In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Origins 1715 - 1783
The regiment was raised as heavy dragoons by King George I during the first Jacobite uprising in 1715, a year after his accession to the throne. Their purpose was to defend the Protestant monarchy from Catholic insurgents. They fought in the second Jacobite Rebellion in 1745-6, then the Seven Years War from 1758 to 1762. Experiments with light cavalry had met with varying degrees of success but the government took the plunge and decided to convert whole regiments of dragoons into light dragoons. The 12th Dragoons were converted in 1768, then it was in 1783 that six more regiments were to follow. The 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th were converted from heavy to light in that year. An order from the Adjutant-General’s Office dated 27 Sep1783:

‘It is His Majesty’s pleasure that the Tenth Regiment of Light Dragoons shall in future be called the Tenth or Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Light Dragoons.’

The wording of this order from William Fawcett, Adjutant General, indicates that the regiment had been converted to light dragoons prior to the order, but it is not clear what date to put on the change over. The change of uniform from red coats to blue did not take place until the following year.

The regiment was stationed at Hounslow in 1785, performing escort duties to the royal family. A detachment was based at Portsmouth and praised by the Secretary at war for its good conduct. The 10th were kept in the south of England for the next few years, and were reviewed by the King on Blackheath on 21 May 1788, and again on Hounslow Heath on 25 May 1790. They were a very smart regiment and highly sought after by young aristocratic gentlemen who wanted a military career in a unit with a high reputation.

Prince of Wales as Colonel Commandant 1793
The regiment, on account of its title and close association with the Royal family, became the natural choice for the 31 year-old Prince of Wales when it came to military service. He expressed a wish to command the regiment and was given the title Colonel Commandant, placing him over the Colonel who at that time was General Sir William Augustus Pitt. After three years, Pitt left the post of Colonel of the 10th to become Colonel of the King’s Dragoon Guards. So from 18 July 1796 Prince George was Colonel of the 10th Light Dragoons. This must have put the commanding officer, William Cartwright, in a difficult position as the Prince was a very hands-on Colonel. As Colonel he paid for specially tailored uniforms for the men to bring them all up to the standard of the uniforms worn by the NCOs.
The French Revolutionary Wars 1792
10th Light Dragoons
Review c1799
In 1792 the regiment was ordered to increase its strength as a result of the alarm caused by the French Revolution. A Warrant dated 12 Dec 1792 increased the number of men in each Troop by 10, and in 1793 all the cavalry regiments were increased by 3 whole Troops, each one consisting of 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, a trumpeter and 47 men and horses. The number of officers increased from 18 to 32, but by 1795 had reduced to 22. It was in 1793 that the Prince of Wales became Colonel Commandant. For the rest of the 18th century the regiment carried out peacetime duties although there was a flurry of activity in the autumn of 1799 when they were ordered to embark for foreign service. They got as far as Ramsgate before the order was changed and they were stood down.
Rifled Carbines Issued c1803
A German officer, Baron von Eben, served in the 10th Light Dragoons from 1803 to 1806, an enthusiastic exponent of rifled firearms. The success of the Baker rifle in the Rifle Corps prompted him to try and interest the Prince of Wales so that the 10th could be armed with a dragoon version of the weapon. The Prince ordered a test to be conducted and the Baker carbine came out best. Forty of these weapons were ordered for the regiment and one Troop was armed with them. The carbine was a cut down version of the Baker rifle then in service, but without a bayonet, as they were not used by the cavalry. The ramrod was on a swivel so that it could not be dropped by accident. There was also a safety catch. Later versions had a swell underneath the stock similar to a pistol to improve the grip and steady the aim.
Conversion to Hussars 1806
10th Light Dragoons
Baker Cavalry Carbine
Napoleon’s threat to invade England diminished in September 1805 and the 10th moved from the south coast to Romford in Essex where they established their HQ. The following year the Prince of Wales gained approval to convert the regiment from light dragoons to hussars, and have them clothed and equipped as such. Officers and soldiers were encouraged to grow moustaches. The 10th were the first hussar regiment in the British army.
10th Light Dragoons Badges
Ich Dien I Serve
Commanding Officers
1783 - 1806
1783 - 1806
1783 - 1806
1783 - 1806
1783 - 1806
1783 - 1806
1783 - 1806
1715Gore’s Dragoons
1723Churchill’s Dragoons
1745Cobham’s Dragoons
1749Mordaunt’s Dragoons
175110th Dragoons
Successor Units
180610th or Prince of Wales’s Own Light Dragoons (Hussars)
181110th The Prince of Wales’s Own Royal Light Dragoons (Hussars)
186110th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars
192110th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own)
1969The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) (10th & 11th Hussars)
1992 The King’s Royal Hussars (10th, 11th, 14th, 20th Hussars)
Suggested Reading
Historical Record of The Tenth, the Prince of Wale’s Own Royal Regiment of Hussars
by Richard Cannon 1843

The Memoirs of the Tenth Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) Historical and Social
by Colonel R S Liddell (Longmans Green & Co 1891)

A Short History of the Xth (P.W.O.) Royal Hussars
by Lt-Col John Vaughan and Major Pillinger (1909)

The 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own)
by Michael Brander (Leo Cooper 1969)

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by Stephen Luscombe