DEFENCE NOTES

THE GUIDES CAVALRY
(10th QUEEN VICTORIA'S OWN FRONTIER FORCE)

The Guides Cavalry was one of the three cavalry regiments which found itself little affected by the reorganisation after the Great War. Not having previously borne a number it now found itself with one and a place in the cavalry line whereas, previously, The Corps of Guides had been an independent composite body. The Guides Infantry were now to become part of the 12th Frontier Force Regiment.

It was in December 1846 that Lieut. H.B. Lumsden raised a troop of cavalry and two companies of infantry at Peshawar and from then until 1922, the Guides were one Corps.

Scarlet was clearly unsuited for frontier warfare but tradition died hard and Lumsden was, for many years, a lone exponent of inconspicuous dress for soldiers on service. In the case on the Guides, the new Khaki shade was to be worn for both campaign and review order.

Their first battle-honour was gained by the cavalry at Mooltan and others followed for the same campaign. Lumsden was also the Deputy Commissioner of Peshawar so that the Guides Cavalry were constantly engaged on the Frontier. In March 1857, Lumsden, with a small Guides escort, was sent on a special mission to Kandahar and it fell to Henry Daly to march the Guides to Delhi in May of that year to join the Delhi Field Force. The morning of the 9th June saw the Guides march in having covered 500 miles in twenty-two days. Within hours they were in action and every one of their officers was wounded that day.

In 1876, HM Queen Victoria was pleased to make them a royal regiment. The Royal Cypher was granted for use on their appointments and they became The Queen's Own Corps of Guides.

Service in the Second Afghan War followed and the Guides were back in India. The Amir of Afghanistan signed the Treaty of Gandamak in May 1879 and agreed to accept the British envoy, Sir Louis Cavagnari, who proceeded to Kabul with an escort of one officer. Lieut W.R.P. Hamilton VC, and 76 men from the Guides, 25 of them from the Cavalry. The Afghans resented the British presence and, on the 3rd September, they attacked the Residency in the Bala Hissar. The four Europeans were killed and the Afghans offered quarter to the Guides under a Sikh jemadar, saying that they had no quarrel with the Indians. The Guides chose to fight on and the residency finally fell twelve hours later its defenders dead, surrounded by 600 dead Afghans. Double pensions were granted to the widows and heirs of the escort.

Throughout the 1890's the Corps was more or less continuously engaged in frontier actions - Hazara in 1891 and Chitral in 1895, the Malakand Pass and Chakdara in 1897.

The 1903 reorganisation did not affect the Guides as they bore no territorial title but, in 1906, the Cavalry became Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (Frontier Force) (Lumsden's ) Cavalry.

The Great War saw the Guides on the Frontier until November 1917 when they left to join 11 Indian Cavalry Brigade in Mesopotamia and actions at Sharqat and Khan Baghdadi. After the armistice, they remained in Persia to counter a Bolshevik threat, returning to India in 1921, some of the first to qualify for the new General Service Medal with clasp for North-West Persia.

On 5 Jan 22, the following correspondence was received at Mardan, the Guides' family home. It was a copy of a letter dated 16 Dec 21 from the Adjutant General, India to Northern Command.

'With reference to your No. 6344/1/A/1 dated 16th November 1921, I am directed to inform you that it has been decided that the QVO Corps of Guides will not be reconstituted as a Corps.(Italics)

The Cavalry regiment and Infantry Battalion will be separate units with the normal establishment of officers in each case.' (Italics)

Notwithstanding their separate existences, both cavalry and infantry wore the distinctive Guides' badge, the 'VR' Cypher within the Garter, Victorian crown above, surrounded by a ribbon-scroll reading 'Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides'.

Barely twenty years after their service in Persia and Mesopotamia, the Guides cavalry were back in Mesopotamia or, rather, Iraq, but this time with wheeled carriers and 15 cwt trucks (The farewell to horses took place on 26 Sep 40). In March 1942, they moved to Egypt and served on the Eighth Army's desert flank during the withdrawal to the El Alamein positions. They returned to Paiforce in September 1942 and thence to India in November 1943 where they converted to an armoured-car role, based at Kohat on the North-West Frontier Re-equipment with Stuart tanks followed in November 1945 but only briefly since Churchill tanks were issued in early 1946 for service with 2 Armoured Brigade.

On Partition in August 1947, six armoured regiments out of eighteen went to Pakistan, the Guides Cavalry being one of them. Their Dogra squadron went to Hodson's Horse in exchange for the latter's Punjabi Mussalman squadron: the Sikh squadron went to the Poona Horse in exchange for their Kaimkhanis. The Guides also took an additional Ranghar squadron from the Scinde Horse.

BATTLE HONOURS

Mooltan, Goojerat, Punjaub, Delhi 1857, Ali Masjid, Kabul 1879, Afghanistan 1878-80 Chitral, Malakand, Punjab Frontier, Khan Baghdadi, Sharquat, Mesopotamia 1917-18, North West Frontier, India 1915, Bir Hacheim, Minqar Qaim, Deir el Shein, North Africa 1940-43.

BOOKS

'The story of the Guides' by Col G J Younghusband. (MacMillan & Co. Ltd., London, 1908)

'The history of the Guides 1846-1922 Vol I' Anon. (Gate and Polden Ltd., Aldershot, 1938)

'The history of the Guides 1922-1947 Vol II' by Lieut General Sir George MacMunn KCB KCSI DSO. (Gale & Polden Ltd., Aldershot 1950)

CHANGES OF TITLE

Pre- 1903 Queen's Own Corps of Guides, Punjab Frontier Force

1904 Queens Own Corps of Guides (Lumsden's)

1911 Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (Frontier Force) Lumsden's) Cavalry

1921 Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (Frontier Force) Lumsden's) Cavalry

1922 10th Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force)

1927 The Guides Cavalry (10th Queen Victoria's Own Frontier Force)

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