2nd King Edward's Horse 1914-17


There was an additional King Edward’s Horse Regiment formed as cavalry in 1914 and it bears no relation to the original King Edward’s Horse Regiment of yeomanry.  The Regiment became known as the 2nd King Edward's Horse which resulted in references to the original King Edward's Horse during the Great War being sometimes referred to as the (1st) King Edward's Horse but I have chosen not to adopt this nomenclature for the original King Edward's Horse.  

The 2nd King Edward's Horse was raised by John (later Sir John) Norton-Griffiths, a colonial adventurer and Captain/Adjutant of the bodyguard of Lord Robert’s as Commander-in-Chief in the Second Boer War, at his own expense.  A very good short history of the 2nd King Edward’s Horse was written by David Miller (Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, 83:1-10, 2005) and I have drawn heavily on that article for the summary which follows.

The 2nd King Edward’s Horse assembled in White City, London from the 10th August 1914 and initially trained at Langley Park between Slough and Uxbridge. The Earl of Lonsdale became their Colonel-in-Chief and they were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Montagu Cradock CB CMG (see the section on badges of the 2nd King Edward's Horse). In December 1914 they replaced the Essex Yeomanry in the Eastern Mounted Brigade of the 1st Mounted Division whilst stationed in Essex. On the 1st February 1915 they transferred to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade at Maresfield. The Brigade was later called 1st Canadian Cavalry Brigade but since there were no others raised they were commonly just called the Canadian Cavalry Brigade.
 
Figure 37:  Copy of a recruiting poster for the 2nd King Edward’s Horse circa 1915. 

The Canadian Cavalry Brigade was made up of the 2nd King Edward's Horse, the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse and the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.  The Brigade deployed to France on 4th May 1915 and the 2nd King Edward’s Horse Regiment fought dismounted as Seely’s Detachment attached to the 1st Canadian Division until September 1915 before re-joining the Canadian Cavalry Brigade.

From January 1915 until January 1916 they were brigaded with the Fife & Forfar Yeomanry until they were replaced by the Fort Garry Horse. The 2nd King Edward’s Horse acquired a Talbot armoured car in 1915 but it was not used overseas on active service (Figure 38). On the 27th January 1916, the 2nd King Edward’s Horse re-gained their mounts and formed as a two Squadron Cavalry Regiment with General HQ troops. In 1915, the 2nd King Edward’s Horse Regimental HQ and ‘A’ Squadron remained with General HQ whilst ‘B’ Squadron went to the 56th Division as Divisional cavalry on the 23rd March 1916 until 30th May 1916.

Figure 38: Photograph of the 2nd King Edward’s Horse Talbot armoured car acquired in 1915 but not used overseas on active service (Original copyright of the Tank Museum, Bovington and reproduced by David Miller in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, 83:1-10, 2005).
 
In June 1916, the 2nd King Edward’s Horse were expanded with the addition of a service Squadron of the 21st Lancers from England and became XIV Corps Cavalry Regiment.  The unit became broken up in August 1917 with the 2nd King Edward’s Horse leaving France for Wareham, England on the 5th August 1917 to be absorbed into the Tank Corps.  The Squadron from the 21st Lancers went to No. 5 Base Depot on the 29th August 1917 and was broken up.

A Reserve Squadron was formed which crossed to Ireland in July 1915. This Squadron was expanded to a Regiment being stationed at Kilkenny in 1917.

Figure 39: Postcard of NCOs and Other Ranks of the 2nd King Edward’s Horse on church parade at Hampton Court Palace.  Many of the Privates are wearing Service Dress caps without cap badges. Posted May 1915 to a Master Leslie Read, Sussex.