17th 21st Lancers

1928 Drumhorse

The drumhorse of the 17th/21st Lancers in 1928. After the First World War, it was thought necessary to disband some of the cavalry regiments and the 21st was one of the unlucky ones to go in 1921. A year later four more cavalry regiments were earmarked for the chop and the old colonels rose up in protest. This was too much, one of the regiments in danger was the 17th! Under pressure the War Office backed down and suggested amalgamation. Most of the cavalry regiments became watered down in 1922, and the 17th had to be content with joining up with the 21st instead of retaining their identity as did regiments like the Scots Greys or the 11th Hussars.
Kettledrums were originally used as instruments of command, being dragged around on carriages. These fell out of favour and smaller versions were carried on a strong horse. Lancer regiments did not have a guidon like the heavy cavalry so the drum banners were important regimental insignia. Towards the end of the 19th century battle honours were added so that the embroidery became more elaborate. This front view enables us to see both banners. The one on the left is the old 17th drum banner, that on the right is the 21st's. The kettle-drummer wears a uniform that is nearly all 17th. The only discernable item of the 21st is a badge on his left arm.

17th Lancers: Uniforms | Regimental details


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by Stephen Luscombe