Unit History: 9/12 Royal Lancers

9/12 Royal Lancers
The paths of the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers and the 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) have been intertwined every since they were both formed in July 1715 in response to The First Jacobite Rebellion  against King George I. They were both initially named after their founders, Major General Owen Wynne of the 9th and Brigadier Phineas Bowles of the 12th, becoming first dragoon and then light dragoon regiments. They were finally re-rolled and renamed as lancers following the Napoleonic Wars, with the 12th becoming a Royal Regiment in 1817 and the 9th becoming the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers on instructions from King William IV in 1830.
Both Regiments served in Ireland early in their history, and their paths crossed again in 1811 during the Peninsula War. Here the 12th fought at Salamanca before in 1815 travelling with the Duke of Wellington to the Netherlands to fight at Waterloo. In 1857 both Regiments fought throughout the Indian Mutiny which saw the 9th awarded 12 Victoria Crosses and gain their famous nickname The Delhi Spearmen. They came together yet again between 1899–1902 to fight in the South African War, taking part in the Relief of Kimberley and Diamond Hill, the last battle of the war.
September 1941 saw the two regiments reunited again under the banner of the 1st Armoured Division as they sailed to North Africa as part of the 8th Army. The 9th led the way at El Alamein while the 12th were the first British troops to link up with the Americans in Tunisia. From Africa both regiments were sent to Italy in 1944 where the 12th saw action to the East of Cassino while the 9th were involved in the battle for the Gothic Line. In April 1945 the 12th Lancers were the first Allied soldiers to enter Venice.
The 9th Lancers first arrived in India some 15 years before the Indian Mutiny where they were awarded a number of battle honours and served in the Second Punjab War. They went on to serve in the Afghan Campaign 1878-80 including the famous march from Kabul to Kandahar. They took part in the last lance on lance charge of the First World War at Moncel on 7 September 1914 against German Guard Dragoons having already won one of the first VCs of that war. In 1936 they converted to a light tank regiment and in 1953 received Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother as their Colonel-in-Chief.
The 12th Lancers won their first battle honour in Egypt in 1801, having previously had a young Duke of Wellington serve with them as a subaltern between 1789-91. In 1855 they reinforced the Light Cavalry Brigade in the Crimea after the infamous charge at Balaclava. They also charged with the lance during the Great War at Moy on 28 August 1914, against German Guard Dragoons. The 12th became an Armoured Car Regiment in 1928 and swiftly put them to use in Palestine in 1929 and Cyprus in 1931. Early in the Second World War they played a key part in shielding the retreating force to Dunkirk. Following the Second World War they spent 3 years in Malaya on security duties.
The amalgamation of the 9th and 12th took place on 11 September 1960 in Tidworth Garrison Church. The inscription reads:
“Here on the 11 September 1960, 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) was formed by the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers and the 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) coming together before God. It is not the beginning but the continuing of the same until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory”.
Since then they have served in Aden, Oman, Belize, Saudi Arabia, Canada, with the UN in Cyprus, in Germany throughout the Cold War and Northern Ireland throughout The Troubles. In addition D Squadron deployed to the Middle East in 1991 on Op GRANBY to provide Battle Casualty Replacements. On 10 May 1972 the Regiment received the Freedom of Derby and in 2000 the Queen Mother paid another visit to present a new Guidon shortly before her 100th birthday. The Regiment was once again at the forefront in 1992 as part of the deployment to Bosnia on Op GRAPPLE 1 and they were to return to both Bosnia and Kosovo on numerous occasions over the coming decade.
Operational activity for the Regiment has concentrated on the Balkans and the Middle East since 2000, interspersed with two deployments to Canada in 2002 as OPFOR (opposing force) and 2007 as both OPFOR and as a formation reconnaissance battlegroup. C Squadron deployed to Kosovo in 2001 which was marred by the death of Tpr Adam Slater when his vehicle drove over a mine. B Squadron followed soon after in 2002 to Bosnia having first conducted Exercise Saif Sareaa in Oman with A Squadron. B Squadron’s tour was extended in Bosnia when their intended replacement, A Squadron, was moved to Operation TELIC 3 in Iraq. This operation saw C Squadron initially attached to the Light Infantry Battlegroup in Maysan Province before moving to the Queen’s Royal Hussars Battlegroup in Basra to work with the Iraqi Border Police. Meanwhile A Squadron was responsible for providing security south of the main British base towards Umm Qasr and Safwan on the Kuwait border. The Regiment returned to Iraq in October 2005 on Operation TELIC 7 where it formed its own battlegroup, taking on C Squadron, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Its focus was upon mentoring the Iraqi Army, Iraqi police and their border police. Operation TOLKEIN, conducted by C Squadron, was to be the forerunner for future formation reconnaissance squadrons deploying along extended lines of communication from Basra up to Maysan Province. The Regiment also headed up the Brigade Surveillance Company which was involved in higher level intelligence collection. The 9th/12th Royal Lancers returned from Iraq in May 2006 before deploying once again in 2008.

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