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11th Hussars
170px
Badge of the 11th Hussars
Country Flag of Great Britain (1707–1800).svg Kingdom of Great Britain (1715–1800)
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom (1801–1969)
Branch Flag of the British Army British Army
Service history
Active 1715−1969
Role Line cavalry
Size One Regiment
Nickname The Cherry Pickers, The Cherrybums, from which the more genteel Cherubims
Motto Treu und Fest (Loyal and Sure)
Commanders
Commanders Lord Cardigan
Insignia
For the unit of the same name in the French Army, see 11th Hussar Regiment (France).

The 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army.

HistoryEdit

The regiment was founded in 1715 as Colonel Philip Honeywood's Regiment of Dragoons and was known by the name of its Colonel until 1751 when it became the 11th Regiment of Dragoons. A further name change, to the 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons, occurred in 1783.

The regiment's career during the 18th century included fighting in Scotland at the Battle of Culloden as well as service in the Seven Years' War when it took part in the charge at Warburg.[1]

11th-hussars-officer-1856

An officer of the 11th Hussars (PAO) at about the time of the Crimean War

File:11thhussars1884 GordonRelief.jpg
Cornet Wilkin 11th Hussars

Assistant Surgeon Henry Wilkin, 11th Hussars. He survived the Charge of the Light Brigade. Photo: Roger Fenton

19th and 20th centuriesEdit

In 1840, the regiment was named after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, who later became the regiment's Colonel. During the Napoleonic Wars battle honours were received for Salamanca, Peninsular and Waterloo. The regiment's nickname, the Cherry Pickers, came from an incident during the Peninsular War, in which the 11th Light Dragoons (as the regiment was then named) were attacked while raiding an orchard at San Martin de Trebejo in Spain. When the regiment became the 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars in 1840, its new uniform by coincidence included cherry- (i.e., crimson-) coloured trousers, unique among British regiments and worn since in all orders of uniform except battledress. This was not in memory of the orchard incident but reflected the crimson livery of Prince Albert's house, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.[2]

The 11th Hussars charged with the Light Brigade, which was commanded by their former Colonel, Lord Cardigan, at Balaklava during the Crimean War. During the Charge, Lieutenant Alexander Robert Dunn, saved the life of two fellow soldiers from the 11th Hussars, Sergeant Major Robert Bentley and Private Harvey Levett, for which Dunn was awarded the Victoria Cross.[3] Dunn was the first Canadian-born recipient of the Victoria Cross.[4]

Edward Richard Woodham of the 11th Hussars became Chairman of the organising committee for the 21st Anniversary dinner held at Alexandra Palace on 25 October 1875 by the survivors of the Charge. This was fully reported in the Illustrated London News of 30 October 1875 [5] and included some of the recollections of the survivors including those of Woodham.

In the years before World War I, the card (that can be viewed on the right), with a photograph of the 11th Hussars forming an escort through a town, was sent from Sergeant John Kelly, with an extract from the reverse reading "this is the Crown Prince of Germany your honourary Colonel he is in the uniform of the 11th Hussars you will see his ......Guard I further ..... I formed his escort marked 2 man...."

File:The 11th Hussars Escorting the Crown Prince of Germany.jpg

The inter-war yearsEdit

In 1928, the 11th Hussars became the first British regiment to become mechanized. In 1936, it became involved in suppressing the Arab revolt in the British Mandate of Palestine.

The Second World WarEdit

In 1940, the 11th was located in Egypt when Italy declared war on Britain and France. It was part of the divisional troops of the 7th Armoured Division (known as the Desert Rats). Equipped with obsolete Rolls Royce and Morris armoured cars, the unit immediately began to conduct various raids against Italian positions during the Western Desert Campaign. The Hussars captured Fort Capuzzo and, in an ambush east of Bardia, captured General Lastucci, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Italian Tenth Army.

The 11th Hussars were part of the British covering force when the Italian invasion of Egypt was launched in September 1940.

