11th Hussars

For other uses, see 11th Hussars (disambiguation).
11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own)

Badge of the 11th Hussars
Active 1715–1969

 Kingdom of Great Britain (1715–1800)

 United Kingdom (1801–1969)
Branch British Army
Type Cavalry
Role Line cavalry
Size Regiment
Nickname(s) The Cherry Pickers, The Cherrybums, from which the more genteel Cherubims
Motto(s) Treu und Fest (Loyal and Sure)
Anniversaries El Alamein (23 October)
James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan

The 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army established in 1715. It saw service for three centuries including the First World War and Second World War but then amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales' Own) to form the Royal Hussars in 1969.


General Thomas Gage Commander-in-Chief of British forces in North America and, later, colonel of the regiment, John Singleton Copley, circa 1768

Early wars

The regiment was raised by Colonel Philip Honeywood as Colonel Philip Honeywood's Regiment of Dragoons in 1715 as part of the response to the Jacobite rebellion.[1] A troop was detached to form the 19th Dragoons in February 1779.[1] The regiment fought at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746 during the Jacobite rising of 1745[2] after which it was retitled the 11th Regiment of Dragoons in 1751.[1] The regiment took part in the Raid on St Malo in June 1758 and the Raid on Cherbourg in August 1758 during the Seven Years' War.[3] It then took part in a charge at Battle of Warburg in July 1760[4][5] and was present at the Battle of Villinghausen in July 1761.[6] A further name change, to the 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons, occurred in 1783.[1]

The charge of the Light Brigade, October 1854; The 11th Hussars were in the second line of cavalry (in the middle of the picture) on the left flank (towards the front of the picture)
Print of an officer of the 11th Hussars, 1856
Assistant Surgeon Henry Wilkin, 11th Hussars. He survived the Charge of the Light Brigade

The regiment formed part of the covering force at the Battle of Famars in May 1793[7] and performed the same role at the Siege of Valenciennes in June 1793[8] as well as the Siege of Landrecies in April 1794 during the Flanders Campaign.[9] The regiment returned to England in autumn 1795.[10] The regiment also saw action at the Battle of Alkmaar in October 1799[11] and the Battle of Castricum also in October 1799 during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland.[12] In April 1811 the regiment embarked to Portugal:[12] The regiment's nickname, the Cherry Pickers, arose from an incident, in which a troop from the regiment was ambushed and then forced to seek cover in an orchard at San Martín de Trevejo in Spain in August 1811.[13][14] The regiment formed part of the covering force at the Siege of Badajoz in April 1812[15] and drove back the French out-posts at the Battle of Salamanca in July 1812 during the Peninsular War.[16] The regiment formed part of the covering force for the charge of the Union Brigade, comprising the Royal Dragoons, the Royal Scots Greys and the Inniskilling Dragoons, at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.[17]

The 11th Hussars from the Nile Expedition, 1884

The regiment were then sent to India aboard the Indiamen Atlas and Streatham departing Gravesend in February 1819 for Calcutta.[18] In 1840, the regiment was retitled 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, who later became the regiment's colonel.[1] Its new uniform by coincidence included "cherry" (i.e. crimson) coloured trousers, unique among British regiments and worn since in most orders of uniform except battledress and fatigues.[19]

The regiment next saw action, as part of the light brigade under the command of Major General the Earl of Cardigan, at the Battle of Alma in September 1854.[20] The regiment was in the second line of cavalry on the left flank during the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in October 1854.[21] The brigade drove through the Russian artillery before smashing straight into the Russian cavalry and pushing them back; it was unable to consolidate its position, however, having insufficient forces and had to withdraw to its starting position, coming under further attack as it did so.[21] The regiment lost 3 officers and 55 men in the debacle.[21] During the Charge, Lieutenant Alexander Robert Dunn, saved the life of two fellow soldiers from the 11th Hussars, Sergeant Major Robert Bentley and Private Harvey Levett, for which Dunn was awarded the Victoria Cross.[22] Some twenty-one years later Private Edward Woodham of the 11th Hussars became Chairman of the organising committee for the 21st Anniversary dinner held at Alexandra Palace for survivors of the Charge.[23][24] The regiment was renamed the 11th (or Prince Albert's Own) Hussars in 1861.[1] It provided troops for the Nile Expedition in 1884 and took part in Siege of Ladysmith in winter 1899 during the Second Boer War.[13][25]

The First World War

A machine gun section of the 11th Hussars in the trenches at Zillebeke during the winter of 1914–1915

