The Household Cavalry Museum and Shop

The Household Cavalry Museum and Shop The home of Household Cavalry heritage. Dive into 360 years of service to the Sovereign, see our working stables and visit the shop. Go to our website for opening times and our online shop.
(156)

Operating as usual

“Welcome to the Rock.” D Squadron have recently been conducting dismounted training in the tunnels of the Rock of Gibral...
03/04/2021

“Welcome to the Rock.” D Squadron have recently been conducting dismounted training in the tunnels of the Rock of Gibraltar.

British and Hanoverian forces held Gibraltar against a Spanish and then Franco-Spanish army from 24 June 1779 - 7 Feb 1783; a staggering 3 years, 7 months and 2 weeks - the longest continuous siege in history.

A ‘Grand Assault’, launched in 1782, involved some 60,000 attackers, a grand fleet and specially designed floating batteries. Defending were around 5,000 British and Hanoverian soldiers. But the formidable defences of the Rock and the tenacity of its defenders were too much.

The length of the siege meant that rations became scarce, scurvy was rife and disease rampant. The defenders had no fuel to keep warm during the winters and they were forced to break up vessels in the harbour for wood.

The key to the successful defence of the Rock was ultimately down to the repeated resupply by the Royal Navy. The last of which sidestepped the Franco-Spanish Fleet to deliver 31 transport ships, ammunition, rations and three fresh British Regiments to Gibraltar. The besiegers now realised the game was up. Thus ended the last major engagement of the American Revolutionary War.

While the regiments of the Household Cavalry were not involved in this 18th century siege, it has formed an important chapter in British military history; one that continues to impact serving soldiers, sailors and marines today.

Normally at this time of year the Mounted Regiment would have just completed the Major General’s Inspection, passing fit...
02/04/2021

Normally at this time of year the Mounted Regiment would have just completed the Major General’s Inspection, passing fit for the ceremonial season ahead. Sadly it’s not to be this year, but training continues and standards are maintained so that next year the trusted guardians of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will ride again as Her Majesty’s mounted bodyguard.

We’re looking forward to stocking these in our shop when we reopen. ‘They’re big in every way!’#aprilfools #notanad Thes...
01/04/2021

We’re looking forward to stocking these in our shop when we reopen. ‘They’re big in every way!’

#aprilfools #notanad

These iconic cigarette ads are from the 1960s when the offices and barrack rooms of the regiment were cloaked in a pall of smoke. Today you’re far more likely to find off duty Household Cavalrymen in the gym instead of puffing on a Guards cigarette but we’re sure there are a few of our ‘old and bold’ who remember these from their time in uniform. These adverts actually come from our old Regimental Journals in 1968.

A chinless wonder James Birch was certainly not! In the age of the purchase system (pre-1871) the regiments of the House...
31/03/2021

A chinless wonder James Birch was certainly not! In the age of the purchase system (pre-1871) the regiments of the Household Cavalry were deemed incredibly ‘fashionable’, and were accordingly expensive to buy into. A commission into the Life Guards at the turn of the 18th century cost a prospective junior officer upward of £100,000 in modern money!⁣

As a result our regiments were heavily officered by the aristocracy and the sons of wealthy businessmen - indeed the influx of members from the merchant classes in the 1790s earned the Life Guards the nickname of ‘The Cheesemongers’.

One of the officers serving in 1st Life Guards at this time was James Birch. Birch was a Captain in the Life Guards in 1798 and Major, then Lieutenant Colonel in 1808, selling out in 1810 to manage his estate.⁣

Despite belonging to Yorkshire land-owning gentry, one thing he could never be called was ‘chinless’. The man had a huge one (chin that is)! In fact he was famous for it. Birch appears in a number of popular rags of the day, in caricature, and in each he’s easily identified by his majestic mandibular protuberance. We can but wonder if he took this lampooning...eh hem...on the chin!⁣

Image 2 is a commentary on the desperation of recruiting in the late 1790s and image 3 shows an imagining of a Mess Dinner at St James’s Palace with some notable worthies on the team-sheet. The last sketch has fun with the famously tall Life Guard Officer. Can you pick Birch out of the crowd in these caricatures? If not, chin up eh?

