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4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards
Active 1685–1922

 Kingdom of England (1685–1707)
 Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1746, 1788–1800)
 Kingdom of Ireland (1746–1788)

 United Kingdom (1801–1922)
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Cavalry
Role Line Cavalry
Size 1 Regiment
Nickname(s) The Blue Horse, The Mounted Micks, The Buttermilks
Motto(s) Quis separabit (Who shall separate us?)
March Quick: St. Patrick's Day
Slow: 4th Dragoon Guards

Lieutenant-General James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton
Field Marshal James O'Hara, 2nd Baron Tyrawley
General George Warde
General Sir Henry Fane
General Sir George Anson
General Sir Edward Cooper Hodge

Brigadier-General Horace Sewell

The 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1685. It saw service for three centuries, before being amalgamated into the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards in 1922.

The regiment was first raised as the Earl of Arran's Regiment of Cuirassiers in 1685, by the regimenting of various independent troops, and ranked as the 6th Regiment of Horse. In 1691 it was re-ranked as the 5th Horse, and in 1746 transferred to the Irish regiment establishment where it was the ranked 1st Horse. It returned to the British establishment in 1788, as the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards.

Perhaps the most notable engagement of the regiment was at the outbreak of World War I on 22 August 1914, when a squadron of the regiment became the first members of the British Expeditionary Force to engage the German army outside Mons; four patrolling German cavalrymen of the 2nd Kuirassiers were surprised by two full troops of British cavalry, and after a brief pursuit several were killed, the Dragoons thereby firing the first United Kingdom shots of the war.[1]

In 1921, it was retitled the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards and in 1922 was amalgamated with 7th Dragoon Guards (Princess Royal's), to form the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards.

Battle Honours

  • Peninsula, Balaklava, Sevastopol, Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt 1882
  • The Great War: Mons, Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, La Bassée 1914, Messines 1914, Armentières 1914, Ypres 1914 '15, St. Julien, Frezenberg, Bellewaarde, Somme 1916 '18, Flers-Courcelette, Arras 1917, Scarpe 1917, Cambrai 1917 '18, St. Quentin, Rosières, Amiens, Albert 1918, Hindenburg Line, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1914-18

Colonels —with early names for the regiment

Earl of Arran's Cuirassiers and 6th Regiment of Horse
  • 1685-1688 James, Earl of Arran later Duke of Hamilton. app. 28 July 1685 —The Earl of Arran’s Horse
  • 1688-1688 Charles, Earl of Selkirk. app. 20 November 1688 —The Earl of Selkirk’s Horse
  • 1688-1693 Charles Godfrey. app. 31 December 1688
from 1691 5th Regiment of Horse
  • 1693-1713 Francis Langstone. app. 7 March 1693 —Langton’s Horse
  • 1713-1715 George Joceline. app. 29 October 1713 —Jocelyn’s Horse
  • 1715-1729 Sherrington Davenport. app. 9 February 1715 —Davenport’s Horse (also The Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Horse)
  • 1729-1732 Owen Wynne. app. 6 July 1729 —Wynne’s Horse
  • 1732-1739 Thomas Pearce. app. 29 September 1732 —Pearce’s Horse
  • 1739-1743 James, Lord Tyrawley. app. 26 August 1739 —Trawley’s Horse
  • 1743-1762 John Brown. app. 1 April 1743 —John Brown’s Horse
from 1746 1st (Irish) Regiment of Horse and 4th Dragoon Guards or 1st Horse (Irish Establishment) or Blue Horse
in the Irish establishment (from the British establishment)

On 1 July 1751 a royal warrant provided that in future regiments would not be known by their colonels' names, but by their "number or rank".

from 1788 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards
in the British establishment (from the Irish establishment)
from 1921 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards
from 1922 by amalgamation with 7th Dragoon Guards (Princess Royal's)
4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards


  1. The War Illustrated, Who fired the First Shot?

See also

References title=HISTORY OF THE ROYAL DRAGOON GUARDS accessdate=August 26, 2010

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