include a Sniper pair.
  • Javelin Troop (four Spartans): Javelin Troop provides overwatch for the remainder of the Sqn against enemy armour. The troop is equipped with two Javelin posts.
  • Squadron Headquarters (two Sultans, two Panther CLVs and two Samaritans): SHQ provides the Command, Control and Communications for the Squadron. It is the essential link between the regimental headquarters and the fighting troops.
  • Fitter Section (two spartans and one Samson): Fitter Section provides an integral maintenance and recovery function for jobs beyond the capability of the vehicle crews.
  • Echelon Troop (one Land Rover, one Wolfhound, two MAN trucks, one tanker): Echelon troop works to keep the Sqn resupplied with essential stocks of ammunition, fuel, water, rations and any technical spares required.[citation needed]

Command and Support Squadron[edit]

B (C&S) Sqn: provides the regiment's Static Covert Surveillance capability:

  • Surveillance Troop (six Spartans): Surveillance Troop provides the regiment's dismounted Static Covert Surveillance capability. The troop specialises in covert infiltration into rural or urban observation posts, the successful covert conduct of surveillance and successful exfiltration. The troop is equipped with specialist sighting and camera systems to enable this task.
  • Squadron Headquarters (two Panther CLVs and two Sultans): the SHQ, on operations, is likely to be detached to the Battlegroup Headquarters to co-ordinate ISTAR across the Battlegroup.
  • Echelon Troop Echelon troop works to keep the Sqn resupplied with essential stocks of ammunition, fuel, water, rations and any technical spares required.

Headquarters Squadron[edit]

Headquarters provides a broad range of essential support functions to the remainder of the regiment as follows:

  • Light Aid Detachment: the LAD is a large organisation of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers who provide integral recovery and Equipment Support to the regiment's vehicles and weapons. The LAD detaches Fitter Sections to the Sabre and C&S squadrons to provide integral Equipment Support, as far forward on the battlefield as possible.
  • Command Troop: delivers BOWMAN communications for the regiment and the Battlegroup Headquarters on exercise or operations.
  • Regimental Administration Office: provides essential Human Resources and accountancy functions to administer the regiment.
  • Quartermaster (Main): responsibility for ammunition, catering, clothing, facility management.
  • Quartermaster (Technical): responsibility for the regiment's technical equipment including weapons, vehicles and provision of technical spares.
  • Motor Transport: supply of civilian and military wheeled vehicles, administration of driver licensing and the provision of fuel in-camp.
  • Regimental Aid Post: administers the medical centre in camp (including nursing and physiotherapy), delivers medical training in-camp and provides emergency medical care to the regiment on operations. The RAP is commanded by the Surgeon Lt-Col - a post unique to the Household Cavalry. The Surg Lt-Col is commissioned into the Life Guards or Blues and Royals - he is not (as is usual) an officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
  • Guardroom: the guardroom is responsible for disciplinary functions (although no longer detention) and the physical security of Combermere Barracks.
  • Training Wing: administers individual training for soldiers and co-ordinates collective training. The Training Wing is also responsible for the Gymnasium, which co-ordinates physical training.

Operational deployments[edit]

The Household Cavalry Regiment has been heavily committed to operations since 1945. The Life Guards and Blues and Royals, prior to the formation of the Household Cavalry in 1992, served on operations in Cyprus, Northern Ireland, and the Falkland Islands. The Household Cavalry Regiment has since served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan besides operations at home in the mainland UK.

General Service Medal 1962 BAR.svg Northern Ireland[edit]

The Life Guards and Blues and Royals both deployed to Northern Ireland as part of the Op BANNER, the British Army's support to the civil power. During a number of deployments across the province, the regiments deployed both in armoured cars and dismounted.

South Atlantic Medal w rosette BAR.svg The Falklands War[edit]

Two troops from B Sqn, the Blues & Royals deployed to the Falklands Islands as part of 3 Commando Brigade to retake the Islands following the Argentinian invasion. They covered more than 400 miles during the campaign, proving to be invaluable in the wet and difficult terrain. They provided essential Fire Support during the Battle of Wireless Ridge.

NATO Medal Yugoslavia ribbon bar.svg Former Yugoslavia[edit]

The HCR (and before it the LG and RHG/D) deployed sixteen times to Bosnia between 1994 - 2002. A Sqn deployed to the Banja Luka Metal Factory in 2001 with the 2RGR Battlegroup before C Sqn deployed in 2002 with the Welsh Guards Battlegroup.

