The 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards
Formed in 1922 as the 5th/6th Dragoons by the amalgamation of the 5th Dragoon Guards (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s) and The Inniskillings (6th Dragoons). Easily recognised in Ceremonial Dress by their distinctive green trousers.
In 1938 the Regiment was mechanised and the following year, just prior to the Second World War, they joined the newly-formed Royal Armoured Corps (RAC).
The Regiment was part of British Expeditionary Force (BEF), acting as the reconnaissance regiment of British 4th Infantry Division, and was deployed to The Continent shortly after war broke out. On 10 May 1940 the Germans launched their invasion of the Low Countries, thus ending what was known as Phoney War. The German invasion was swift and successful, the Allied forces in Belgium having to retreat to Escaut River. Fierce fighting continued, the BEF continuing to withdraw further until the order was given for them to withdraw to Dunkirk in northern France where they joined with the 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards to form a composite regiment to fight the rearguard action as both had lost the majority of their tanks.
The Regiment remained in the UK until 1944 when it landed in Normandy a month after the D-Day landings, where it joined the 22nd Armoured Brigade 7th Armoured Division (the famed ‘Desert Rats’). Heavy fighting was still raging in Normandy and the Regiment took part in actions in Mont Pincon in early August and, subsequently, at St Pierre La Vielle. The Regiment saw further service in Northern France, including helping in the capture of Lisieux on 23 August, and later crossing the Risle, advancing rapidly to the River Seine. The Inniskilling’s began their advance on Belgium on 31 August, the 7th Armoured Division’s objective was the city of Ghent, crossing the River Somme, where the Regiment’s predecessor regiments had fought during World War I, and the Authie river. The Division had made a remarkable advance on the Franco-Belgian border but having consumed enormous amounts of fuel, could not continue and so a a smaller force comprising the Regiment and The 11th Hussars advanced to capture Ghent entering the city on 5 September. The Regiment was involved in the heavy fighting around the River Maas that began in late October.
In January 1945, the Regiment took part in the action to clear the west bank of the River Roer and subsequently in the crossing of the river Rhine, which began on 25 March, the objective being to head eastward for the city of Hamburg. Meeting fierce resistance on German soil, the Regiment played a prominent role in the capture of a number of towns during the rapid advance into Germany, notably in April; Ibbenburen, Wildehausen and the attack on Soltau before the advance on Hamburg, which they entered on May 3rd. They remained in Germany as part of the Occupying Forces.
In December 1951 the Regiment arrived in Korea as part of 1st Commonwealth Division to fight in the Korean War which had been raging since 1948. They remained there for a year taking part in many actions including B Squadron’s support of The Black Watch in the methodical effort to dislodge the Chinese from ‘The Hook’. The 5th Inniskillings left Korea the following month, arriving in the Suez Canal Zone just prior to its handover to the Egyptians and returned home to the UK the following year.
In 1964 the Regiment had squadrons in three British territories Aden, Bahrain and Hong Kong and in 1965 served in the British Military Bases Libya. In 1966, A Squadron deployed to Cyprus to act in the reconnaissance role for the United Nations (UN) forces there to prevent conflict from breaking out between the opposing Greek and Turkish Cypriots. In 1968 the Regiment returned home and shortly afterwards were posted to the Garrison of Muenster, West Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine. October 1973 saw another deployment to Cyprus as part of UN forces returning in May 1974. In 1981 the Regiment served on OP BANNER in Northern Ireland for 4 months. Further tours of duty were also completed 89/90 and 1992. In 1984 the Inniskillings returned to the UK but found themselves back in Paderborn, BAOR just two years later.
In 1992, as a consequence of the Options for Change defence cuts, the Regiment was amalgamated with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards to form the Royal Dragoon Guards.