(These images are held by our friends at the National Portrait Gallery and British Museum)

This hot March day has us dreaming of seahorses.
30/03/2021

This hot March day has us dreaming of seahorses.

On this day in 1969 two regiments, both with over 300 years of service, amalgamated to form The Blues and Royals. ⁣⁣The ...
29/03/2021

On this day in 1969 two regiments, both with over 300 years of service, amalgamated to form The Blues and Royals. ⁣

The Royals were first known as the Tangier Horse, operating in Tangier from 1661. When they returned to Britain 22 years later they became the 1st Royal Regiment of Dragoons (aka The Royals). Former Colonels-in-Chief included the Duke of Marlborough and Kaiser Wilhelm II. In 1815, at the Battle of Waterloo, The Royals captured Napoleon’s 105th Regiment’s eagle. A symbol they adopted as their cap badge and is now worn on the sleeves of The Blues and Royals. ⁣

The Royal Horse Guards, raised in 1661, had the Earl of Oxford as their Colonel and were therefore known as the Oxford Blues. This later became simply The Blues. Like The Royals, The Blues also charged at Waterloo, taking on armoured French cuirassiers. For their gallantry they officially became part of the Household Cavalry, alongside The Life Guards.⁣

In 1969 The Blues and The Royals were joined together to form a new regiment of Household Cavalry, The Blues and Royals. They were initially based in Germany operating Chieftain main battle tanks but have since gone on to serve in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan to name a few. ⁣

The Queen’s reply to the loyal address given on behalf of the newly formed regiment ended: “United you may go forward with confidence into the future.”

The clocks have gone forward! The clock here at Horse Guards was the most accurate in West London until the installation...
28/03/2021

The clocks have gone forward! The clock here at Horse Guards was the most accurate in West London until the installation of Big Ben in 1859. Can you see the black mark above the II? This was added to commemorate the hour (2pm) of King Charles I’s execution by beheading on a scaffold not 100m from this spot on 1649. Now that we are on British Summer Time you’ll see our soldiers here in Summer Order - cuirasses, cross belts, gauntlets and buckskins instead of their cloaks.

When the Queen is in residence at Buckingham Palace the Guard is led down to Horseguards by a trumpeter. Mounted on a gr...
27/03/2021

When the Queen is in residence at Buckingham Palace the Guard is led down to Horseguards by a trumpeter.

Mounted on a grey rather than a Calvary black, the trumpeter’s role is to blow a number of calls throughout the Guard change including the Royal Salute, which acknowledges the opposite Guard’s Standard, and Fall in the Officer.

The trumpeter also has a key role during the annual Queen’s Birthday Parade. It’s on their trumpet call that nearly 200 soldiers and horses move from walk into trot.

What’s less known is that our trumpeters are not trained musicians. Each one is selected from the troops and trained over a period of weeks by the Household Cavalry Band’s Trumpet Major. Often some of the youngest members of their squadron, these soldiers are expected to perform their unique role while riding a horse (which typically they’ve only just learned to do as well) in front of the eyes of thousands ... and the Queen. To top it all off, the grey horses that they ride and care for are also notoriously hard to groom.

26/03/2021
The Household Cavalry

**Live now!**
All welcome to follow along. Questions answered by experts in their field, and insights into this fascinating world are guaranteed.
**Link here:**

Wish to see our latest recruits become #TrustedGuardians and join our Regimental family?

Tune in to our Live Feed of today's pass out parade of Hindenburg-Italy ride!

