16th / 5th Lancers
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Military Art Prints of the 16th The Queen's Lancers and the 5th Royal Irish Lancers, published by Cranston Fine Arts.
16th THE QUEEN'S LANCER Raised in 1759 as the 16th Light Dragoons, also known as Burgoyne's Light Horse, changing name in 1861 to the 16th (The Queen's) Lancers
Victoria Cross Awards One Victoria Cross Awarded to Lt Viscount Fincastle, during the Tirah campaign 17th August 1897.
5TH ROYAL IRISH LANCERS Raised in 1689 as Wynne''s Dragoons later disbanded in 1799 till 1858, becoming in 1861 the 5th (Royal Irish Lancers) regiment was again disbanded but reconstituted in 1922.
Victoria Cross awards Two Victoria Cross were awarded. One during the Boer War and one during the First World War
Both of the Above regiments were amalgamated in 1922, forming the 16th / 5th Lancers and gaining the title of 16th / 5th The Queen's Royal Lancers in 1954.
Further battle Honours
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History of the 5th Lancers, during the
reign of Queen Victoria.
The history of this regiment is intermittent, a great gap occurring
between 1798 and 1858. It originated with the forces raised by the
town of Inniskilling to resist the invading forces of King James II, and
shared in the work done by them. In the latter year, by a warrant
of William II, the Inniskilling forces were consolidated into a regiment
of Horse, two regiments of Dragoons, which became the 5th Royal Irish
and 6th Inniskilling Regiments, and three battalions of foot.
They appear to have shared in all the engagements and harassing work that characterised the operations against the Irish rebels and their French allies from 1689 to 1691; and certainly served with King William in Flanders from 1694 to 1697. But it was in the great campaigns of Marlborough that the royal Irish Dragoons most distinguished themselves, and for their important services have transmitted to their descendants, the 5th royal Irish Lancers, the names of "Blenheim", "Ramillies", "Oudenarde", and "Malplaquet", to head the regimental list of honours. At Blejnheim they shared in the vigorous cavalry charges which so materially brought the day to a successful issue; and by the direction of the Duke of Marlborough himself the kettledrums taken from the French during the engagement were ordered "to be carried at the head of the Royal Dragoons of Ireland". resent at the forcing of the fortified lines at Neer-hespen and Helixem, with the Royal Scots and the irish Dragoons, and the following year at Ramillies they again charged knee to knee with the greys, making prisoners of two Picardy regiments, and cutting a third to pieces, for which gallant action they were permitted to wear grenadier caps. Lieutenant-General Count de Horn was taken prisoner during the fight by Mr Ellis of the Royal Irish dragoons. Malplaquet saw them for a fourth time being brigaded with the Royal North British Dragoons under General Sybourg, and, filing through a wood in their front, after a desperate series of charges, they drove the French Cuirassiers from the field.
The early record of the regiment is honourable and distinguished, and continued so until 1798. The cause for its disbandment seems to be very insufficiently understood. There is very strong evidence in contemporaneous publications that scant justice was meted out to a brave and distinguished regiment. A very exhaustive and apparently truthful account of the events that led to this disbandment appears in the second volume of the "British Military Library", dated April 1800, of which the following is a summary. No doubt was felt as to its loyalty when in 1798 the regiment was ordered to Ireland to assist in putting down the Irish insurrection, which had broken out with every incident of revengeful cruelty. "The gentlemen of property were either massacred with savage barbarity or immured in the gaol of Wexford, under the most dreadful suspense, and in momentary dread of increased enormities, while the females were carried off to the place of general rendezvous, where they experienced treatment that we forebear to enter on, because the details would disgrace the annals of civilisation". They met the enemy at Ross, which was garrisoned by about 1700 men under General Johnson, against which the "Army of Ireland", 18000 strong, advanced on the 2nd June. The attack was delivered with the utmost fury in three columns, one of which set fire to the suburbs; and, covered by a number of "horned cattle", whih they drove before them "through the smoke, they penetrated the town on one side, whil a body of pikemen entered it from the other." The story, as told in this record, reads like an Afghan rush or an Arab charge. "Those who escaped the sword and bullet were fondly taught to believe that they were shielded by some superior power, and those that fell died under the strongest impression that they were destined to an early participation of eternal comforts."
