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THE HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY -

BRIEF REGIMENTAL HISTORY OF

THE HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY REGIMENT

1992 . . . TO THE PRESENT DAY

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The Household Cavalry Regiment

1992 . . . to the present day

1992

The new-look Regiment in Windsor comprised two Squadrons of Life Guards ('A' and 'B'),
two Squadrons of Blues And Royals ('C' and 'D'), and a mixed RHQ and Headquarters Squadron.The configuration of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment remained unaltered by the changes.

Also, despite the union, each Regiment retained its separate identity, uniforms, traditions,
and standards.

The Life Guards, at this time, had embarked upon the conversion from Challenger tanks to CVR
(Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance), tracked vehicles, and all the necessary training that this necessitated.

During 1992, a troop of Blues And Royals were detached to 1st Battalion Irish Guards, for a
six-month tour in Northern Ireland, and a troop of Life Guards was attached to 2nd Battalion
Scots Guards (in Edinburgh) before deployment in Northern Ireland - first with 1st Battalion
Welsh Guards, and then 1st Battalion Irish Guards. A mixed troop was also sent to Belize
for six months.

1993
In May 1993, Her Majesty The Queen presented new Standards on Horse Guards Parade,
and the Mounted Regiment was joined by 'A' and 'C' armoured squadrons from Windsor.
1994

During 1994, more than half the Regiment was serving with the United Nations, in Bosnia,
with the remainder on short notice to join them if and when required. Indeed, as an
armoured reconnaissance Regiment within 3 (UK) Division, the Regiment could expect to be
involved in any operation in which British troops were deployed, anywhere in the world.

To this end, training included airborne and amphibious exercises, and training to cope with all
environments - from jungle training in Belize, to freezing cold weather in Canada, and the Arctic.

1995
The Mounted Regiment had a busy year in 1995, taking part in both VE and VJ-Day Celebrations,
as well as the two Bands combining for a concert, given in the Royal Festival Hall, to celebrate
200 years of The Life Guards Band.

This was followed by a fifty-two concert tour of North America. The resilience and flexibility of
the Regiment was evident in the fact that all commitments were met, despite the serious problem
with undermanning that has dogged the Regiment since the early 1990s, and which has led to a recruiting drive which is ongoing today.
1995 - 1997
With effect from 1995, the Changing of The Queen's Life Guard moved out onto Horse Guards
Parade, in order to allow the maximum number of spectators to see and enjoy the spectacle
- it has also allowed the Guard to enjoy a little more activity than hitherto.

There were more tours by the Regiment in Bosnia, with squadrons deployed throughout
1996 and 1997; winter deployment in Norway; training in Canada, Cyprus, France, and Jordan;
as well as involvement in Exercise Purple Star in the United States.

The Regiment enjoyed a visit, on 20 February 1997, by Her Majesty the Queen, Colonel-in-Chief.
During the year, the Regiment played a vital role in Exercise Bright Star, in Egypt.
1998

The year of 1998 marked the first arrivals, in Riding School, of women recruits to the two Bands;
in addition, the Regiment saw extensive training in Canada, where they very successfully played
the role of the enemy!

Following discussions between the Duke of Wellington (formerly of The Blues) and the
Crown Prince of Jordan, a Bond of Friendship between the Household Cavalry and the
Jordanian Royal Guards was established in 1998. As a consequence, a visit to Amman was sanctioned, and this took place on 13th May 1998, when, under the command of
Colonel P S W F Falkner (LG), a representative party of all ranks (six men from each Regiment) visited the Jordanian capital. Also during the summer, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
took part in the State Visit for the Emperor of Japan.

The Princess Royal took over as Colonel of The Blues and Royals and Gold Stick, on 1 September 1998, from General Sir Desmond Fitzpatrick. She is the first Royal Colonel of The Blues and Royals,
and also of either the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) or The Royal Dragoons.

To assist her, the Princess Royal appointed Brigadier the Duke of Wellington - who served in the
Royal Horse Guards from 1939 to 1968 - to be Deputy Colonel.

The highlight of the year was the visit of the Queen to the Regiment in Windsor, on
26 October 1998, to present the Wilkinson Sword of Peace. She was greeted by The Princess Royal, The Blues and Royals' new Gold Stick.

The award proved to be a fitting way to mark the end of Colonel B W B White-Spunner's tour as Commanding Officer.

The presentation of the Sword of Peace recognised the efforts of the Regiment in alleviating the
suffering of the people of Bosnia, and establishing good and friendly relations with the inhabitants
of the community "over and above the unit's normal role and duty".

Underpinning the work in Bosnia was the fundraising, and collecting of clothing and other necessary items, back home in Windsor.

1999

On 1 January 1999, after twenty years in the appointment, Major General Lord Michael Fitzalan Howard retired as Colonel of The Life Guards, and Gold Stick.

He was succeeded by General Sir Charles Guthrie, Chief of the Defence Staff.

In March of 1999, the Household Cavalry Battle Group comprised of HQ Squadron, Command Troop,
B Squadron (LG) and C Squadron (RHG/D) - along with 1 Royal Highland Fusiliers.

After completing KFOR (Kosovo Force) preparation, 'D' Squadron (RHG/D) was ordered into
Northern Macedonia, as 4 Armoured Brigade's formation reconnaissance squadron.

For a few hours, in Thesaloniki, the train carrying men and vehicles was stoned, and graffiti
applied to their vehicles.

In early June, 'HQ'Squadron, 'B' Squadron (LG), and 'C' Squadron (RHG/D) were deployed in Bosnia.