Iraq Medal BAR.svg Iraq[edit]

D Sqn HCR deployed in their function as the Formation Reconnaissance Squadron for 16 Air Assault Brigade during the initial invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Under the command of Maj Richard Taylor RHG/D, the Sqn led the brigade Main Body into Iraq before conducting a wide range of tasks, including around the Rumalayah oil fields. The Sqn was unfortunate to be involved in a friendly-fire incident involving a US A-10 Thunderbolt. LCoH Matty Hull RHG/D was killed in the incident. In a separate incident, Lt Alex Tweedie RHG/D and LCpl Karl Shearer RHG/D died when the Scimitar over-turned into an irrigation canal. The Sqn received many decorations for its service: Tpr Finney was awarded the George Cross for his actions during the A-10 incident, Major Richard Taylor received the Distinguished Service Order, CoH Flynn RHG/D received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his actions in a battle with Iraqi armour, and CoH Bell RHG/D was awarded the Military Cross for his actions shortly before the end of the tour. The following year, A and C Sqns deployed on Op TELIC IV with 1 RHA and 1RWF BGs respectively. A Sqn mentored the Iraqi Borders and Customs Police, operating in the Al Amara, Al Zubayr, Basra Palace and Shatt-al-Arab hotel areas. The Sqn Leader, Maj James Gaselee, was involved in negotiating for the release of eight Royal Navy personnel captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. B Sqn were involved in providing security from Az Zubayr. In 2007, A and C Sqn again returned to Iraq - A Sqn as part of the Brigade Borders (North) Battlegroup with the King's Royal Hussars and B Sqn forming the new Brigade Reconnaissance Force, in which role they conducted a range of sensitive long-range reconnaissance and surveillance tasks.

OSM for Afghanistan BAR.svg Afghanistan[edit]

The HCR deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan throughout the period of Op HERRICK. During Op HERRICK 4, D Sqn deployed as the Formation Reconnaissance Squadron for 16 Air Assault Brigade, operating in the Now Zad, Garmsir, Sangin and Musa Qa'leh areas. C and HQ Squadrons deployed with 52 Scottish Brigade during Op HERRICK 7, participating in Op SNAKEBITE to recapture Musa Qa'leh from the Taleban. Immediately following C and HQ Squadrons, D Sqn again deployed with 16 Air Assault Brigade, initially around Musa Qa'leh, then supporting Op OQAB TSUKA to deliver a hydroelectric turbine to the Kajaki Dam and latterly around Highway 1 East of Gereshk and then near Garmsir. The regiment deployed for Op HERRICK 11 in 2010 as the Household Cavalry Regiment Battlegroup. A Sqn provided the Formation Reconnaissance squadron, operating chiefly in the South around Marjeh / Nawa. B Sqn formed the Brigade Reconnaissance Force with a remit to operate across the entire Task Force area of operations. C Sqn provided the battlegroup's Mastiff group, operating in the Musa Qa'leh area. HQ Squadron formed the Battlegroup Headquarters and Echelon. In 2011, D Squadron deployed for their third tour, conducting a variety of tasks in depth of Highway 1 East of Gereshk and around Yakchal. Finally, in March 2013, the regiment deployed on Op HERRICK 18 to form the ISTAR Group headquarters, Brigade Reconnaissance Force and Brigade Troops Echelon.


The HCR employs a variety of vehicles, weapons systems, communications equipment and sighting systems. The Regiment heavily exploits the Network Enabled Capability afforded by the BOWMAN communication system in order to pass accurate information in a timely manner via a secure means.

Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked)[edit]

The HCR, like the other Armoured Cavalry Regiments, continues to be equipped with the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) series of vehicles, first employed in the 1970s. The vehicles have been heavily upgraded over time, particularly to integrate modern sighting and communications systems. The Scimitar (Direct Fire variant) provides the primary scouting platform, supported by dismounted soldiers in Spartan (APC variant). Other variants include the Sultan (Command), Samaritan (ambulance) and Samson (recovery). In recent years, the regiment has been resourced with an increasing number of wheeled vehicles. These include the Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle, used for command and communications tasks and Wolfhound - the regiment's first armoured logistics vehicle.

Scout SV[edit]

SCOUT SV PMRS variant on display. This variant will replace the HCR's Spartan APCs.

