The Irish Guards, part of the Guards Division, is one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army and, together with the Royal Irish Regiment, it is one of the two Irish infantry regiments in the British Army. The regiment has participated in campaigns in the First World War, the Second World War, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan as well as numerous other conflicts throughout their history; the Irish Guards claims six Victoria Cross recipients, four from the First World War and two from the Second World War. The Irish Guards recruit in Northern Ireland and the Irish neighbourhoods of major British cities. Although restrictions in Ireland's Defence Act make it illegal to induce, procure or persuade enlistment of any citizen of Ireland into the military of another state, people from the Republic do enlist in the regiment. One way to distinguish between the five regiments of Foot Guards is the spacing of the buttons on their tunics; the Irish Guards have buttons arranged in groups of four as they were the fourth Foot Guards regiment to be founded.
They have a prominent St. Patrick's blue plume on the right side of their bearskins; the Irish Guards regiment was formed on 1 April 1900 by order of Queen Victoria to commemorate the Irishmen who fought in the Second Boer War for the British Empire. Following the outbreak of the First World War, 1st Battalion, The Irish Guards was deployed to France immediately, they remained on the Western Front for the duration of the war. During the early part of the war, the battalion took part in the Battle of Mons and formed the Allied rearguard during the Great Retreat; the battalion took part in one of the bloodiest battles of 1914, the First Battle of Ypres, which began on 19 October, which left major casualties among the old Regular Army. The 1st Battalion was involved in fighting for the duration of'First Ypres', at Langemarck and Nonne Bosschen; the 1st Battalion suffered huge casualties between 1–8 November holding the line against near defeat by German forces, while defending Klein Zillebeke. In May 1915, the 1st Irish Guards took part in the Battle of Festubert, though did not see much action.
Two further battalions were formed for the regiment in July. In September that year, the battalion, as well as the 2nd Irish Guards, who had reached France in August, took part in the Battle of Loos, which lasted from 25 September until early October. Both battalions did not fight in any major engagements; this relative quiet period for the regiment was broken on 1 July 1916 when the Battle of the Somme began. The 1st Irish Guards took part in an action at Flers–Courcelette where they suffered severe casualties in the attack in the face of withering fire from the German machine-guns; the battalion took part in the action at Morval before they were relieved by the 2nd Irish Guards. In 1917 the Irish Guards took part in the Battle of Pilckem which began on 31 July during the Third Battle of Ypres; the Irish Guards took part in the Battle of Cambrai in that year, the first large use of the tank in battle took place during the engagement. In 1918 the regiment fought in a number of engagements during the Second Battle of the Somme, including at Arras and Albert.
The regiment went on to take part in a number of battles during the British offensives against the Hindenburg Line. On 11 November 1918 the Armistice with Germany was signed; the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards were at Maubeuge. The regiment's continued existence was threatened when Winston Churchill, who served as Secretary of State for War between 1919 and 1921, sought the elimination of the Irish Guards and Welsh Guards as an economy measure; this proposal, did not find favour in government or army circles and was dropped. Between the wars, the regiment was deployed at various times to Turkey, Gibraltar and Palestine. During the Second World War, battalions of the regiment fought in Norway, North Africa and Italy and following D-Day in France, the Netherlands and Germany; the regiment first saw combat during the Norwegian Campaign. Following a challenging sea voyage to Norway, the 1st Irish Guards arrived in May 1940 and fought for two days at the town of Pothus before they were forced to retreat.
The Irish Guards served as the Allied rearguard. The battalion were evacuated along with the rest of the expeditionary force in June. While the 1st Irish Guards were fighting in Norway, the 2nd Battalion was deployed to the Hook of Holland to cover the evacuation of the Dutch Royal Family and Government in May 1940. 2nd Battalion were deployed to France and ordered to defend the port of Boulogne. The guardsmen held out against overwhelming odds for three days, buying valuable time for the Dunkirk Evacuation, before they were evacuated themselves. In November 1942, during the Second World War, Grand Duke of Luxembourg joined the British Army as a volunteer in the Irish Guards. All three battalions of the regiment remained based in the United Kingdom until March 1943 when the 1st Battalion landed, with the rest of the 24th Guards Brigade, in Tunisia, to fight in the final stages of the campaign in North Africa; the battalion saw extensive action while fighting through Tunisia and were subsequently deployed to the Italian Front in December of that year.
