1st Household Cavalry Regiment in Cyprus

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by RobG64, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. RobG64

    RobG64 Active Member

    Hello DRyan67!
    Can you tell me when 1st HCR went to Cyprus and when it left. Some sources say it arrived in December 1941 while more say March 1942. It apparently took over the vehicles of Skinner's Horse but then received armoured cars before leaving (I think) with 7th Indian Infantry Brigade on 24th August 1942

    Thank you in advance

  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a summary of the time the 1st HCR were in Cyprus:

    British Troops in Cyprus (XXV Corps) – 14 March 1942 to 27 August 1942

    The 1st Household Cavalry Regiment sailed from Haifa on March 14th, 1942 and disembarked at Famagusta, Cyprus. It moved to Kondia and took over billets from the 2nd Highland Light Infantry. It also took over the equipment of Skinner’s Horse, an Indian cavalry regiment. This consisted of quite an array of vehicles: 24 M/Cs, 48 Carriers, 10 8-CWT trucks, 63 15-CWT trucks, 30-CWT trucks, 2 two-tonners, 7 three-tonners, and 3 utility cars. On March 16th ‘C’ Squadron moved to Lysi under GOC Troops Cyprus and on April 8th the regiment took over the deception role as the Household Brigade. ‘C’ Squadron left Lysi on April 12th and moved to Kukkin, Trimithia handing over Lysi to the 1st Royal Sussex Regiment. On arrival, ‘C’ came under command of the 1st/2nd Gurkha Rifles. On April 12th, 22 Marmon-Herrington III armoured cars arrived and they were distributed among the squadrons. Two were sent to RHQ, seven to ‘A’ Squadron, six to ‘B’ Squadron, and seven to ‘C’ Squadron. On the 13th, RHQ, HQ Squadron, and ‘B’ Squadron moved to a camp at Athalassa and on May 6th ‘C’ Squadron moved to Akaki. On May 9th, eighteen more Marmon-Herrington IIIs arrived along with 18 Vickers guns and 18 anti-tank rifles. In July ‘C’ Squadron moved to Athalassa from Akaki and an anti-tank troop of 25-pounders was formed in the regiment. The regiment now formed part of Crusader Force, the mobile strike force for the island. Along with the 1st HCR, less one squadron, this force consisted of the Yorkshire Hussars (less a squadron), 116th Field Battery, two companies of the 1st Royal Sussex Regiment, 108th Light AA Battery, an RE detachment, and a field ambulance detachment. ‘B’ Squadron was separately under the operational control of the 10th Indian Infantry Brigade in the eastern part of the island.

    On July 19th, ‘A’ Squadron moved to Athalassa and ‘B’ Squadron to Kondia. At the end of the month, the 25-pounders were replaced with by three 47mm Italian Breda guns. The regiment left Cyprus on August 27th, 1942 after five and a half months and landed at Port Said, Egypt.
  3. RobG64

    RobG64 Active Member

    Excellent!! As ever, my grateful thanks

  4. RobG64

    RobG64 Active Member

    Hello again DRyan67!!
    I am interested in Crusader Force that served in Cyprus (1st HCR, Yorkshire Hussars, 39th RTR) and also the "10th British Armoured Brigade" which was a notional formation created by 20th Indian Infantry Brigade in January 1943 that included 4th Hussars and 8th Hussars.

    What do you have on Crusader Force and when did it exists from and to? (April to December 1942?)
    When did 4th & 8th Hussars arrive on Cyprus, what were they equipped with and with whom did they serve?

    Many thanks as always

  5. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I have very little on the Yorkshire Hussars on Cyprus. Here is what I have:

    XXV Corps – 13 March 1942 to January 1943

    It then moved to Cyprus on March 13th, 1942 to become the mobile striking force on the island with Crusader cruiser tanks and Valentine infantry tanks. It moved to Egypt in January 1943.
  6. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a bit on the 4th Hussars:

    At Khatatba camp near Cairo, ‘B’ Squadron was reformed and the 4th received reinforcements from 2nd Royal Gloucestershire Hussars. The 4th went to Cyprus on 18 January 1943 leaving the island for Beirut on 19 June 1943. It was attached to 20th Indian Infantry Brigade while on Cyprus. While on Cyprus the 4th was equipped with used and old Valentines and Crusaders.
  7. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is something on the 8th Hussars:

    On 2 December the regiment was ordered to Cyprus and it received one squadron of the 2nd Royal Gloucestershire Hussars to enable them to reform ‘B’ Squadron on 11 December.
    It served on Cyprus from 27 December 1942 until 20 June 1943. It was attached to 20th Indian Infantry Brigade on Cyprus from April to June. On 23 June it arrived in Beruit. In Cyprus the regiment had 15 Bren Carriers, some trucks and lorries, and 45 old Marmon-Herrington IIIs.
  8. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the transcription of the 4th Hussars war diary from January to June 1943:


    January 1943 CO: Lt Col RCH Kidd

    Jan 43

    4th Queens Own Hussars


    On the departure to another location of 10th Armd Div, the Regt became GHQ Troops.


