In over 300 years of distinguished service the Regiment has gained a number of unique privileges and traditions.
The oldest custom dates from our formation in 1685 when The Queen Consort’s Regiment of Dragoons, wore the Queen’s livery with Garter blue feathered hats. This association with the colour blue has been handed down to the present day as the principal colour of the Regiment and in the wearing of Garter Blue backgrounds to the badges of ranks of the Officers and NCOs.
At the battle of Alamanara in 1710, the 8th Dragoons pursued the Spanish Cavalry Corps and, equipping themselves with the crossbelts of the enemy, cut the Spaniards down with their own swords. The crossbelts were worn with distinction for many years and the nickname ‘St George’s Crossbelts’ was given to the Regiment. Although the crossbelt worn today is based upon the original 4th Hussars pattern, the continuing tradition of titling the Regimental Journal “The Crossbelts” is in recognition of this famous action by The 8th Hussars.
After the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745 all Officers of the Army were required to drink the health of the Sovereign in their Messes after dinner as a token of loyalty to the King. The King, however, absolved the Regiment from this, saying that their loyalty had always been beyond question, and 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.
Two other 18th Century privileges continue. All ranks wear a Scarlet Collar on No. 1 Dress as worn by The 3rd Hussars and The Queen’s Own Hussars, and all Lance Corporals wear two stripes, maintaining the traditions of the 8th Hussars and The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars.
In 1895, Winston Churchill, a man who has been justly called ‘the greatest Hussar of them all’, joined the 4th Hussars. He became Colonel of the Regiment during the last war and remained so until his death in 1965. In recognition of this The Churchill Cup is awarded annually to the best gunnery troop in the Regiment, and Churchill is the name of the Commanding Officer’s tank. The Regiment is also known as ‘Churchill’s Own’.
In 1909 the green Tent hat was adopted by The 8th Hussars and has been worn by officers continuously since then. At the same time a green suit was worn for informal occasions in the Mess. The use of green with its association with the people of Ireland continues also in the Regimental Jersey and green beret worn by all ranks.
This is borne in the centre of the Guidon and on the Regimental flag. It consists of the White Horse of Hannover (bestowed on the 3rd Hussars by King George I) below the Angel Harp (bestowed on the 8th Hussars).
The whole is encircled by the garter of the Order of the Garter (given to both 3rd and 7th Hussars) and surrounded by the Queen’s Crown. The blue of the Garter is the Regimental Colour.
The Cap Badge
This is worn by all Queen’s Royal Hussars on their berets and peaked caps.
It consists of the Angel Harp of the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars superimposed on the Regimental Cypher of the Queen’s Own Hussars (bestowed on the 7th Hussars in 1727) surmounted by a crown, with a scroll underneath giving the Regiment’s title in blue and gold.
The Collar Badge
A pair of these badges are worn by all Queen’s Royal Hussars on the collar of their No. 1 and No. 2 dress.
It consists of the White Horse of Hannover galloping.
The Maid of Warsaw
Every member of the Regiment wears the distinctive scarlet and silver crest of the City of Warsaw on his left sleeve.
This honour was awarded to The 7th Hussars by the Commander of the Second Polish Corps in recognition of their valour in support of the Polish Forces during the Italian Campaign in World War II.
The Fern Leaf
All vehicles belonging to The Queen’s Royal Hussars carry the emblem of New Zealand, the Fern Leaf, in commemoration of the association of The 3rd Hussars with the 2nd New Zealand Division at the Battle of El Alamein.
This honour was granted by General Lord Freyberg V.C., who commanded the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces in the last war. It is also worn by all Challenger 2 Commanders on the right sleeve, beneath the Regimental Tactical Recognition Flash (TRF).
The Motto of the Regiment
This is ‘Mente et Manu’, Might and Main and was formally used by the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars and the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars.
The following are celebrated as the Regiment’s Battle Honour days:
- Dettingen – 27th June – 3rd, 4th and 7th Hussars
- Balaklava – 25th October – 4th and 8th Hussars
- Alamein – 2nd November – 3rd 4th and 8th Hussars
- St. Patrick’s Day is also celebrated by the Regiment.
The Drum Horse
By command of King George II, the silver drums captured by the Regiment at Dettingen are borne by a drum horse ridden by a Sergeant Kettledrummer – both being additional to the Regimental establishment.
This custom is still observed, and the Drums are always carried at the head of the Regiment on Ceremonial parades. In 1772 when Lord Southampton commanded the Regiment, his wife gave a silver collar to be worn by the Kettledrummer, which is still worn when parading in full dress with the Drums.
The Regimental quick march combines The Light Cavalry march of The Queen’s Own Hussars with the St. Patrick’s Day march of The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars. The Regimental Song is sung to the music of the second part of the quick march.
The Regiment has retained all four slow marches of the parent Hussar Regiments. The 3rd Hussars slow march, Loretto from The 4th Hussars, Garb of old Gaul from The 7th Hussars, and March of the Scottish Archers from The 8th Hussars. The Regimental trot is Encore and the canter gallop is Bonnie Dundee.
The Regimental song is:
I’m a soldier in the Queen’s Army
I’m a galloping Queen’s Hussar
I’ve sailed the ocean wide and blue,
I’m a chap who knows a thing or two,
Been in many a tight corner,
Shown the enemy who we are,
I can ride a horse,
Go on a spree,
Or sing a comic song,
And that denotes a Queen’s Hussar.