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4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards


Trenchrat
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Hi,

I recently acquired an interesting photo postcard. In this postcard there are 37 members of the above named unit. I'd like to find out what battles they were in. Were they a mounted unit and if so did they go into battle on horseback? Two of the men in the photo are particularly interesting to me. One is the units chaplain or I'd assume that he was a member of this unit. While the other soldiers cap badges are bright, the chaplain's badge appears to be dark, if it's there at all, hence my only assuming he's the 4th's chaplain. The chaplain appears to be in his fifties. Could someone identify this man of God for me? The other soldier has the initials ASR upon his cap. I've been informed that they stand for Army Scripture Reader. Could someone tell me more about what this soldiers job was and perhaps tell me his identity? Thanks in advance for any help that's offered.

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Hi Trenchrat,

4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards were part of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.

The 1st Cavalry division was not formed until the war had started. The 1st Cavalry Brigade was at Aldershot, the 2nd Cavalry Brigade at Tidworth, the 3rd Cavlary Brigade was in Ireland and the 4th Cavalry Brigade was in London and the south east. The Division was formed in August 1914 and went to France between the 15th and 18th August 1914. On the 16th September the Cavalry Division became the 1st Cavalry Division. At times during the war the division served in the trenches as infantry, each Cavalry Brigade once dismounted formed a dismounted regiment under the command of a Brigadier. The 1st Cavalry Division served in France and Flanders until the Armistice.

Battles and Engagements during the Great War

1914

Battle of Mons. 23rd - 24th Aug

Action of Élouges. 24th Aug

Rearguard Action of Solesmes. 25th Aug

Battle of Le Cateau. 26th Aug

Affair of Néry. 1st Sept

Rearguard Actions of Villers Cottérêts. 1st Sept

Battle of the Marne. 7th - 9th Sept. including the Passage of the Petit Morin and the Passage of the Marne.

Battle of the Aisne. 12th - 15th Sept. including the Passage of the Aisne and Capture of the Aisne Heights and Chemin des Dames.

Actions of the Aisne Heights. 20th Sept

Battle of La Bassée. 10th Oct - 2nd Nov

Battle of Messines. 12th Oct - 2nd Nov

1915

Battle of Frezenberg. 9th - 13th May

Battle of Bellewaarde. 24th May

1916

Battle of Flers - Courcelette. 15th Sept

1917

First Battle of the Scarpe. 9th - 12th Apr

The Tank Attack. 20th - 21th Nov

Capture of Bourlon Wood. 23th - 26th Nov

The German Counter Attacks. 30th Nov - 3rd Dec

1918

Battle of St. Quentin. 21st - 23rd Mar

First Battle of Bapaume. 24th - 25th Mar

Battle of Rosières. 26th - 27th Mar

Battle of Amiens. 8th - 10th Aug

Battle of Albert. 21st Aug

Battle of Cambrai. 8th Oct

The Persuit to the Selle. 9th - 12th Oct

Perhaps the most notable engagement of the 4th DG was on 22nd August 1914, when a squadron of the regiment became the first members of the BEF to engage the German army, outside Mons; four patrolling German cavalrymen of the 2nd Kuirassiers were surprised by two full troops of British cavalry. I believe that there is a commemorative plaque where this took place.

A book is available for the units war time service: 'RECORD OF THE 4TH ROYAL IRISH DRAGOON GUARDS IN THE GREAT WAR' available here. I'm sure the more knowledgable will be along soon.

