The Royal Lancers Regimental Association

Cavalry Memorial Parade  - 8th May 2016, Hyde Park, London


Dress will be suits/jacket and trousers, Regimental ties and medals. Serving and retired members of the Regiment start to gather from 1000hrs on the Broad Walk (East) just inside the Park, parallel to Park Lane. Please RV at the OCA Banner by 1045hrs

The Cavalry Memorial parade takes place annually in Hyde Park on the second Sunday in May, and takes the form of a march past by former and serving members of many cavalry regiments, followed by a short service to commemorate those who were killed on active service.


A Wreath Laying Service to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Operation GRANBY 

His Royal Highness Field Marshal The Duke of Kent was present at the Service in the Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Operation GRANBY and laid a wreath at the memorial to those that gave their lives during the operation. The service was attended by Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie and by representatives of the units from all three Services that had taken part and by bereaved family members.  Colonel Alick Finlayson attended as the representative of 16/5L as did and Jamie Dowling, son of Sgt Michael Dowling, and his partner.

The memorial is a handsome black marble tablet on the wall close to Lord Nelson’s tomb and the list of names includes Lt Edward Whitehead 16/5L, killed on a training exercise just before the start of the ground war, and of Sgt Michael Dowling MM and LCpl Frank Evans both REME attached to 16/5L who were killed when their M548 vehicle was engaged by an Iraqi tank.  Sgt Dowling, who was engaging the tank with his rifle when he was killed, was awarded the Military Medal posthumously.

Following the service a reception was held in the Regimental Headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in the Tower of London. This was a very dignified and respectful occasion that was greatly appreciated by all of those fortunate enough to be present. In the evening a dinner was held by the officers of the 16th/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers battlegroup in the officers’ mess of the Inns of Court Yeomanry.  There was an excellent turnout particularly from the attached elements of the battlegroup that included Rupert Maitland-Titterton who was attached to 16/5L with a troop from 9/12L.


Sgt M Dowling MM and LCpl F Evans, REME - KiA 26 February 1991

Michael James DOWLING.

16th/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers provided the reconnaissance for the 1st (UK) Armoured Division. On 25th February 1991, the regiment led the advance from Saudi Arabia, through the Iraqi defence line and into Iraq. The next day, they were attacking the enemy in the area code-named Objective LEAD.  Each squadron of the Regiment had a small tracked logistical element mounted in M548 load carriers crewed by personnel of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. On 26th February, two of these M548s, belonging to C Squadron, were being led by the Squadron Sergeant-Major in his Ferret scout car when an enemy T55 tank appeared and chased them.

Military Medal Citation of Sgt Dowling:

"Sergeant Dowling was employed as the REME Fitter Sergeant attached to C Squadron, 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers for their deployment on Operation GRANBY. On the morning of 26 February 1991, Sergeant Dowling was commanding one of the two M548 logistic load-carrying vehicles grouped with C Squadron. The Squadron was deployed in a screen to prevent reinforcement of the Regimental objective (Objective LEAD) from the north.

At approximately 1100 hours, while the Squadron was in close contact with the enemy, the two M548s came under enemy tank fire.. While trying to evade the enemy fire the rear M548 broke down. Sergeant Dowling moved quickly to take the crew off the broken-down vehicle. Shortly after this his M548 was engaged by enemy tank fire again. While ordering his driver to make best speed to avoid the enemy fire, and with total disregard for his own safety; , Sergeant Dowling leaned out of the cab of the M548 and engaged the tank with his personal weapon in order to try to kill the enemy commander who was engaging with his 12.7 mm machine gun. Next to him, Lance Corporal Evans, one of the rescued crewmen, was mortally wounded.  Sergeant Dowling continued to engage the enemy tank until he, too, was killed by enemy fire. This was a selfless act of outstanding bravery.

Sergeant Dowling was posthumously awarded the Military Medal. This painting was commissioned by the Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess of 16th/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers, and presented to the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Capt Tim Purbrick

Op GRANBY (Gulf War 1)

It is 25 years since the 1991 Gulf War when British troops contributed (OP GRANBY) to the successful Allied operation which prevented Saddam’s invasion of Saudi Arabia (DESERT SHIELD) and then liberated Kuwait (DESERT STORM).

Capt Tim Purbrick (late QRL) commanded a Troop of Challenger Main Battle Tanks during the 1991 Gulf War. This blog is written from his diaries, notebooks and a tape recording he made during the war.

