In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Raising of the Regiment 1715
The accession of the Hanoverian King George I stirred up the Jacobites who wanted to revive the Stuart dynasty by placing the son of James II on the throne, James Francis Edward, known later as the Old Pretender. This divided the country into Protestants versus Catholics, with a strong Catholic tendency in Scotland. The first Jacobite Rebellion began in September 1715 with the mustering of Highland Lairds by James Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar. But King George had been made aware of the trouble earlier in the summer and issued warrants for the raising of 12 regiments of Dragoons. Six of them survived as the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th and 14th, but the others were disbanded shortly after the uprising was considered to be defused.

There already existed in the standing army eight regiments of dragoons, along with the Regiments of Horse and Regiments of Foot. Dragoons were not considered cavalry a such in the 17th century; they were actually mounted infantry where fighting was carried out on foot while one man in ten watched the horses. By the 18th century the differences between the two had eroded to such an extent that they were almost indistinguishable. It made economic sense to raise Regiments of Dragoons instead of the more expensive Regiments of Horse.

The Royal Warrant for the raising of the regiment was issued to Brigadier-General Humphrey Gore, dated 23rd July 1715 but in the Army Lists the dates of the commissions of the first officers are the 22nd July. These officers were:

Brigadier Humphrey Gore Colonel
Peter Hawker Lieutenant-Colonel
Paston Knyvet Major
Balthazar Guidet Captain
George Treby Captain
John Wittewrong Captain
Israel Presley Captain Lieutenant
Robert Blount Lieutenant
John Jordain Lieutenant
Henry Courtney Lieutenant
Andrew Purcell Lieutenant
Peter Chaban Cornet
William Prossr Cornet
Thomas Crawley Cornet
Thomas Hincks Cornet
William Stannus Cornet
Francis Boucher Cornet
Josiah Hort Chaplain
Robert Walkinshaw Surgeon

The regiment was divided into six Troops, each having 40 privates, rising to 49 in 1716. Additionally, each Troop had a sergeant, 2 corporals, one drummer and one hautbois. The hautbois was a clarinet-type of instrument, used up until c1759 when it was replaced by a trumpet.

Service in England, 1715 - 1745
10th Dragoons
Patrolling the Shires
Although the regiment had been raised at the time of the first Jacobite Rising, they were not involved in the fighting in the north of England and Scotland. According to Colonel Liddell’s history they were employed in England ‘suppressing tumults and maintaining order’. Protestant Georgian England was still jittery, and always wary of further Jacobite agitation. This did not stop them disbanding half of the newly raised regiments of dragoons in 1718. Fortunately Gore’s Dragoons survived the cull and were operating all over the country from Yorkshire, to Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, Shropshire and Devon. They paraded at Royal Reviews on Salisbury Plain in May 1722, and Hounslow Heath in April 1726. On two occasions they had to prepare for foreign service on the continent; in 1727 they nearly went to war in Holland but the emergency was forestalled by the death of George I. In 1741 they again prepared to go with the army to Flanders but were left behind.
The Black Watch Mutiny 1743
A regiment of Foot was raise in Scotland from independent companies of highlanders loyal to the crown. They were known as the Black Watch and eventually became famous as the most respected of all the Highland regiments. But in 1743, only 4 years after they had been raised, they were not as disciplined as their latter day heroes. They were recruited on the understanding that they serve in Scotland. But in 1743 they were marched to Gravesend for embarkation to Flanders. A rumour spread amongst the disgruntled men that they were to be sent to the West Indies, the graveyard of the British Army at that time. Their indignation at having to march so far south, then to be sent abroad to heaven-knows where was too much for them, and 200 of them decided to simply walk home. They took their weapons with them as they were their personal possessions. A squadron of the 3rd Dragoon Guards and Colonel Churchill’s 10th Dragoons were sent to catch them. They overtook them at Ladywood near Oundle, ‘and after much persuasion they were prevailed upon to surrender.’ They were court-martialled and sentenced to death but the authorities were persuaded to change their minds and execute only three men, considered to be the ringleaders. The Macpherson brothers and Farquar Shaw were shot in front of the deserters who were then transported for life.
Jacobite Rebellion 1745

