5th Royal Irish Lancers

3rd Cavalry Brigade


A squadron of Royal Irish Lancers passing Wellington's statue in Aldershot.

The Royal Irish Lancers were one of three cavalry regiments that made up 3rd Cavalry Brigade, who in turn were part of 2nd Cavalry Division. 2nd Cavalry Divison (also known as Gough's Command) were part of the inital British Expeditionary Force which landed in France in September 1914. 3rd Cavalry Brigade consisted of three regiments of cavalry which were as follows:

4th (Queen's Own) Hussars
5th (Royal Irish) Lancers
16th (The Queen's) Lancers

Later in February 1916 a newly formed squadron was attached to the brigade which was designated 3rd Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron.

The 4th (Queens Own) Hussars

The 4th (Queens Own) Hussars had started life as a regiment of dragoons, similar to the 5th RIL. In 1861, they were designated Hussars and having been previously known as 4th (Queen's Own) Regiment of Dragoons.
This regiment had a long tradition of fighting history and their battle honours are very impressive including honours from The Austrian War of Succession, The Peninsular War, Afghanistan and The Crimean War where they took part in the famous Charge of the Light Brigade.
During World War One under the command of Gen. Sir Alexander George Montgomery-Moore, KCB they took part in many of the battles 5th RIL took part in as well as others which included Langemarck and Bellewaarde 1914,and Scarpe in 1917. In all they would go on to earn 21 battle honours. In 1915, at Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare the Depot Squadrons of the 4th and 8th Hussars amalgamated to form the 10th Reserve Cavalry Regiment.
One of their most famous members was Sir Winston Churchill who joined the 4th Hussars in 1896 and went on to become their Colonel-in-Chief right up until the day he died.
During World War One the regiment gained an impressive amount of battle honours which are as follows:

Mons
Le Cateau
Retreat from Mons
Marne 1914
Aisne 1914
Messines 1914
Armentières 1914
Ypres 1914 - 15
Langemarck 1914
Gheluvelt
St. Julien
Bellewaarde
Arras 1917
Scarpe 1917
Cambrai 1917
Somme 1918
Amiens
Hindenburg Line
Canal du Nord
Pursuit to Mons
France and Flanders 1914-18

16th (The Queen's) Lancers

16th (The Queen's) Lancers followed similar lines of formation as both the 5th RIL and 4th Hussars starting life as light dragoons. Known as the “Scarlet Lancers” since 1846 due to them being the only regiment of light cavalry to wear scarlet tunics instead of the regulation blue tunics.
In 1861 they were officially designated as Lancers. Their combat history is also impressive with battle honours gained in Flanders & Brittany Campaigns from 1793-1799, The Peninsular War, The Anglo Afghan War, Waterloo, India (including the Sikh Wars 1845-1849) and the Boer War. In fact, had it not been for the regiment being garrisoned in Ireland, they would almost certainly have served in the Crimean War, this being the only major campaign the regiment did not serve in during the 19th Century.
During World War One, they served continuously with the 5th RIL as part of 3rd Cavalry Brigade. General Gough who was a 16th Lancer himself commanded 2nd Cavalry Division and the Division became known as “Gough’s Command”.
In 1922 it was with the 16th Lancers that the 5th Royal Irish Lancers were amalgamated with and contuned to serve as an armoured regiment within the British Army.
During World War One as part of 3rd Cavalry Brigade they earned the following battle honours:

Mons
Le Cateau
Retreat from Mons
Marne 1914
Aisne 1914
Messines 1914
Armentières 1914
Ypres 1914 - 15
Gheluvelt
St. Julien
Bellewaarde
Arras 1917
Scarpe 1917
Cambrai 1917
Somme 1918
Amiens
Hindenburg Line
Canal du Nord
Pursuit to Mons
France and Flanders 1914-18



2nd Cavalry Division


3rd Cavalry Brigade were part of 2nd Cavalry Division which served throughout the First World War on the Western Front in France and Flanders. The various regiments which made up the divison fought at fought times together and many entries in the 5th RIL war diary mention the various regiments relieving or being relieved by 5th RIL and fighting alongside each other in the trenches. The 2nd Cavalry Division was commanded by Irish born General Sir Hubert de la Poer Gough and was made up of 3 brigades of cavalry (3rd, 4th and 5th) which were as follows:

3rd Cavalry Brigade

4th (Queens Own) Hussars
5th (Royal Irish) Lancers
16th (The Queen's) Lancers

4th Cavalry Brigade

Regt of Household Cavalry (consisting of various sqadrons)
6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers)
3rd (King's Own) Hussars
1st (Queen's Own) Oxfordshire Hussars

5th Cavalry Brigade

2nd (Queen's Bays) Dragoons
12th (Prince of Wales's Royal) Lancers
20th Hussars

Cavalry sqadrons from territorial yeomanry regiments and other specialist units were also attached to the division at various times during the war. The following units served at various points from 1914 -18:

Longpre Group.
B Sqn Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry
1st Leicestershire Yeaomanry
A Sqn Queen's Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry
D and HQ Sqns 1st Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry
E Sqn North Irish Horse
24th Divisional Cyclist Coy
34th Divisional Cyclist Coy

The division served the entire length of World War One and units belonging to the division took part in the follwoing actions:

Battle of Mons. 23 - 14 Aug 1914
Affair of Cérizy. 28 Aug 1914
Battle of the Marne. 7- 10 Sep 1914, including the Passage of the Petit Morin and the Passage of the Marne. (Gough's Command).
Battle of the Aisne. 12 - 15 Sep 1914, including the Passage of the Aisne and Capture of the Aisne Heights and Chemin des Dames. (Gough's Command).
Battle of Messines. 12 Oct - 2 Nov 1914.
Capture of Meteren. 13 - 17 Oct 1914.
Battle of Gheluvelt. 30 - 31 Oct 1914.

Battle of St. Julien. 26 Apr - 3 May 1915.
Battle of Bellewaarde. 24 - 25 May 1915.

First Battle of the Scarpe. 9 - 11 Apr 1917.
The Tank Attack. 20 - 21 Nov 1917.
Capture of Bourlon Wood. 24 - 28 Nov 1917.
The German Counter Attacks. 30 Nov - 3 Dec 1917.

Battle of St. Quentin. 21 - 23 Mar 1918.
Battle of Amiens. 8 - 11 Aug 1918.
Battle of Albert. 21 - 23 Aug 1918.
Second Battle of Bapaume. 31 Aug - 3 Sep 1918.
Battle of the Canal Du Nord. 27 Sep - 1 Oct 1918.
Battle of the St. Quentin Canal. 29 Sep 2 Oct 1918.
Battle of Beaurevoir. 3 - 5 Oct 1918.
Battle of Cambrai. 8 - 9 Oct 1918.
The Persuit to the Selle. 9 - 12 Oct 1918.
Battle of the Sambre. 4 Nov 1918.
Capture of Mons. 11 Nov 1918.