The National Achives have 34 MICs for ASR, maybe one of them is the fella in your pic, is there any chance of you posting the pic on the forum? Hope this helps,

cheers, Jon

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Trenchrat,

If you are interested in the 4th DGs then I would wholeheartedly Richard van Emden's 'Tickled to Death to Go- Memoirs of a Cavalryman', Spellmount 1996 all about Ben Clouting's war. A brief run down of what the book contains:

Benjamin Clouting was just 16 years old when he embarked with the BEF in August 1914. The youngest man in the 4th Dragoon Guards, he took part in the BEF's celebrated first action at Casteau on August 22nd, and, two days later, had his horse shot from under him during the famous cavalry charge of the 4th Dragoon Guards and the 9th Lancers at Audregnies. Ben served on the Western Front during every major engagement of the war except Loos, was wounded twice, and in 1919 went with the Army of Occupation to Cologne. The son of a stable groom, Ben was brought up in the beautiful Sussex countryside near Lewes and from his earliest years was, as he often said himself, "crazy to be a soldier". He worked briefly as a stable boy before joining up in 1913; his training was barely completed when war broke out. The Regiment, knowing Ben to be under age, tried to stop him embarking for France, but he flatly refused to be left behind. During the next four years, he served under officers immortalized in Great War history, including Major Tom Bridges, Captain Hornby, and Lieutenant-Colonel Adrian Carton de Wiart VC. "Tickled To Death To Go" is a detailed account of a trooper's life at the front, vividly recalling, for example, the privations suffered during the retreat from Mons, and later, the desperate fighting to hold back the German onslaught at 2nd Ypres. But his is more than just a memoir about trench warfare. Ben's lively sense of humour and healthy disrespect for petty restrictions make this an entertaining as well as a moving story of life at the front. This enthralling account of one trooper's memories gives a new and invaluable perspective on life during the First World War. The remarkable story of Trooper Benjamin Clouting, 8292, C Squadron, 4th Dragoon Guards, is told in his own words and illustrated by a unique collection of photographs, published here for the first time, and maps.

This book has been recommended by many other GWF members.

I am friends with Richard and just mentioned this post to him. He asked that if you could scan and post the postcard then he may be able to identify some of the men for you. Must be worth a go. Look forward to seeing the image.

cheers

Jeremy

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Hey,

Thanks for all the help so far. I don't have the photo in my possession just yet. However, I'll be sure to post it as soon as I receive it. Aside from the Chaplain and the ASR, there are 35 other soldiers. Would that number of men constitute a platoon? From the name of the unit, Royal Irish, and the fact that they had a Catholic Chaplain, were a majority of the officers and men Irish? I mean when the war first started, were a majority Irish? I realize as the war dragged on that the unit would have to take in men regardless of their nationality, but I was wondering if they were an Irish outfit at the start.

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Ive had about a dozen medals over the years to the 4DG and none where Irish

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Hi,

The photo that I mentioned arrived yesterday. I've tried to upload it, however it seems that it's too big. If someone can resize it for me, I'd be glad to email it for that purpose.

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Hi,

The photo that I mentioned arrived yesterday. I've tried to upload it, however it seems that it's too big. If someone can resize it for me, I'd be glad to email it for that purpose.

I've sent you a PM with my email address

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I've resized the image to less than 100kb and here it is. I have sent the decent sized copy on to Richard. I'll let you know what he says.

ta

Jeremy

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Hi John,

I spoke with Richard this morning and he doubts that these men are the 1914 lot involved in the first shots at Mons. The man lying down on the right is in hospital blues and the man sitting on the front left with ASR on his cap looks to me as if he has medals (perhaps WW1), so this may even be 1919 or in the 1920s. The chaplain is definitely NOT Reverend Gibb (who was with the 4th DGs at the war's start) as he was younger and also ended the war blinded.

One thing I did notice was that all the men look very young - this makes me think that it may be a post-war picture with the calling up of so many 18 yr olds - just a thought.

Sorry to have not been of more help. It would have been great to have bought a picture of the men involved in the first shot - alas, other than the men being 4th DGs, this isn't anything to do with that event.

All best,

Jeremy

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Hi Jeremy,

So you and Richard feel that this is more likely a photo from say the 1918-1920, period rather than a wartime image? Could the priest be Gibbs' replacement?

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John,

We certainly feel that this photo was taken, at least, later on in the war and perhaps even post-war. As there are no faces that jump out as recognisable, we'll never know. Same goes for the chaplain - it may be Gibbs' replacement or it may not!

