Title: The 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)

Author: Brett-Smith, Richard

Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1969

ISBN: 0850520150

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 325 pages

Comments: A well-researched and authoritative history of the 11th Hussars.

The 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army.

The regiment was founded in 1715 as Colonel Philip Honeywood’s Regiment of Dragoons and was known by the name of its Colonel until 1751 when it became the 11th Regiment of Dragoons. A further name change, to the 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons, occurred in 1783.

Their career during the 18th century included fighting in Scotland at the Battle of Culloden as well as service in the Seven Years’ War when they took part in the charge at Warburg.

In 1840, the regiment was named for Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, who later became the regiment’s Colonel.
James Brudenell on horseback, by Francis Grant, circa 1841.

During the Napoleonic Wars battle honours were received for Salamanca, Peninsular and Waterloo. The regiment’s nickname, the “Cherry Pickers”, came from an incident during the Peninsular War, in which the 11th Light Dragoons (as the regiment was then named) were attacked while raiding an orchard at San Martin de Trebejo in Spain. When the regiment became the 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars in 1840, their new uniform by coincidence included “cherry” (i.e. crimson) coloured trousers, unique among British regiments and worn since in all orders of uniform except battledress. This was not in memory of the orchard incident but reflected the crimson livery of Prince Albert’s House: Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The 11th Hussars charged with the Light Brigade, which was commanded by their former Colonel, Lord Cardigan, at Balaklava during the Crimean War. During the Charge, Lieut. Alexander Robert Dunn, saved the life of two fellow soldiers from the 11th Hussars – Sgt. Major Robert Bentley and Private Harvey Levett – for which Dunn was awarded the Victoria Cross. Dunn was the first Canadian-born recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Edward Richard Woodham of the 11th Hussars became Chairman of the organising committee for the 21st Anniversary dinner held at Alexandra Palace on 25 October 1875 by the survivors of the Charge. This was fully reported in the Illustrated London News of 30 October 1875 and included some of the recollections of the survivors including those of Edward Richard Woodham.

In 1928, the 11th Hussars became the first British regiment to become mechanized. In 1936, they became involved in suppressing the Arab revolt in the British Mandate of Palestine.

In 1940, the 11th was located in Egypt when Italy declared war on Britain and France. It was part of the “Divisional Troops” of the 7th Armoured Division (known as the “Desert Rats”). Equipped with obsolete Rolls Royce and Morris armoured cars, the unit immediately began to conduct various raids against Italian positions during the Western Desert Campaign. The Hussars captured Fort Capuzzo and, in an ambush east of Bardia, captured General Lastucci, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Italian Tenth Army.

In September 1940, when the Italian invasion of Egypt was launched, the 11th Hussars were part of the British covering force.

The 11th Hussars took part in the British counterattack called Operation Compass that was launched against the Italian forces in Egypt and then Libya. The unit was part of an ad hoc combat unit called “Combe Force” that cut off the retreating Tenth Army near Beda Fomm. Lieutenant-Colonel John Combe was the commander and namesake of Combe Force. The Italians were unable to break through the defensive positions established by Combe Force and surrendered en masse as the 6th Australian Division closed in on them from their rear.

Prior to the Normandy campaign, the 11th Hussars were removed from the Division and assigned as a Corps-level unit in accordance with Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s view that all armoured car regiments would be assigned to Corps, not Divisions. Later in the European campaign, the regiment reverted back to the 7th Armoured Division.

On October 25, 1969 the regiment was amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) to form The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own). In 1992, as part of the Options for Change defence review, the Royal Hussars were amalgamated with the 14th/20th King’s Hussars to form the King’s Royal Hussars. The 11th Hussars are unofficially perpetuated by C Squadron of the King’s Royal Hussars.

Previous owner’s Ex Libris tag pasted inside front cover.