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History

The Royal Lancers were formed on the 2nd May 2015 by the amalgamation of two regiments; the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) and The Queen’s Royal Lancers.

Origins

The Royal Lancers history stretches back over 300 years, including Dragoons, Hussars and finally Lancers. The regiment’s distinctive cap-badge features the crossed lances with pennons of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers and the Death’s head of The Queen’s Royal Lancers.

The Death’s Head originates from the coat of arms of General Wolfe in whose memory the 17th Light Dragoons were formed. One of Wolfe's ablest commanders and close personal friend was Colonel John Hale of the 47th Regiment of Foot. It fell to Col. Hale to bring back to the King the mixed news of victory over the French paid for in part with the death of Wolfe.

In thanks to the role of Hale, the King granted him a commission to raise one of the five new regiments of Light Dragoons that were being planned as part of preparations for the Seven Years War. With a rich and varied history, the modern Lancer regiments have fought in every major conflict of the last 3 centuries, and its soldiers are rightly proud of this heritage.

The Regiment’s motto is Death or Glory.

The Regiment is honoured to have Her Majesty The Queen as Colonel in Chief of the Regiment with HRH The Duke of York and HRH Princess Alexandra as Deputy Colonels in Chief.

The Queen’s Royal Lancers

QRL capbadge

16th The Queen’s Lancers

Raised in 1759 as the 16th Light Dragoons, it saw action in the American War of Independence, the Wars with Revolutionary France, the Peninsular War, and at Waterloo it was the first regiment to use the lance in action, at Bhurtpore in 1822. After the Battle of Aliwal in 1846 its lance pennons, encrusted with blood, appeared to be crimped, and to this day the pennons are kept crimped. The 16th fought in every major campaign except the Crimea and gained more Battle Honours than any other cavalry regiment.


17th Lancers

The 17th Light Dragoons was raised following General Wolfe’s death in Quebec, with the Regiment’s motto of a Death’s Head and the words ‘Or Glory’ chosen in commemoration of him. It was the first cavalry regiment deployed in the American War of Independence. In October 1854, as the 17th Lancers, the regiment charged with the Light Brigade at Balaklava, earning three VCs at a cost of 107 dead out of 145. Later service included the suppression of the Indian Mutiny, defeat of the Zulus, the Boer War and The Great War.


5th Royal Irish Lancers

Raised in 1689 as Wynne’s Regiment of Enniskillen Dragoons, it saw action in Flanders, Spain and Ireland before being disbanded in 1799. It was raised again as the 5th Royal Irish Lancers in 1858 and served in the Boer War and the Great War. The Regiment was the last to leave Mons in the retreat of 1914and the first to re-enter the town in 1918.


21st Lancers

The Marquis of Granby raised the 21st Light Dragons in 1760, the regiment being disbanded and raised twice more as campaigns required. Raised for a fourth time in 1858, it served in India and Egypt. In 1898 during the re-conquest of the Sudan, the 21st Lancers charged Dervishes at Omdurman, winning three VCs and the title ‘Empress of India’s’.

16th/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers

Formed in 1922 by the amalgamation of the 16th and the 5th Lancers, it was mechanised in 1939 and fought in North Africa and Italy during the Second World War. Between 1945 and 1993 the regiment served in Germany, Aden, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, Cyprus and Lebanon. In the Gulf War it was the first to enter both Iraq and Kuwait.


17th/21st Lancers

Amalgamated in 1922 and mechanised in 1938, it saw service in North Africa and Italy during the Second World War. At Fondouk it cleared a route through a heavily defended gap, sustaining heavy losses in the process. Between 1945 and 1993 the Regiment served in Palestine, Germany, Hong Kong, Aden, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and provided drafts for the Gulf.


The Queen’s Royal Lancers

In 1993 the 16th/5th and the 17th/21st were amalgamated to form the present Regiment. First serving in Germany, and equipped with Challenger tanks. The regiment also trained or operated in Cyprus, Canada, Poland and Bosnia.

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