#live #livestreaming #bethebest #Britisharmy #armyjobs #FindWhereYouBelong

Death, taxes and reactions to defence reviews apparently... One hundred years ago this week the government proposed to c...
26/03/2021

Death, taxes and reactions to defence reviews apparently... One hundred years ago this week the government proposed to cut troop numbers and modernise, much like the Integrated Review this week. Reactions in the media have been remarkably similar. This Punch Cartoon from 23rd March 1921 shows two sentries of the Queen’s Life Guard mounted on tanks in the boxes on Whitehall.

There are a fair few ex-serving (and one or two currently serving) Household Cavalrymen who will recognise this view. Cu...
25/03/2021

There are a fair few ex-serving (and one or two currently serving) Household Cavalrymen who will recognise this view. Cutting edge armoured strike capability or the best, cosiest doss bag money can buy? 💤

When officers of The Blues shut two ponies in his bedroom for a joke, Frederick Burnaby, Mess legend, carried them from ...
24/03/2021

When officers of The Blues shut two ponies in his bedroom for a joke, Frederick Burnaby, Mess legend, carried them from his room, one under each arm. Fred was a giant of a man, standing at 6ft 4in tall (against a national average of 5’5”) and weighing 20 stone. An original Victorian strong-man, he pumped iron in a London gym, despite the ribbing of his brother officers. But he had the last laugh, impressing lady guests by bending fire irons around his own neck!⁣

Colonel Fred Burnaby's adventures, pioneering spirit, and swashbuckling dash earned him fame in Victorian Britain. As well as travelling an inhospitable, conflict ravaged Spice Road, he mastered the art of ballooning - crossing from England to France in 1882. He spoke several languages fluently, worked as a spy, stood for parliament in Birmingham twice, and was a veritable pin-up to the women of London’s high society. Tales of his derring-do spread across the empire. ⁣
Among our artefacts, we have his book of espionage and adventure - 'Ride to Khiva', a dagger used at the Battle of Abu Klea, where he met his famous end, and the boots he died in. ⁣

Despite re-joining his Regiment, The Royal Horse Guards, Burnaby was still denied an official role in the army sent to Egypt to face a Mahdist Army. So he just went anyway. At Abu Klea, Sudan, he was one of about 1,300 British troops surrounded by 13,000 Mahdist warriors.⁣

Having formed squares, when a gap in the lines opened up, Colonel Fred rushed out to rescue a comrade but was wounded in the attempt. A corporal went to his rescue, bayoneting the assailant, but it was too late. Burnaby had been struck by a Mahdist spear through the neck and throat. An officer in the square recalled "in my own detachment many of the men sat down and cried.” Such was Colonel Fred’s reputation.⁣

Toast Burnaby’s extraordinary life with a ‘Burnaby Spice Route’:⁣

50ml Horse Guards Gin⁣
25ml fresh lemon juice⁣
12.5ml grapefruit simple syrup⁣
25ml Cocchi Rosa⁣
5ml Dry Vermouth⁣
Orange Bitters⁣
Lemon twist⁣

Use the code MUSEUM21 at www.horseguards.london and you’ll get £5 off a standard bottle and a donation will go to supporting the Museum and Foundation.

Some lucky school children were treated to a special visit this morning. Some of horses being exercised during their dai...
23/03/2021

Some lucky school children were treated to a special visit this morning. Some of horses being exercised during their daily Regimental Watering Order stopped by to say hello.

A ‘Watering Order’ is the term used to describe our horses’ daily exercise. Each morning, when traffic is still light, the Regiment leave the barracks, in Troops, to walk and trot along the streets of the capital.

This term comes from the old practice of assembling the regiment on common land each day to ‘water off’ the horses at public watering troughs. This happened when there was no formal barracks, or the Regiment was on operations, and troops were billeted at various inns and lodgings across the city.