Skirmish at Clifton, 18 Dec 1745

When the 2nd Jacobite Rebellion broke out in 1745 the actual location of the 10th Dragoons is unclear, but having not been involved in 1715 it seems that they made up for it this time. The Duke of Cumberland made a hasty return to Britain from the war in Flanders, and assembled an army on Finchley Common. The 10th (Cobham’s) Dragoons were among the regiments there, that later marched north. The Jacobites, having taken control in Scotland, marched into England, but found themselves having to turn back. Cumberland’s dragoons pursued them and caught up with them at Clifton, near Manchester, on 18 Dec. Three regiments, the 3rd, 10th and 11th dismounted and advanced until they were attacked by Highlanders. In the skirmish 6 men of the 3rd were killed, 3 of the 10th and one of the 11th, while dozens of Jacobites were killed.

Battle of Falkirk, 17 Jan 1746

10th Dragoons
An emergency required Cumberland to return to the south of England again which left General Henry Hawley in command of the redcoat army in the north. Hawley was accompanied by the 10th Dragoons and caught up with his infantry at Linlithgow on 16 Jan. He pressed on to Falkirk where the Jacobites, commanded by Lord George Murray and Lord John Drummond intended to seize the hill overlooking Hawley’s camp. At around mid-day a scout reported that a Jacobite force of 5,800 infantry and 360 cavalry was approaching the hill and a race began to gain control of it. Both sides reached the heights at the same time and formed battle lines. Three regiments of dragoons were on the left, the 13th 10th and 14th. Due to desertions the 13th and 14th were depleted to around 180 men each, while the 10th had a strength of 300. Hawley’s army was made up of 6,500 infantry and 770 cavalry. The battle began at 4pm when the three dragoon regiments charged McDonald’s brigade. They fired a volley that halted the charge, and sent the 14th running back down the hill where many of them were shot by mistake by some Glasgow volunteers. The 13th and 10th retired in good order.

By now it was beginning to rain hard, and the battle is famous for having been fought in a storm which dampened the redcoats’ powder. The Jacobites charged and pushed Hawley’s men back, but Brigadier-General James Cholmondley rallied a counter-attack of the 4th and 59th Foot, and around 100 dragoons from the 13th and 10th. It was starting to get dark and the fighting was very confused in the heavy rain and pitch blackness. Hawley retreated to his camp and decided to move the army back to Linlithgow instead of having his men spend the night soaking and on constant alert. Because of this retirement the Jacobites claimed a victory even though their army had also retreated.

Culloden, 16 April 1746

Hawley was discredited by the failure at Falkirk so the Duke of Cumberland hurried back north to take command. His army in Edinburgh consisted of 14 Battalions, some local troops from Argyll, and the 10th and 11th Dragoons.
10th Dragoons
Bonnie Prince Charlie drew up his army on Drummossie Muir on the morning of 16 April 1746. Cumberland responded by lining up his troops with two artillery guns between each regiment. The 10th Dragoons were split up so that one squadron was placed on the right side of the first line with Kingston’s Light Horse, and two squadrons on the left with Kerr’s 11th Dragoons. The right side squadron of the 10th had been detached to scout northwards shortly before the battle, and there was at first some concern that they would arrive too late. The artillery bombarded the enemy but the Highlanders soon tired of waiting to attack, and at 2pm they charged forward with swords drawn, down the hill and across marshy ground. They had some success with the first line of redcoat infantry, but the second line fired a volley and checked them. They suffered heavy casualties and turned back. The cavalry on the left of the line, under General Bland, broke down a wall and were able to attack the rebel right flank. This effectively broke the Highlanders’ spirit and they retreated. The squadron of the 10th on the extreme right of the line, on their own initiative edged forward to attack the wavering enemy. Cumberland galloped across to them, and in the words of an eye witness, ‘clapping some of them on the shoulders, he called out, “One brush, my lads, for the honour of Old Cobham”; upon which rather like Devils than men, they broke through the enemy’s flank, and a total rout followed.’ The rebel army of 8,000 men was reduced by 1,000, and the redcoat army of 5,000 lost 50 killed and 260 wounded. Out of the three dragoon regiments, the 11th came off worst with 4 killed and 15 wounded. The 10th Dragoons lost 4 killed and 5 wounded, and Kingston’s Horse lost 2 killed and one wounded.

