13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers

dates=1805 - 1947
country= British India
allegiance=Bitish Crown
branch= British Indian Army
type= Cavalry
size= Regiment
Past Commanders=
ceremonial_chief=Duke of Connaught
battles=Second Anglo-Maratha War
First Afghan War
Second Sikh War
Indian Mutiny
Second Afghan War
Third Anglo-Burmese War
World War I
Third Afghan War
World War II
Central India
Afghanistan. 1878-80
Burma. 1885-87
Kut al Amara-1917
Mesopotamia. 1916-18
North West Frontier
North West Frontier.1937-40
Deir es Zor
Bir Hacheim
El Adem
Sidi Rezegh-1942
North Africa-1940-43

The 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers was a regular cavalry regiment in the British Indian Army to was formed in 1923 by the amalgamation of the 31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers and the 32nd Lancers.They served the British Crown on the North West Frontier in the Great War and World War II.


Both regiments had had started as in the old Bombay Squadrons of Cavalry, raised for service under Lord Lake with whom they served during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, at the siege of Bhurtpore in 1805.

The Squadron was split in 1817 and, with two troops each as a cadre, the 1st Bombay Cavalry and the 2nd Bombay Light Cavalry were formed.

First Afghan War

The 1st saw service in the First Afghan War in 1839 when, with a detachment of the 2nd, they were at the Battle of Ghazni and in the march to Kabul returning to India in 1840.

econd Sikh War

Eight years later, the Second Sikh War saw the 1st in action when they were at the Siege of Multan forts, where they would remain as the garrison for the remainder of the campaign.

Mutiny of 1857

May 1857, the start of the Great Mutiny, saw the 1st Bombay Cavalry at Nasirabad where they were the only ones to remain loyal. Artillery and infantrymen urged them to go over to them but the sowars refused and, under their officers, charged in an attempt to take the guns. They failed to do so but successfully disengaged and took part in the campaign of pacification in Central India.

The 2nd Bombay Light Cavalry, in 1857, they were stationed at Neemuch and saw service in the pacification of Central India. One of its subalterns, later General Sir James Blair, won a Victoria Cross during these operations. The citation read;

"On 12 August 1857 at Neemuch, India, Captain Blair volunteered to apprehend seven or eight armed mutineers who had shut themselves up in a house. He burst open the door and after a fierce encounter during which he was severely wounded, the rebels escaped through the roof. In spite of his wounds he pursued, but was unable to catch them. On 23 October at Jeerum, the captain fought his way through a body of rebels who had surrounded him. In the action he broke his sword and was wounded, but nevertheless he led his men in a charge on the rebels and dispersed them."

Burmese War

The Third Anglo-Burmese War Burma was their next overseas posting in 1885, a campaign no more attractive then than sixty years later.The Duke of Connaught, then Commander-in-Chief of the Bombay Army, became their colonel-in-chief in 1890. He still held the appointment in the 13th DCO Lancers on his death in January 1942.

20th Century

During the Kitchener reorginisation of the Indian Army of 1903, the Bombay cavalry had thirty added to their numbers and, the 1st (Duke of Connaught's Own) Bombay Lancers became the 31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers and the 2nd Bombay Lancers" became the "32nd Lancers, the old Presidency designations being abolished.

World War I

During the Great War, the 31st remained on the Frontier but the 32nd went to Mesopotamia late in 1916 and were alleged to be first Imperial troops to enter Baghdad.

In April 1917, at the Battle of Istabulat, a detachment led by the commanding officer, charged an entrenched Turkish position resulting in all the officers and most of the men becoming casualities.

Between the Wars

Having remained in India throughout the war, the 31st served in the Third Afghan War and then went to perform garrison duties in Palestine, being the last Indian cavalry regiment to serve there, as they did, until 1923 when, on their amalgamation with the 32nd Lancers in September of that year, they were the last two regiments carrying their old titles. This particular merger, of course, was simply a reunion of two regiments separated more than a hundred years before. The new badge was to be crossed lances with '13' on the intersection and a crown above: across the lancebutts was a scroll reading 'Duke of Connaught's Own.'

World War II

The 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers were one of the first two Indian cavalry regiments nominated for mechanisation. One squadron was equipped with the Vickers Medium Mark I tank and two squadrons with Staghound armoured cars. They were then deployed on frontier duties but, in April 1941, they traded their tanks for one squadron of Scinde Horse armoured cars and left for Iraq with the 10th Indian Division.The 13th was the only Indian cavalry regiment to receive an honour for Frontier Service during the war.They were then sent to the Middle East for action against the Vichy French in Syria and then served in Iran and Iraq before joining the British Eighth Army.Before the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942, they were moved back to Persia.They were then re-equipped with Staghound armoured cars in anticipation of going to Italy, they returned to India and prepared to land in Malaya.Despite the Japanese surrender, there was still action in the South East Asia area and they moved to Java in support of the 5th and 23rd Indian Divisions in their holding-action there.In August 1946 the 13th returned to Secunderabad as the reconnaissance regiment of the 1st Indian Armoured Division.

On Partition in August 1947, the 13th DCO Lancers were allotted to the Pakistan Army.

Further Reading

:'A brief historical sketch of His Majesty's 31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers, Indian Army' by Colonel G F Newport-Tinley CB. (Pub. Bombay Gazette Electrical Printing Works, Bombay 1910)

Changes in Title

:pre 1903 1st (Duke of Connaught's Own) Bombay Lancers. 2nd Bombay Lancers:1903 31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers.32nd Lancers :1921 31/32nd Lancers:1922 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Bombay Lancers:1927 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers cite web|title=defencejournal|url=http://www.defencejournal.com/nov99/13th-duke.htm]


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