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RSM David Spence VC‌

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David Spence was born in Fifeshire, Scotland. He joined the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers in 1842. At the age of 40 years old, and as a Troop Sergeant Major with the 9th Lancers, during the Indian Mutiny he was awarded the Victoria Cross. “For conspicuous gallantry on the 17th of January, 1858, at Shumsabad, in going to the assistance of Private Kidd, who had been wounded, and his horse disabled, and bringing him out from a large number of rebels”. David Spence served 24 years with the Regiment and finished his service as RSM.  On 17th April 1877 David Spence VC, the retired Lancer and Yeoman Warder suffered a stroke in a London street, at 59 years of age.

After over a decade (by the family) of searching for the location of his grave, it was finally located in Lambeth Cemetery in an unmarked plot. The Regiment, the Victoria Cross Trust and the family have spent the last five years raising the money to have a headstone placed on the grave, ensuring the final resting pace of this gallant soldier was appropriately commemorated.  It is fitting that the site of Spence’s grave is only 150 yards from the grave of Robert Kells VC another 9th Lancer and Yeoman Warder who won his VC during the Indian Mutiny. Both VCs can be seen at the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum in Derby.

On Tuesday 14th March 2017, the gravestone was unveiled by the Regiment and members of the Spence family (some who had travelled from as far away as Australia) for the event. The service was conducted by the Regimental Padre, Major Graham Collingwood, and the serving Regiment was represented by Brigadier Andrew Hughes CBE, the Colonel of the Regiment.

THE ROYAL LANCERS OLD COMRADES’ ASSOCIATION ‘VETERAN  LANCERS’

Colonel William English – Chairman of The Royal Lancers Old Comrades’ Association and Trustee of The Royal Lancers Charitable Trust.

Gentlemen,

I am writing to inform you that after ‘listening and discussing’ the needs of Veteran Lancers widely across the Regiment, I am now forming The Royal Lancers Old Comrades’ Association (RL OCA) Committee.  In January I wrote a notice on Facebook through Home Headquarters informing that I would in due course be forming a committee to support the work of: ‘Remembrance’; ‘Benevolence’ and ‘Networking’.  I can now inform that the RL OCA Committee will be made up as follows:

Chairman:                                         Col William English

Vice Chairman 9/12L:                     Lt Col (Retd) John Pearce

Vice Chairman 16/5L & QRL:        Maj (Retd) Chris Knight

Vice Chairman 17/21L & QRL:      Capt (Retd) Richard Dzierozynski

Liaison HHQ:                                    Maj (Retd) Phil Watson

Liaison RL:                                        Capt Steven Mansfield

Liaison CCOCA:                               Mr Dick Boorman

Tower Host & Asst CCOCA:          Yeoman Warder Steve McMenamy

Many of you are members of Branches and/or Informal Groups, but some Veteran Lancers are not – no matter.  The Vice Chairmen listed above now have Areas of Responsibility (AOR) based around their antecedent regimental recruiting areas (see attached ppt).  They will be talking to Leaders of Branches and Informal Groups, providing advice, support and a voice at committee meetings.  In order that you as an individual may have a voice too, you can contact your antecedent Vice Chairman irrespective of your location (UK and worldwide) to discuss an antecedent matter; your voice will be heard at committee and you will receive a response to any question you raise.  For those RL veterans starting to emerge from service in the RL, should you wish to contact your Vice Chairman, you should contact the Vice Chairman who covers the region in which you live.

The work we do in support of you ensures that our Veteran Lancers retain both dignity and respect in retirement – collectively we are maintaining pride in self and ensuring that our antecedent regiments traditions remain in place and the serving Royal Lancers remain, in unity, the very best regiment in the world.  Proud to be a British Lancer - ‘Forged as One’.

I am pleased to draw your attention to the following appointments in the New Year’s Honours List published today.