Light Troop 1756
10th Dragoons
Light Troop
The outbreak of hostilities between Britain and France in North America prompted the Government to authorise the addition of a Troop of Light Cavalry to several of the cavalry regiments. The 10th Dragoons were included, and having had their strength reduced after the Jacobite war to 285, they were now to have a new Light Troop of 60 privates, 2 drummers, 3 corporals, 2 sergeants, a QM, a cornet, a lieutenant and a captain. The men had to be between 5ft 6.5in and 5ft 8in high. The size of horses 14.3 hands whereas the dragoon horses were normally 15 hands. They were armed with carbines 4ft 3in long, and bayonet 17 in long. One pistol with 10in long barrel, and a straight cutting sword with a 34in blade. The belts were to be tanned leather, the cartouche belt to have a pouch with a double row of holes to hold 24 cartridges. The saddle was to be jockey style and have a pistol holster on the front right side and a bucket called a churn on the left to hold tools like a spade, an axe or a woodman’s bill. Instead of hats they had jacked leather caps, and the boots were to be light jockey type with small stiff tops. The first officers of the 10th Light Troop were Captain Robert Atkinson, Lieutenant Lord Wallingford, and Cornet Frederick Caldwell.
Seven Years War 1756-63

Raid on St Malo, June 1758

Prime Minister Pitt put forward his plan to divert the French to help Britain’s German allies. Raids, or ‘Descents’ on French ports were organised, starting with St Malo in Brittany, commanded by Charles, 3rd Duke of Marlborough, and consisting of elite troops picked from the guards and the grenadier companies of various regiments of Foot. For cavalry, nine of the Light Troops out of the eleven newly raised were to accompany the 16 infantry battalions and 6,000 Marines. In May 1758 the 10th Light Troop marched to Portsmouth from Canterbury to join the Light Brigade. Enthusiasm for the raids was great and several titled gentlemen joined up as privates. The 10th Light Troop was increased by having several lords and honorables in their ranks, including Henry Dawnay, 3rd Viscount Downe. The fleet sailed from Spithead and anchored in Cancale Bay on 5 June. The army marched from there to St Malo and threatened the town. The Light Troops approached the walls and were fired on by French guns. A few horses were killed but there was little in the way of injury to the men. French ships were burned and naval stores destroyed. They returned to their ships and attempted to repeat the process at Grenville and Cherbourg, but were deterred by the weather. They returned to England and reached St Helens on 1 July.

Raids on Cherbourg and Saint Cas, Aug - Sep 1758

The next raid was commanded by Lt-Gen Thomas Bligh and was made against Cherbourg which was reached on 7 Aug. It was captured easily, and fortifications and ships were destroyed until 16 Aug when they decided to leave. They made an attempt to have another go at St Malo but it was now too well defended. So the next attack was made against Saint Cas which turned into a disaster. Landing craft full of soldiers were sunk by French artillery. Grenadiers panicked and ran into the sea and were slaughtered by musket fire. The cavalry had probably not disembarked as there is no mention of their involvement. This was the last of the descents on the French coast.

Raid on Saint Cas

10th Dragoons
Saint Cas
The disastrous raid on Saint Cas, or Saint Cast, took place on 11 Sep 1758.This detailed print graphically depicts the sinking landing craft which were struck by canon fire, causing many soldiers to be drowned. Other grenadiers who had managed to get ashore ran into the sea to escape the onslaught of the French forces sent against them. This failed attempt effectively ended the raids, or descents, on the French coast during the early part of the Seven Years War.

