The 11th Hussars

19/07 Updated: 07/11 08:29

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The history of the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 'Cherrypickers' is one which began in Essex in 1715, raised as Honywood's Dragoons, in response to the Jacobite Rebellion, taking their first Colonels name.

For the following thirty years they were used in the law enforcement role being dispatched all over the Country where the situation demanded.

In 1746 they took part in their first and only battle on home soil at 'Culloden' opposing the 'Young Pretender'.

Ten years later the Regiment won its first battle honour at 'Warburg' (1760), near to 'Kassel' in Germany during the Seven years war from 1756.

After returning home the Regiment changed name in 1783 becoming the 11th Light Dragoons.

During the 'French Revolution' in 1793 the Regiment served at 'Flanders' in 1795, 'Valenciennes', 'Dunkirk', and 'Le Cateau' followed, where later the echoes of the past would return during WW1 & 2.

In 1800 'C' Squadron were posted to Egypt, through their action at the battle of 'Alexandria' earned them the right and Regimental distinction of being 'Right of the Line' which still remains to this day.

From 1811 to 1813 the Regiment served with distinction in Portugal and Spain during the Peninsula War (it is presumed that it was here that the 11th gained the nickname; Cherrypickers) before retuning home for a short spell before again being sent out to the continent in 1815.

On the 16th June 1815 the Regiment after a forced march of forty five miles was the first British Cavalry Regiment into action and to face Marshall Ney at 'Quatre Bras' in Belgium.

Two days later on the 18th after helping to defend Wellingtons supply route back to 'Brussels' at Quatre Bras', the 11th were heavily involved in the Battle of Waterloo loosing one Officer, twenty eight soldiers and seventeen Horses.

As the Duke of Wellington led the victories allied army into Paris on the 7th July 1815 the 11th acted as his escort, before bivouacking in the 'Champs Elysees'.

Returning to England in 1818 for a few months before being posted out to India for nineteen years, playing an active role at the siege of 'Bhurtpore' in 1825, before returning home again in 1838

Two years later in 1840 the 11th provided the escort to Prince Albert from Dover to Canterbury and then onwards to London for his marriage to Queen Victoria.

In his appreciation Prince Albert became Colonel of the Regiment, exchanging the blue overalls for the crimson of the House of Saxe Coburg Gotha, and now becoming the 11th Prince Albert's Own Hussars and then shortly after the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own).

In 1852 the 11th were sent to Ireland for two years, before joining the Allied Expedition to the Crimea in 1854.

Embarking on five Ships and after a voyage of six weeks they landed in the September.

After two brief minor skirmishes with the Russians at 'Bulganak' it would be on the 25th October 1955 that 110 all ranks and the Regiments mascot 'Boxer' an Irish wolfhound who followed his masters and their mounts down the Valley of Death and back at Balaklava, during the 'Charge of the Light Brigade' under the Command of Colonel John Douglas the following month.

Later immortalized in Lord Tennyson's striking poem, the Charge of the Light Brigade

Between the years of 1856 to 1914 the 11th served in India, Ireland, Egypt and South Africa.

On the 16th August 1914 the 11th Hussars landed in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF)and were involved in typical Cavalry operations at the battles of; 'Mons', 'Le Cateau', 'Nery', 'Marne', 'Aisne' as the B.E.F pulled back .

Like other Cavalry Regiments the 11th Hussars were to be employed as infantry as trench warfare took hold, until near the end of the war when the 11th returned to their mounted role, helping to lead the allied armies into Germany.

The Regiment being awarded 24 Battle Honours at the cost of 163 all ranks killed and 337 wounded.

Returning to England before once again being posted out to Egypt in 1919 until 1921 and then on to India until returning back to England in 1926.

In 1928 the 11th with the 12th Royal Lancers became the first two British Cavalry Regiments to be mechanized to Armoured Cars.

Training in the new Armoured Reconnaissance role was to continue until 1934 when the 11th Hussars once again returned to Egypt, afterwards serving in Palestine in 1936 to 1938 and during the Abyssinian Crises which ended in September 1939 before Italy declared war on the Allies in June 1940.

From then on the brown beret with the crimson band and their crimson trousers were to become as famous as the British 7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats) it would lead to victory through North Africa and Italy before returning back to England in preparation for the D-Day landings on the 6th June 1944.

It would be again the 11th Hussars who would lead the famous Desert Rats of the British 7th Armoured Division from France to Berlin until the 11th July 1945.

Ending five years of almost continuous fighting, cover three thousand miles and thirteen Countries, they had been longer in contact with the enemy than any other British Regiment, suffering casaulties greater than the total of their ranks which first set out to war.

Directly after the war the Regiment stayed on in Germany and were based in Berlin'Von Seekt Barracks, Spandau' until 1953 when they returned home to Carlisle, leaving behind 'but never forgotten' 165 young men.

The Regiment was then to serve during the Malayan Emergency, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong and Aden before returning back to the UK for the final time (Tidworth).

On the 25th October 1969 at Tidworth (the 115th Anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade) the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own) to create the Royal Hussars (Prince Wales Own) who had the honour of being the first Challenger 1Tank Regiment in 1985 as the 11th Hussars had with the Armoured Car in 1928 and the Chieftain Tank in 1962.

The 11th Hussars Motto: "Treu Und Fest" "True and Loyal", was now replaced by: "Ich Dien" "I Serve" but if you look into the eyes of the few remaining survivors who served with her during those dark and desperate days, you will see that the pride and that special sparkle still remains.

On the 4th December 1992 the Royal Hussars (P.W.O) amalgamated with the 14th/20th King's Royal Hussars in Munster in Germany forming the present Regiment the King's Royal Hussars "Cherrypickers" who still continue to up hold the long and illustrious traditions of their Regimental forefathers.

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