10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse)

This article looks at the 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) and will help you to research the Regiment and the officers and men who served with it. This page is one of a series of guides to help you research the Indian Army which can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

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10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse)

Lineage: Raised by Lieutenant William Stephen Raikes Hodson in the Punjab in 1857 and embodied in the camp before Delhi as Hodson’s Horse. Became the 2nd Regiment of Hodson’s Horse in 1858, then the 10th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry in 1861, the 10th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry (Lancers) in 1864 and the 10th Regiment of Bengal Lancers in 1874. Then the 10th Bengal (the Duke of Cambridge’s Own) Lancers in 1878, the 10th (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) Bengal Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) in 1901 and the 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) in 1903. The Regiment was amalgamated with the 9th Hodson’s Horse in 1921 to form the 9th/10th Hodson’s Horse which became the 4th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Hodson’s Horse in 1922.

Composition in 1914: 1 1/4 Squadrons of Sikhs, 1 of Dogras, 1 of Punjabi Musalmans and 1/2 of Pathans.

Location in July 1914: The 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) was stationed at Loralai (Balochistan, Pakistan) having arrived from Jullundur (Punjab, India) on 18 November 1912. The Regiment had detachments at Gumbaz, Maratangi, Murgha and Musa Khel.

The 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) was stationed at Loralai when the First World War broke out in August 1914. The Regiment had been inspected on 14 April 1914 by Lieutenant-General Sir M. H. S. Grover, Commanding 4th (Quetta) Division who reported:

General efficiency: The 10th (D.C.O.) Lancers is a fine regiment in a very efficient state. There is an evidently good spirit through the regiment and strong sense of camaraderie. Well turned out: well commanded and officered: recruits of a satisfactory stamp as no difficulty is said to be experienced in keeping up a list of men ready to enlist. All ranks are bright and intelligent and the regiment all round appears contented. In all respects fit for active service.

Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914IOR/L/MIL/7/17023

While the 10th Lancers did not proceed overseas until 1916, the Regiment supplied drafts of officers and men to other cavalry regiments. Over 350 officers and men of the Regiment were sent abroad before the 10th Lancers received orders to mobilize for service in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in August 1916. There are two main sources of information for the Regiment for its service in Mesopotamia, the war diaries and regimental history. I have discussed both sources below.

The Regiment moved to Mesopotamia in two parts, the first two squadrons arriving in September 1916 and the final squadrons and headquarters in October. The 10th Lancers initially served as part of the Tigris Defences, guarding the lines of communication between Amara and Sheikh Sa’ad. The Regiment spent the next four years serving in Mesopotamia but it would be during the Iraqi Revolt of 1920 that the 10th Lancers suffered its heaviest casualties. On the 3 September 1920, an armoured train at Samawa which was guarded by D Squadron was overwhelmed and the 10th Lancers suffered 28 dead. There is a good account of the attack in the regimental history and Captain Russell was recommended for but did not receive, a posthumous Victoria Cross. The Regiment left Mesopotamia on 30 October 1920 and returned to India.

Once in India, the 10th Lancers began a process of amalgamation with the 9th Hodson’s Horse in 1921 to form the 9th/10th Hodson’s Horse which became the 4th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Hodson’s Horse in 1922.

War Diaries of the 10th Lancers (Hodson’s Horse)

There are three war diaries for the Regiment and all are available to download for a small fee by clicking on the links below.

  • Date: 29 August 1916 – 30 November 1917
  • Army Troops, Mesopotamia
  • Reference: WO 95/4994/2
  • Notes: Overall a poor war diary with many repetitive entries and months often summarised in a short paragraph. There is a list of British officers serving with the Regiment in December 1916. There is a two page typed appendix “Narrative of operations of the Sheikh Saad Defence troops, to recover camels carried off by an Arab raiding party, on the morning of 27th October 1916” and another one-page account by the OC 10th Lancers’ squadron. Also, a note from the RFC regarding a friendly fire incident on 27 October 1916.
  • Date: 01 January 1918 – 31 December 1919
  • Army Troops, Mesopotamia
  • Reference: WO 95/4994/3
  • Notes: A good war diary with many detailed entries, though post-war there are few entries and usually just monthly summaries. Many months have a list of British officers serving with the Regiment. There are a variety of appendices including two maps of Nejf (Najaf) East, and West showing the blockade in April 1918 and operational reports for June 1918.
  • Date: 02 January – 29 October 1920
  • Army Troops, General Headquarters
  • Reference: WO 95/4994/4
  • Notes: A very good war diary with a wide variety of appendices which include a Court of Enquiry into the death of Lieutenant Waters on 5 March 1920 and reports on operations on 7, and 19 March 1920. Also, a report on the action on 11 May 1920. Some months have lists of British officers serving with the Regiment.

Further Sources for the 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers

A good source of information concerning the 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) and the British officers who served with it are its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports contain the annual reports of the British officers who served with the Regiment except when it was abroad as only the British officers serving with the Depot were reported on. For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse), the Indian Army List can be consulted.

There is a very good regimental history Hodson’s Horse 1857-1922 by Major F. G. Cardew which devotes over 50 pages to the 10th Lancers’ service in Mesopotamia between 1916 and 1920. The history also covers the 9th Hodson’s Horse.

Due to the Regiment’s service in the Iraq Revolt of 1920, the 10th Lancers qualified for the General Service Medal with Iraq Clasp which can be viewed for free on Ancestry.

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Extracts from War Diaries of the 10th Lancers 

02 January – 29 October 1920, Army Headquarter: WO 95/4994/4

From: The Officer Commanding: 10th Lancers

To 51st Infantry Brigade: Albu Kemal

Memorandum

I submit herewith the proceedings of a Court of Enquiry held on the events of the 5th, March and a short summary of what occurred from what I can gather from statements of various witnesses. Lt. Waters intended to occupy the cliffs about 6 miles from Salahiyah to prevent the enemy from worrying the convoy from there so he took on three troops leaving one with the convoy.

When he heard the cliffs his advanced guard was fired on, so he supported them. Then not realizing the strength the enemy was in, (it was probably the same party as we met on the 7th March) or the very difficult nature of the ground he decided to drive them off the cliffs. To do this he sent his Hotchkiss Guns up on the hills to his right front. Then, seeing more enemy advancing round his left sent part of his force there to stop them. In the meanwhile the enemy on the cliffs were working round him in the nullahs and broken ground, probably very close to him, until finally when he and three men only were left with one gun, he having sent the other down owing to a stoppage, they were rushed.

Of the 5 men known to be killed 4 belonged to the lance troops engaged and 1 to the Hotchkiss while of the 4 missing 2 belonged to the Hotchkiss and 2 to the lance troops.

When I was on the scene of this action on March, 7th I saw the body of one Sikh and I had just given orders for search party to commence work when I saw the enemy advancing and had to collect the men again for action. One N.C.O. who was up on the hills separated by a few yards from other men was surrounded, wounded and stripped, but was left alone when the storm broke and then managed to get back to Salahiyah in the night.

In my opinion there is little doubt that Lieut. Waters was killed when the enemy rushed the Hotchkiss Gun which he was with. An Indian Officer who had been sent to left flank some distance from the hills saw the charge and estimates the enemy taking part in it at about 100.

Lieut. Waters had previously realized that the enemy was in great strength as he and ordered the convoy to retire and had commenced the retirement of his own force.

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