351: 9th Queens & 12th Royal Lancers to: 9th/12th Royal Lancers (1715)

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9th/12th Royal Lancers
(Prince of Wales’s)

1960-present
9th Queen’s Royal Lancers
1715-1960
12th Royal Lancers
(Prince of Wales’s)

1715-1960

 

9th Queen’s Royal Lancers

 Introduction

The unit was initially raised at Bedford by Owen Wynne to oppose the First Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. Initially raised as dragoons or mounted infantry, they became Light Dragoons in 1783 and Lancers in 1816. On the accession of King William IV in 1830 the unit was given the prefix ‘Queen’s Royal’ after Adelaide, his queen consort.

Their service in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars took them to Ireland, South America and Spain. Their first Indian posting came in 1843 and they fought in the First and Second Afghan Wars. The Indian Mutiny saw the unit taking part in the captures of Delhi and Lucknow and winning twelve Victoria Crosses, the highest total for a cavalry regiment during the Mutiny.

The First VC of the European War, 1914. Captain Francis Grenfell, 9th Lancers at Audregnies, 24 August 1914
Oil on canvas by Richard Caton Woodville, 1914
NAM. 1978-09-22

In 1896 David Campbell, an officer in the regiment, won the Grand National on his horse Soarer. The unit fought as cavalry in the Boer War and during the early months of the First World War. Less than a month into the First World War, Captain Francis Grenfell of the regiment won the Victoria Cross and on 7 September 1914 the unit also took part in the war’s last battle between two lancer units. Like almost all other cavalry units, from 1915 to 1918 its troops served on dismounted duties in the trenches of the Western Front.

Garrisoned in Ireland during its War of Independence, it then began to mechanise in 1936. The regiment covered the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 before fighting at El Alamein and in Italy. The post-war period saw them stationed in Scotland, Germany and England before finally merging with the 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) in 1960 to form the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s).

Key facts

Motto:

  • ‘Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum’ (meaning ‘We Do Not Retreat’)

Nickname:

  • The Delhi Spearmen (for their actions during the Indian Mutiny)

Titles to date:

  • Owen Wynne’s Regiment of Dragoons
  • 9th Regiment of Dragoons
  • 9th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons
  • 9th (or Queen’s Royal) Lancers
  • 9th (The Queen’s Royal) Lancers
  • 9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers
  • 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers
  • 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s)
 

 

12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s)

Cap badge of the 12th Royal Lancers, c1910Cap badge of the 12th Royal Lancers, c1910
NAM. 1968-06-37-1

Introduction

In 1715 Britain’s new Hanoverian monarchy was under threat from the First Jacobite Rebellion and needed troops. One man commissioned to raise them was Phineas Bowles, an experienced army commander who had seen action in Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession.

He travelled through Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire recruiting before formally raising a regiment of dragoons or mounted infantry in Reading in July that year.

Three years after its formation the regiment was sent to garrison Ireland, remaining there until the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars. During this time it was ranked as the 12th Regiment of Dragoons and received the ‘Prince of Wales’s’ prefix, motto and crest, named after the future King George IV.

One of the regiment’s subalterns early in the French Revolutionary Wars was Arthur Wellesley, later to become the Duke of Wellington, whilst that war also saw its first battle honour in 1801 after an action against French camel-mounted troops in Egypt. The aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars also saw the regiment’s conversion to a lancers unit in 1816.

12th Royal Lancers Crossing the German Frontier, 1 December 191812th Royal Lancers Crossing the German Frontier, 1 December 1918
NAM. 1977-11-248-23

1855 saw them reinforce the Light Brigade in the Crimea after its disastrous charge at Balaklava. The unit also fought in the Second Afghan War and the Boer War before fighting its final mounted action on the Western Front during the first month of the First World War. In 1919 the future King Edward VIII became its colonel-in-chief. The unit switched to armoured cars in 1928, seeing inter-war service soon afterwards in Palestine and Cyprus.

It shielded the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 – one of its officers during the retreat, Bruce Shand, won the Military Cross for his actions. The regiment also fought at El Alamein and carried out reconnaissance in Italy. After 1945 they spent three years in Malaya before finally being amalgamated with the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers in 1960 to form the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s).

Key facts

Motto:

  • ‘Ich Dien’ (meaning ‘I Serve’)

Nickname:

  • The Supple Twelfth

Titles to date:

  • Phineas Bowles’s Regiment of Dragoons
  • 12th Regiment of Dragoons
  • 12th (The Prince of Wales’s) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons
  • 12th (The Prince of Wales’s) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Lancers)
  • 12th (The Prince of Wales’s) Royal Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Lancers)
  • 12th (The Prince of Wales’s) Royal Regiment of Lancers
  • 12th (The Prince of Wales’s Royal) Lancers
  • 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s)
  • 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s)

 

9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s)

Cap badge of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, c1950-c1960Cap badge of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, c1950-c1960

Introduction

The unit was formed in 1960 by amalgamating the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers and the 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s), two regiments both raised to oppose the First Jacobite Rebellion in 1715.

The amalgamated unit has served in Aden, Cyprus, Germany, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and the Balkans. In 1991 its D Squadron was sent as reinforcements for the First Gulf War. It has also deployed to Canada along with time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Key facts

Motto:

  • ‘Ich Dien ‘ (meaning ‘I Serve’ – inherited from 12th Lancers)

Nickname:

  • The Delhi Spearmen (inherited from 9th Lancers)

Titles to date:

  • 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s)

 


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