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The 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars
The cap badge of The 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars

An Irish protestant Regiment raised by William the 3rd as the 8th Dragoons in 1693 to replace another Regiment he had already ordered to go to Flanders during his war in the Low Countries against the French. By 1742 it had been numbered the "8th"and on the 25th December 1775 became Light Dragoons. In 1777 it was granted the Royal title "The Kings Royal Irish" and on the 21st September 1822 it was converted to "Hussars". Service in England followed with Squadrons serving in a variety of locations from Brighton to Newcastle. They passed three tours in Ireland including acting as escort to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their first visit to Dublin in 1849. Following the disasterous Charge of the Light Brigade, the Regiment was sent to India to help quell the Mutiny.

On June 17th 1858 at Gwalior, a Squadron charged and routed several hundred rebel horsemen. They later attacked a large force of infantry and cavalry who were attempting to flee the city. The rebel cavalry leader the Rani of Jhansi was killed by a Hussar. Four Victoria Crosses were awarded for this action. The Regiment spent the rest of the Mutiny in operations across central India.

Postcard showing a 8th Hussar on Horseback
Between landing and the end of the Mutiny, one Squadron of the 8th marched 3,365 miles and changed horses twice. They were awarded the Battle Honour "Afghanistan 1879-80" for service in that troubled part of the Empire, during which time it is estimated that 25% of the Regiment were ill at any one time with malaria. The last Imperial campaign of the 19th century was against the Boers with a force of 600 men including reservists and 500 horses.

Arriving in France from India in 1914, the 8th Hussars spent the whole war on the Western Front. They took part in what would be the Regiment's last mounted charge at Villiers-Faucon when B and D Squadrons attacked a heavily defended German position. B Squadron charged then attacked on foot and drew then enemy's fire. D Squadron charged and quickly captured the village with a few casualties.

Private of The 8th Hussars

After the firtst World War the 8th were posted to many parts of the the world including Iraq, Germany and England before being sent to Egypt in 1934. The last mounted parade of the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars was held on November 11th 1935 at Abbassia Barracks, Cairo.

The Regiments Country of Origin is commemorated by the Irish Harp in the center of the Badge and the word "Irish" has been placed in it's title. The Regiment retained its identity until 1922 but was eventually merged with the 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars in 1958 becoming the Queens Royal Irish Hussars.

 

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