The Queen's Own Hussars Museum

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Guidon

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The Queen's Own Hussars 1958 - 1993

1The British Regular Army dates from 1661, but often before its formal organization the carrying of Standards or Colors was already an established practice. Originally each squadron or troop of cavalry had its own standard, but with the passing of time these were reduced to a single Regimental Standard or Guidon. The principle purpose of the Regimental Standard was to provide a rallying point in battle and indeed the word "Guidon" is a corruption of the French "Guide Homme" -Guide Man.

2From the earliest days of chivalry the Standard, inscribed with the devices of a family or body of troops, came to be a symbol of the honor of those who followed it. Regimental Standards were therefore most jealously guarded in both peace and war; the loss of one to the "enemy" was unthinkable and there have been countless occasions in the annals of the British Army when men have laid down their lives in order to preserve them from capture or destruction.

3The present Guidon was presented to the Regiment by the Colonel in Chief, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, on a parade at Catterick on 14th May 1985, which also marked the Tercentenary year of the Regiment.

4The Guidon has emblazoned upon it 40 of the Regiment's 67 Battle Honors. The Guidon is carried on Ceremonial Parades by the RQMS and escorted by the RSM and two WO's or SSgts. In addition to The Queen's Own Hussars Guidon's the Regiment possesses four old 3rd Hussars' Guidon's, one of which is that of the first Colonel of the Regiment, Charles Duke of Somerset, and dating as it does from the late 17th Century is regarded by many of the accepted authorities as the oldest Cavalry Guidon in existence.

5Both the 3rd and 7th Hussars carried guidon's until 1833 when the practice was discontinued in the Regiments of light cavalry. The reasons for this lay in the, role that these Regiments performed in War.

6They were the hard-riding hard-hitting shock troops of the Army. Supremely mobile and self sufficient - First scouting ahead of the slow moving infantry and guns in the Advance. Then keeping the enemy at bay as the rearguard in the withdrawal; and when the decisive moment came in battle, charging home with shattering force against enemy formations. To do all this they had to ride far and fast with the fewest encumbrances; personal belongings carried on the march were cut to the bare minimum, and even the buttons on the soldiers' jackets were solid and rounded so that in an emergency they could be torn off and fired from carbine or pistol.

7In 1952 King George VI directed that once again the Regiments of light cavalry should carry Guidon's During the period 1833 - 1958 the Regiments Battle Honors were carried on the officers saddle cloths (Shabraque). They were also borne on the drum banners in the case of the 7th Hussars and on the drums themselves by the 3rd Hussars, both of which were given the same compliments as those given to the Guidon.

8Over the last 300 years the British Army has been involved in battles all over the world. In the course of these conflicts many Regiments have distinguished themselves with acts of bravery and astounding feats of achievement whilst facing overwhelming odds.

10Today, of course, the Regiment's Guidon is no longer carried in battle but emblazoned with the battle Honors of 300 years, it is still venerated as our proudest possession, a reminder of the Regiment's Glorious Past and an inspiration for the future.

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