The blog will follow his work up to the war and then the war itself, day by day 25 years on.

Desert Storm Part 18: Downtime


The Charge at Aliwal 28th January 1846

The 40,000 Sikh infantry massed against Smith's 10,000 men at Aliwal covered a frontage of about two miles connecting the villages of Aliwal and Bundri. They were supported by 37 pieces of artillery and flanked by cavalry. In the initial stages of the battle Smith's forces advanced and took Aliwal. The capture of Aliwal meant the loss of the Sikhs' best ford across the Sutlej, they therefore had to recapture it and attempted to do so with a body of 1000 cavalry.  Of all the Battle Honours gained by the 16th Lancers it was the battle of Aliwal that they chose to commemorate each year. A regimental tradition deriving from this is that lance pennons are starched and crimped 16 times; this commemorates the fact that after the battle they were so encrusted in blood that they stood upright and stiff. Today Aliwal is still remembered and The Royal Lancers still crimp their lance pennons to this day.

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Royal Lancers OCA parade at Cenotaph

The RLOCA parade at the Cenotaph for the first time led by Lt Col (Retd) John Pearce.

Cenotaph 2015

Westminster Abbey 5th November 2015

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Royal Lancers OCA Parade at National Memorial Arboretum

Over 50 members of the RLOCA paraded at the National Memorial Arboretum for a short act of Remembrance.  The OCA were joined by 15 members of C Squadron RL under the stewardship of WO2 (SSM) Reeve, and we were honoured to be joined by Rod and Gill Watkins (parents of LCpl Paul Watkins, 9/12L kia 16th July 2011).


RSM David Spence VC – Gravestone Appeal

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 17 April 1877 David Spence VC, the retired Lancer and Yeoman of the Royal Guard suffered a stroke in a London street, at 59 years of age He is currently buried in an unmarked grave in Lambeth Cemetery.

Currently the Regiment has been working for some time with the Victoria Cross Trust to have a gravestone erected in the Lambeth Cemetery.  The Royal Lancers Charitable Trust is supporting the appeal and the cost of doing this will be in the region of £2000 any donations can be paid to:

Spence VC - Victoria Cross Trust
Account Number: 36696900
Sort Code: 60-06-39

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Battle of Balaclava on 25th October 1854

The Charge of the Light Brigade was a charge of British light cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. Lord Raglan, overall commander of the British forces, had intended to send the Light Brigade to pursue and harry a retreating Russian artillery battery.


Death Notice - Major General George Michael Geoffrey Swindells, CB

It is with great regret that we have to inform you all of the death on Tuesday, 13th October 2015 of Major General George Michael Geoffrey Swindells, CB. General Mike was born in Cheshire on 15th January 1930. He was commissioned on 1st April 1949 and completed his National Service with the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards whom he immediately re-joined on hearing they were to be sent to Korea. In 1969 he was appointed Commanding Officer of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers and 1990 he was appointed Colonel of the Regiment. On the formation of The Royal Lancers he was appointed to the Council.

Further details will be announced later.


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The Royal Lancers Re-Visit the Danieli Hotel Venice.

50 oficers and soldiers of the Royal Lancers finished the last day of their Battlefield Study at the same hotel that the 12th Lancers ended their fighting during World War 2.  The story is as follows:

“The New Zealand Division, retaining 12th Lancers under command, was to lead this advance and were the first troops in Venice.  This force was met by a guide from the 12th Lancers at the turn-off to the causeway, and entered the city about 4p.m. on the 29th. Thodey had orders to hold the Albergo Danieli Hotel, reputed to be the best hotel in Venice which General Freyberg VC intended to be used as a New Zealand forces club. The next day (the 30th) 169 Brigade ‘formed up and marched impressively to San Marco Square. Ironically hailed the “liberators”.’ B Company transferred 12 Platoon to the Albergo Danieli, and the New Zealanders refused all requests by representatives of the Allied Millitary Government and by 56 Division that they should relinquish the hotel.  Freyberg was always anxious to have good leave centres for his men, maintaining, “You can't treat a man like a butler and expect him to fight like a gladiator.” Denying the story that he spent his honeymoon at the Danieli in Venice, but saying that he had visited the hotel in the late 'twenties and 'thirties.”