The battalion took part in the Anzio landings on 22 January 1944. The Irish Guards returned to France in June 1944 when the 2nd and 3rd Irish Guards took part in the Normandy Campaign. Both battalions served as part of the Guards Armoured Division and took part in the attempt to capture Caen as part of Operation Goodwood, they saw action in the Mont Pincon area. On 29 August, the 3rd Irish Guards crossed the Seine and began the advance into Belgium
8th King's Royal Irish Hussars
The 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1693. It saw service for three centuries including the Second World Wars; the regiment survived the immediate post-war reduction in forces, went on to distinguish itself in the battles of the Korean War, but was recommended for amalgamation in the 1957 Defence White Paper prepared by Duncan Sandys. The regiment was amalgamated with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, to form the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars in 1958; the regiment was first raised by Henry Conyngham as Henry Conyngham's Regiment of Dragoons in Derry in 1693, ranked as the 8th Dragoons. They soldiered at home as part of the Irish Establishment but were deployed to Spain in 1704 to take part in the War of the Spanish Succession; the regiment took part in a skirmish near Tanarite at which Henry Conyngham was killed: Robert Killigrew took over but was killed at the Battle of Almansa in April 1707. Under their new colonel, John Pepper, the 8th Dragoons routed a Spanish cavalry regiment at the Battle of Almenar in July 1710, according to tradition, took possession of the enemy regiment's crossbelts.
This earned the regiment the nickname "Crossbelt Dragoons". The regiment was captured in its entirety at the Battle of Brihuega in December 1710; the regiment returned home and was disbanded in 1714. It was re-raised again in 1715 and deployed to Scotland as part of the response to the Jacobite rising of 1715 and again for the Jacobite rising of 1745; the regiment moved back to Ireland, where in 1751, they were formally titled as the 8th Regiment of Dragoons and numbered for the first time as the 8th Dragoons. In 1775 they received their first title, "The 8th King's Royal Irish Light Dragoons"; the regiment was renamed in 1777 for King George III as the 8th Regiment of Dragoons. The regiment was deployed to the Low Countries in 1794 for service in the Flanders Campaign and took part in a skirmish at Bousbecque where they captured the French guns. After being directed by King George III to wear buff accoutrements as an honour, the regiment returned to England in November 1795; the regiment deployed to South Africa to control the Boers in 1796 transferred to North Africa and went on to India in 1802 to put down the activities of Daulat Scindia and Yashwantrao Holkar.
It fought at the Battle of Laswari in November 1803. The regiment stormed two fortresses belonging to the rebellious Pindaris in September 1812. In 1814, the regiment took on the Gurkhas, who were seeking to extend the boundaries of Nepal. In 1818, the colonel of the regiment, Sir Banastre Tarleton, received orders that the regiment was to convert to a hussar regiment, retitled the 8th Regiment of Dragoons The regiment returned to England in 1819; the regiment escorted Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their first visit to Dublin in 1849. During the Crimean War, the regiment formed part of the Light Brigade; the regiment set sail from Plymouth in early March 1854. Five ships were needed to transport them to the Black Sea; the Echunga, Mary Anne and the Shooting Star left first, followed by the Medora and the Wilson Kennedy on 1 May. The regiment suffered heavy losses at the Siege of Silistra in late March 1854; the next battle was near the River Alma in September 1854 and the 8th Hussars were awarded the battle honour for a convincing defeat of the enemy.
On 28 September, following a report that Russian troops were out in front of Balaklava town, the troop of the 8th, which made up Lord Raglan's escort under Captain Chetwode, was thrown out in skirmishing order. The Horse Artillery came up and opened fire, causing the Russians to abandon all their wagons and flee from the scene; some 70 wagons and carts were captured, some only containing small arms ammunition, destroyed. The rest of the wagons contained black bread; the troops were allowed to pillage the wagons that did not contain anything of value to the Commissariat. As a result, within a few minutes, the ground was strewn with various pieces of clothing – Hussar uniforms, fur cloaks and wigs; the carriages were said to belong to the suite of Prince Menshikov. After this engagement until 25 October, the regiment furnished patrols and outpost duties, being billeted close to vineyards and barns containing water, corn and fuel. In October and the Charge of the Light Brigade took place, it was started when 25,000 Russians tried to capture Balaklava, the British Army's only port, defended by the 93rd Highlanders, some Turks, the Cavalry Division.
