85: 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th & 27th Cavalry Regiments

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 22nd Dragoons


The 22nd Dragoons was the title held by four separate Cavalry regiments of the British Army raised and disbanded between 1716 and 1945. The last regiment of this name existed during the Second World War, from 1 December 1940 until 30 November 1945.


The first regiment to bear the title 22nd Dragoons was raised in 1716. Also known as Viscount Mountjoy’s Regiment of Dragoons, it appeared on the Army List on 16 February 1716, but was disbanded in 1718.[1] In 1779, John, Lord Sheffield raised a light dragoon regiment that was styled 22nd (Light) Dragoons, but this was disbanded in 1783.[2] On 24 February 1794, William, Viscount Fielding raised the next regiment to use the title 22nd (Light) Dragoons; this regiment lasted slightly longer, being disbanded in 1802 with the onset of peace. However, the 25th Dragoons (raised for service in India by F E Gwyn on 9 March 1794) was renumbered 22nd (Light) Dragoons in that year. This 22nd (Light) Dragoons regiment served throughout the Napoleonic Wars, which began in 1805, and was disbanded in 1820.

On 1 December 1940, the regiment was restored to the Army List. The new 22nd Dragoons was formed from cadres taken from the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards and 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. The regimental crest, used on the headstones of the regiment’s dead, combined the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guard’s Star of St Patrick with the Castle of Inniskilling to represent the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards – the 4th/7th and Inniskillings are now amalgamated as the Royal Dragoon Guards and have adopted a capbadge that is very similar to this. The regiment was assigned to 29th Armoured Brigade in 11th Armoured Division, but later was transferred to 30th Armoured Brigade in the same division. This changeover was due to the regimental loyalties of the brigade commanders. In 1942, 30 Armoured Brigade was transferred to 42nd Armoured Division before finally joining 79th Armoured Division in 1943.

All three regiments of the 30th Armoured Brigade were re-equipped with Sherman Crab Flail TanksM4 Sherman tanks modified by attaching a large jib, covered in chains, to the front of the vehicle. The idea being that the tanks would clear a path through a minefield by slowly driving along flogging the ground ahead of them and, hopefully, exploding the mines; to be effective, the tanks had to drive at no more than one and half miles per hour. Tank units thus equipped were not generally used as entire regiments, rather they were split up into troop or squadron-sized formations in support of organised set piece attacks.

As such, the regiment came ashore in the first wave of the Operation Overlord landings on the morning of 6 June 1944, with A Squadron, reinforced by two troops of C Squadron and supported by two troops of the Westminster Dragoons, landing on Sword Beach and B Squadron landing on Juno Beach. Later in the day, the final two troops of C Squadron landed on Juno, where they remained for several days on beach clearance duties. Once the beaches were cleared, the regiment saw sporadic action in the fighting through Belgium and the Netherlands into Germany, where they were at the end of the war; the regiment was disbanded in Germany on 30 November 1945. The regiment was awarded ten battle honours for operations in the North West Europe Theatre.



23rd Hussars

The 23rd Hussars was a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1940 to 1946. It had no lineal connection with the earlier 23rd Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (1794–1802).


The regiment was raised in December 1940 from a cadre of personnel taken from the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) and the 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars. It was assigned to 29th Armoured Brigade of 11th Armoured Division.

The 11th Armoured Division landed in France in June 1944, taking heavy casualties in the Battle of Normandy. It spearheaded Operation Epsom, reaching the Odon river between Mouen and Mondrainville. It was embroiled in Operation Goodwood, where its assault on Bourguébus Ridge on the first day was brought to a halt. After Goodwood, the losses of armour within the division were so high that the 24th Lancers were disbanded and its remnants absorbed by the 23rd Hussars. The Regiment then took part in Operation Bluecoat, intended to secure the key road junction of Vire and the high ground of Mont Pinçon, which would allow the American exploitation of their breakout on the western flank of the Normandy beachhead. The 11th Armoured Division was subsequently attached to XXX Corps, which captured Flers, Putanges and Argentan in the battle of the Falaise pocket.