This is still one of the best hotels in Venice and is around a € 1000 a week to stay and coffees are €7 a cup.  Worth a short visit as it has not changed since World War 2 and is quite spectacular.

Canterbury and Maidstone Memorial Service

On 6th September 2015, 20 members of the Royal Lancers OCA (from both Canterbury and Maidstone) joined for a short service of remembrance at Canterbury Cathedral. The service was conducted by the vice-Dean The Reverend Clare Edwards and wreaths were laid by General Searby, Major Phil Watson, Mr Bill Baxter and Mr Ken Parsfield. The wreath for the 21st Lancers was placed along side the 16th Lancers because due to building works the 21st Lancer memorial was behind scaffolding and access could not be gained.  All members then retired for lunch at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.

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Family donate Major Riddiford's Artifacts to Regimental Museum

Paul and Laura Riddiford donated Major Riddiford's uniforms and artifacts to the Regimental Museum. Major Riddiford's uniforms had remained untouched since 1983.  He served with both the 16/5L, 17/21L and Wiltshire Yeomanry and served in both World Wars. He was commissioned from the ranks and finally was a Yeoman Warder.  His service to his county spanned from George V to the current Queen.  Quite a remarkable man and collection

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200th Anniversary of Waterloo 18 June 2015

WO1 Mark Kaminski from the Royal Lancers visited Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland ACF on Annual Camp 2015 to show them one of the proposed new cadet radios.  He stayed for the final day parade and annual awards with the three Lord Lieutenants

Prince Harry hails Britain's Afghan war dead at memorial dedication

RSM and Rod Watkins

WO1 (RSM) Cassidy with Mr Rod Watkins and Ms Victoria Earl at Alrewas for the unveiling of the memorial.  Mr Watkins was the father of LCpl Paul Watkins (9/12L) killed in action on 16th July 2011

We are grateful to the 12th and 16th Light Dragoons re-enactment societies for permission to use their photographs

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Rushe Family Visit Museum to view Forbear’s Lucknow VC

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The Victoria Cross won by Troop Sergeant Major David Rushe of the 9th Lancers at Lucknow in 1858 took pride of place in the Regiment’s Museum in Derby on 15th June when two of the recipient’s great grandsons and their wives visited to view their much treasured family heirloom which they have most generously loaned to the Museum.

The visit proved a memorable and enjoyable occasion; Dr Robin and Mrs Rosemary Rushe from South Africa and Mr Kerry and Mrs Jenny Rushe from New Zealand (Robin and Kerry are brothers) can rarely get the opportunity for a family reunion, and it was remarkable that they should come together to view their forebear’s VC at our Museum. They commented that that they felt the medal had at last come to its rightful home after a chequered history which began when, sadly, TSM Rushe’s widow had to sell it to make ends meet after her husband died in 1886. Interestingly, the family still recall that Mrs Rushe was supported by 9th Lancer benevolence throughout her life; she died in the 1920s The medal finally reached our Museum in 2011, with the help of our Pretoria High Commission’s Defence Staff, after a fraught journey from the interior of South Africa.

During the afternoon the Rushees were received by the Mayor of Derby, Councillor Paul Pegg, in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Council House. The Mayor, a strong supporter of both the Regiment and our Museum in Derby, was fascinated to hear the history of the VC and in return showed the Rushees the Mayoral regalia and other treasures in the Parlour before conducting them on a tour of the impressively refurbished Council House. This visit was not only enjoyed by all concerned but will have strengthened the Museum’s links to the Rushe family, owners of one of our most important items in our Collection, and also to the Office of the Mayor of the City of Derby.

The Army Benevolent Fund Charity Abseil 8th June 2015


On Monday 8 Jun 15, former Lancer, Andy Garthwaite, and several serving Lancers will abseil the horrifying 210 Feet off the largest roller coaster in North England! They are doing this for charity for our best loved and longest standing charity, The Army Benevolent Fund

On Op HERRICK 12, Geordie from Newcastle, then serving with the QRL, was wounded in action losing an arm above the elbow to a RPG strike. Since being medically discharged the ABF have helped him adapt to one-armed life; including fitting him with the world’s first mind controlled bionic arm. He feels eternally indebted to this excellent Charity and no doubt all of us also know someone who has had their life improved by the ABF.…/ev…/the-big-one-abseil-2015

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Cavalry Memorial Parade 2015

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