|Household Cavalry Composite Regiment|
4 August–11 November 1914
|Part of||4th Cavalry Brigade (World War I and World War II)|
The Household Cavalry Composite Regiment was a temporary, wartime-only, cavalry regiment of the British Army consisting of personnel drawn from the 1st Life Guards, 2nd Life Guards and Royal Horse Guards. It was active in 1882 for service in the Anglo-Egyptian War, in 1889-1900 during the Second Boer War, from August to November, 1914 during the opening months of World War I and in World War II.
Second Boer War
World War I
When the British Expeditionary Force was mobilised, it had a war establishment of seventeen cavalry regiments - five cavalry brigades of three regiments each, and two regiments which would be broken up to serve as reconnaissance squadrons, one for each of the six infantry divisions. The peacetime establishment in the United Kingdom was nineteen cavalry regiments - sixteen line regiments, and the three regiments of the Household Cavalry.
The sixteen regular regiments were earmarked for overseas service, whilst the seventeenth regiment was to be provided by a composite regiment formed with a squadron from each of the three Household Cavalry regiments - the 1st Life Guards, the 2nd Life Guards, and the Royal Horse Guards - and assigned a mobilisation role in 4th Cavalry Brigade.
On the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, the regiment was duly constituted with a squadron each from the 1st Life Guards at Hyde Park, the 2nd Life Guards at Regent's Park and the Royal Horse Guards at Windsor. The regiment joined 4th Cavalry Brigade which was assigned to The Cavalry Division and moved to France in August 1914.
With The Cavalry Division, the regiment took part in a number of actions during the early war of movement: the Battle of Mons (23–24 August), the Battle of Le Cateau (26 August), the Action at Néry (1 September), the Battle of the Marne (6–9 September) and the Battle of the Aisne (12–15 September).
2nd Cavalry Division
The regiment was transferred with 4th Cavalry Brigade to the 2nd Cavalry Division on 14 October 1914 to bring it up to the standard three brigade strength. With the division, the regiment took part in First Battle of Ypres, notably the battle of Gheluvelt (29–31 October). On 11 November, the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment was broken up and its constituent squadrons rejoined their parent regiments; these had landed at Zeebrugge on 7 October 1914 with 7th Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division. The Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, a Yeomanry regiment, replaced it in 4th Cavalry Brigade.
World War II
By the outbreak of World War II, the 1st and 2nd Life Guards had benn amalgamated as the Life Guards. In 1939, the Life Guards and Royal Horse Guards formed the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment and the Household Cavalry Training Regiment.
The Household Cavalry Composite Regiment once again served with the 4th Cavalry Brigade and joined the 1st Cavalry Division when it was formed on 31 October 1939. It departed the United Kingdom in February 1940, transited across France, and arrived in Palestine on 20 February 1940. It served as a garrison force under British Forces, Palestine and Trans-Jordan.
From 6 May 1941 the 4th Cavalry Brigade, together with a battalion of infantry from the Essex Regiment, a mechanised regiment from the Arab Legion and supporting artillery was organised as Habforce for operations in Iraq including the relief of the base at RAF Habbaniya and the occupation of Baghdad. Following this, in July 1941 it was placed under the command of I Australian Corps and was involved in operations against the Vichy French in Syria, advancing from eastern Iraq near the Trans-Jordan border on Palmyra to secure the Haditha - Tripoli oil pipeline.
In 1940, the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment was reorganised into the 1st Household Cavalry Regiment and the Household Cavalry Training Regiment as the 2nd Household Cavalry Regiment. They were disbanded in 1945 and the personnel returned to their original units.
- Household Cavalry Regiment at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 16 August 2007)
- James 1978, p. 11
- Becke 1935, p. 6
- Becke 1935, p. 12
- Becke 1935, p. 14
- Becke 1935, p. 22
- James 1978, p. 26
- "4 Cavalry Brigade". www.ordersofbattle.com. http://www.ordersofbattle.com/Units/UnitData?UniX=1373. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Joslen 1990, p. 33
- Joslen 1990, p. 189
- Rothwell, Steve. "Orders of Battle: Arab Legion". http://homepages.force9.net/rothwell/trans-jo.htm. Retrieved 25 November 2008.
- Becke, Major A.F. (1935). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 1. The Regular British Divisions. London: His Majesty's Stationary Office. ISBN 1-871167-09-4.
- Bellis, Malcolm A. (1994). Regiments of the British Army 1939–1945 (Armour & Infantry). London: Military Press International. ISBN 0-85420-999-9.
- James, Brigadier E.A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2.
- Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (1990) [1st. Pub. HMSO:1960]. Orders of Battle, Second World War, 1939–1945. London: London Stamp Exchange. ISBN 0-948130-03-2.
- Household Cavalry Composite Regiment on The Long, Long Trail
- 1st Cavalry Division on The Long, Long Trail
- 1st Cavalry Division on the Regimental Warpath
- 2nd Cavalry Division on The Long, Long Trail
- 2nd Cavalry Division on the Regimental Warpath
- 4th Cavalry Brigade at Orders of Battle.com
- Rothwell, Steve. "Orders of Battle: Arab Legion". Archived from the original on 5 August 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070805205040/http://homepages.force9.net/rothwell/trans-jo.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-10.
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