The 16th Queen's Light Dragoons

- Formed as the 16th Light Dragoons [1759]
- Designated the 2nd Queen's Light Dragoons [1766]
- Redesignated the 16th Light Dragoons [1769]
- Arrived in New York [Sept 1776]
- Philadelphia Campaign [1777]
- Returned to New York [1778]
- Under strength, men transferred to the 17th.
- Colors returned to England [Dec 1778]

Prior to and during the American Revolution
In 1759 it was decided to follow the example of continental armies and form regiments of light cavalry as it was thought that this cheaper form of cavalry would be better suited to conduct vedette, reconnaissance, scouting and flank guard duties. Thus on the 4th of August 1759 Colonel Burgoyne was appointed commanding officer of the 16th Light Dragoons, a regiment to be raised in Northampton. He wrote his own recruiting poster, ending: "You will be mounted on the finest horses … Your society will be courted; You are admired by the Fair … Young men out of employment or uncomfortable … nick in instantly and enlist."

The Regiment's first foreign deployment came in 1762 when they were embarked for Portugal with whom Britain was allied against the French and Spanish. The Regiment fought their first action at Valencia de Alcantara in Spain. Here Burgoyne commanded the Regiment and a mixed brigade of British and Portuguese infantry. In this action the allied troops surprised and defeated a numerically superior force capturing the commanding Spanish general, and destroying the Regiment of Seville. On their return to England the new Regiment found that they had gained a considerable reputation for their exploits. As a result in 1766 the Regiment was ,for the first time, designated as a Royal regiment being styled "16th The Queen's Light Dragoons"; adopting Queen Charlotte's cipher, which to this day is a constituent part of The Queen's Royal Lancers 'Queen's Badge'.

The American War of Independence 1775-83
The 16th Light Dragoons were one of the regiments sent to reinforce the American Garrison. The voyage to America took the Regiment three months in which both soldiers and their mounts lived in fetid conditions, landing in Halifax, Nova Scotia in October 1776. Notwithstanding the terrible conditions suffered during the voyage, the Regiment was in action within a week of disembarkation at the Battle of White Plains. The majority of the campaign was spent in pursuit of an elusive enemy. George Washington was well aware that his militia army was not a match for a regular army, he therefore fought a 'guerrilla style' war. As a result of American tactics, the cavalry were mainly employed in routine patrolling and garrison duties. The 16th returned to England in 1779 prior to the conclusion of the American War of Independence in 1783. The above brief history is taken from the Official web page of The Queen's Royal Lancers.

History of the Recreated 16th QLD
The re-created 16th QLD is a charter member of the British Brigade, Inc. and a member unit of the Brigade of the American Revolution. The 16th was established in 1987 by an officer of the Royal Welch Fusiliers in America and a trooper of the 17th LD. Traveling to the 16th/5th regimental museum in Stafford, England, they began the research and leading to the formation of the 16th. Originally all mounted, the current 16th has evolved into a dismounted squadron of the 16th.

The 16th QLD and 17th LD today form the Queen's Royal Lancers
The following is a history of the 16th QLD and its sister regiment in the American War, the 17th LD.

The 16th and 17th Regiment of Light Dragoons were raised by George III in 1760. The 16th was granted the title of The Queen's Light Dragoons and the 17th assumed their distinctive death's head motto, in memory of General Wolfe, who had been killed at Quebec in 1759. The 16th and 17th served side by side in the American Revolution 1776 - 83.

During the long wars with Revolutionary and Imperial France 1793 - 1815, both the 16th and 17th Light Dragoons were extensively engaged. The 16th was part of Wellington's Peninsula Army 1809 - 14, winning major battle honours at Talavera, Salamanca and Vittoria. In 1815 they fought in the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, in Belgium.

In 1816, both the 16th and 17th were re-equipped with the Lance and re-styled as Lancers. In 1825, the 16th became the first British Regiment to blood their Lances in action at Bhurtpore in India. In 1846, during the Second Sikh War, they broke the Sikh Infantry and rode down their formidable artillery at Aliwal. After this action, the Regiment's Lance Pennons were so thickly encrusted with blood that they gave the appearance of having been crimped. To this day, The Queen's Royal Lancers crimp their Lance Pennons and celebrate 18th January as Aliwal Day.

The 17th, advancing in the front rank of the Brigade, reached the Russian guns at Balaclave, suffered 65% casualties and winning three Victoria Crosses in the process. Balaklava Day is still celebrated by The Queen's Royal Lancers.