Minden, 1 Aug 1759

The main body of the 10th Dragoons embarked for Germany in the middle of July 1758, landing off Embden and joining up with the army of Prince Ferdinand. As was the custom in those days, the armies went into winter quarters at the end of the summer fighting season. The 10th spent the winter at Paderborn. The 1759 campaign saw Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick and Frederick the Great of Prussia renewing their efforts to drive the French out of the German states. Besides his Hanoverians and Hessians, Frederick had almost 12,000 British soldiers commanded by Lord George Sackville. The cavalry consisted of the Blues, KDG, 3rd DG, the Scots Greys, Inniskilling Dragoons and the 10th. The French were in control of Frankfurt am Maine and Ferdinand at first met the French under the Duc de Broglie at Bergen where the enemy were victorious. Hanover looked as if it would be overrun by the French. De Broglie joined up with Marshal Contades and their camp was establish in a strong position near Minden. Ferdinand tricked Contades into thinking that he had split his force in two. Ferdinand’s soldiers were seen leaving the area in the direction of Hille, leaving 5,000 men under General Wangenheim entrenched on the banks of the Weser. Contades directed de Broglie to attack the entrenchments which he proceeded to do on 1 Aug.

On reaching high ground, de Broglie was astonished to see the whole allied army which had doubled back overnight, formed up and ready for battle. Contades and his men were brought forward and were forced to give battle in a very much less advantageous place, between a river and a morass. The left of the French position was attacked by German troops while the British threatened the centre. The French cavalry were then ordered to attack the British and Hanoverian infantry. But they stood firm and repulsed every wave of attack by cavalry and infantry. Prussian and Hanoverian dragoons then launched their offensive and this caused the French to fall back. At this point Ferdinand ordered Lord George Sackville to let his British cavalry advance to the charge. But Lord George refused to obey and the frustrated cavalry were left standing. This allowed the French to retire with impunity, and although the order was then given to the Marquis of Granby the opportunity has passed. The captured town of Minden surrendered and despite the easy retreat of the defeated French, the battle of Minden is regarded as a celebrated victory, remembered to this day by certain infantry regiments. Sackville was court-martialled and disgraced.

Warburg, 31 July 1760

The opening of the 1760 campaign saw the combined French forces of the Duc de Broglie and the Count de St Germain outnumbering the allies. They were first encountered by an allied force commanded by the Hereditary Prince, nephew of Prince Ferdinand. At Corbach the French easily repulsed the Prince’s attack but a French detachment was completely routed by the Hereditary Prince at Emsdorf on 16 July where he personally led the newly arrived Eliott’s Light Horse (15th Hussars) in a famous charge. On 30 July the French made the mistake of splitting their forces between Zieremberg and Warburg. Prince Ferdinand decided to attack the French at Warburg commanded by the Chevalier de Muy. The infantry made slow progress so Ferdinand ordered the cavalry to be brought forward. The 10th were brigaded with the Inniskillings under the Earl of Pembroke. They were, with the rest of the cavalry and artillery, posted in a wood some distance in the rear of Ferdinand’s infantry. When they did catch up with Ferdinand they found them to be in danger of attack by French cavalry. They immediately went into action, charging under the leadership of the Marquis of Granby whose hat famously flew off, so that he ‘went at it bald-headed’.

The charge was a great success as the enemy cavalry were scattered. However, one squadron of the 10th became detached in the wide-ranging battle, and came face-to-face with a German grenadier regiment that was fighting on the French side. The commander of the squadron, Major Davenport mistook them for Hessian allies and halted his men within 70 yards of them. They opened fire on the dragoons with muskets and two brass canons. Davenport was killed by four bullets and most of the other officers were wounded or unhorsed. This left Captain Thomas Mordaunt as the only officer, so he rallied the men, charging the grenadiers as they fired a second volley. The Germans held their ground but after a fierce struggle they surrendered. This squadron of the 10th Dragoons captured 300 prisoners, 2 mules with ammunition, 3 wagons of stores and the two brass canons which are now in the Tower of London. The squadron lost 2 officers and one private killed, 10 men wounded, 4 horses killed and 12 wounded. Thomas Mordaunt was a distant relative of General Sir John Mordaunt, Colonel of the 10th for 30 years, and Thomas was later the CO from 1770 to 1787. The regiment joined in the pursuit of the enemy for several miles beyond the River Diemel and afterwards camped on the hills of Wilda, 4 miles from Warburg.

