Trisha Shetty (Editor)

11th Hussars

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Active  1715–1969
Type  Cavalry
Size  Regiment
Branch  British Army
Role  Line cavalry
11th Hussars

Country  Kingdom of Great Britain (1715–1800)  United Kingdom (1801–1969)

The 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army established in 1715. It saw service for three centuries including the First World War and Second World War but then amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales' Own) to form the Royal Hussars in 1969.


Early wars

The regiment was raised by Colonel Philip Honeywood as Colonel Philip Honeywood's Regiment of Dragoons in 1715 as part of the response to the Jacobite rebellion. A troop was detached to form the 19th Dragoons in February 1779. The regiment fought at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746 during the Jacobite rising of 1745 after which it was retitled the 11th Regiment of Dragoons in 1751. The regiment took part in the Raid on St Malo in June 1758 and the Raid on Cherbourg in August 1758 during the Seven Years' War. It then took part in a charge at Battle of Warburg in July 1760 and was present at the Battle of Villinghausen in July 1761. A further name change, to the 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons, occurred in 1783.

The regiment formed part of the covering force at the Battle of Famars in May 1793 and performed the same role at the Siege of Valenciennes in June 1793 as well as the Siege of Landrecies in April 1794 during the Flanders Campaign. The regiment returned to England in autumn 1795. The regiment also saw action at the Battle of Alkmaar in October 1799 and the Battle of Castricum also in October 1799 during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. In April 1811 the regiment embarked to Portugal: The regiment's nickname, the Cherry Pickers, arose from an incident, in which a troop from the regiment was ambushed and then forced to seek cover in an orchard at San Martín de Trevejo in Spain in August 1811. The regiment formed part of the covering force at the Siege of Badajoz in April 1812 and drove back the French out-posts at the Battle of Salamanca in July 1812 during the Peninsular War. The regiment formed part of the covering force for the charge of the Union Brigade, comprising the Royal Dragoons, the Royal Scots Greys and the Inniskilling Dragoons, at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.

The regiment were then sent to India aboard the Indiamen Atlas and Streatham departing Gravesend in February 1819 for Calcutta. In 1840, the regiment was retitled 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, who later became the regiment's colonel. Its new uniform by coincidence included "cherry" (i.e. crimson) coloured trousers, unique among British regiments and worn since in most orders of uniform except battledress and fatigues.

The regiment next saw action, as part of the light brigade under the command of Major General the Earl of Cardigan, at the Battle of Alma in September 1854. The regiment was in the second line of cavalry on the left flank during the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in October 1854. The brigade drove through the Russian artillery before smashing straight into the Russian cavalry and pushing them back; it was unable to consolidate its position, however, having insufficient forces and had to withdraw to its starting position, coming under further attack as it did so. The regiment lost 3 officers and 55 men in the debacle. 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. Some twenty-one years later Private Edward Woodham of the 11th Hussars became Chairman of the organising committee for the 21st Anniversary dinner held at Alexandra Palace for survivors of the Charge. The regiment was renamed the 11th (or Prince Albert's Own) Hussars in 1861. It provided troops for the Nile Expedition in 1884 and took part in Siege of Ladysmith in winter 1899 during the Second Boer War.

The First World War

The regiment landed in France as part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division in August 1914 for service on the Western Front with the British Expeditionary Force. The regiment took part in the Great Retreat and the regiment, working with the 2nd Dragoon Guards, conducted a cavalry charge which led to the capture of eight guns at Néry in September 1914. In an action during the Battle of Messines in October 1914 a squadron from the regiment endured a heavy German bombardment that left many of its soldiers buried in a trench while another squadron from the regiment used a vantage point at the top of a building to train a machine gun on the Germans. At the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915 the regiment, working with the Durham Light Infantry and 9th Lancers, held the village of Hooge despite being under attack from the German forces using poison gas. In spring 1918 the commanding officer of the regiment Colonel Rowland Anderson led a bayonet assault at Sailly-Laurette which, taking the Germans by surprise, led to them being completely repulsed.

The inter-war years

The regiment was renamed the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) in 1921; it became the first British cavalry regiment to become mechanized in 1928 and it became involved in suppressing the Arab revolt in Palestine in 1936.

The Second World War

The regiment, which had been located in Egypt when the war started, deployed as part of the divisional troops of the 7th Armoured Division and conducted raids on Italian positions in Italian Libya using armoured cars during the Western Desert Campaign. It captured Fort Capuzzo in June 1940 and, in an ambush east of Bardia, captured General Lastucci, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Italian Tenth Army. Following the Italian invasion of Egypt in September 1940, the regiment took part in the British counterattack called Operation Compass, launched against Italian forces first in Egypt, then Libya. It was part of an ad hoc combat unit called Combeforce, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Combe, that cut the retreating Tenth Army off and led to their surrender at the Battle of Beda Fomm in February 1941. The regiment fought at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. The regiment took part in the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943 and, after the Normandy landings in June 1944, took part in the North-West Europe Campaign.


The regiment was posted to Wavell Barracks in Berlin in 1945 and, after tours at various locations in Lower Saxony including Jever, Delmenhorst, Osnabrück and Wesendorf, it returned home in March 1953. It deployed to Johor Bahru in Malaya in July 1953 during the Malayan Emergency. After returning home in August 1956, it moved to Lisanelly Barracks in Omagh in August 1959, and then deployed to Aden in November 1960 shortly before the Aden Emergency. It returned to England in November 1961 and then moved to Haig Barracks in Hohne in October 1962 where it remained until returning home again in January 1969. The regiment was amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own), to form the Royal Hussars on 25 October 1969.

Notable members

  • James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan — leader of the Charge of the Light Brigade
  • Alexander Roberts Dunn — the first Canadian to win the Victoria Cross
  • Tim Forster — Racehorse trainer of 3 Grand National winners
  • John Ashley Kilvert — survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade and later mayor of Wednesbury
  • David Margesson, 1st Viscount Margesson — British politician
  • Francis Newall, 2nd Baron Newall — British politician
  • Nicholas Soames — British politician
  • HRH Prince Michael of Kent
  • Sir Philip Frankland-Payne-Gallwey, 6th Baronet
  • Harry Flashman — fictional anti-hero
  • Antony Beevor — writer
  • John Frederick Boyce Combe — World War II leader of Combe Force
  • Battle honours

    The battle honours of the regiment were as follows:

  • Early wars: 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 regiment

    The colonels of the regiment were as follows: The Kerr family provided the colonels for two thirds of the regiment's first century

  • 1715 Philip Honywood —Honywood's or Honeywood's Regiment of Dragoons
  • 1732 Lord Mark Kerr — Kerr's 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

  • 1752 William, Marquess of Lothian
  • 1775 James Johnston
  • 1785 Hon. Thomas Gage
  • 1787 Joseph, Lord Dover K B
  • 1789 Studholme Hodgson
  • 1798 William, Marquess of Lothian K T
  • 1813 Lord William Bentinck G C B
  • References

    11th Hussars Wikipedia