1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards

The 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards (QDG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army. Nicknamed The Welsh Cavalry, the regiment recruits from Wales and the bordering English counties of Cheshire, Herefordshire, and Shropshire, and is the senior cavalry regiment, and therefore senior regiment of the line of the British Army. The regiment is part of the Royal Armoured Corps and is paired with the Royal Yeomanry.

1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
Cap badge of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
Active1 January 1959 – present
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeLine cavalry
RoleLight Cavalry
SizeOne regiment
Part ofRoyal Armoured Corps
Garrison/HQRHQ – Cardiff
Regiment – Swanton Morley
Nickname(s)The Welsh Cavalry
Motto(s)Pro rege et patria (For King and Country) (Latin)
MarchQuick – The Radetzky March and Rusty Buckles
Slow – 1st Dragoon Guards and 2nd Dragoon Guards Slow March
Mascot(s)Welsh pony (Emrys Forlan Jones)[1]
EngagementsCombined battle honours of 1st King's Dragoon Guards, and 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays)
Wadi al Batin 1991
Lieutenant Colonel J G E Stenhouse DSO MBE
Colonel-in-ChiefThe Prince of Wales KG KT GCB
Colonel of
the Regiment
Lieutenant General Sir Simon Mayall
Tactical Recognition Flash
Arm BadgeRoyal Cypher of Queen Caroline
From the Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards)


The current regiment was formed in 1959 by the amalgamation of 1st King's Dragoon Guards (raised in 1685 by Sir John Lanier as Lanier's or the 2nd Queen's Regiment of Horse in response to the Monmouth Rebellion) and the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) (raised in 1685 by the Earl of Peterborough as Peterborough's or the 3rd Regiment of Horse, also in response to the Monmouth Rebellion).[2]

The regiment has spent much of its history based in Germany at various times. It served during the Aden Emergency in 1966 and 1967 and its squadrons were dispersed throughout the Middle East during that time.[2] Perhaps the best known member in the 1970s was Captain Mark Phillips, one-time husband of The Princess Anne: they married in 1973.[3]

In 1983, the regiment was deployed to Lebanon in support of the allied Multinational Force, in 1990 it was sent to the Middle East for the Gulf War and in 1996 it was deployed to Bosnia as part of NATO peacekeeping forces during the Yugoslav Wars.[2]

In 2003, the regiment served in Iraq during the invasion of Iraq providing the reconnaissance and light armour support necessary to allow 3 Commando Brigade's advance north to Basra.[4]

The regiment celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on 31 July 2009 with a ceremony at Cardiff castle and a parade through the streets of Cardiff city, both attended by the Colonel-in-Chief The Prince of Wales. The regiment received a great response from the people of Cardiff. That same year, the unit was also awarded with the Freedom of the City of Swansea.[5]

The regiment completed its second tour of Afghanistan between October 2011 and April 2012 (Operation Herrick XV).[6]

In May 2012, there was speculation that the unit would become a victim of the defence budget cuts. As it was one of only three regiments historically associated with and one that still largely recruits from Wales, there was much support from the Welsh public to keep the QDG. However, Ministry of Defence officials announced no such plan has been made.[7][8]

As part of the Army 2020 plans, most units based in Germany will return to the UK and the QDG moved to Robertson Barracks, Swanton Morley, Norfolk in June 2015.[9] They have re-roled as "light cavalry", using Jackal vehicles.[10]

Operational role

The regiment operates in a light cavalry role and is now equipped with Jackal armoured fighting vehicles.[11]

Regimental museum

The regimental collection is displayed at Firing Line: Cardiff Castle Museum of the Welsh Soldier in Cardiff.[12]

Uniform, cap badge and march

In 1896, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards and allowed the regiment to wear the Austrian imperial coat of arms, which is still used as the regiment's cap badge today; the collar badge is that of The Queen's Bays. Also the regiment adopted an Austrian military march, Radetzky March, as quick march. The current Regimental March is the Radetzky March and Rusty Buckles, the latter being the Regimental March of The Queen's Bays. Other items of uniform draw on the regiment's dual heritage: thus, whilst the cap of 1st King’s Dragoon Guards (with dark blue velvet strip and piping) is worn, trousers have the distinctive broad white stripe of The Queen's Bays.[13]

Full dress is still worn by some on ceremonial occasions:[14] the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards tunic (scarlet with blue velvet facings) being paired with Queen's Bays white-striped overalls. The KDG red-plumed brass cavalry helmet is also worn, together with pouch belts and other accoutrements.[15]

Battle honours

Notable commanding officers


Colonels-in-Chief were as follows:[17]

  • 1959: Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother
  • 2003: Lt-Gen. Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales KG KT GCB AK QSO ADC

Regimental colonels

Regimental colonels were as follows:[17]




Order of precedence

Preceded by
The Blues and Royals
(Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons)
Cavalry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
(Carabiniers and Greys)


  1. "Welsh Cavalry adopt mountain pony as new mascot". BBC News. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  2. "The History of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  3. "Iconic weddings: Princess Anne and Mark Phillips". 27 July 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  4. "Welsh Cavalry pushes in to Iraq". BBC News. 21 March 2003.
  5. "1st Queen's Dragoon Guards". Swansea City Council. July 2009. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  6. "Newsletter 3rd Quarter 2012" (PDF). 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  7. "1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards: Ray Scanlon in 'save regiment' call". BBC News. 30 May 2012.
  8. "Fears for future of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards – The Welsh Cavalry". BBC News. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  9. "Regular Army Basing Plan – 5 Mar 2013" (PDF). Ministry of Defence.
  10. "The Welsh Cavalry swap Scimitars for jungle boots". Ministry of Defence. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  11. "1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  12. "Museum of the Welsh Soldier". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  13. "Queen's Bays". British Empire. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  14. BBC Hereford & Worcester
  15. Uniform – 1843 Onwards
  16. "Gulf Battle Honours". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 19 October 1993. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  17. "1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". regiments.org. Archived from the original on 8 February 2006. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
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