Kloster Kampen, 15 Oct 1760

At the end of September, Ferdinand ordered a force under the Hereditary Prince to besiege Wesel. The French, based at Rhinberg, sent a force under the Marquis de Castries to intercept the Prince near the Convent of Kampen. An attack was made on the convent while the main part of the Prince’s force engaged the French who came up from Rhinberg. The ensuing battle lasted 16 hours, from 5am to 9pm. The Hereditary Prince had to concede defeat and leave the field to the French. He lost around 1,500 men and was compelled to end the siege of Wesel. The 10th Dragoons were engaged throughout the day and made a charge towards the end that resulted in the severe wounding and capture of their commanding officer, William Augustus Pitt. Lt R Briscoe and four privates were killed. Another officer and 3 men were wounded. Also Lt Chas Erskine was captured, along with Quartermaster Dobson, 3 sergeants and 27 rank-and-file men. The loss in horses was 33 killed, 7 wounded and 11 missing. The retreat had to be made across the Rhine but the pontoon bridge was damaged by floods and had to be moved down river. While this was in operation the 10th deployed in skirmishing order and kept the French away. They were the last ones to cross the river, on 18 Oct, and camped at Brunnen before moving into cantonments at Paderborn for the winter. This was a particularly difficult winter because of the lack of forage and provisions.

Last Two Years of the War 1761-2

When the 1761 campaign got under way there was a battle at Kirch-Denkern on 16 July in which the 10th were in the centre of the allied position. The French were defeated on this occasion and it is unclear what part the regiment played. They were subsequently skirmishing near the River Diemel and the area around Paderborn before going into winter quarters in East Friesland. In June 1762 the French were established at Grebenstein and on 24 June Prince Ferdinand surprised the enemy and they were driven from their strong position. The 10th were kept busy pursuing the defeated French until a preliminary peace treaty was signed in early November. The 10th remained in the Munster region for several weeks before marching through Holland to Williamstadt in Feb 1763. They embarked for England and landed at Harwich. They then proceeded to Dorchester and Blandford. This ended the regiment’s involvement in the Seven Years War. They had spent nearly 5 years on campaign and distinguished themselves in all the major battles. Unfortunately they were awarded no battle honours until 1909 when WARBURG was retrospectively awarded to the 10th Royal Hussars, along with 11 other cavalry regiments.

Service in Britain 1763 - 1783
In 1763 the Light Troops that had been raised in 1756 were disbanded, although eight men per Troop of the heavy dragoons were to be equipped as light dragoons. On 30 April 1764 the regiment took part in a review which was attended by King George III. His Majesty made some changes to the cavalry that included the prohibition of docking horses tails. In future they were to have full long tails. Over the next two decades the 10th were stationed in different parts of England, although they were in Scotland in 1767-8 and 1773-4. When the War of American Independence broke out the establishment of the army was increased. The 10th were ordered to recruit an extra 8 men per Troop but they did not take part in the war. When the war ended in 1782 they were reduced to 28 privates per Troop in addition to a trumpeter, a hautbois, 2 corporals, a quartermaster and three officers. In 1783 six regiments of dragoons were converted to light dragoons. The 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th had their titles changed. The 12th Dragoons had been converted in 1768. The 10th were sent an order from the Adjutant-General on 27 Sep 1783 informing them that they would in future be called the Tenth or Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Light Dragoons.
10th Dragoons Badges
Commanding Officers
1715 - 1783
1715 - 1783
1715 - 1783
1715 - 1783
1715 - 1783
1715Gore’s Dragoons
1723Churchill’s Dragoons
1745Cobham’s Dragoons
1749Mordaunt’s Dragoons
175110th Dragoons
Successor Units
178310th or Prince of Wales’s Own Light Dragoons
180610th or Prince of Wales’s Own Light Dragoons (Hussars)
181110th The Prince of Wales’s Own Royal Light Dragoons (Hussars)
186110th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars
192110th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own)
1969The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) (10th & 11th Hussars)
1992 The King’s Royal Hussars (10th, 11th, 14th, 20th Hussars)
Suggested Reading
Historical Record of The Tenth, the Prince of Wale’s Own Royal Regiment of Hussars
by Richard Cannon 1843

The Memoirs of the Tenth Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) Historical and Social
by Colonel R S Liddell (Longmans Green & Co 1891)

A Short History of the Xth (P.W.O.) Royal Hussars
by Lt-Col John Vaughan and Major Pillinger (1909)

The 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own)
by Michael Brander (Leo Cooper 1969)

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