Household Cavalry

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by RoyalUlsterRifles, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. RoyalUlsterRifles

    RoyalUlsterRifles Junior Member


    I was wondering if anyone could help me. The Household Cavalry was formed into two regiments during the war, (the 1st and 2nd) and from my understanding both regiments were a mix of The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals, who would have worn their own shoulder titles. Would they have worn their own cap badges or would both units have worn the Household Cavalry Regiment cap badge?

    Also if anyone can point me in the right direction for further information about the 2nd HCR, ie order of battle, war diary etc that would be a great help.

    Many thanks
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a summary of the 2nd Household Cavalry Regiment, which started out as the Household Cavalry Training Regiment:

    The Household Cavalry Training Regiment

    Title Changes
    The Household Cavalry Training Regiment – 3 September 1939
    2nd Household Cavalry Motor Battalion – 19 November 1940
    2nd Household Cavalry Regiment – 15 September 1941

    London District – 3 September 1939 to 1 March 1941
    The Household Cavalry was one of only four horsed regiments in the British Army. It was mobilised on September 1st, 1939 with the Life Guards at Hyde Park Barracks and the Blues at Windsor. It was organised with the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment to field (a composite of the Life Guards and the Blues), the Household Cavalry Reserve Regiment on London duties, and the Household Cavalry Training Regiment for training. The Household Cavalry Training Regiment was established on September 10th at the Cavalry Barracks in Windsor. It was renamed as the 2nd Household Cavalry Motor Battalion on November 19th, 1940. It was to have a Royal Horse Guards (Blues) HQ, two companies of Life Guards and two companies of the Blues. The 1st was to have a similar organization, but with a Life Guards HQ. The conversion was actually cancelled but the regiment was still renamed on December 12th, 1940. The regiment was to be shipped to the Middle East but no shipping was available. Instead it became part of the London District Mobile Reserve.

    20th Guards Infantry Brigade – 1 March 1941 to 12 July 1941 – attached
    The regiment moved to Pirbright Camp in March 1941 to join the 20th Guards Infantry Brigade with its HQ at Woking. One motor company rotated at Windsor. It was announced on May 24th, that the 2nd Household Cavalry Motor Battalion was to be the armoured car regiment of the Guards Armoured Division.

    London District – 12 July 1941 to 15 September 1941
    The regiment returned to Windsor on July 12th, 1941 from Pirbright and received two old Guy Armoured Cars.

    Guards Armoured Division – 15 September 1941 to 27 February 1943
    The regiment was renamed as the 2nd Household Cavalry Regiment on joining the Guards Armoured Division on September 15th, 1941 as its armoured car regiment. It received four more Guy Armoured Cars on joining and moved to Bulford Fields, Salisbury Plains. Shortly 20 Daimler and Humber I Armoured Cars arrived. It moved to Trowbridge in the spring of 1942 and did its first exercise in June 1942 as a complete armoured car regiment. It was selected as VIII Corps’ armoured car regiment on January 20th, 1943 and then took part in Exercise ‘Spartan’.

    VIII Corps – 27 February 1943 to 14 August 1944
    The 2nd HCR left Trowbridge on February 27th, 1943 to Fordingbridge and took part in an exercise on arrival. It moved to VIII Corps in March 1943 at Waterton, Norfolk. It left there at the end of June 1943 to the area of Pocklington, Yorkshire with RHQ, HQ, and ‘A’ Squadrons at Kilnwick Percy Hall, ‘B’ and ‘D’ at Pocklington Village, and ‘C’ at Bolton Hall. It was mobilised in July 1943 and received Staghounds at RHQ and each Squadron HQ. Jeeps were then issued to the Support Troops with one per squadron and ten Jeeps to carry the three sections and troop HQ. By now, the Daimler became the standard armoured car. Exercises continued for the regiment. It left Yorkshire on April 20th, 1944 and concentrated at Selby, Sussex. One troop of ‘A’ Squadron sailed on June 20th, 1944 as the VIII Corps Protection Troop. The troop did not rejoin the regiment until the start of September 1944 and, shortly after landing in Normandy, it was gave up its armoured and scout cars for five Cromwell tanks. The rest of the regiment, meanwhile, had concentrated at Brighton and then East Grinstead. It moved to the Marshalling Yard Camp at Gosport on July 11th and embarked the following day.
    The 2nd HCR landed in Normandy on July 14th and assembled near Brecy. It served in support of the Guards Armoured Division during Operation Goodwood from July 18th to 23rd. On the 23rd it concentrated at Camilly. On July 29th, it concentrated for Operation Bluecoat and the breakout with ‘B’ Squadron under the 15th (Scottish) Division and the rest of the regiment under VIII Corps in support of the 11th Armoured Division. It operated in the breakout to Cavalry Bridge near Le Beny Bocage on July 31st and August 1st then moved beyond Souleuvre on August 2nd. It reverted to VIII Corps on August 7th from the 11th Armoured Division in the area of Le Beny Bocage and began patrol activity. On August 8th, the regiment joined the 3rd Infantry Division for operations with ‘D’ Squadron detached to the Guards Armoured Division. It served with them through August 12th, when it moved to Montisanger and took over the line as infantry through August 16th.

