The Battle of the Boyne
1st July 1690.
Today marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. On the 12th July Orange Order Parades are held annually in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Northern England in commemoration of this event. Orange Order Banners feature depictions of a victorious King William III (1650-1702) and ‘King Billy’ adorns many gables of terraced housing within Ulster Protestant communities.
On this day in 1690, an army of 36,000 men under the command of King William III faced 26,000 men under the command of the deposed James II and VII (1633-1701) by the River Boyne, the last major obstacle for William III south on the road to Dublin.
The 9th Horse (later the 6th Dragoon Guards) under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Byerley formed part of King William’s cavalry at the Battle of the Boyne. The battle was a victory for King William in which manoeuvres played a major factor. For King William, the Battle of the Boyne was a victory and a great political gain but the fight in Ireland was to continue for another year until the decisive victories at Athlone and Aughrim. These victories enabled the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland.
For King James the Battle of the Boyne was a defeat; though his army’s losses were relatively small and his army largely intact, James took the defeat badly and retreated into exile in France. He never reclaimed his Kingdom but his Jacobite supporters continued to support the exiled Stuart dynasty in the armed risings of 1715 and 1745.
For their service in King William’s campaign in Ireland the 9th Horse was honoured by the King in 1691, being given the title ‘The King’s Carabiniers’. Over time this honorific title was shortened to become ‘The Carabiniers’ and stayed with the 6th Dragoon Guards through to their amalgamation with the 3rd Dragoon Guards in 1922, and in 1928 the 3rd/6th Dragoon Guards were re-styled the 3rd Carabiniers.