Into the midst of the disorder charged the only squadron of the 5th Dragoons present, and that with such desperate gallantry, through the narrow roads and uneven streets, against the rebel troops, "armed with pikes ten to twelve feet long, that of the whole force - less than a hundred strong - but the quartermaster and nine men escaped. Even then their courage was undaunted. when the general, whose force was diminished by one half, saw that the rebels were not pursuing the advantage they had gained, he spoke to his men and asked such as were willing to conquer or die with their general to follow him. The ten survivors of the squadron avowed that "they were willing to shed the last drop of their blood in support of their general and to avenge their fallen comrades"; and the spirit so displayed was met by the answering cheers of the little garrison, and, with the cry "God save the King and success to General Johnson!" they returned with vigour to the attack, and regained the town with the most awful carnage. The next day, from the streets alone, some 2000 bodies were taken.
Personal reasons for desiring to injure the regiment are plainly advanced by the writer of the article in question. "It was the intent of some individuals to get the 5th Dragoons removed from the next establishment for the purpose of enhancing the value of their commissions in the event of their being sent to England". Be this as it may, it is not denied that orders were issued to fill up the gaps made in the above action by enlisting recruits in Ireland. But no care was taken as to their selection. Many were rebel partisans and in league with their friends in the mountain near Lehaunstown Huts, about seven miles from Dublin, where there was a detachment of the Dragoons. A plot was laid to take possession of this station by these new recruits, and massacre all its little garrison of seventy men; but it was discovered, and the culprits were tried by court martial. Two brothers named Feeny, deserters from the regiment when at Drogheda, "were caught by the yeomanry in the act of thieving ", and to avoid immediate death offered to name other Dragoons who were engaged in the conspiracy. Such evidence cannot be deemed to be of great value, and the only name advanced by these scoundrels was that of James McNassar, as being implicated. In the court martial that ensued, which resulted in the condemnation to death of the Feenys, and the transportation of McNassar, not one iota of evidence was brought against a single other man of the entire regiment,then some 600 strong. Two other men, Ryan, a reduced sergeant, and Gallagher, a corporal, were suspected by the commanding officer, but nothing could be proved against them and they were released. On such weak grounds the 5th Royal Irish Dragoons were disbanded at Chatham on the 10th April 1799. The regiment landed in England and "marched above 200 miles on foot" to Chtaham, "in perfectly good order", and was "publicly thanked by General fox for its exemplary good behaviour during the march and its unremitting regularity whilst it was under his command". Such conduct is not that of a regiment that has either disgraced itself or been guilty of indiscipline.
But it was not until 1858 that the erring judgment was reversed, and the old Royal Irish Dragoons were restored to the army list, to blossom into the 5th Royal Irish Lancers, with the harp and crown as their badge and the old motto, with the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards of "Quis separabit". In Stocqueler's list of British regiments, dated 1871, the colour of the uniform is red, with blue facings, but the present dress is like all the Lancer regiments, except the 16th - blue with scarlet facings. They served in India from 1863 to 1874; but in their next active service added Suakim to the list of honours by despatching two squadrons to take part in that section section of the war in the Soudan, where they shared in the battle of Hasheen.The saddest loss to the regiment did not, however, occur in the Suakim portion of the theatre of war. In the broken square at Abu Klea, during the march of Sir Herbert Stewart's column across the Bayuda desert, fell Major Carmichael, "accidentally shot through the head by one of our own men, so that death must have been instantaneous". The term "Royal Irish", which is frequently applied to the regiment, is misleading, as there is another "Royal Irish" Regiment, though of Dragoons. The origin of the nickname at one time given to it, "The Daily Advertisers", is lost in obscurity. Extract from "The British Army and Auxiliary Forces" Colonel C. Cooper King, R.M.A. , 1894
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