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8th King's Royal Irish Hussars

Last updated: 1 July 2014

Cap badge, 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars, c1900Cap badge, 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars, c1900
NAM. 1955-05-5-15

Introduction

This regiment was raised in 1693 as a dragoon unit from Protestants living in Ireland. This was only two years after the decisive Jacobite defeat at Aughrim so the new regiment remained in Ireland until 1704, when it was posted to Portugal and Spain. It remained there until its capture at Brihuega in 1710.

It was soon involved in a prisoner exchange and returned to Ireland, where it temporarily disbanded from April 1714 until July 1715, when the First Jacobite Rebellion triggered its re-formation. The regiment fought against both Jacobite Rebellions, but otherwise remained on policing duties in Ireland from 1715 right up until 1794, when it was posted to the Low Countries. The regiment was designated light dragoons in 1775 and gained the ‘King’s’ prefix two years later.

The French Revolutionary Wars saw the regiment garrisoning the Cape of Good Hope from 1796 onwards and sending a detachment to join Abercrombie’s force in Egypt in 1801. That year also saw it sail to India, where it stayed for 22 years, fighting in the Maratha Wars as well as campaigning in Nepal and against Meer Khan.

In 1823, just after getting back to Britain, it was renamed and re-equipped as hussars, keeping order in England and Ireland for the next 30 years. It fought against the Russians at Silistra on the Danube, en route to the main theatre of the Crimean War (1854-56). There it served at the Alma and the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade. The charge was led by the Earl of Cardigan, who had been an officer in the 8th Hussars from 1824 to 1830.

Only 154 of the regiment returned from the Crimea in 1856, but they were in Ireland for less than a year before being dispatched to deal with the Indian Mutiny (1857-59). One of the regiment’s squadrons fought at Gwalior, where four of its members won the Victoria Cross and a fifth killed the Rani of Jhansi.

Men of the 8th Hussars brewing tea in front of their Centurion tank in Korea, 20 December 1950Men of the 8th Hussars brewing tea in front of their Centurion tank in Korea, 20 December 1950
NAM. 1981-11-36-8

It then formed part of India’s garrison until 1864 and again from 1878 to 1889, guarding lines of communication between Kabul and Peshawar during the Second Afghan War (1878-80) and fighting against the Shinwarrie tribe. One of its officers during this period was John French, later famous for his generalship during the First World War. It spent the rest of the 19th century in England and Ireland, from where it sailed to the Boer War in 1900. Another term in India followed from 1909 to 1914.

It spent the First World War on the Western Front and made its last mounted charge in 1917. In 1919 it was posted to the new nation of Iraq and to Germany in 1926, before moving to Egypt from 1933 to 1939. Except for a period peacekeeping in Palestine, it remained there until the outbreak of the Second World War, by which time it had switched to armoured cars then to light tanks. Service in North Africa, Greece and Italy followed. The regiment then returned to the United Kingdom to prepare for the invasion of Europe, landing two days after D-Day and ending the war near Hamburg, before joining the occupation force.

The regiment’s final campaign was in Korea between 1950 and 1952, which included service on the Imjin River. In 1942 the regiment had temporarily merged with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars and this amalgamation was enacted again in October 1958, this time permanently, to form The Queen’s Own Royal Irish Hussars.

Key facts

Motto:

  • 'Pristinae Virtutis Memores' (meaning 'Mindful of Past Courage')

Nicknames:

  • The Crossbelts (it captured the Spanish cavalry’s belts at Almenara in 1710 and from then on the regiment was allowed to wear its sword belt over its right shoulder, not round the waist as was usual for dragoon regiments)
  • The Crossbelt Dragoons

Titles to date:

  • Henry Conyngham’s Regiment of Dragoons
  • John Pepper’s Regiment of Dragoons
  • Phineas Bowles’s Regiment of Dragoons
  • 8th Regiment of Dragoons
  • 8th Regiment of Light Dragoons
  • 8th (The King’s Royal Irish) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons
  • 8th (The King’s Royal Irish) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars)
  • 8th (The King’s Royal Irish) Hussars
  • 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars
  • The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars
  • The Queen’s Royal Hussars (The Queen’s Own and Royal Irish)
  The Queen's Royal Hussars (The Queen's Own and Royal Irish)
1993-present
 
                                   
         
  The Queen's Own Hussars
1958-1993
  The Queen's Royal Irish Hussars
1958-1993
 
                                     
                 
3rd The King's Own Hussars
1685-1958
  7th Queen's Own Hussars
1689-1958
  4th Queen's Own Hussars
1658-1958
  8th King's Royal Irish Hussars
1693-1958

Find out more

Regimental Museum

National Army Museum Collection

16 comments

Brian Goodall
2 November 2012, 5.51am

My father served with the 8th

My father served with the 8th from about 1901 to 1931. Thank you for this potted history.