Lieutenant Colonel Sherwell led the King's Royal Irish Hussars, forbidding two soldiers to carry their swords in the charge because they had "Disgraced the regiment by smoking in the presence of the enemy". The charge through the crossfire into the mouths of the Russian guns is vividly described by Lieutenant the Hon S Calthorpe, an 8th Hussar ADC; the pace of our Cavalry increased every moment, until they went thundering along the valley, making the ground tremble beneath them. On they went headlong to death, disregarding aught but the object of their attack. At length they arrived at the guns, their numbers sadly thinned, but the few that remained made fearful havoc amongst the enemy's artillery; as part of the second wave of the brigade's attack, the 8th were in line with the 4th Light Dragoons and, advancing in support at a steady pace, came under fire. Wounded men and horses from the leading squadrons kept making the lines unsteady. With the pace increasing
Irish in the British Armed Forces
The Irish in the British Armed Forces refers to the history of Irish people serving in the British Armed Forces. Ireland was as part of the United Kingdom from 1800-1922 and during this time in particular many Irishmen fought in the British Army. Different social classes joined the military for various reasons, including the Anglo-Irish officers who identified with the British Empire, while others poorer Irish Catholics, did so to support their families or seeking adventure. Many Irishmen and members of the Irish diaspora in Britain and Ulster-Scots served in both World War I and World War II as part of the British forces; however since the advent of Irish independence and The Troubles, the topic of enlistment in the British forces has been controversial for the Irish at home, but does still occur. Since partition, Irish citizens have continued to have the right to serve in the British Army. Since 2007, when troops withdrew from the streets of Northern Ireland, the number of Irish citizens joining has increased, reaching its highest levels since World War II.
As far back as the High Middle Ages, following the Norman invasion of Ireland, some Gaels acted as mercenary ceithearnach recruited by Anglo-Norman lords to fight in their various feudal campaigns. As various different forces grappled for control of land, some of the Gaelic factions joined with some of the Norman factions fighting side by side, either out of ad hoc self-interest or as a mercenary action; as part of this they fought not only in Ireland, but in England during the Wars of the Roses and in France during the Hundred Years' War. In his work on the Hundred Years' War, Desmond Seward mentions that the Earl of Ormond had raised Irish kern and Gallowglass to fight for Henry V Plantagenet, King of England, where they were present at the 1418 Siege of Rouen. During this time, with the exception of the Pale, much of Ireland was outside of the English Crown's direct control, but because of the close location to the Kingdom of England, whichever faction in the Wars of the Roses was out of favour.
Only one full-scale battle took place in Ireland itself, between Yorkists and Lancastrians at the Battle of Piltown in 1462, where Irish kerns fought on both sides. This was part of the Butler–FitzGerald dispute between two of the leading Anglo-Norman families in Ireland; the most notable instance from this period is from the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487. This was as part of the Lambert Simnel campaign, where the leading Yorkist figure the Earl of Lincoln was able to rise 5,000 Irish kerns, through his contacts with the FitzGerald family; the Tudor-era saw a new stage of military development in Ireland with the creation of the Kingdom of Ireland. Figures such as Anthony St. Leger and Thomas Wolsey, as well as Henry VIII Tudor himself, favoured an assimilationist policy for Ireland of surrender and regrant, whereby the Gaelic Irish leaders would be brought into alliance with the English Crown, securing their lands on the condition of abandoning their customs. There was no standing army and so during this early period of Tudor Ireland and military matters were under the administration of a local county High Sheriff.
