4th Hussars

a brief history of the 4th queen’s own hussars

The 4th Queen’s Own Hussars were raised in 1685 as Berkeley’s Dragoons and like the 3rd Hussars gained their first Battle Honour at Dettingen. They too fought in Wellington’s Peninsula Campaign and won six Battle Honours fighting alongside the 3rd Hussars at Salamanca, Vittoria and Toulouse. After the fall of Napoleon, they won further distinction in the Afghan War.

Next came one of the most glorious days in the history of the 4th Hussars, indeed one of the best remembered of all cavalry actions, the Charge of the Light Brigade. It was the 4th Light Dragoons who silenced the Russian guns and, supporting them in the next line were the 8th Hussars. “Balaklava” is one of many Battle Honours which both regiments have, and Balaklava Day was celebrated by both each year. Private Samuel Parkes of the Regiment was awarded the Victoria Cross for his courageous defence of the Trumpet-Major after the charge.

The Regiment now entered a period of Home and Imperial service until the outbreak of the Great War. It was at this time that Winston Churchill served in the 4th Hussars. He became Colonel of the Regiment during the last World War and remained so until his death.

In 1914, the Regiment sailed for France and almost immediately saw action, never leaving the area until the Armistice in 1918. The 4th Hussars won 21 Battle Honours and nearly 100 awards for gallantry – but at a high price, losing 500 men killed or wounded.

After mechanisation in 1936 the Regiment saw extensive action during the Second World War in Greece, the Western Desert and Italy. In spite of a spirited defence, Greece was a disaster and the 4th Hussars had to be reformed in Cairo in 1941. In 1942, the Regiment reversed its fortunes at the Battle of Alam El Halfa acting this time in conjunction with the 8th Hussars, and then followed up the success by helping to pursue the defeated Afrika Corps after the decisive action of the 3rd Hussars at El Alamein.

After the end of the war, the 4th Hussars were involved in the Malayan Campaign before being sent to Germany and amalgamating with the 8th Hussars in 1958.