For those who might not know where we are, this is us. Our museum, tucked away behind Field Marshal Wolseley here, is th...
22/03/2021

For those who might not know where we are, this is us. Our museum, tucked away behind Field Marshal Wolseley here, is the only part of the iconic 1755 Horse Guards building open to the public. When we open again this Spring we’ll be unveiling a few surprises, so please come in and immerse yourselves in 360 years of service to the Sovereign. We also have a glass partition allowing visitors to see straight into the working stables of the Queen’s Life Guard so you can watch the Guard look after their horses. ⁣

We can’t wait to welcome you back. Whether new visitor, seasoned guest or member of our Regimental family your support is more important than ever this summer. Your visit helps preserve our heritage and helps us fund the Household Cavalry Foundation, the regiment’s welfare charity, which cares for our soldiers past and present.

A rarely captured bird’s eye shot of the Field Officer commanding the Sovereign’s Escort. The red shabraque (saddlecloth...
21/03/2021

A rarely captured bird’s eye shot of the Field Officer commanding the Sovereign’s Escort. The red shabraque (saddlecloth) of the Blues and Royals lists the combined battle honours of the Royal Horse Guards (Blues), 1st Dragoons (Royals) and the Blues and Royals themselves. Quiz time: the dyed-red plumes of Blues and Royals officers are made from the underbelly hair of which Asian bovid?

On this day in 2003 the War in Iraq began. The British mission, Operation Telic, would come to dominate the service expe...
20/03/2021

On this day in 2003 the War in Iraq began. The British mission, Operation Telic, would come to dominate the service experience of thousands of personnel, Household Cavalrymen among them.⁣

D Squadron HCR, then part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, were part of the spearhead during the initial invasion. Operating their CVR(T) Scimitar and Spartan recce vehicles they probed ahead of the main forces, identifying and calling in air and artillery fire onto enemy formations.⁣

On the 28 March 2003 a US A10 Thunderbolt, flying in support of the allied advance, misidentified some of the D Squadron Scimitars for Iraqi vehicles and opened fire with 30mm armour piercing rounds. Two scimitars were destroyed, Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull was killed and three others seriously wounded. Trooper Chris Finney, aged just 18, ran through the fire and climbed onto the burning vehicles to extract his wounded mates - the reason there weren’t more fatalities. He received the George Cross for his actions. Equal to the Victoria Cross. ⁣

Meanwhile Lance Corporal of Horse Mick Flynn and his crew were taking on Iraqi armour with their comparatively modest 30mm Rarden cannon. They took out around four main battle tanks and a rocket launcher and halted the entire formation. Flynn was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for this action. Afterwards Flynn turned to his operator and said: "Get the kettle on, Ben - it's about time we had a cup of tea."⁣

Sadly, D Squadron suffered more losses on 1 April 2003 when the bank under Lieutenant Alex Tweedie’s Scimitar collapsed sending the inverted vehicle into a water filled ditch. Lance Corporal Karl Shearer was killed and Lt Tweedie died of his injuries days later. Their names, and that of Matty Hull, are today found on the Regiment’s own memorial as well as on the walls of the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. We will remember them.

Jumping into the weekend with style! 📸 @blackmoreheal
19/03/2021

Jumping into the weekend with style! 📸 @blackmoreheal

This is the man who would command the Soveriegn’s Escort for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. His name is David Smiley an...
18/03/2021

This is the man who would command the Soveriegn’s Escort for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. His name is David Smiley and his life makes James Bond look like a Boy Scout. ⁣

David de Crespigny Smiley commissioned into the Royal Horse Guards (Blues) in 1936, the model of a young cavalry officer at the time; he had a Bentley, a private plane and a couple of winning racehorses.⁣

His war began when his squadron was posted to Palestine. Smiley won an early mention in dispatches for night patrols against the Vichy French in Syria. After this he was given command of a company of commandos, with whom he fought behind Italian lines in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). But in 1941 he returned to the Blues and took part in an epic raid into Iraq to undo a pro-German coup and rescue the king. He led a mounted charge by Bedouins and Household Cavalrymen!⁣

