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The first regiment to bear the title 22nd Dragoons was a cavalry regiment of the British Army raised in 1716. Also known as Viscount Mountjoy's it appeared on the Army List on 16 February 1716 but was disbanded in 1718.[1]. In 1779, John, Lord Sheffield raised a light dragoon regiment that was styled 22nd (Light) Dragoons but this was disbanded in 1783.[2] William, Viscount Fielding raised the next regiment to use the title 22nd (Light) Dragoons on 24 February 1794; this regiment lasted slightly longer, being disbanded in 1802 with the onset of peace. However, the 25th Dragoons (raised for service in India by F E Gwyn on 9 March 1794) was renumbered 22nd (Light) Dragoons in that year. This 22nd (Light) Dragoons regiment served throughout the Napoleonic Wars which began in 1805 and was disbanded in 1820. The final incarnation of 22nd Dragoons was during the Second World War, from 1 December 1940 until 30 November 1945.

Contents

History

On 1 December 1940 the regiment was restored to the Army List. The new 22nd Dragoons formed from cadres taken from the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards and 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. The regimental crest, used on the headstones of the regiment's dead, combined the Star of St Patrick of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards with the Castle of Inniskilling to represent the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. (The 4th/7th and Inniskillings are now amalgamated as the Royal Dragoon Guards and have adopted a capbadge that is very similar to the crest of 22nd Dragoons.) The regiment was assigned to 29 Armoured Brigade in 11th Armoured Division but later transferred to 30 Armoured Brigade in the same division. This changeover was due to regimental loyalties of the brigade commanders. In 1942, 30 Armoured Brigade was transferred to 42nd Armoured Division before, in 1943, joinng 79th Armoured Division.

All three regiments of the 30th Armoured Brigade were re-equipped with Crab flail tanks, modified M4 Sherman tanks with a large jib covered in chains attached to the front, intended for clearing a path through minefields at a top speed of one and a half miles per hour whilst flogging a path. Tanks thus equipped were often split up and used in large troop or squadron formations in support of organised set piece attacks rather than as organised formations.

As such, the regiment came ashore in the first wave of the Operation Overlord landings on the morning of 6 June 1944, with A Squadron, reinforced by 2 troops of C Squadron and supported by two troops of the Westminster Dragoons, landing on Sword Beach and B Squadron landing on Juno Beach. Later in the day the final two troops of C Squadron landed on Juno where they remained for several days on beach clearance. The regiment continued to see action sporadically once the beaches were cleared, fighting through Belgium and the Netherlands into Germany, where they were at the end of the war; the regiment was disbanded in Germany on 30 November 1945. The regiment was awarded the 10 maximum battle honours for operations in the North West Europe Theatre.

Notes

  1. ^ Frederick's Lineage Book of British Land Forces 1660-1978, p. 365
  2. ^ Frederick, p. 360

References

Further reading

  • XXII Dragoons 1760-1945: The Story of a Regiment by Raymond Birt,
  • Achtung! Minen! by Ian Hammerton, The Story of 79th Armoured Division by Anon.,
  • 79th Armoured Division Hobo's Funnies by Nigel Duncan,
  • Vanguard of Victory - The 79th Armoured Division by David Fletcher,
  • British Tanks in Normandy by Ludovic Fortin.

Lineage Book of British Land Forces 1660-1978 by Dr J B M Frederick

Normandy 1944: The Road to Victory by Richard Doherty (dedicated to the memory of Tpr Leonard Kemp, 22nd Dragoons)

Dr J B M Frederick

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