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P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

Except for a buff white collar (the uniform distinction of the 13th), No. 1 dress blues' are 15/19H pattern: scarlet cap, box chainmail shoulders, the lion and crown NCOs' sleeve badge (15LD by royal permission, 1801) and light cavalry double yellow stripe on trousers/overalls. The white collar is adorned by gold Austrian lace for officers and a badge for other ranks. The Austrian lace commemorates a charge at Villers-en-Cauchies in which the 15th Light Dragoons scattered six French battalions to save the Emperor of Austria from defeat. The collar badge is composed of the lion and crown crest of the 15/19H on the Z-shape scroll that formed the backbone of the badge of the 13/18H.

The Light Dragoons

The blue mess dress features a buff white waistcoat in addition to the buff white collar.

Bandsmen of the 13th/18th Royal Hussars in the 1980s

Bandsmen of the 13th/18th Royal Hussars in the 1980s. The white facings originated with the 13th Hussars

Cross belt pouches are mounted with a silver elephant and its battle honour 'Assaye'. These honours, given for service in India at the start of the 19th century, were won by the 19th Light Dragoons (1781-1821) and authorised to the 19th Hussars in 1874.

In service and combat dress a large blue/white South Africa flash is worn on the sleeve, a custom of the 13/18H. Its name comes from the helmet patch used to identify the 13th Hussars in the Boer War.

MUSIC

The regimental quick march, Balaklava, originated as a ballad sung after the Crimean War and was adopted by the 13th Hussars to mark their part in the battle. The slow march, Denmark, comes from the 19th Hussars, whose Colonel-in-Chief, Queen Alexandra, was of Danish extraction.

Other marches are Elliott's Light Horse, The Bold Kings Hussar, Sahagun Song and Haste To The Wedding (15/19H). A Life on the Ocean Wave was played by the 13/18H before their quick march to mark the crossing to Normandy in 1944, where they went ashore in amphibious tanks.

TRADITIONS

Sahagun Day (21 December) marks the 15th Hussars' surprise attack on the snow- covered garrison in Spain in 1808. The story of how Lord Paget led them by the light of the moon used to be retold in a ballad sung by the band on this day.

Balaklava Day (25 October) remembers the exploits of the 13th Light Dragoons on the front rank of the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea in 1854.

Assaye Day (23 September) was celebrated in the 15/19H for the first time in 1924. It remembered the old 19th Light Dragoons at the bloody Battle of Assaye, the culmination of the First Mahratta War in 1803.

Esla Day (31 May) was first observed by the 15/19H in 1928. It involved the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, whose officers were honorary guests of the 15/19H mess. The two regiments would meet to compete in sport on the anniversary of the crossing of the Esla river in the Peninsular War for a painting that depicts men of the 51st Foot braving the current by clutching at the stirrups of the 15th Hussars. The LD maintain the custom whenever possible.

Band of the 16th/5th Queen's Royal Lancers in their scarlet tunics

Band of the 16th/5th Queen's Royal Lancers in their scarlet tunics, c. 1989

Normandy Day (6 June) was kept by the 13/18H for their part in the D-Day Landings of 1944. After the breakout from the coast the regiment was instrumental in clearing the Mont Pincon and enabled the pursuit of the Germans back to the Rhine.

Lajj Day (5 March) commemorated the last mounted charge made by the 13th Hussars. Its recipients were a Turkish rearguard in the advance to Baghdad in 1917.

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