In due course, the HCR will convert to Scout SV - the British Army's first new Armoured Fighting Vehicle platform in a generation. Scout will replace a number of CVR(T) variants, particularly Scimitar. The transition will represent a step-change in reconnaissance capability - incorporating highly sophisticated weapons, sensors and communications systems to enable accurate information to be gathered and transferred quicker than ever before. The CTA International 40mm cannon will provide the regiment with a stabilised fire on-the-move capability with innovative ammunition natures, including programmable airburst rounds. Significantly heavier than Scimitar, Scout remains air-transportable but only by C-17 in UK service. Significantly, Scout will not be transportable by A400M.

Sighting and Surveillance Systems[edit]

A range of surveillance equipment is used by the HCR to fulfill its intelligence-gathering mission. The regiment's Scimitar vehicles have been fully upgraded to the Battlegroup Thermal Imager (BGTI) specification, providing a modern, uncooled thermal imaging capability as well as a daylight electro-optical camera. Individual soldiers are equipped with elements of the Future Infantry Soldier Technology system, including image-intensifying and thermal night vision goggles and weapon sights. The Commander's Laser Range-Finder (LRF) and Surveillance System and Range Finder (SSARF) provide rugged, deployable sighting systems with integrated GPS, laser range-finders and electronic compasses - enabling the accurate identification of enemy positions. JAVELIN Command and Launch Units (CLUs) and sniper sights provide additional dismounted surveillance systems. Surveillance Troop is equipped with additional specialised equipment, specific to its role.

Communications Equipment[edit]

The BOWMAN communication system provides the HCR with a secure, digital communications network across HF / VHF and UHF frequency bands. Data terminals are integrated into all CVR(T) variants, enabling the rapid passage and fusion of information. For specific tasks, the regiment has been equipped with Harris 117F SATCOM equipment and PRC-152 radios for ground-to-air communications.

Weapons Systems[edit]

The Household Cavalry employs a variety of weapons systems, providing a range of capabilities. The L21A1 30mm Rarden cannon is the regiment's primary weapon system, equipping the Scimitar vehicle platform. Highly accurate, the weapon system can deliver a range of weapons effects at distances exceeding one mile. The weapon is aimed using either daylight or thermal sights, enabling accurate night-time engagements, regardless of ambient light levels. The L37 co-axial machine-gun is a modified variant of the L7 GPMG. Fitted to all CVR(T) variants except Samaritan, it provides an effective and reliable area weapons effect against infantry and soft-skinned vehicles. The regiment's anti-armour capability is provided by the JAVELIN Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (ATGW), replacing the Swingfire missile. Javelin is a highly resilient, 'fire and forget' missile, which can be fired in either direct or top attack modes. Its soft launch capability permits it to be fired from within buildings without the risk from back-blast normally associated with ATGW. In the dismounted role, the regiment employs standard British Army small arms including the L85A2 Individual Weapon, Glock 17 General Service Pistol, L7 General Purpose Machine Gun, Minimi Light Machine Gun and L115A3 Long Range Rifle.

The Household Cavalry Foundation[edit]

The Household Cavalry is supported by the Household Cavalry Foundation, the regimental charity, which raises funds in aid of five core themes:[5]

  1. Casualties.
  2. Veterans.
  3. Serving Soldiers.
  4. Horses.
  5. Heritage.

The Household Cavalry Regiment Museum[edit]

A reception at the Household Cavalry Museum, Horse Guards.

The Household Cavalry has two museums. The Household Cavalry museum is located at Horse Guards Parade in central London, where the HCMR mounts the Queen's Life Guard. The museum is a very popular tourist attraction with digital audio guides in several languages. The museum includes a window into the working stables of the Queen's Life Guard, allowing visitors to watch ongoing care of the horses throughout the day. Separately, the Household Cavalry Regiment has its own museum at Combermere Barracks in Windsor. A volunteer team organise tours and events and, in particular, administer the regiment's extensive material, documentary and photographic archives. The museum is open to public groups, by appointment.[6]


  1. ^ "Army 2020 - British Army Website". Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  2. ^ Telegraph, Daily. "No time for tea for the troops on the front line". Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  3. ^ "In pictures: Army patrols Heathrow". BBC. 2003-02-11. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  4. ^ "Duke of Cambridge hauls sandbags in flood-hit village while Duchess opens art studio". Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  5. ^ "Household Cavalry Foundation". Retrieved 2015-06-30. 
  6. ^ "Household Cavalry Museum". Retrieved 2015-06-30. 

External links[edit]