A harsher and more aggressive policy under his offspring—Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I—whereby martial law would be implemented and New English settlers brought into the country to administrate military matters, made participation with crown forces more disreputable. Pre-emptive martial law was introduced by Lord Deputy, the Earl of Sussex in 1556, during the reign of Mary Tudor, while she was colonising the lands of the Ó Mórdha as "Queen's County" and the Ó Conchubhair Fáilghe as "King's County"; this allowed for persons suspected of oppositionist tendencies to be executed without trial, as well as against "tax offenders" and the displaced poor. This continued on during the Elizabethan period, with Henry Sidney and William FitzWilliam following suit. Many of the local Gaelic Irish and Old English were displaced from positions of power and friendly persons such as James FitzMaurice FitzGerald and Fiach Mac Aodha Ó Broin rose up in military revolt. Massacres by English forces, such as Rathlin and Mullaghmast turned the Irish against trusting the Crown forces and led to the development of a proto-Irish nationalism.
By 1585, Elizabeth had been advised to abandon martial law by the Earl of Ormond, Archbishop Adam Loftus and Sir Nicholas White. The works of Richard Beacon and Edmund Spenser encouraged the return of a harsher repression and following this threat, some Gaels such as Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill and Aodh Mór Ó Néill joined rank militarily with Catholic Spain against the Protestant Tudor forces. With the Christian sectarian division now a permanent fixture of Irish society, the Stuart period would see more religion-associated conflicts. Due to the English having financial problems, James I Stuart offered a pardon to the participants of Tyrone's Rebellion along the lines of surrender and regrant in 1603, but neither side trusted the other; these leaders of Ulster Gaeldom fled with the Flight of the Earls in 1607 in the hopes of militarily retaking their lands with the assistance of Spain. A year Sir Cathaoir Ó Dochartaigh, a previous supporter of the English forces against Ó Néill, rose up due to ill-treatment and goading at the hands of George Paulet with O'Doherty's Rebellion.
After the rebellion failed, in the same year, James I instigated the Plantation of Ulst
The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for gallantry "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces, it may be awarded posthumously. It was awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours, it may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two-thirds of all awards have been presented by the British monarch; these investitures are held at Buckingham Palace. The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients. Only 15 medals, 11 to members of the British Army, four to the Australian Army, have been awarded since the Second World War.
The traditional explanation of the source of the metal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the Siege of Sevastopol. However, research has suggested another origin for the material. Historian John Glanfield has established that the metal for most of the medals made since December 1914 came from two Chinese cannon, that there is no evidence of Russian origin. Owing to its rarity, the VC is prized and the medal has fetched over £400,000 at auction. A number of public and private collections are devoted to the Victoria Cross; the private collection of Lord Ashcroft, amassed since 1986, contains over one-tenth of all VCs awarded. Following a 2008 donation to the Imperial War Museum, the Ashcroft collection went on public display alongside the museum's Victoria and George Cross collection in November 2010. Beginning with the Centennial of Confederation in 1967, followed in 1975 by Australia and New Zealand, developed their own national honours systems, separate from and independent of the British or Imperial honours system.
As each country's system evolved, operational gallantry awards were developed with the premier award of each system—the Victoria Cross for Australia, the Canadian Victoria Cross and the Victoria Cross for New Zealand—being created and named in honour of the Victoria Cross. These are unique awards of each honours system, assessed and presented by each country. In 1854, after 39 years of peace, Britain found itself fighting a major war against Russia; the Crimean War was one of the first wars with modern reporting, the dispatches of William Howard Russell described many acts of bravery and valour by British servicemen that went unrewarded. Before the Crimean War, there was no official standardised system for recognition of gallantry within the British armed forces. Officers were eligible for an award of one of the junior grades of the Order of the Bath and brevet promotions while a Mention in Despatches existed as an alternative award for acts of lesser gallantry; this structure was limited. Brevet promotions or Mentions in Despatches were confined to those who were under the immediate notice of the commanders in the field members of the commander's own staff.