PROMOTIONS IN AND APPOINTMENTS TO THE MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MOST EXCELLENT ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE

As a Commander

Brigadier Andrew Gordon HUGHES, MBE

As a Member

Major Martin Patrick MORRISSEY, The Royal Lancers

‌Royal Lancers at the Cenotaph – 13th November 2016‌

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Eighteen members of the Royal Lancers OCA marched at this year’s parade at the Cenotaph.  This was only the second time the regiment had been represented at the parade.  The parade was led by Major (Prince) Nick Obolensky (late 17/21L) and the wreath was carried by In-Pensioner Lance Corporal Jack Pilkington (late 9/12L). Among those marching was Lieutenant Michael de Burgh.  Michael is 93 years of age and was the only World War 2 veteran marching with the contingent.  Michael served with the 9th Lancers during the Italy campaign as a Troop Leader with A Squadron and saw action at San Savio during the Battle for Coriano Ridge.  It was early on in this battle that his previous Commanding Officer, Colonel John Macdonell, DSO was killed.  It was during one of the last actions of the war that his Sherman tank was knocked out by a German 88mm. Which resulted in the death of his gunner Lance Corporal Coombes who was the 9th Lancers last fatal casualty of the war. It is exactly 70 years since he last marched at the Cenotaph!

Charge of the Light Brigade

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Today marks the 162nd anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade. It was during the initial stages of the siege of Sevastopol that the 17th made their most famous charge as part of the Light Brigade at Balaklava. The allies had laid siege to Sevastopol and in an attempt to break the siege on the 25th of October 1854, the Russians launched an attack on the Causeway Heights to cut the British off from their supply chain. Initially the Russians met with success taking both the Heights and the redoubts defending them. The stubborn defence of the 93rd Regiment of Foot and the successful Charge of the Heavy Brigade halted their advance.

It was not however until the later stages of the battle that the famous Charge of the Light Brigade took place. In fact it was caused by confusion of orders. From his position on the Sapoune Heights, Lord Raglan could see that the Russians were about to carry away the captured guns from the Causeway Heights. Raglan therefore ordered Lord Lucan, the commander of the Cavalry Division, to launch the Light Brigade to retake the guns. From his position in the valley Lucan could not see the guns. When he asked for further clarification from Captain Nolan, the ADC who had brought the message, Nolan pointed not to the guns on the Causeway Heights, but to a Russian Battery at the end of the valley. Having received the clarification he required he directed Lord Cardigan, his brother-in-law and Commander of the Light Brigade, to advance down the valley.

On orders Cardigan advanced the five regiments of the Light Brigade towards the line of Russian guns at a trot. The first salvo was fired when the brigade had advanced only 200 yards. Each subsequent salvo took a heavy toll on the 17th, who were positioned forward left in the Brigade, but the advance continued unabated with the gaps in the line being filled quickly. As they neared the guns, the Light Brigade broke into a charge, and were met within eighty yards by a final salvo. The 17th, led by Captain Morris, swept down on the enemy, carrying the guns and driving the Russian cavalry, who were massed behind the guns, back in disarray. “Half a dozen of us leaped in among the guns, and I with one blow brained a Russian gunner.” (Private John Vahey, Regimental butcher). The force was however too small to maintain the position unaided and were forced to withdraw back up the valley, again under constant musket and artillery fire from the flanking Heights, and harassed by Cossacks who rode down among them.

Of the 147 17th Lancers that charged, only 38 answered the roll call after the battle. For their gallant actions that day, three Victoria Crosses were awarded to members of the Regiment. Although the 17th remained in the Crimea for the rest of the campaign they did not play a major role in any of the remaining battles, which were predominantly infantry affairs.

New Book - Centenary of the 'Last Charges' of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers

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The Last Charges written by Major (Retired) Philip Watson combines the accounts of the last two significant charges, in the opening two months of the First World War, of the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers and the 12th Royal Lancers. The author has revisited the legends surrounding these charges and through 20 years of meticulous research and the use of, and reference to, previously unpublished sources has produced an account that is credible and readable and which has dispelled some popular myths. The use of many newly revealed facts and extensive illustrations (some from German sources and point of view) enables the reader to fully understand the events surrounding those two days and the roles played by those involved in the charges.
The battles of Mons and Moÿ continue to be commemorated annually by The Royal Lancers, as part of Mons Day. This book gives us the context and helps us to understand why.
The book (containing 136 pages and 135 illustrations and photographs) is available on the online shop - http://theroyallancers.org/TRL-Shop/ - for £12.99 exclusive of postage. The sale proceeds will go to the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum Trust which funded its publication.