25th Light Dragoons

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  • 1795 raised as the 29th Dragoons in Nottingham
  • 1804 renumbered the 25th Dragoons
  • 1819 disbanded
The information below, prepared by Cathy Day, has been extracted from a number of sources, including the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research Vol. 29 (1951), J.B.M. Frederick's Lineage Book of the British Army (1969), An Alphabetical Guide to Certain War Office and Other Military Records Preserved in the Public Records Office (1931), the Regimental History (WO 380/2) and other War Office documents such as Muster Rolls.

Brief History

This regiment was raised as the 29th Dragoons on 25th March 1795 and remained in Nottingham throughout 1795 and 1796. It was at several stations in England and initially, its uniform was blue with buff facings. It sailed for India in the latter half of 1798, and at that time its uniform was changed to grey with scarlet cuffs and collars. By June 1799 it was stationed at Fort William, Calcutta.

The 29th Dragoons (as they then were), along with the 8th and 27th Dragoons, formed part of an army commanded by General Gerard Lake which fought the Mahratta forces under Scindia in the 2nd Maratha War. The fighting began in August 1803 and continued with short intermissions until 1805. During these years, Lake's men stormed and captured the strong places of Aligarh, Agra and Deig; fought pitched battles at Delhi, Laswaree and outside Deig, four times unsuccessfully assaulted the fortress of Bharatpur, marched many hundreds of miles and engaged in numerous skirmishes and minor actions. On 1st November 1803 the regiment displayed 'exemplary valour' in the action fought near Laswaree. As a result, it was awarded the Battle Honour 'Leswarree'. The Elephant (the symbol of India) was placed in the centre of the Regimental Standards and the troops had the word 'Leswarree' inscribed on the front of their helmets.

On 16th July 1804 the regiment was renumbered the 25th Dragoons. From 1806 to 1813 it was stationed at Bangalore. In August 1810, a troop of the 25th proceeded on an Expedition to the Île de France (now known as Mauritius), landing there on 30th November and defeating the French three days later. They returned to India in February 1811.

In 1814 the regiment moved to Arcot. According to the Muster Rolls, the regiment spent the next year and a half in the field, moving from camp to camp, then in August 1816 it returned to Arcot, where it remained throughout 1817. The men of the 25th were then in the field again until May 1818 when they moved to Bangalore, then in August they moved back to Arcot.

In 1819 the regiment received orders to disband and the overwhelming majority of its soldiers transferred to other regiments then stationed in South India, including the 13th Light Dragoons, 22nd Light Dragoons and various European Veteran Battalions of the East India Company. HM 25th Light Dragoons was disbanded at Chatham, England on 24th November 1819.

External links

Historical books online

  • Page 86 [In India] A Memoir of Major-General Sir R.R. Gillespie [by William Thorn] 1816 Google Books. On 7 May 1805 Gillespie exchanged into the Nineteenth Light Dragoons, then in India, to where he proceeded overland from England. The Nineteenth Light Dragoons being ordered to Europe, Gillespie, on 16 April 1807 exchanged into the 8th Royal Irish Light Dragoons and saw service in the Punjab (page 108); on 5 January 1809 he exchanged into the Twenty-fifth Light Dragoons (page 111) where he appears to have remained until 1811 when subsequently he commanded the First Division in the Java Expedition of 1811 (page 120).