Other European countries had awards that did not discriminate against rank. There was a growing feeling among the public and in the Royal Court that a new award was needed to recognise incidents of gallantry that were unconnected with the length or merit of a man's service. Queen Victoria issued a Warrant under the Royal sign-manual on 29 January 1856 that constituted the VC; the order was backdated to 1854 to recognise acts of valour during the Crimean War. Queen Victoria had instructed the War Office to strike a new medal that would not recognise birth or class; the medal was meant to be a simple decoration that would be prized and eagerly sought after by those in the military services. To maintain its simplicity, Queen Victoria, under the guidance of Prince Albert, vetoed the suggestion that the award be called The Military Order of Victoria and instead suggested the name Victoria Cross; the original warrant stated that the Victoria Cross would only be awarded to officers and men who had served in the presence of the enemy and had performed some signal act of valour or devotion.
The first ceremony was held on 26 June 1857 at which Queen Victoria invested 62 of the 111 Crimean recipients in a ceremony in Hyde Park, London. A single company of jewellers, Hancocks of London, has been responsible for the production of every VC awarded since its inception, it has long been believed that all the VCs were cast from the cascabels of two cannon that were captured from the Russians at the siege of Sevastopol. However, in 1990 Creagh and Ashton conducted a metallurgical examination of the VCs in the custody of the Australian War Memorial, the historian John Glanfield wrote that, through the use of X-ray studies of older Victoria Crosses, it was determined that the metal used for all VCs since December 1914 is taken from antique Chinese guns, replacing an earlier gun. Creagh noted the existence of Chinese inscriptions on the cannon, which are now legible due to corrosion. A explanation is that these cannon were taken as trophies during the First Opium War and held in the Woolwich repository.
It was thought that some medals made during the First World War were composed of metal captured from different Chinese guns during the Boxer Rebellion. This is not so
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve personnel; the modern British Army traces back to 1707, with an antecedent in the English Army, created during the Restoration in 1660. The term British Army was adopted in 1707 after the Acts of Union between Scotland. Although all members of the British Army are expected to swear allegiance to Elizabeth II as their commander-in-chief, the Bill of Rights of 1689 requires parliamentary consent for the Crown to maintain a peacetime standing army. Therefore, Parliament approves the army by passing an Armed Forces Act at least once every five years; the army is commanded by the Chief of the General Staff. The British Army has seen action in major wars between the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the First and Second World Wars.
Britain's victories in these decisive wars allowed it to influence world events and establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers. Since the end of the Cold War, the British Army has been deployed to a number of conflict zones as part of an expeditionary force, a coalition force or part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation; until the English Civil War, England never had a standing army with professional officers and careerist corporals and sergeants. It relied on militia organized by local officials, or private forces mobilized by the nobility, or on hired mercenaries from Europe. From the Middle Ages until the English Civil War, when a foreign expeditionary force was needed, such as the one that Henry V of England took to France and that fought at the Battle of Agincourt, the army, a professional one, was raised for the duration of the expedition. During the English Civil War, the members of the Long Parliament realised that the use of county militia organised into regional associations commanded by local members of parliament, while more than able to hold their own in the regions which Parliamentarians controlled, were unlikely to win the war.
So Parliament initiated two actions. The Self-denying Ordinance, with the notable exception of Oliver Cromwell, forbade members of parliament from serving as officers in the Parliamentary armies; this created a distinction between the civilians in Parliament, who tended to be Presbyterian and conciliatory to the Royalists in nature, a corps of professional officers, who tended to Independent politics, to whom they reported. The second action was legislation for the creation of a Parliamentary-funded army, commanded by Lord General Thomas Fairfax, which became known as the New Model Army. While this proved to be a war winning formula, the New Model Army, being organized and politically active, went on to dominate the politics of the Interregnum and by 1660 was disliked; the New Model Army was paid off and disbanded at the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. For many decades the excesses of the New Model Army under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell was a horror story and the Whig element recoiled from allowing a standing army.
The militia acts of 1661 and 1662 prevented local authorities from calling up militia and oppressing their own local opponents. Calling up the militia was possible only if the king and local elites agreed to do so. Charles II and his Cavalier supporters favoured a new army under royal control; the first English Army regiments, including elements of the disbanded New Model Army, were formed between November 1660 and January 1661 and became a standing military force for Britain. The Royal Scots and Irish Armies were financed by the parliaments of Ireland. Parliamentary control was established by the Bill of Rights 1689 and Claim of Right Act 1689, although the monarch continued to influence aspects of army administration until at least the end of the nineteenth century. After the Restoration Charles II pulled together four regiments of infantry and cavalry, calling them his guards, at a cost of £122,000 from his general budget; this became the foundation of the permanent English Army. By 1685 it had grown to 7,500 soldiers in marching regiments, 1,400 men permanently stationed in garrisons.
