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5th Royal Irish Lancers: Wikis


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The 5th Royal Irish Lancers was a cavalry regiment of the British army formed in 1689 as Owen Wynne's Dragoons.

They fought in the Battle of the Boyne and at the Battle of Aughrim under William of Orange. They went on to serve with the Duke of Marlborough during the Spanish War of Succession and earned three battle honours there.

Renamed the 5th Royal Irish Dragoons, they served in Ireland and were active during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. However, they were accused of treachery; their accusers claimed their ranks had been infiltrated by rebels. (According to Continental Magazine, April 1863, the unit refused to attack a group of rebels.[1]) This accusation appears to have been false, but nevertheless they were disbanded in 1799.

Again according to Continental Magazine, "The circumstance was commemorated in a curious way. It was ordered that the 5th Royal Irish Light Dragoons should be erased from the records of the army list, in which a blank between the 4th and 6th Dragoons should remain forever, as a memorial of disgrace. For upward of half a century this gap remained in the army list, as anybody may see by referring to any number of that publication of half-a-dozen years back."

In 1858 they were reformed as a lancer regiment and served in India. A section served in Egypt in 1885, taking part in the battles at Suakin. They served with distinction in the Second Boer War from 1899 to 1902, gaining battle honours at Battle of Elandslaagte and The Defence of Ladysmith.

They then returned to England where they stayed, until the outbreak of World War I, where they were part of the British Expeditionary Force and saw action continually from 1914 to 1918 in some of the war's bloodiest battles. During the battle of Bourlon Wood George William Burdett Clare received the Victoria Cross posthumously. The 5th Royal Irish Lancers won a total of 20 battle honours during World War One, they are listed below:

Mons Le Cateau Retreat from Mons Marne 1914 Aisne 1914 Messines 1914 Ypres 1914 '15 Gheluvelt St. Julien Bellewaarde Arras 1917 Scarpe 1917 Cambrai 1917 Somme 1918 St. Quentin Amiens Hindenburg Line Canal du Nord Pursuit to Mons France and Flanders 1914-18

The 5th Royal Irish Lancers also have the grim honour of being the regiment to which the last British soldier to die at the end of the war belonged to. This was Private George Ellison who was killed a short time before the armistice was announced.

Disbanded in 1922 due to the establishment of the Irish Free State, they were amalgamated with the 16th The Queen's Lancers to become 16th/5th Queen's Royal Lancers. That regiment, too, was amalgamated with the 17th/21st Lancers to form the Queen's Royal Lancers in 1993.


  1. ^ Continental Magazine, April 1863 at Project Gutenberg

External links

Preceded by
5th Royal Irish Lancers
Succeeded by
16th/5th Queen's Royal Lancers


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