P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

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The QRH pipe major plays in Challenger tanks for arming

The QRH pipe major plays in Challenger tanks for arming, Bosnia 1996. (MoD)

At the Battle of Dettingen in 1743, the 3rd Dragoons won great approbation for their repeated charges on the French cavalry, which they penetrated to capture four sets of kettledrums. The King commanded that silver drums taken in the battle were to be paraded on a drum horse with a serjeant drummer and it became a tradition in the regiment for the drummer employed on this duty to wear the silver collar presented by Lady Fitzroy in 1772. The Dettingen drums were destroyed in a fire in 1855 and solid silver replacements procured at the officers' expense were engraved with the battle honours of the regiment and paraded without banners. In the officers' mess of the 3rd Hussars the junior subaltern was expected to wear the drummer's silver collar to dinner. The QRH maintain the drum horse tradition with a mounted drummer in full dress, complete with silver collar.

The Churchill Cup, awarded every year to the best gunnery troop, takes its name from Sir Winston Churchill, who served with the 4th Hussars.

THE 9TH/12TH ROYAL LANCERS

The 12th Light Dragoons re-enactment group in the dress of the 1812-15 period

The 12th Light Dragoons re-enactment group in the dress of the 1812-15 period, perfect in every detail except for the horse's undocked tail

The 9th/12th Royal Lancers (9/12RL) were formed in 1960 by the union of two armoured regiments that had survived the cavalry cuts of 1921. Both were raised in the troubled year of 1715 as part of the response to the rebellion in Scotland. In 1816 they were among the first to be equipped as lancers, a class of cavalry modelled on Napoleon's Landers in the recent wars. Regimental headquarters are at Leicester.

Bandsmen of the 9th/12th RL in their new 'Victorian' lancer caps, 1980s

Bandsmen of the 9th/12th RL in their new 'Victorian' lancer caps, 1980s

DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The scarlet peaked cap, with blue piping and quarter welts peculiar to lance regiments, is a legacy of the 12th. Side hats are blue (9th Lancers) for officers and scarlet (12th Lancers) for other ranks. The cap badge combines a crown and the Prince of Wales's crest on crossed lances, with a scroll below marked IX-XII.

The 9th/12th Royal Lancers

The Prince of Wales's feathers, displayed by the 12th since 1768, are now seen on the NCOs' ranking and on back pouches. Buttons show the AR cypher of Queen Adelaide, reversed and interlaced, on crossed lances with a crown above. The cypher was borne by the 9th from 1830, when William IV inspected the regiment and conferred on it the Queen's title.

Lanyards and stable belts are yellow (facing colour of the 12th Light Dragoons) and scarlet (facing colour of both regiments after their conversion to lancers).

No. 1 dress cavalry pattern has a scarlet collar for officers and a scarlet gorget patch for other ranks. Full dress is lancer pattern with scarlet facings and 9th Lancers' pattern cap (blue top with a black and white plume). Musicians wear the traditional bandsmen's scarlet plume.

MUSIC

The regimental quick march, God Bless the Prince of Wales, is fairly common in regiments with a connection to the title. The slow march is in two parts: Men of Harlech from the 9th and Coburg from the 12th. Other marches in the regiment's repertoire are The Soldiers' Chorus, The Irish Washerwoman, Norma, St Cecilia, Quand Madelon, Pupchen (once played for reveille on May Day) and Low Backed Car.

Caton Woodville's painting of the 9th Lancers at Mons in 1914

Caton Woodville's painting of the 9th Lancers at Mons in 1914

The tradition of playing hymns in the evening came from the 12th Lancers, who had three theories for the custom: the wish of the Pope on a visit to Civita Vecchia by officers of the 12th in 1795; an officer's wife who once presented instruments to the regimental band with a request for The Vesper Hymn to be played every night; and - the soldiers' favourite - by order of the Duke of Wellington as a 104-year penance for the 'Supple Twelfth', whose Peninsular War record was reportedly blighted by a raid on a nunnery where 104 bottles of wine had been liberated. In the event, Sicilian Vespers, The Russian Hymn and Spanish Chant were played by the regimental band every evening and on dinner nights in the mess until 1939, and again after the war, but on a less frequent basis.

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