Ty Hanna
10 November 2012, 4.02am

My GrandFather William James

My GrandFather William James Broadhurst served in the 8th during the Boer War 1901-1902 was with Lt Churchill at Ladysmith SA. We still have his framed colours of the 8th Hussars showing the Irish Harp and list of campaigns.

George Sleator
24 January 2013, 9.15pm

My father Tpr. Noel Sleator

My father Tpr. Noel Sleator 19011704 served with C Sqn. 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars in Korea during 1951. He served in a tank with the C Sqn designation "Carbine" under its commander Coronet Preston-Bell at the Battle of the Imjin.

Angela McPhee
4 March 2013, 9.07pm

FAO George Sleator: My

FAO George Sleator: My Grandad Bernard Rogers served in 1951 Korean War, Imjim River C Squardron, tank driver.

kenneth phillips
18 April 2013, 4.09pm

my father roderick landor

my father roderick landor phillips 8th hussars, was recalled after ww2 having been a regular (4th 7th dragoons). Sent to Korea he fought at the Imjim river and was eventually sent home suffering frostbite and shrapnel wounds to his legs.

Gail Macartney
27 October 2013, 8.14pm

My Great Grand father was in

My Great Grand father was in the 8th Hussars and my Grandfather was born in India. My Great Grandmother was called Valletta supposeadly from Greece.

Nick rees
31 December 2013, 8.06pm

Anybody has any info of a

Anybody has any info of a corporal t j pollard served between the wars 1930's. He was my grandfather.

Kevin Blackall
15 January 2014, 10.44am

I am trying to find out any

I am trying to find out any information about Mr Fredrick James Goodman, who has recently passed away at the age of 82. He served with the 8th Hussars between 1950-1952, any information would be greatly appreciated.

Blair McLean
19 February 2014, 6.19am

I wish to advise the passing

I wish to advise the passing of Lt Col David Boyall personal number 387430 who, as a Lieutentant attached to the 8th Hussars from November 1950 to December 1951 took part in the battle of Imjin River. David passed away in Sydney, Australia aged 88 after a full and varied life.

Clifford Bird
10 April 2014, 1.26pm

A good website to look at. I

A good website to look at. I hope to find records of my great uncle as his death is unknown but he was in the service at the time.

Gwen
7 May 2014, 11.28am

My father was a centurion

My father was a centurion tank driver in the 8th hussars he was captured at the battle of the imjin river and kept prisoner of war, he is now deceased but I would love to hear from anyone who knew him. His name was Ben Baugh.

Madeleine Kocken
9 June 2014, 2.41am

My dad arrived in France on

My dad arrived in France on 13th June 1944 as a radio operator in a tank, pow 2 days later. Walter Bennett died 2012 aged 90 years. In Sydney, Australia. In a camp in Germany till 1945. flown back to England on a Lancaster. Was captured in Villiers Bocage. 15.6.44.

peter ball
5 September 2014, 6.34am

My G.Grandfather, James

My G.Grandfather, James Champion served with the 8th kings irish Hussars. He won the V.C. at Beejapore during the Indian uprising in 1858. After his demob in Ireland in 1873 he moved with his family to Stroud in Gloucestershire and joined the Cheltenham Royal Gloucester Hussars as their RSM for 10 years.

Robert Moore
11 November 2014, 4.53am

My Dad Trooper Robert Moore

My Dad Trooper Robert Moore 322292 was in C Squadron 8th Hussars in WW2 and in Korea, he died in 1995.

ashington george
8 December 2014, 7.47pm

I was a tank driver in c

I was a tank driver in c squadron tank name (Casanova) I was the first tank driver to cross the baily bridge over the river a very harrowing time as the pontoons went under water I had to rely on hand instructions to keep on the bridge.

Chris Hind
11 December 2014, 3.24pm

My Father Capt Tony Hind

My Father Capt Tony Hind served as a Troop Leader in A Squadron K.R.I .from 1942 - 1948 and survived the Desert and D Day. He died in 2008 aged 89 and his oldest friend and former comrade Maj Bill Bellamy (B Squadron) kindly read a eulogy at his funeral in Norfolk.

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