Dragoon Guards is a designation that has been used to refer to certain heavy cavalry regiments in the British Army since the 18th century. While the Prussian and Russian armies of the same period included dragoon regiments among their respective Imperial Guards, different titles were applied to these units.
The British Army first used the designation in 1746, when the King's Own Regiment of Horse, the Queen's Own Royal Regiment of Horse (prior to 1727 the Princess of Wales's Own) and the 4th Horse were redesignated as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Dragoon Guards respectively. In 1788 the four remaining regiments of Horse were converted into the 4th to 7th Dragoon Guards. At the beginning of the French Revolutionary War the British Army maintained seven regiments of Dragoon Guards, plus six of Dragoons and fourteen of Light Dragoons.
The exercise of converting from "Horse" (heavy cavalry) to "Dragoon" (formerly mounted infantry) was intended to save money—Dragoons were paid less than Horse—and the change was very unpopular among the regiments affected. To compensate for the fall in salary and status, the impressive sounding title of "Dragoon Guards" was adopted.The Dragoon Guards remained as cavalry of the line and did not become Household troops in any sense.
The Regiments of Horse that were converted to Dragoon Guards took precedence over all other cavalry regiments of the Line, which were at the time exclusively dragoons. As the senior regiments, they could not take numbers sequential with those of the existing dragoon regiments, so they needed a new title and numbering system. Hence they were termed Dragoon Guards, the guards appellation giving them higher prestige, and allowing them to be numbered in their own sequence.
The Dragoon Guards regiments were converted to armoured cars and tanks during the 1930s. There are still three Dragoon Guards regiments in the British Army:
Dragoons originally were a class of mounted infantry, who used horses for mobility, but dismounted to fight on foot. From the early 18th century onward, dragoons were increasingly also employed as conventional cavalry, trained for combat with swords from horseback.
The 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment of the British Army formed in 1922 by the amalgamation of the 5th Dragoon Guards and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons. It served in the Second World War and the Korean War. In August 1992, as a consequence of the Options for Change defence cuts, the regiment was amalgamated with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards to form the Royal Dragoon Guards.
The 3rd Carabiniers was a cavalry regiment of the British Army. It was formed in 1922 as part of a reduction in the army's cavalry by the amalgamation of the 3rd Dragoon Guards and the Carabiniers, to form the 3rd/6th Dragoon Guards. It was renamed the 3rd Carabiniers in 1928 and amalgamated with the Royal Scots Greys, forming the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in 1971.
The Carabiniers was a cavalry regiment of the British Army. It was formed in 1685 as the Lord Lumley's Regiment of Horse. It was renamed as His Majesty's 1st Regiment of Carabiniers in 1740, the 3rd Regiment of Horse (Carabiniers) in 1756 and the 6th Regiment of Dragoon Guards in 1788. After two centuries of service, including the First World War, the regiment was amalgamated with the 3rd Dragoon Guards to form the 3rd/6th Dragoon Guards in 1922.
The regular army of the British Army is listed according to an order of precedence for the purposes of parading. This is the order in which the various corps of the army parade, from right to left, with the unit at the extreme right being highest. Under ordinary circumstances, the Household Cavalry parades at the extreme right of the line. Militia and Army Reserve units take precedence after Regular units with the exception of The Honourable Artillery Company and The Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers.
The 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1685 as the Earl of Arran's Regiment of Cuirassiers. It was renamed as the 4th Dragoon Guards in 1788 and service for two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated with 7th Dragoon Guards, to form the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards in 1922.
The 3rd Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1685 as the Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Horse. It was renamed as the 3rd Regiment of Dragoon Guards in 1751 and the 3rd Dragoon Guards in 1765. It saw service for two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated into the 3rd/6th Dragoon Guards in 1922.
The 5th Dragoon Guards was a British army cavalry regiment, officially formed in January 1686 as Shrewsbury's Regiment of Horse. Following a number of name changes, it became the 5th Regiment of Dragoon Guards in 1804.
The 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1689 as Sir Albert Cunningham's Regiment of Dragoons. One of the regiment's most notable battles was the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. It became the 6th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Dragoons in 1751. The regiment also fought with distinction in the Charge of the Union Brigade at the Battle of Waterloo and again as part of the successful Charge of the Heavy Brigade against superior numbers at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. The First World War sounded the death knell for mounted cavalry as it became apparent that technology had moved forward with greater destructive power and made horsed cavalry redundant on the modern battlefield. The British Army reorganised and reduced its cavalry corps by disbanding or amalgamating many of its famous cavalry regiments. The Inniskillings was one of those affected. It saw service for two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated with 5th Dragoon Guards to form 5th/6th Dragoons in 1922.
The 7th Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1688 as Lord Cavendish's Regiment of Horse. It was renamed as the 7th Dragoon Guards for Princess Charlotte in 1788. It saw service for two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated with the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, to form the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards in 1922.
The regimental depot of a regiment is its home base for recruiting and training. It is also where soldiers and officers awaiting discharge or postings are based and where injured soldiers return to full fitness after discharge from hospital before returning to full duty. Normally, a variety of regimental stores will also be kept at the depot. The regimental depot is not the same as the regimental headquarters, though in practice the two will often be co-located in the same place.
During the First World War the British Armed Forces was enlarged to many times its peacetime strength. This was done mainly by adding new battalions to existing regiments. Although sometimes identified by shoulder titles, generally the new battalions could not be identified from appearance. Consequently, the units in this list have been assembled considering only those as having a uniquely different cap badge.
Raglan Barracks is a military installation at Barrack Hill in Allt-yr-yn in Newport, Wales.