Not very satisfactory answers I know but that's all we have am afraid. Some other people who see the post may know more. Thanks for sending the image though.

Thanks

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  • 1 month later...

hi to you all, i'm a new member and this is my first post.

i read this topic with great interest as i'm currently custodian of a 1914star & clasp trio with MID & memorial plaque to 2836 PTE RA STUTTARD 4TH (ROYAL IRISH) DRAGOON GUARDS killed in action 20 may 1915 during ypres.

REGINALD ARTHUR STUTTARD was born at heysham, lancashire and enlisted in lancaster - throwing weight to a previous poster's statement that he had not seen an irish recipient of medals to the regiment. his mic puts him in france on 15 august 1914.

according to soldiers died, he was one of only nine other ranks from his regiment killed in action between the 19th and 25th of may 1915 and the only one kia on the 20th, all bar one being killed on the 24th, out of a total casualty record of 14 officers and 175 other ranks killed during the war.

he was MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES as corporal, by fm jdp french, 31 may 1915 (lg 18 june 1915 p5981) with three officers and two other other ranks, which follows the depatches of 5 april 1915 covered by 'honours and awards of the old contemptibles' which does list quite a few members of his regiment, both officers and other ranks.

so corporal stuttard was POSTHUMOUSLY mentioned in despatches.

an interesting addition is that one of the other two other ranks mentioned is 5063 SJT EE THOMAS, he that is credited with firing the first shot of the war.

ive copied the regimental diary from the na and failed to see any mention of stuttard, or thomas for that matter, so my questions are:

what squadron did stuttard serve with?

what was he mid'd for?

why was he the only casualty from his regiment on that 20th may?

i would also like to purchase a copy of richard van emden's 'tickled to death to go:memoirs of a cavalryman in the first world war' please.

i very much hope that someone out there can help to fill in the blanks! thank you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello,

I was interested to find this topic as my GG Uncle served with the 4th Battalion Dragoon Guards, but he wasn't Irish? He was from Kent England. He died in November and I noticed that there weren't any battles recorded for November 1914?

If anyone has any information about the first few months of this battalion's history (if I have the right one that is) I would love to gather up anything I can about him.

Thank you,

Tamara.

WILLIAM JESSE CALLAWAY d03/11/1914

remembered Menin Gate Ypres France

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Hi Tamara. Welcome to the Forum. I don't have access to the 4th (Irish) Dragoon Guards history at the moment because I am travelling. If someone else isn't able to provide the information, I will check this weekend. The British cavalry units were actively engaged in helping to hold the line near Ypres during late 1914. They took heavy casualties in the fighting known as the First Battle of Ypres. Even when this battle died down, there were casualties from the sporadic shell fire and sniping during 'quiet' periods.

Robert

PS: the not being Irish part was not unusual (forgive the double negative)

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Hello,

I was interested to find this topic as my GG Uncle served with the 4th Battalion Dragoon Guards, but he wasn't Irish? He was from Kent England. He died in November and I noticed that there weren't any battles recorded for November 1914?

If anyone has any information about the first few months of this battalion's history (if I have the right one that is) I would love to gather up anything I can about him.

Thank you,

Tamara.

WILLIAM JESSE CALLAWAY d03/11/1914

remembered Menin Gate Ypres France

Hello

if you didnt know

born St Marys chatham

enlisted chatham

lived sittingbourne

recorded as KIA

and they are the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards - no battalion

name is spelt on soldiers died as calloway

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Just a poignant comment on the fact that the author Lt Gibb was blinded in May 1915. I have a copy of the history signed by him. His signature is on the rear free end paper upside down. The copy must have been accidently presented to him for signature upside down and he wouldn't have known.

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  • 10 months later...

It's really just an aside but my Great-grandfather was in the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards (Thomas Mullin/s 10028), he joined in Aug 1914 and he WAS Irish, born in County Mayo. We are trying to find out whether he would have signed up in Ireland or in England, as we don't know if he settled in the Liverpool area before or after his service. Forgive my ignorance but what exactly was the procedure for signing up and being assigned a regiment?