    XXX Corps – 14 August 1944 to 2 September 1944
    The regiment supported the 3rd Divisoin at River Norwau and Foret de Halone from August 15th to 17th. It then rested by the River Souleuvre on August 21st in preparation for the assault of the Seine. It moved off and was at L’Aigle on August 23rd and 24th. From August 29th to September 2nd it was involved in the breakout from the Seine to Vernon of the Seine. IT reached Douai by September 2nd.

    Guards Armoured Division – XXX Corps – 2 September 1944 to 22 September 1944
    The regiment joined the Guards Armoured Division on September 2nd and took Brussels by the 4th. It then moved to Louvain by the 5th. The 2nd HCR then advanced to the Dutch frontier from Louvain from September 6th to 11th. From September 11th to 22nd, it served with the Guards Armoured Division in Operation Market-Garden. It started at Joe’s Bridge on the 11th and linked up with the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade on the 22nd.

    XXX Corps – 22 September 1944 to 30 September 1944
    It went into reserve at Nijmegen on September 22nd and received reinforcement there on the 29th.

    VIII Corps – 1 October 1944 to 11 November 1944
    While at Nijmegen from October 1st to 10th, the regiment refitted and had one squadron on call to support the 52nd Reconnaissance Regiment on the River Maas. It took over from the 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment on October 11th with RHQ located at Wanroij. It organised as the 2nd Household Cavalry Regiment Group on October 14th with the 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment, Inns of Court Regiment (less two squadrons) under command. Two days later 91st Anti-Tank Regiment, two companies of the Middlesex Regiment, a 25-pounder battery and AA guns of the 8th AGRA were added.

    Guards Armoured Division – XXX Corps – 11 November 1944 to 12 December 1944
    - XII Corps – 13 December 1944 to 19 December 1944
    On November 11th, the regiment was relieved by the 1st Royal Dragoons on the Maas River and moved to Waterschei for training under the Guards Armoured Division.

    XXX Corps – 20 December 1944 to 14 April 1945
    The regiment left for the Meuse River on December 20th in response to the German Ardennes offensive and operated from Charleroi to Vise. It moved to Melin on the 21st, to Looz on the 22nd, to Pouret on the 24th, and to Blehen on the 29th. By December 29th RHQ had concentrated at Blehen with ‘A’ Squadron at Lens St. Servais, ‘B’ at Grande Axhe, ‘C’ at Chateau de Couthin, and ‘D’ at Ligney. It left this area on February 7th, 1945 and moved to the 15th (Scottish) Division to wait for entry into the Rhineland battle. It waited until February 13th when it joined the Guards Armoured Division, but then moved at once back to Nijmegen. Only ‘D’ Squadron remained forward. It rejoined the Guards Armoured Division on February 27th. On March 11th, the regiment prepared to move to the Reichswald by the 14th. It reached the Dortmund-Ems Canal under the Guards Armoured by April 6th then advanced from Lingen to Vestrup with the division from April 6th to 14th.

    XII Corps – 14 April 1945 to 12 June 1945
    On April 14th it moved to XII Corps and the Guards Armoured Division capturing Rutenberg on the 22nd. It then advanced to Sandbostel from April 17th to May 4th. At the ceasefile the RHQ was at Bargstedt with ‘A’ and ‘B’ Squadrons at Esse, ‘C’ and ‘D’ at Harsefeld, and HQ Squadron at Aspe. On May 7th the regiment moved to Cuxhaven and then it moved to Visselhavede on the May 20th.

    Guards Armoured Division – XXX Corps District – 12 June 1945 to 31 August 1945
    The regiment was at Bruhl by June 13th. It became an all Blues regiment on July 16th with its name changed to the Royal Horse Guards on September 1st, 1945.
  3. RoyalUlsterRifles

    RoyalUlsterRifles Junior Member

    That's great, many thanks for your help.
  4. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member


    Thank you very much for posting this synopsis, very interesting and has saved me a trip to Kew (Historic Steve will be equally interested)

    Couple of comments
    1 There are a couple of minor spelling errors in the penultimate paragraph. Place names are Rotenburg and Visselhovede

    2. Rotenburg Airfield was the site of theGuards Division Farewell to Armour Review in June 1945 with FM Montgomery as the Reviewing Officer. Subsequently, as discussed elsewhere on this site, the entire Division moved to the Rhineland where they were joined by 6 Guards Armoured Brigade from Schleswig Holstein
  5. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    Many thanks dryan67

    Further to Blue Minor reply a small amendment...the command of 30 Corps District ceased on the move to Brühl command became 1 Corps District then when the Guards Division moved to Schleswig Holstein command was back to 30 Corps District in Apr 46 but the Royal Horse Guards remained 1 Corps District moving to Northumberland Barracks Menden command 49 (West Riding) Infantry Division then to 1 Corps District on disbandment of the Division in Oct 46

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