1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army. Nicknamed The Welsh Cavalry, the regiment recruits from Wales and the bordering English counties of Herefordshire, and Shropshire, and is the senior cavalry regiment, and therefore senior regiment of the line of the British Army. The regiment is part of the Royal Armoured Corps and is paired with the Royal Yeomanry.
Members of 1st Queens Dragoon Guards under training to operate the Coyote vehicle
A soldier from the Queen’s Dragoon Guards fires an FN Minimi.
The current regiment was formed in 1959 by the amalgamation of 1st King’s Dragoon Guards (raised in 1685 by Sir John Lanier as Lanier’s or the 2nd Queen’s Regiment of Horse in response to the Monmouth Rebellion) and the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays) (raised in 1685 by the Earl of Peterborough as Peterborough’s or the 3rd Regiment of Horse, also in response to the Monmouth Rebellion.
The regiment has spent much of its history based in Germany at various times. It served during the Aden Emergency in 1966 and 1967 and its squadrons were dispersed throughout the Middle East during that time. Perhaps the best known member in the 1970s was Captain Mark Phillips, one-time husband of The Princess Anne: they married in 1973.
In 1983 the regiment was deployed to Lebanon in support of the allied Multinational Force, in 1990 it was sent to the Middle East for the Gulf War and in 1996 it was deployed to Bosnia as part of NATO peacekeeping forces during the Yugoslav Wars.
In 2003 the regiment served in Iraq during the invasion of Iraq providing the reconnaissance and light armour support necessary to allow 3 Commando Brigade’s advance north to Basra.
The regiment celebrated their fiftieth anniversary on 31 July 2009 with a ceremony at Cardiff castle and a parade through the streets of Cardiff city both attended by their Colonel-in-Chief The Prince of Wales. The regiment received a great response from the people of Cardiff. That same year the unit was also awarded with the Freedom of the City of Swansea.
The regiment completed its second tour of Afghanistan between October 2011 and April 2012 (Operation Herrick XV.
In May 2012, there was speculation that the unit would become a victim of the defence budget cuts. As it was one of only three regiments historically associated with and one that still largely recruits from Wales, there was much support from the Welsh public to keep the QDG. However, Ministry of Defence officials announced no such plan has been made.
As part of the Army 2020 plans, most units based in Germany will return to the UK and the QDG moved to Robertson Barracks, Swanton Morley, Norfolk in June 2015. They have re-roled as “light cavalry”, using Jackal vehicles.
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