In 1879 the 17th Lancers fought in the Zulu War, while in 1885 both the 5th and 16th Lancers, sent detachments to the Camel Corps for the Sudan expedition to relieve General Gordon in Khartoum.
The 5th, 16th and 17th Lancers all saw action in the Boer War 1899 - 1903 and were all in the BEF sent to France in August 1914. They continued to serve with distinction on the Western Front until 1918.

In the aftermath of the Great War, major cuts were made to the Army establishment. As part of these, the 5th and 16th, and the 17th and 21st Lancers were amalgamated to form two new Regiments: the 16th/5th Lancers and 17th/21st Lancers. Both served in India and were mechanized in the 1930's.

In 1942, the two Regiments met up in North Africa, where they were brigaded together. They remained together until the end of the war, fighting side by side all the way from North Africa to Northern Italy. On 9th April 1943, the 17th/21st Lancers were launched at a near impregnable German rear guard position in the Fondouk Pass. Trapped by mine fields and enfiladed by anti-tank guns, 80% of the Regiment's tanks were destroyed, but a combined assault by both the 16th/5th and the 17th/21st Lancers took the position. Fondouk Day is now celebrated as the Regimental Day of The Queen's Royal Lancers. The courage of the men of both the former Regiments in the face of formidable odds and the spirit of co-operation that they fostered between them, set the perfect example to their descendants in The Queen's Royal Lancers.

Landing in Italy, the Regiments fought side by side at Monte Cassino and up the length of Italy. The Regiments parted company after the end of the War. The 17th/21st Lancers were sent as occupying Forces to Austria and Greece and saw action enforcing the Mandate of Palestine. In the following years the 17th/21st Lancers saw service in Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and the Gulf War.

In 1947, the 16th/5th Lancers were honoured by the appointment of Princess Elizabeth as their Colonel in Chief. On her accession they were granted the title of the 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers, an honour now continued by the amalgamated Regiment of whom Her Majesty remains Colonel. The 16th/5th saw action in Aden, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and in the Gulf War, where they were the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment of the 1st Armoured Division.

On 25th June 1993, the 16th/5th and 17th/21st Lancers amalgamated at Tidworth to form The Queen's Royal Lancers and were presented with a Guidon by Her Majesty The Queen. After amalgamation the Regiment moved to Imphal Barracks in Osnabruck, West Germany where they are now equipped with the Challenger 2 MBT and became a Type 58 Regiment.

Since amalgamation, the Regiment has seen Exercises in BATUS and completed a six month unaccompanied tour for the UN in Cyprus as well as having a Squadron deployed to Bosnia as part of the BRITCAVBAT. A proud Regiment formed from 6 historical Regiments and one in which anyone should be proud to serve.

Dismounted Troop 16th Queen's Light Dragoons
Colonel Harcourt, the commanding officer of the 16th while John Burgoyne was a general in the Colonies, commanded a body of dismounted dragoons to act in conjunction with the mounted troops of the regiment. He required that they be well equipped, independent thinkers who could adapt to the difficult situations to be found in the colonies.

Hinde, in the Discipline of the Light Horse, states that the dismounted troopers were to be equipped as light infantry and be able to fight as an independent force in support of the mounted squadrons of the 16th LD as well as being able to act independently. The current recreated troop of the 16th is based on the premise of this dismounted portion of the Regiment.

From Hinde (530) Discipline of the Light Horse are the following regimental organization:
The Regiment was augmented before it went to America, where it arrived on 3rd Oct, 1776.
The Regiment consisted of six troops. Each troop consisted of
  • 1 Captain,
  • 1 Lt, 1 Cornet,
  • 1 Quartermaster,
  • 2 Serjeants,
  • 2 Corporals,
  • 1 Trumpeter,
  • 1 Farrier,
  • 34 Dragoons, all mounted

The six troops were augmented by:
  • 1 Cornet,
  • 1 Serjeant,
  • 2 Corporals,
  • 38 Dragoons, with four rifle carbines a troop.

Dismounted in each troop:
  • 1 Cornet,
  • 1 Serjeant,
  • 2 Corporals,
  • 29 Dragoons

The Dismounted Division of the whole Regiment:
  • 1 Captain,
  • 1 Lieutenant,
  • 6 Cornets,
  • 6 Serjeants,
  • 12 Corporals,
  • 2 Trumpeters,
  • 174 Dragoons