During the climactic battle of El Alamein in October 1942, Smiley commanded a Household Cavalry squadron in armoured cars, as they probed the Afrika Korps defences.⁣

Detached from his regiment once more, he learned to parachute with Colonel David Stirling, founder of the SAS, before joining, by invitation, Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE). Their aim - sew chaos in occupied territories.⁣

His first mission was in Italian-occupied Albania, where he blew up bridges under the noses of enemy patrols and won his first MC. He went back to Albania in spring 1944 to support guerrillas now fighting the Nazis and was awarded a bar to his MC.⁣

Smiley went next to Siam, now Thailand, to join the local SOE section, Force 136. During an operation against the Japanese, a booby trap exploded, forcing his evacuation through the jungle with severe burns (pic 4). But he was dropped once more into eastern Siam just weeks before the war’s end. Still only a Major, he accepted the surrender of an entire Japanese division and liberated several prison camps.⁣

After the war Smiley was detached to MI6, working on anti-communist missions to Poland and Albania. He was beaten up and expelled from Poland at one point. In 1952 he returned to his Regiment as The Blues Commanding Officer. As such, he led the coronation escort in 1953.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here is a painting of Paddy the Drum Horse - too tenuous? Paddy II was the Drum Horse of the 1s...
17/03/2021

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here is a painting of Paddy the Drum Horse - too tenuous? Paddy II was the Drum Horse of the 1st Life Guards and his rider is wearing the iconic gold coat worn only in the presence of royalty (or the Lord Mayor’s Show) and based on Charles II’s racing livery.

Paddy hangs in the Officers’ Mess (or Officers’ House for The Life Guards) today and was painted in 1922 by the world famous equestrian artist, Sir Alfred Munnings. Sir Alfred cut his teeth as the official war artist to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade during the First World War and these paintings were brought together at the National Army Museum in 2019. Did you get to see them?

This Paddy’s Day we will be raising a virtual glass to our friends and cousins in the Irish Guards. If you want to know more about their proud traditions go and check out the Guards Museum.

Address

Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX
London
SW1A 2AX

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

0207 930 3070

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when The Household Cavalry Museum and Shop posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to The Household Cavalry Museum and Shop:

Videos

Category


Comments

Stupid question maybe ,are the troopers boots passed down or does each trooper get a new pair?
I vacationed in London at the beginning of October, enjoyed visiting the museum. With all of the people around, I was still able to capture this photo that I printed on canvas, wanted to share. He was kind enough to catch a moment to pose without the crowd so I could get the shot.
Me visite to london, its a beautyfull place to be.
Cant wait to come and see my grandson on parade in london after his full training in catterick, I have never seen a boy so keen has he his , he his really doing well so proud of him.And my father would of been so proud and my grandfather all milatary , dad in the bomb disposel
CAN YOU HELP? We are putting a shout out to try and help a little boy who lost a much-loved toy dog at the Dismount Parade at Horse Guards yesterday afternoon. If you found this and handed it in or see a toy dog, described by his Mum as brown and bit tatty, lying around the area please send us a message and lets see if we can reunite this little man with his lost friend.
Hey All! Dan and the team have worked very hard setting up a dedicated page for The Forgotten Army Dogtag Project- here is a link https://m.facebook.com/ForgottenArmyDogtagProject/ We will post updates here and other places but the main hub for all things dogtags will be there! Come give us a follow and share it around! About everyday we are uncovering new stories of soldiers behind the tags. Thanks!! Lots of local regiments and residents who knows possibly a family members tags are amongst them
Veterans For Britain Report: Chequers Sacrifices British Control Over Armed Forces In effect, the Withdrawal Agreement and proposed Defence Treaty would keep the UK under EU power permanently – even after the end of the ‘transition period’.
Who is selling H C Christmas cards please.?
Maybe one day? No "bits" about it! 😁