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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

15th Hussars


Twiglet
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My relation was a Private in the 15th Hussars (Household Cavalry & Cavalry of the Line (inc Yeomanry & Imperial Camel Corp - not sure where I got this bit from!)).

He enlisted in Dublin, although he was a Londoner. Did you have a choice of what regiment you could enlist into? Were the 15th in Dublin at the time?

Does anyone have any information on the regiment during WW1, what battles they fought, etc? I think they were merged with the 19th at one point. Any website links or info would be fab.

Thanks

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Hi Twiglet

I can give you the bare bones of their war. This from James' "British Regiments 1914-1918".

4.8.14 Longmoor [nr Aldershot]. On mobilisation the regiment was split up as Divisional cavalry. 18.8.14 Landed at Rouen and joined divisions. 'A' Squadron to 3rd Div, 'B' Squadron to 2nd Div, 'C' Squadron to 1st Div. April 1915 squadrons withdrawn from divisions and the regiment concentrated. 14.4.15 to 9th Cav Bde, 1st Cav Div. No further change.

(Household Cavalry & Cavalry of the Line (inc Yeomanry & Imperial Camel Corp)) likely came from the volume of Soldiers Died concerned with the cavalry.

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Just to help things along, 1st Cav Div was engaged in the following operations (I'll give just the major names here):-

May 1915 Battles of Ypres

Sep 1916 Battles of the Somme

1917

April Battles of Arras

Nov/Dec Battle of Cambrai

1918

March First Battles of the Somme

Aug Advance to Victory

Aug Second Battles of the Somme

Oct Battles of the Hindenburg Line

Oct/Nov Final Advance.

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Thanks Greenwoodman. That's fab.

So I really need to know what division he was in, to determine where he served? Is there anyway of finding that out, or is it another thing to tick off when I get to Kew?!

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It partly depends on when he enlisted but he probably elected to serve in the 15th Hussars because they were recruiting where he enlisted at the time. Technically he was signing on for the Hussars of the Line but could state a preference. Can't explain why Dublin but could he have been a boy in the Regiment and posted there? What years are we talking about?

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Each of the squadrons, being attached to different divisions, will have a slightly different operational history from the others in the early part of the war (1,2 or 3 Div up to April 1915). After that they will follow the operational record of 1st Cavalry Division.

I know little about cavalry, but I would take this forward by examining the squadron war diaries to see if mention is made of your relative for the early months. But to pin down which engagements his squadron was involved in will obviously require you to pin down which squadron he was in. After that, the regimental war diary (15th Hussars) will give you a pretty good idea of what they did. It should record whether they were in support or reserve.

Perhaps a cavalry expert can help you unravel the twists of his service.

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There is a superb history of the 15th Hussars available from Naval and Military Press.

Robert

Robert, is that the one by Lord Carnock, (Foreword Brig.-Gen. A. Courage)?

It partly depends on when he enlisted but he probably elected to serve in the 15th Hussars because they were recruiting where he enlisted at the time. Technically he was signing on for the Hussars of the Line but could state a preference. Can't explain why Dublin but could he have been a boy in the Regiment and posted there? What years are we talking about?

Hi Patrick - Hussars of the Line? Front line? Would he have been on horseback - he was a private. I'm afraid that I don't know the dates at the moment. He got married in 1913 (in London), died in 1918 in France. Don't know why he was in Dublin, because he lived in Bow, but that's the place he's down as enlisting in (notes are at work, can't remember which website I got that from).

I'll hopefully have more information the longer I keep digging, as I've said, a visit to the National Archives is pending (for November). I take it enlistment papers could be lost?

Each of the squadrons, being attached to different divisions, will have a slightly different operational history from the others in the early part of the war (1,2 or 3 Div up to April 1915). After that they will follow the operational record of 1st Cavalry Division.

I know little about cavalry, but I would take this forward by examining the squadron war diaries to see if mention is made of your relative for the early months. But to pin down which engagements his squadron was involved in will obviously require you to pin down which squadron he was in. After that, the regimental war diary (15th Hussars) will give you a pretty good idea of what they did. It should record whether they were in support or reserve.

Perhaps a cavalry expert can help you unravel the twists of his service.

War diaries - are they again held at Kew? Thanks for explaining things (again, lol) now I know how the squadron/division worked it's a bit clearer.

Maybe I'll find something about the 1st Cavalry on line? I've also emailed the Light Dragoons Company to see if they may be able to help as the 15th are linked to them.

Any Cavalry experts out there?! I'd also love to see a photo of someone in 15th/19th Hussar uniform.

So many questions!!

Thanks again all. VERY much appreciated.

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Of course, there was a permanent cavalry station at the Curragh and it would always have a regiment based there prior to 1914. Southern Ireland was a major recruiting area for our cavalry. However, the 15th were not based at the Curragh during the early years of the century as they were abroad until 1912 and then based in England on their return. This could suggest he enlisted some time after 1912 in Ireland and was sent to join the 15th in England.

The 15th and 19th Hussars both provided divisional squadrons in 1914 and then were brigaded together from April 1915 and were amalgamated after the war. The 15th Hussar history gives some info on the 19th which has no separate history.

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He would have been horsed and when active away from the front. Service at the front was mostly dismounted (some notable exceptions). If you think he enlisted in 1912 (ish) - seems strange to have married then in 1913. His regimental number would help.

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