Once the Falaise pocket was sealed, the Regiment remained with the 11th Armoured Division as it liberated L’Aigle on 23 August. It crossed the Seine on 28 August and, after an advance of 60 miles in one day, liberated Amiens on 1 September and Antwerp on 4 September. It was not directly involved in the ground actions of Operation Market Garden, but covered the right flank of the advancing XXX Corps.

It was in reserve, being re-equipped with Comet tanks, at the time of the Ardennes Offensive, but was rapidly deployed into a defensive line along the Meuse with its old tanks. In 1945, it took part in Operations Veritable and Blockbuster and liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp before crossing the Elbe and capturing Lübeck. It was disbanded at the end of January, 1946.

Battle Honours

The Second World War: The Odon, Bourguébus Ridge, Le Perier Ridge, Amiens 1944, Antwerp, Venraij, Venlo Pocket, Ourthe, North-West Europe 1944-45


 24th Lancers


The 24th Lancers was a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1940 to 1944.


The regiment was raised in December 1940 from a cadre of personnel taken from the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers and the 17th/21st Lancers, and was assigned to 29th Armoured Brigade of 11th Armoured Division. It was later reassigned to 8th Armoured Brigade.

With the 8th Armoured Brigade, the regiment landed on Gold Beach, in the second wave of the Operation Overlord landings, supporting the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division. Shortly after landing, it was involved in the fighting around Putot-en-Bessin and Villers Bocage. After intensive action in the Tilly-sur-Seulles, Fontenay-le-Pesnel, Tessel Wood and Rauray areas, the Regiment was disbanded towards the end of July 1944 and personnel transferred to other Regiments. Most went to the 23rd Hussars or other units in the 8th Armoured Brigade or the 29th Armoured Brigade in the 11th Armoured Division.

Battle honours of the British and Imperial Armies

The Second World War: Putot en Bessin, Villers Bocage, Tilly sur Seulles, Odon, Fontenay-le-Pesnel, Defence of Rauray, North-West Europe 1944.



25th Dragoons

The 25th Dragoons was a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1941 to 1947.

The regiment was raised in Sialkot, India, in February 1941 from a cadre of personnel taken from the 3rd Carabiniers along with volunteers from infantry regiments. It was initially assigned to 4th Indian Armoured Brigade (which later became 254th Indian Armoured Brigade and, still later, 254th Indian Tank Brigade). In 1943, it was reassigned to Indian XV Corps and transported in great secrecy to Arakan prior to taking part in the Battle of the Admin Box, in which its M3 Lee tanks proved decisive.

It spent the remainder of the war in India and Burma. It was part of 50th Indian Tank Brigade and based in Madras and Bangalore prior to being disbanded in 1947.


26th Hussars


The 26th Hussars was a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1941 to 1943.

The regiment was raised at Meerut in June 1941 from a cadre of personnel taken from the 14th/20th King’s Hussars, and was assigned to 2nd Indian Armoured Brigade. It was later moved to 255th Indian Armoured Brigade at Sialkot.

It was disbanded at Secunderabad in October 1943, with the personnel being transferred to the 3rd Carabiniers.


 27th Lancers


The 27th Lancers was a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1941 to 1945.

The regiment was raised in June 1941 from a cadre of personnel taken from the 12th Royal Lancers, and was assigned to 11th Armoured Division as the divisional reconnaissance regiment. It was later withdrawn and held under command of GHQ.

In 1943, it was shipped to Egypt and in 1944 moved to Italy, where it served as an independent reconnaissance regiment for the Allied Force Headquarters, and finished the war in Austria, where it was disbanded in August 1945. Some personnel were transferred to the 12th Lancers.

Battle Honours

The Second World War: Gothic Line, Savio Bridgehead, Capture of Ravenna, Menate, Filo, Argenta Gap, Bologna, Gaiana Crossing, Italy 1944-45


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