British Empire Books

The Blues and Royals

AuthorJNP Watson
PublisherLeo Cooper
ISBN No.0850522382

"I was most impressed... They did all that was asked of them in great style and were not deterred by anything... I found them all well mannered, well turned out in all circumstances, calm and collected, which is, if I may say so, what I would expect of Household Cavalrymen." Brig Thompson during the Falklands War

This book is a fairly characteristic book of its genre of regimental histories. The book is eloquent and informative, but extremely hagiographic about the exploits of the regiments examined. It would be difficult to find a critical word regarding either of the regiments in this book. Everything that they ever achieved was only to further the glory of the names of the regiments involved. In the case of this book it is the Royal Horse Guards and the 1st Dragoons that are examined. They were destined to be amalgamated with one another in 1969.

Retreat from Mons
It is important to be aware that this book flies through the early history of both regiments. The period from the Seventeenth Century to the end of the Second World War fills a mere 33 pages. Whereas the rest of the three hundred odd pages are taken up with the subsequent 50 years of history (actually finishing in 1992). The early history is woefully brief and will do little but whet your appetite to find out more. The post-war history, though, is thoroughly researched and quite informative. It gives details of the people and places involved to quite an intricate detail. Sometimes, it seems as if a lot of time and effort has been spent on obscure exercises and postings, whilst important earlier history has been all but left out of the tome. Still, it is better to have a book about these very important regiments than to not have one. This book is a well presented book written in a clear and concise manner. It has absolutely beautiful colour plates which, together with the black and white photos, add significantly to the impact of this book. These pictures bring the rich pageantry and beauty of the regiments to life in a way that no amount of words could have managed.

In summary, as long as you are aware of the limitations of this book, it will be a welcome addition to those people who are interested in the histories of the regiments of the British army.

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by Stephen Luscombe