In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Previous Raisings of the 20th
The actual date of the raising of the 20th Light Dragoons was 1791 when Lieutenant-Colonel Farington Gardner was issued a letter authorising him to raise the regiment. But there were two previous raisings that only lasted 4 years each. The first one was raised during the Seven Years War (1756 - 63). The eight British dragoon regiments were ordered to raise a light Troop each and these were brigaded together for the raid on St Malo in June 1758. The success of the Light Cavalry Brigade prompted the raising of separate Light Dragoon regiments.

20th (Inniskilling) Light Dragoons 1759 - 1763

There are two accounts of the origin of the 20th (Inniskilling) Light Dragoons. L B Oatts in Emperor's Chambermaids says that the town of Enniskillen raised the regiment as a contribution to the war effort. But Chichester and Burges Short in their Records and Badges of the British Army state that the regiment was raised from the Light Troop of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, and volunteers from other corps. The uniform was red coats with yellow facings but later changed to black facings. The regiment had 12 officers and 232 rank and file, organised into 4 Troops. It was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Sir James Caldwell Bt. The men were all Irish, there being no lack of recruits in Ireland. they did not go abroad but served in Ireland for the whole period of their existence until disbandment in 1763 when the Seven Years War ended.

20th Light Dragoons 1779 - 1783

The second incarnation of the 20th Light Dragoons occurred during the War of American Independence (1775-83) although the regiment remained in the UK. They were raised in 1779 at Bury St Edmunds from the Light Troops of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, 1st Royal Dragoons, 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, and the 11th Dragoons. They were employed on the coasts of East Anglia policing the operations of smugglers, or Free-traders as they were called. This made them rather unpopular but the job did not just prevent the influx of contraband but also made it difficult for French spies to enter the country. They were disbanded in 1783 when the Treaty of Versailles ended the war.

Flanders 1694-97

20th Jamaica Light Dragoons 1791 - 1818
The previous regiments of the 20th LD only lated 4 years each but the third raising lasted 27 years and is recognised as the forebear of the 20th Hussars who were reconstituted in May 1861 from the 2nd Bengal European Light Cavalry. This third raising was for service in the West Indies and was to be financed by the government of Jamaica. Colonel Henry Farington Gardner was authorised in 1791 to raise his regiment of 300 men in 4 Troops, but he was only able to get 3 recruits.The rest of the unit was obtained by transfer of men from the five regiments of light dragoons then in England, and the six regiments in Ireland. The regiment sailed to Jamaica in two wings, from Falmouth and Portsmouth during the summer of 1792, and eventually concentrated in Spanish Town in November. The planters of Jamaica grudgingly paid for the 20th Light Dragoons but considered that they already contributed to the British Exchequer, and that the security of the British Territories and Possessions should be financed by the mother country.
20th Light Dragoons
Commanding Officers
1759 - 1819
1759 - 1819
1759 - 1819
1759 - 1819
1759 - 1819
1759 - 1819
Peninsular War 1808-14


175920th Inniskilling Light Dragoons (disbanded 1763)
177920th Light Dragoons (disbanded 1783)
179120th Jamaica Light Dragoons
180220th Light Dragoons (disbanded 1819)
Successor Units
186020th Light Dragoons
186020th Hussars
192214th/20th Hussars
193614th/20th King's Hussars
1992The King's Royal Hussars
14th/20th Hussars Museum
Museum of Lancashire
Stanley Street
tel: 01772 534075
Suggested Reading
British Forces in the West Indies 1793 - 1815
by Rene Chartrand (Osprey 1996)

The Hussar (1845 Edition)
by Sergeant Norton Landsheit (Pickle Partners Publishing )

The Emperor's Chambermaids The Story of the 14th/20th King's Hussars
by Lt-Col L B Oatts DSO (Ward Lock 1973)

The Hawks, A Short History of the 14th/20th King's Hussars
by Bryan Perrett (Picton 1984)

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by Stephen Luscombe