A Cavalry Raid in 1886 In April 1886, Lieutenant Colonel R S Liddell was appointed to the command of the 10 th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales s Own). Robert Spencer Liddell had first joined the army in 1858 as an Ensign in the 15 th Foot (later the East Yorkshire Regiment), joining the 10 th Hussars in 1860. During his service he had a long and varied career, both at home and in India, and had been involved in the fighting in the Sudan in the mid-1880 s, having been Mentioned in despatches for his service.
Liddell was a remarkably innovative commander at a time when the cavalry arm was widely seen as conservative and often hidebound, and in this piece we will see two examples of his rather revolutionary command. At the time Liddell took over the regiment it also acquired a new face in the Officers Mess; His Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor eldest son of The Prince of Wales. Eddie was grandson to Queen Victoria and second Colonel Liddell in line to the throne (his father became Edward VII).
The Prince of Wales was Colonel-in-Chief of the 10 th Hussars, so it was natural his son should join his father s regiment Although his military career involved rapid promotion he saw no active service. Liddell s first innovation was to take place in July. At that time, there was very little formal training for the army: drill and equitation were seen as most important, and manoeuvres and exercises such as are now common were almost unheard of.
Liddell thought differently, and on 14 th July his regiment took part in a Cavalry Raid designed to put the men through their paces. Permission had to be sought from the Commander in Chief, and was given on the understanding that there would be no cost to the public purse! Apart from one waggon, carrying twenty-five tents, and an ambulance cart all transport had to be provided by the regiment, and camping grounds had to be arranged privately with landowners.
The regiment marched out of the South Barracks at Aldershot, each man wearing active service dress (see illustration), and carrying a change of clothing. Additionally a waterproof sheet and cloak were carried, together with two blankets placed between the saddle and the numnah (a sheepskin pad placed under the saddle to protect the horse s back) one blanket for the man and one for the horse. The first night was spent at Pierrepoint (south of Farnham), followed by a reconnaissance to Liphook the following day.
Overnight outposts were deployed and the regiment was very much on an active service footing. On the 16 th the regiment moved north west to Hindhead and on Hankley Common was opposed by the 5 th Lancers, sent out from Aldershot to act against the Tenth. The Aldershot force falling back, the Tenth encamped at Tilford.
On the 17 th it returned to Aldershot. The exercise was a great success, and Liddell received a letter from the Prince of wales expressing His Majesty s delight at the raid which reflects the greatest credit on the regiment. Such, indeed, was its success that it became the pattern for training in the Aldershot Command.
Liddell s next great innovation was later in the same year when he received permission to introduce a Nordenfelt machine gun. This was a contraption mounted on a two wheeled galloping carriage (i.e. it could be pulled by a horse and was sturdy but light enough to accompany a cavalry charge) also introduced into service by Liddell.
10th Hussars on reconnaissance The Swedish-designed and built Nordenfelt had 10 barrels which were operated by pulling a lever and capable (in a test) of firing up to 3,000 rounds a minute. Originally intended as a ship-mounted weapon to counter torpedo boats, it seems Liddell may well have been one of the first to see the gun s application to land service. In fact, it proved so effective that six more guns were purchased for issue to other cavalry regiment.
Eddie , Prince Albert Victor, died of influenza on 14 th January 1892, at the age of 28. He had recently become engaged to Princess Mary of Teck, but passed away before the marriage could take place. In the event, Princess Mary married Eddie s younger brother, George, and when he became George V in 1910 Mary became Queen.
Colonel Liddell retired on 13 th September 1887, and devoted his retirement to his regiment.
In 1891 he published The Memoirs of the Tenth Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales s Own) Historical and Social.
He died in 1903, a much-loved and respected commanding officer and military innovator.
HorsePower April 2014 A Cavalry Raid in 1886
Remember our fallen: Focus on Indian British Army role in Blackburn 3:31pm Monday 3rd March 2014 in News 1 TWO events in Blackburn with Darwen will highlight the contribution of the Indian British Army in the First and Second World Wars. Shared Histories will give residents an opport-unity to learn about the role of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu soldiers in the two conflicts. It is an entertaining educational programme which looks at the role played by the ancestors of Britain s African, Caribb-ean, Bengali, Indian and Pakistani communities during the world wars.
Including a high-resolution slideshow, arch-ive film footage, de-act- ivated weapons, ordnance and uniforms, the event will seek to recreate the hardship, bravery and suffering of soldiers in a classroom setting. The first event takes place on Thursday at Blackburn Central High School, while the second, on March 12, is at Darwen Aldridge Community Aca-demy. Council neighbourhoods boss Arshid Mahmood said: This is a fantastic event which provides an opportunity for residents to learn about those who served in the British Indian Army during both world wars, the part that they played and the conditions they had to endure.
Coming together as a community to take part in such an event is really important, and I urge as many as possible to take part. Borough armed forces champion Trevor Maxfield said: In the year of the anniversary of World War One, this type of event, which gives the opportunity to really get an impression of what it was like to be involved in this conflict, gives us an opportunity to remember what was sacrificed. I hope as many as possible attend this and other events during this centenary year, to learn more about what it was really like to be part of such a terrible conflict, and to make sure it is remembered for years to come.
Both events have registration and refresh-ments at 5.30pm, with a 6pm start. They are part of borough commemorations of the outbreak of the First Word War. The sessions are free but registration is essential for catering.
To register, contact Amanda Grimshaw on 01254 222154 or Amanda.
[email protected] References ^ News (www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk)
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