Unit History: 1st (Royal) Dragoons
The Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons)
The Royal Dragoons (1st Dragoons) trace their origins back to a troop of horse raised by King Charles II in 1661 to form part of the garrison at Tangier, which was part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza. They became Dragoons on their return to England in 1683.
The term dragoon derived from the ’dragon’, a musket suitable for mounted infantry. They received the battle honour Tangier, the oldest battle honour carried on standards, guidons and colours in the British Army.
The Royals, as they were known, then served in The War of the Spanish Succession, The War of the Austrian Succession and in the Spanish Peninsula before distinguishing itself at the Battle of Waterloo where they captured the French 105th Infantry Regiment’s Colours. The eagle that topped the Colour, with the number 105, still forms part of the Regiment’s crest today and is worn on our uniforms.
The latter half of the nineteenth century saw them in action in the Crimea, The Boer War and in India before deploying to Flanders in 1914. The regiment fought at Ypres, Loos, Hohenzollern and against the Hindenburg line in 1917.
The inter-war years saw The Royal Dragoons stationed in Egypt, India and Palestine before they were deployed to the Western Desert in 1941 seeing distinguished service at El Alamein. Operation Overlord in 1944 saw the regiment in Normandy from where they went on to liberate Copenhagen in 1945.