He landed in France in April 1915 and was discharged to the reserves in 1919, so served the whole way through and was a private. Does anyone have any information for this newbie, such as how often would he have been on fR+R and other more day to day details?

many thanks in advance!

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  • 8 years later...
On 08/12/2007 at 01:45, pegasus said:

hi to you all, i'm a new member and this is my first post.

i read this topic with great interest as i'm currently custodian of a 1914star & clasp trio with MID & memorial plaque to 2836 PTE RA STUTTARD 4TH (ROYAL IRISH) DRAGOON GUARDS killed in action 20 may 1915 during ypres.

REGINALD ARTHUR STUTTARD was born at heysham, lancashire and enlisted in lancaster - throwing weight to a previous poster's statement that he had not seen an irish recipient of medals to the regiment. his mic puts him in france on 15 august 1914.

according to soldiers died, he was one of only nine other ranks from his regiment killed in action between the 19th and 25th of may 1915 and the only one kia on the 20th, all bar one being killed on the 24th, out of a total casualty record of 14 officers and 175 other ranks killed during the war.

he was MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES as corporal, by fm jdp french, 31 may 1915 (lg 18 june 1915 p5981) with three officers and two other other ranks, which follows the depatches of 5 april 1915 covered by 'honours and awards of the old contemptibles' which does list quite a few members of his regiment, both officers and other ranks.

so corporal stuttard was POSTHUMOUSLY mentioned in despatches.

an interesting addition is that one of the other two other ranks mentioned is 5063 SJT EE THOMAS, he that is credited with firing the first shot of the war.

ive copied the regimental diary from the na and failed to see any mention of stuttard, or thomas for that matter, so my questions are:

what squadron did stuttard serve with?

what was he mid'd for?

why was he the only casualty from his regiment on that 20th may?

i would also like to purchase a copy of richard van emden's 'tickled to death to go:memoirs of a cavalryman in the first world war' please.

i very much hope that someone out there can help to fill in the blanks! thank you.

Hello

Do you still have this medal group to Studdard?

Nic

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  • 2 months later...

Can't add much to the conversation other than to say Trooper Ben Clouting was my grandfather and indeed his daughter (my mother) and his son are both still alive. My Grandfather spoke little about the war to us and really until Richards book was published I had no idea of the significance of his service.  I have recently inherited a saddle blanket as my parents have moved into sheltered housing and the family story is he was given this by General Carton de Wiart but i am so far unable to verify this. As an old sweat "given" might be a loose description!!  i have contacted the regimental association but so far with no joy.  it is a khaki/sand colour with red binding to the edges.  I know my mum still has his spurs and a few other bits and his medals are with my uncle.

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Hi Phil, I have just been alerted to your reply. It's Richard vE here and I'm delighted to hear that your family is ok, do please pass on my kindest regards to Pearl. Ben never mentioned the blanket and I never saw it. He did purloin de Wiart's cap after this officer was wounded shortly after winning the VC. The cap was hanging on de W's saddle so I just wonder if he Ben took the blanket too. Funnily enough I was just speaking yesterday to Captain Hornby's grandson who is also the godson of de W.

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  • 2 years later...

Years ago I bought a postcard showing the recovery of the 4th Dragoon Guards' Horace Neate who drowned in a river near Tidworth when watering horses in 1913. I've just come across a  reference to his CO, Lt Col R L Mullins, ordering an "all-mounted" funeral because Neate "lost his life with horses". A mounted procession was led by a double file of men of the 4th Dragoon Guards.

 

Info from "FUNERAL HORSES OF THE CAVALRY, 1854-1914" by R. G. Harris, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research Vol. 57, No. 232 (WINTER 1979), pp. 240-241. You may be able to access the article here.     "Alternate Access Options" kindly suggested I use one of my back-up email addresses so I could view the full article.

 

(The article is also noteworthy, to me anyway, because it has a photo of the funeral of a relative who was killed in a motor-cycle accident at Aldershot in 1913.)

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