A rebellion in 1685 allowed James II to raise the forces to 20,000 men. There were 37,000 in 1678. After William and Mary's accession to the throne England involved itself in the War of the Grand Alliance to prevent a French invasion restoring James II. In 1689, William III expanded the army to 74,000, to 94,000 in 1694. Parliament was nervous, reduced the cadre to 7000 in 1697. Scotland and Ireland had theoretically separate military establishments, but they were unofficially merged with the English force. By the time of the 1707 Acts of Union, many regiments of the English and Scottish armies were combined under one operational command and stationed in the Netherlands for the War of the Spanish Succession. Although all the regiments were now part of the new British military establishment, they remained under the old operational-command structure and retained much of the institutional ethos and traditions of the standing armies created shortly after the restoration of the monarchy 47 years earlier.
The order of seniority of the most-senior British Army line regiments is based on that of the English army
Queen's Royal Hussars
The Queen's Royal Hussars is the senior United Kingdom armoured regiment. It was formed on 1 September 1993 from the amalgamation of the Queen's Own Hussars and the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars; the regiment and its antecedents have been awarded eight Victoria Crosses. The regiment is based in Sennelager, where it is the armoured regiment for 20th Armoured Brigade, part of British Forces Germany; the Queen's Royal Hussars was formed in Fallingbostel on 1 September 1993 from the amalgamation of the Queen's Own Hussars and the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars. The Queen's Own Hussars referred to by the abbreviation QOH, was a cavalry regiment of the British Army, formed from the amalgamation of 3rd The King's Own Hussars and the 7th Queen's Own Hussars at Candahar Barracks, Tidworth in 1958; the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars, abbreviated as QRIH, was a cavalry regiment of the British Army formed from the amalgamation of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars and the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars in Hohne, West Germany in 1958.
The regiment, in January 1996, became the first to be deployed in Challenger 1 tanks to Bosnia with NATO's British-led Implementation Force IFOR. In August 1996 the regiment deployed to Northern Ireland on Operation Banner and moved to Athlone Barracks at Sennelager as armoured regiment for 20th Armoured Brigade in January 1998. An independent tank squadron deployed to Kosovo in 2001, with the rest of the regiment deploying that year in the dismounted role. December 2003 saw the regiment deploy once again, this time to Iraq on Operation Telic 3; the regiment saw its first Military Cross awarded to Lance corporal Christopher Balmforth of B Squadron for his actions during an ambush in Basra. April 2006 saw the regiment deploy once again to Iraq on Operation Telic 8 and December 2008 saw the regiment deployed to Iraq on Operation Telic 13; as the final Operation Telic the Queen's Royal Hussars were intimately involved in the drawdown from the main British base and spent many hours escorting convoys to and from Kuwait.
In 2011 the regiment deployed on Operation Herrick 15 as a ground holding Battle Group to Afghanistan in the infantry role: they worked with the Afghan National Police handing over control of checkpoints. On return from Afghanistan in 2012 the regiment was called on to support the security for the London Olympic Games; the remainder of the year was used to return to the armoured role. 2013 saw C Squadron training with 5 Rifles on Exercise Bavarian Charger, mounted on Challenger 2. The Queen's Royal Hussars Battlegroup, comprising sub-units from 5 Rifles and 1 PWRR deployed on Exercise Prairie Thunder 2 between July and August 2013. In June 2014, the regiment deployed C Squadron to Operation Herrick 20 in Afghanistan, as the Warthog Group; this role involved crewing Warthog armoured tracked vehicles and operating with dismounted infantry from 5 RIFLES to disrupt insurgents in Helmand during the draw down of British troops from Camp Bastion. They were the last British combat units on the ground in Helmand.
