This article looks at the structure of a British cavalry regiment in the First World War. I have also written an article looking at the structure of a British infantry regiment and other guides to help you research soldiers who served in the British Army:
I also offer a First World War Research Service.
A British Cavalry Regiment
The wartime establishment of a British cavalry regiment was 549 which included 26 officers. An infantry battalion had a greater establishment of 1007 including 30 officers. A cavalry regiment was commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel with a Major as second-in-command. Three cavalry regiments would form a Cavalry Brigade which included a battery of Royal Horse Artillery firing a 13-pounder field gun.
Structure of a British Cavalry Regiment
The 549 officers and men of a cavalry regiment would be divided into:
- Three Squadrons
- Machine Gun Section
The headquarters and machine gun section contain 8 officers and 67 other ranks. The other 18 officers and 482 men were divided between three squadrons usually lettered A – C. Each squadron contained 6 officers and 152 men, and was commanded by a Major or Captain. A squadron was subdivided into four Troops of 32 men commanded by a Lieutenant. A Troop was further subdivided into four Sections each of 8 men, commanded by a corporal.
A British Cavalry Regiment contained:
- 1 Headquarters and 1 Machine Gun Section
- 3 Squadrons
- 12 Troops
- 48 Sections
Suggested Reading for British Cavalry in WW1
Little has been written about British Cavalry during the First World War compared to British infantry. I would recommend David Kenyon’s Horsemen in No Man’s Land if you’re interested in British cavalry during the war and also the Marquess of Anglesey’s multivolume A History of British Cavalry