In June 1999, 'D' Squadron (RHG/D) was among the leading NATO forces to go over the border
into Kosovo, along with the Paras, who secured the high ground. By nightfall, 'D' Squadron were
in Pristina.

The Household Cavalry played a major part of the Kosovo operation throughout 1999, until
their welcome return in December. In the summer of 2000, 'A' Squadron were placed on standby
for deployment to Sierra Leone, although this did not materialize - nevertheless, it demonstrated
just how prepared the Regiment is for such action, being ready within a matter of a few hours.

2001 - 2002

No excuses are offered for detailing overseas deployments during this period - as well as the
invaluable assistance given by the Regiment at home, during the foot and mouth crisis - as they
all demonstrate the Household Cavalry's professionalism and adaptability.

Indeed, many of the overseas deployments are as dangerous as being actively engaged in
a theatre of war - because the "enemy" can so often be unseen.

Peacekeeping duties continued in Bosnia, and the Regiment was called upon to play a key role in Operation Essential Harvest (weapons collection) in Macedonia.

The Regiment provided detachments for both Sierra Leone, and Northern Ireland, and was in a state
of preparedness for possible deployment to Afghanistan. Indeed, with its airborne commitment,
it is in an ever-ready state for going literally anwhere, at any time.

2003

The turn of the year saw the continuation of peacekeeping duties in Bosnia, with squadrons from
both Regiments deployed during 2003. Also, the very real threat of terrorism in the United Kingdom was highlighted by the snap deployment of men and vehicles of the Household Cavalry Regiment,
in support of the police and security forces, around Heathrow Airport for some forty-eight hours.

The war in Iraq saw 'D' Squadron (comprising men from both The Life Guards and The Blues And
Royals) deployed to the Gulf, to carry out duties in and around Basra. Regrettably, during the war
an officer (Lt A D Tweedie) and two NCOs (LCoH Hull and LCpl K Shearer) lost their lives, and a number of men were injured.

So-called Friendly Fire, when two American A-10 aircraft attacked 2 Troop, resulted in great
courage and presence of mind being shown by members of the Household Cavalry, as
demonstrated by their subsequent awards - Tpr Finney GC, RHG/D; Major Taylor DSO, LG;
and CoH Flynn CGC, RHG/D.

Mentioned in Despatches were CoH Gallagher, LG; and LCoH Telling, RHG/D.

In May, Her Majesty The Queen presented New Standards and Guidon to the Regiment, in a
parade on Horse Guards, which involved two Mounted Squadrons and two Armoured Squadrons.

A most welcome surprise, and privilege, was the decision by Her Majesty The Queen to film her Christmas broadcast in Combermere Barracks.

2004

CoH Bell, RHG/D was awarded the Military Cross, and Captain C J L Speers, RHG/D was
mentioned in dispatches (both honours having been won in 2003).

The situation in Iraq following the war, with insurgents and terrorists active on many fronts,
saw the deployment in April of "A" and "B" Squadrons. Early in the year, the regiment played
a part in a BBC programme to mark the 60th anniversary of the D Day landings, for which
it provided a Troop of four vehicles, and men, to carry out a seaborne landing and
beach infiltration in Dorset.

Also in March, the Household Cavalry contingent serving in Banja Luka, Bosnia, were able to return home at the end of a most successful tour of duty, for which they had been engaged on intelligence-gathering, in respect of the illegal smuggling of food.

The rebuild of the stables at Hyde Park Barracks commenced in 2004, and continued through 2005,
so the Mounted Regiment had to resort to temporary stabling in Hyde Park.

2005

Early in 2005, "A" and "B" Squadrons returned from a very successful tour in Iraq.

In readiness for training in Canada, vehicles were converted from diesel to petrol, and exercises involving two Squadrons took place as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade - ostensibly to enhance close fire support between troops and attack helicopters. Additional training was undertaken in Oman.

On 19 March, the Household Cavalry exercised their rights by holding a Freedom of Windsor Parade, involving 4 marching Squadrons, armoured vehicles, both regimental Bands (dismounted), and men of the Mounted Regiment on horses. The Standards were paraded down the Long Walk and through the centre of Windsor.

Following the Freedom Parade came the regiment's departure for Canada, for a summer of intense training - less one troop, which was deployed for six months to Northern Ireland.

2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Preparations were soon under way for the deployment of "D" Squadron to Afghanistan.
Also, the proposed relocation of the Household Cavalry Museum - to Horse Guards - came a step nearer when financial targets were reached.

Unfortunately, within only a few months of assuming duties in Afghanistan, two members of
"D" Squadron tragically lost their lives while in action - 2/Lt Ralph Johnson (RHG/D),
L/Cpl Ross Nicholls (RHG/D), and L/Cpl Sean Tansey (LG). Also, Tpr Martyn Compton (since promoted) was very badly wounded.

As a consequence of the tour, a number of Household Cavalrymen were recipients of
important gallantry awards - LCoH Andrew Radford (LG) won a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, and Captain Paddy Williams (RHG/D), SCpl Shaun Fry (LG) and SCpl Michael Flynn CGC (RHG/D) were each awarded the Military Cross.

2006 saw the death - at the age of ninety - of another fine Household Cavalryman - Major Tommy Thompson. He was a fine horseman, and one of the Regiment's most distinguished Riding Masters, having joined The Life Guards in 1933, and served with distinction in the War - in 1952, he was the first Riding Master to be appointed since the end of hostilities.

After 34 years in the army, he moved to Windsor to assist the Duke of Edinburgh (notably with carriage driving), and eventually became a Military Knight.

During 2007, most of the Regiment was deployed either to Iraq or Afghanistan - for quite lengthy tours of duty - calling upon the trained resources within the Mounted Regiment to maintain numbers.

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