    Capt FS Fryer returned to duty from hospital and sick leave.


    Capt JG Vaughan returned to duty from hospital and sick leave.

    Lt JNE Slee and 64 ORs posted to the Regt from 2nd RGH to fill vacancies within the War Establishment.


    2Lt AP Ridley-Thompson joined the Regt.


    Orders received to stand by to move from the 13th to CYPRUS.


    The Regt left for CYPRUS. 23 Officers and 453 ORs entrained. The G1098 equipment was left in the care of the rear party of 3 Officers and 30 ORs to be handed over to the Yorkshire Hussars on their arrival.


    Regt disembarked at FAMAGUSTA.


    Regt arrived at KOKEINI PRIMITHIA.

    Regt joined 20th Ind Infantry Bde. For Island purposes only, this Bde is called 10th Armd Bde.


    Tpr G Hallam killed in a road accident at KATO ZODHIA. He was driving a 15cwt truck which crashed over the side of a bridge. The only other passenger in the truck was uninjured.


    Tpr Hallam buried at NICOSIA Military Cemetery.


    Lt Colonel RCH Kidd rejoined the Regt after being on leave and awaiting air passage from CAIRO.

    Nominal Roll of Officers – 31 Jan 43

    Lt Col RCK Kidd Major FH Blackett Major RR Archer

    Major FA Green Major JJ O’Brien Major PA Uniacke

    Capt P Crichton Capt C Daggett Capt JL Ogier

    Capt AS Wells Capt GJC Paterson Capt HL White

    Capt FS Fryer Capt JG Vaughan (Adjt) Capt CR Hidden (Tech Adjt)

    Lt RAR Hoare Lt SJ Saunders Lt J Austin

    Lt A Hickson-Brown Lt AG Curwen Lt JA Downes

    Lt GPMC Wheeler Lt TH Farmiloe Lt PJ Keane

    Lt RJF Hosken Lt JNE Slee 2Lt AP Ridley-Thompson

    2Lt H Stewart Lt RD Pitt (QM)

    Capt EDV Nicoll RAMC Capt JFS Polden REME Rev GJ Stubbs Bromley

    February 1943 CO: Lt Col RCH Kidd

    Feb 43

    4th Queens Own Hussars


    Regt inspected by the Colonel of the Regiment, Rt Hon Winston Churchill MP. After the inspection the Prime Minister made a short speech and then lunched in the Officers Mess and left at approx 1330 hours amid much enthusiasm.


    Four Officers and 30 ORs who had been posted to the Regt arrived. The Officers were:-

    Lt RB Walmsley, Lt JM Strawson, 2Lt LC Jackson and 2Lt CD Dent.


    25th Corps Comdr, Lt General ITP Hughes DSO MC lectured to all Officers on “Personal behaviour in CYPRUS”. There were general questions with regard to training and possible fighting on the island.


    The Regt, with Tanks and B vehicles, was inspected by the Corps Comdr. After the inspection he discussed various points with the CO and afterwards inspected the billets.


    The CO was admitted to hospital with a slight attack of pneumonia. Major FH Blackett assumed command.


    9 Officers and 200 ORs participated in the Red Army Day celebrations in NICOSIA stadium. The salute was taken by the Acting Governor of CYPRUS, Mr JVW Shaw. The Regtl detachment was led by Major FH Blackett.

    During the month the strength of the Regt was brought up to War Establishment plus 50% first-line reinforcements.

    During the month at least 70 ORs were absent on courses and a further number in hospital.

    It was found that a considerable amount of work was required on both A13 and Valentine Tanks which the Regt took over on its arrival and whose track and engine mileage was very high. An average of 50% of the 67 Tanks on the Regtl strength being daily off the road. For this reason, and also because of the restricted areas available for training at the present time of the year as a result of the ground of the plains being under cultivation, no Regtl or Sqn training was carried out and very little Troop training. Great attention was paid to individual training of all kinds, Driver/Mechs, Driver/Operators and Gunners.

    The general health and moral of the Regt was considered to be excellent. To a large extent these were due to the change of climate and general conditions as compared with the Western Desert and the Nile Delta.