The regiment took part in the British counterattack called Operation Compass that was launched against the Italian forces in Egypt and then Libya. It was part of an ad hoc combat unit called Combe Force that cut the retreating Tenth Army off near Beda Fomm. Lieutenant-Colonel John Combe was the commander and namesake of Combe Force. The Italians were unable to break through the defensive positions established by Combe Force and surrendered en-masse as the 6th Australian Division closed in on them from their rear.

Prior to the Normandy campaign, the 11th Hussars were removed from the division and assigned as a corps-level unit in accordance with Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's view that all armoured car regiments would be assigned to corps, not divisions. Later in the European campaign, the regiment reverted to the 7th Armoured Division.

BAOR and amalgamationEdit

In the 1950s, the regiment served in the British Army of the Rhine close to the border with USSR-occupied Germany whilst the Cold War existed. The regiment then served in Malaya during the 'Police Action' which lasted 12 years.

On 25 October 1969, the regiment was amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own) to form The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own). In 1992, as part of the Options for Change defence review, the Royal Hussars were amalgamated with the 14th/20th King's Hussars to form the King's Royal Hussars. The 11th Hussars are unofficially perpetuated by 'C' squadron of the King's Royal Hussars.

11th Hussars monument

11th Hussars monument at the National Memorial Arboretum

Notable membersEdit

Battle honoursEdit

  • Warburg, Beaumont, Willems, Egypt, Salamanca, Peninsula, Waterloo, Bhurtpore, Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, Sevastopol
  • The Great War: Mons, Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, Messines 1914, Armentières 1914, Ypres 1914 '15, Frezenberg, Bellewaarde, Somme 1916 '18, Flers-Courcelette, Arras 1917, Scarpe 1917, Cambrai 1917 '18, St. Quentin, Rosières, Amiens, Albert 1918, Hindenburg Line, St. Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Selle, France and Flanders 1914–18
  • The Second World War: Egyptian Frontier 1940, Withdrawal to Matruh, Bir Emba, Sidi Barrani, Buq Buq, Bardia 1941, Capture of Tobruk, Beda Fomm, Halfaya 1941, Sidi Suleiman, Tobruk 1941, Gubi I II, Gabr Saleh, Sidi Rezegh 1941, Taieb el Essem, Relief of Tobruk, Saunnu, Msus, Defence of Alamein Line, Alam el Halfa, El Alamein, Advance on Tripoli, Enfidaville, Tunis, North Africa 1940–43, Capture of Naples, Volturno Crossing, Italy 1943, Villers Bocage, Bourguébus Ridge, Mont Pinçon, Jurques, Dives Crossing, La Vie Crossing, Lisieux, Le Touques Crossing, Risle Crossing, Roer, Rhine, Ibbenburen, Aller, North-West Europe 1944–45

Colonels—with other names for the regimentEdit

Thomas Gage John Singleton Copley

General Thomas Gage
as C-in-C British forces in North America
by John Singleton Copley circa 1768

The Kerr family provided the colonels for two thirds of the regiment's first century

11th Regiment of Dragoons

A royal warrant provided that in future regiments would not be known by their colonels' names, but by their "number or rank" on 1 July 1751

from 1783 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons
from 1840 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars
from 1969 Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)
amalgamated with 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)
from 1992 King's Royal Hussars
amalgamated with 14th/20th King's Hussars

References and external linksEdit

  1. Reid, Stuart (1996); 1745, A Military History of the Last Jacobite Rising; Sarpedon 1996: 195–198.
  2. "The King's Own Royal Hussars" — Part 9 of the "Regiment" series
  3. The Victoria Cross: An Official Chronicle of the Deeds of Personal Valour Achieved in the Presence of the Enemy, O'Byrne Brothers, London, 1865
  4. victoriacross.org
  5. "Michael Julien's Family History". Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. http://www.webcitation.org/5k2cGXrND. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 

See alsoEdit

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