The regiment will move to Tidworth with 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade, forming the senior of three Type 56 heavy armoured regiments of British Army's Reactive Force. The regiment is equipped with 56 Challenger 2 tanks. In addition the Regiment fields a squadron with a close reconnaissance troop mounted in eight FV107 Scimitars. Holders of the Victoria Cross included: James Champion Samuel Parkes Clement Walker Heneage George Hollis John Pearson Joseph Ward Cornet William Bankes Major Charles Fraser 1993–2002: HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother 2002–: F. M. HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT, OM, GBE, AC, QSO Colonels of the regiment have been: 1993–1999: Maj-Gen. Richard Edward Barron, CB 1999–2004: Maj-Gen. David John Malcolm Jenkins, CBE 2004–2009: Maj-Gen. Arthur Denaro CBE 2009–2014: Brig Andrew Bellamy 2014–Present: Lt-Gen Sir Tom Beckett KCB CBE The regiment has three museums: The Queen's Own Hussars Museum was located at Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick until it closed; the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars Museum is located at The Redoubt Fortress in Eastbourne.
The Blackshaw Museum is located in the Regimental Guard room of Athlone Barracks in Sennelager, Germany. The crest and cap badge are as follows: The Regimental Crest is made up from the Angel Harp of the 8th Hussars and the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars, placed above the White Horse of Hanover of the 3rd Hussars and the Queen's Own Hussars; these are encircled by the Garter Belt, above, placed the Queen's Crown. The Regimental Cap Badge is made up from the Angel Harp of the 8th Hussars and the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars, superimposed on the Regimental cypher of the Queen's Own Hussars bestowed on the 7th Hussars in 1727; the regiment has gained a number of unique privileges and traditions: The Loyal Toast: After the Jacobite rebellion in 1745, all officers of the army were required to drink the health of the sovereign in their mess after dinner as a token of loyalty to the king. The king, absolved the regiment from this duty, saying that their loyalty had always been beyond question, gave the officers the privilege of never drinking the Loyal Toast in the officers' mess and of ignoring the national anthem when it is played by the band after dinner.
This privilege was reaffirmed by the sovereign prior to the formation of the regiment in 1993. Badges and SymbolsTh
Charles Craufurd Fraser
Lieutenant General Sir Charles Craufurd Fraser was a British recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was a Conservative politician. Fraser was the third son of his wife Charlotte Anne Craufurd, he joined the 7th Hussars, British Army as a cornet in 1847, became lieutenant in 1850 and captain in 1854. On 5 January 1858 he became orderly officer for Brigadier Campbell at Munseata near Allahabad and was promoted to major on 20 July 1858. Fraser was 29 years old, a major in the 7th Hussars during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed took place on 31 December 1858 at the River Raptee, India for which he was awarded the VC: For conspicuous and cool gallantry, on the 31st December, 1858, in having volunteered, at great personal risk, under a sharp fire of musketry, to swim to the rescue of Captain Stisted, some men of the 7th Hussars, who were in imminent danger of being drowned in the River Raptee, while in pursuit of the rebels.
Major Fraser succeeded in this gallant service, although at the time disabled, not having recovered from a severe wound received while leading a Squadron in a charge against some fanatics, in the Action of Nawabgunge, on the 13th June, 1858. He was awarded the Royal Humane Society's Medal 1st Class. Fraser transferred to the 11th Hussars in 1859 and became commanding officer as lieutenant colonel in 1861, he was commandant at headquarters during the Abyssinian War. He was mentioned in despatches and awarded CB. In 1868 he became colonel of the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars and was promoted to major-general in 1870, he was aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cambridge lord-lieutenant of Ireland, from 1873 to 1877. In 1880 he became inspector-general of cavalry in Ireland until 1884 and was in command of the cavalry at Aldershot, he retired with the rank of lieutenant general in 1886. In 1885 Fraser was elected Member of Parliament for Lambeth North, he was knighted in 1891 and held the Lambeth seat until 1892.
Fraser died in Sloane Street London at the age of 65 and was buried in Brompton Cemetery, London, on the east side of the main entrance path from the north entrance. Location of grave and VC medal Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Charles Fraser