    March 1943 CO: Lt Col RCH Kidd

    Mar 43

    4th Queens Own Hussars


    Capt C Daggett struck off strength on being posted to Home Establishment.


    All Officers and available NCOs attended a lecture on “The role of a Field Regt in support of an Armd Bde” by Lt Colonel F Lushington, 97 field Regt.


    Lt Colonel RCH Kidd re-assumed command on return from sick leave.

    Training during the month consisted primarily of Troop training. This type of training advanced considerably, although difficulties were experienced as regards restricted areas available for training and the limited number of Tanks on the road at any one time.

    During the month approx 80 ORs were absent having completed courses of instruction and being unable to obtain passage to return to the Regt.

    The climatic conditions during the month were varied, snow, rain and cold winds all being experienced.

    April 1943 CO: Lt Col RCH Kidd

    Apr 43

    4th Queens Own Hussars


    The CO and Adjt attended 25 Corps lecture on “Plan to defeat invasion”.


    Corps Exercise Tiger.


    Regt provided 16 Officers and 15 NCOs for Corps exercise Tough as umpires, and nearly all of our transport.


    Lt WK Hedley, Lt PH Woods, Lt HNT Hall, Lt TH Harris and 2Lt H Stewart joined the Regt.


    Major Blackett assumed command of the Regt during the absence of the CO as umpire on Exercise Tough.


    Exercise Tough finished.


    Lt Colonel Kidd reassumes command of the Regt.

    During the month Sqn training was commenced but was somewhat hampered by the state of the Tanks and absence of vehicles and personnel on Ex Tough.

    All of the Officers and ORs who had completed courses were able to return to the Regt during this month.

    The temperature rose considerably during the month in comparison to March. The general state of the health of the Regt remains very good.

    May 1943 CO: Lt Col RCH Kidd

    May 43

    4th Queens Own Hussars


    Regt ceases to be part of 20th Ind Infantry Bde and become 25th Corps Troops.

    Major Blackett assumes command of the Regt during absence of the CO in CAIRO on duty.

    Anti-malarial measures brought into force.


    Comdr 25th Corps visited the Regt to inspect training.


    CO returned from CAIRO and reassumed command of the Regt.


    All Officers and NCOs attended a lecture given by Brigadier Elsworthy, director of Personal Services, GHQ MEF.


    CO and 4 other Officers attended a demo of RE work on a beach landing.

    Sqn training was covered on a wider scale. A certain amount of field firing was carried out in Tanks. HQ Sqn carried out range practice with rifle and Bren gun. A certain number of Regtl Sand-table exercises were held, but apart from these no other Regtl training was carried out.

    However, all Sqns leaguered out of camp during training for periods varying from three to seven days.

    Summer working hours were instituted from the beginning of the month on account of the heat in the afternoon. Towards the end of the month a few men were admitted to hospital with sand-fly fever, otherwise the general health of the Regt remained good.

    June 1943 CO: Lt Col RCH Kidd

    Jun 43

    4th Queens Own Hussars


    LCpl C Wright died from a cerebral injury received as a result of an accident during range practice. This accident, in the opinion of the CO, was due to a fault either in the ammunition or to a mechanical defect in the gun.


    LCpl Wright buried in NICOSIA Military Cemetery.

    CO and Adjt attended a conference at HQ 25th Corps at which the Regt was given preliminary orders to move to EGYPT.


    Written orders with regard to the move received. Regt to take all G1098 equipment less vehicles.


    All Tanks, Scout cars and B vehicles (less 15) handed back to VRP.


    Movement order for move to FAMAGUSTA received.


    Regt left in two trains. A rear party of 1 Officer and 20 ORs left behind to hand in remaining vehicles and accommodation stores.


    0300 – Regt left FAMAGUSTA.

    0700 – Regt arrived BEIRUT.


    2020 – first train left BEIRUT carrying all baggage.

    2330 – Second train left.


    0800 – first train arrived BENI YUSEF camp.

    1200 – Second train arrived.

    Regt placed under EGYPFORCE for all purposes.


    Lt CC Thompson joined the Regt.

    At the close of the month the Regt was at BENI YUSEF camp without any training equipment whatsoever. This time as many men as possible were being sent on 7 days leave until training equipment was received.

    No definite information as to the future of the Regt had been received by the end of the month.
  9. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    RobG64. Start a conversation and I will send you an old Order of Battle I put together for Cyprus. I also have to scan in the transcript for the 8th Hussars time on Cyprus from the War Diary, which may help a bit more.
  10. RobG64

    RobG64 Active Member

    Excellent as always! Thank you very much


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