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P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

Sullivan's painting of the 2nd or Royal North British Dragoons at Waterloo

Sullivan's painting of the 2nd or Royal North British Dragoons at Waterloo, with bearskins and grey mounts, Sgt Ewart taking the French eagle

The scarlet dragoon tunic bears the yellow facings of the 3rd Dragoon Guards ('The Old Canaries'). The blue overalls are regimentally distinguished by a double stripe, a distinction of the 6th Dragoon Guards, in the yellow facing colour of the RSDG. This abnormality dates from 1851, when the 6th were ordered to India as a regiment of light dragoons. Their heavy dragoon brass helmets were retained but the red jackets were swapped for the braided blue tunics of the light cavalry, and trousers were re-tailored with a light cavalry double stripe in white, the facing colour of the regiment. This hybrid uniform characterised the Carabiniers as much as bearskins did the Greys.

Pipers wear traditional Scottish garb, the feathered bonnet distinguished by the regimental zigzag band. Their kilt and plaid are made of Royal Stuart tartan, a privilege granted to the Greys in 1946 when pipers from disbanding regiments were taken into the regiment.

MUSIC

The regimental slow march Garb Of Old Gaul was once that of the Greys, the quick march 3DGs came from the 3rd Dragoon Guards (composed by Bandmaster Brophy in 1879) and Men of Harlech from the same regiment relates to the Prince of Wales's tradition. Popular Scottish marches are also played and pipers officially march along to My Home in slow time and Highland Laddie in quick time.

In the officers' mess the band traditionally plays God Bless the Prince of Wales (3DG) and The Imperial Russian Anthem in honour of Czar Nicholas II, a custom of the Scots Greys.

TRADITIONS

Anniversaries celebrated in the RSDG are the regimental birthday (2 July), Waterloo Day (18 June) and Nunshigum Day (13 April), the regimental day of the 3rd Carabiniers, which commemorates the struggle for the Nunshigum Ridge in Burma in 1944. On this day 'B' Squadron is led out on parade by its sergeant major and without officers in memory of a critical stage in the battle when the tank commanders had been picked off by Japanese snipers and Sgt Maj Craddock rallied the squadron to attack the enemy entrenched along the ridge.

In the officers' mess the loyal toast is taken seated, a custom that was practised in both the Greys and the 3DG. The Greys' tradition is reckoned to date back to George III, who often dined with the regiment and may not have been able to rise for the toast.

The RSDG also inherited from the Greys their unique privilege of flying the Scottish royal standard over regimental headquarters and the Queen's personal pipe banner, carried by the pipe major in her presence and on her birthday.

THE ROYAL DRAGOON GUARDS

The Royal Dragoon Guards (RDG) were created in 1992 from two armoured regiments formed seventy years previously out of four heavy cavalry regiments that were raised in the troubled days of James II. Regimental headquarters are at York.

The Royal Dragoon Guards desert training with Omani forces

The Royal Dragoon Guards desert training with Omani forces. (MoD)

The 4th/7th Renal Dragoon Guards emerged from the union of the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards and the 7th (Princess Royals) Dragoon Guards, which were commissioned as a regiment by William III after giving aid to Princess Anne in her flight from London in 1688.

The Royal Dragoon Guards

The 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards were the result of the 1922 linking of the 5th Dragoon Guards, one of six horse regiments raised in 1685, with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons ('The Skins') formed in 1689 from the Protestant defenders of Enniskillen, fighting against the Catholic supporters of the deposed James.

Standard-bearer and escort of the 7th Dragoon Guards

Standard-bearer and escort of the 7th Dragoon Guards, brass helmets fitted with a black/white plume, black collars mounted with the Earl of Ligonier's crest

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