The regiment landed in France as part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division in August 1914 for service on the Western Front with the British Expeditionary Force.[26] The regiment took part in the Great Retreat and the regiment, working with the 2nd Dragoon Guards, conducted a cavalry charge which led to the capture of eight guns at Néry in September 1914.[13] In an action during the Battle of Messines in October 1914 a squadron from the regiment endured a heavy German bombardment that left many of its soldiers buried in a trench while another squadron from the regiment used a vantage point at the top of a building to train a machine gun on the Germans.[13] At the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915 the regiment, working with the Durham Light Infantry and 9th Lancers, held the village of Hooge despite being under attack from the German forces using poison gas.[13] In spring 1918 the commanding officer of the regiment Colonel Rowland Anderson led a bayonet assault at Sailly-Laurette which, taking the Germans by surprise, led to them being completely repulsed.[13]

The inter-war years

The regiment was renamed the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) in 1921;[1] it became the first British cavalry regiment to become mechanized in 1928 and it became involved in suppressing the Arab revolt in Palestine in 1936.[13]

The Second World War

Men of the 11th Hussars with their Morris CS9 armoured car, taking a halt while on patrol near the Libyan frontier, Egypt, July 1940

The regiment, which had been located in Egypt when the war started, deployed as part of the divisional troops of the 7th Armoured Division and conducted raids on Italian positions in Italian Libya using armoured cars during the Western Desert Campaign. It captured Fort Capuzzo in June 1940[27] and, in an ambush east of Bardia, captured General Lastucci, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Italian Tenth Army.[28] Following the Italian invasion of Egypt in September 1940, the regiment took part in the British counterattack called Operation Compass, launched against Italian forces first in Egypt, then Libya. It was part of an ad hoc combat unit called Combeforce, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Combe, that cut the retreating Tenth Army off and led to their surrender at the Battle of Beda Fomm in February 1941.[29] The regiment fought at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. The regiment took part in the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943 and, after the Normandy landings in June 1944, took part in the North-West Europe Campaign.[30]


11th Hussars monument at the National Memorial Arboretum

The regiment was posted to Wavell Barracks in Berlin in 1945 and, after tours at various locations in Lower Saxony including Jever, Delmenhorst, Osnabrück and Wesendorf, it returned home in March 1953.[31] It deployed to Johor Bahru in Malaya in July 1953 during the Malayan Emergency.[31] After returning home in August 1956, it moved to Lisanelly Barracks in Omagh in August 1959, and then deployed to Aden in November 1960 shortly before the Aden Emergency.[31] It returned to England in November 1961 and then moved to Haig Barracks in Hohne in October 1962 where it remained until returning home again in January 1969.[31] The regiment was amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own), to form the Royal Hussars on 25 October 1969.[1]

Notable members

Battle honours

The battle honours of the regiment were as follows:[1]

Colonels—with other names for the regiment

The colonels of the regiment were as follows:[1] The Kerr family provided the colonels for two thirds of the regiment's first century

11th Regiment of Dragoons

A royal warrant provided that in future regiments would not be known by their colonels' names, but by their "number or rank" on 1 July 1751

from 1783 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons
from 1840 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars
from 1969 Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)
amalgamated with 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "11th Hussars". Regiments.org. Archived from the original on 4 January 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  2. Cannon, p. 8
  3. Cannon, p. 13
  4. Reid 1996, p. 195–198.
  5. Cannon, p. 15
  6. Cannon, p. 16
  7. Cannon, p. 22
  8. Cannon, p. 23
  9. Cannon, p. 24
  10. Cannon, p. 29
  11. Cannon, p. 31
  12. 1 2 Cannon, p. 32
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "11th Hussars". British Empire. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  14. Cannon, p. 44
  15. Cannon, p. 50
  16. Cannon, p. 51
  17. Cannon, p. 65
  18. Cannon, p. 71
  19. "Dress: The uniform of the regiment". King’s Royal Hussars. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  20. "The Battle of the Alma". British Battles. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  21. 1 2 3 "The Battle of Balaclava". British Battles. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  22. The London Gazette: no. 21971. p. 655. 24 February 1857. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  23. "Michael Julien's Family History". Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  24. "The Balaclava Banquet at Alexandra Palace" (PDF). Illustrated London News. 30 October 1875. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  25. "11th Hussars". Anglo-Boer War. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  26. "The Hussars". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  27. Playfair, pp. 113, 118
  28. "Report on operations of 16 June 1940". War diaries of the 11th Hussars. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  29. Macksey p. 135
  30. "11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own)". National Army Museum. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  31. 1 2 3 4 "11th Hussars". British army units 1945 on. Retrieved 20 August 2016.


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