This article on the 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars will provide you with an overview of the Regiment’s activities during the First World War and will help you to research a soldier who served with the unit. I have also written a series of guides to help you research British soldiers who served in the war:
The 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars in the First World War
When Britain declared was on Germany on 4 August 1914, the 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars was stationed at Potchefstroom, South Africa. The Regiment was recalled to Britain where it joined the 6th Cavalry Brigade of the 3rd Cavalry Division. On 8 October the 10th Hussars landed at Ostend, Belgium and was transferred to 8th Cavalry Brigade, also part of the 3rd Cavalry Division, on 20 November 1914. The Regiment was transferred back to 6th Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division on 12 March 1918. The 10th Hussars served on the Western Front for the duration of the war.
After landing at Ostend, the Regiment moved to Ypres where it took part in the First Battle of Ypres. With the establishment of trench warfare, the Regiment couldn’t be used in a traditional mounted role for most of the war. However, the 10th Hussars was rotated in and out of the front line trenches and suffered a constant stream of casualties. The 10th Hussars took part in the Second Battle of Ypres and suffered heavy casualties on 13 May 1915. These casualties amounted to 138 officers and men and included Lieutenant-Colonel Eustace Robert Ambrose Shearman. The rest of 1915 and 1916 was fairly uneventful for the Regiment.
The next major engagement for the Regiment was at Monchy-le-Preux, during the Battle of Arras on 11 April 1917 where the 10th Hussars suffered 189 casualties. Very little occurred during the next year, as the Regiment was mostly billeted away from the front line. On the 21 March 1918, the German Spring Offensive began and the Regiment was engaged. During 1918, the 10th Hussars also took part in the Hundred Days Offensive and suffered 70 casualties during the attack on the village of Honnechy on 9 October 1918. This attack was the last occasion in which the Regiment suffered significant casualties during the war. When the Armistice came into effect on 11 November 1918, the 10th Hussars was at Leuze, Belgium.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission recorded that between 17 August 1914 and 31 October 1918, 251 soldiers of the 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars died. Seven soldiers of the 10th Hussars are buried in the Aveluy Communal Cemetery Extension, near Albert on the Somme. All seven were killed on 10 October 1916, while working as part of a dismounted party, though the war diary lists their date of death as 9 October.
Researching a Soldier who Served in the 10th Hussars during the First World War
Start by looking through my generic guides to researching a soldier who served in the First World War. Those on service and medal records will be the most useful if you’re just starting out. Then, I’d recommend looking at the regimental history The 10th (P.W.O) Royal Hussars and The Essex Yeomanry, during the European War, 1914-1918 and reading it alongside the 10th Hussars war diaries, both of which are discussed below. If you’re researching an officer or other rank who served in India with the Regiment, check the 1911 Delhi Durbar Roll which is free to download from the National Archives. When researching a soldier who served in the war, you’ll come across a lot of military jargon and my page on abbreviations and acronyms will help.
Officers: Cavalry officers are usually easy to research. A service record will be the most important document to find but not all have survived. If a service record has survived, it will either be at the National Archives or held by the Ministry of Defence. The National Archives’ catalogue shows ten officers of the 10th Hussars have files if you search “10th Hussars” in the catalogue. However, other officers will be listed as just “Hussars” or with a different regiment or corps, having transferred out of the 10th Hussars during the war. If an officer served past April 1922 then their service record will still be with the Ministry of Defence and I have an article about ordering these records on my Second World War website: Ordering a Service Record from the Ministry of Defence.
Officers are frequently named in both the regimental history and war diary. The regimental history contains a list of officers who served with the 10th Hussars which records when they joined and departed. If they were killed or wounded this was recorded along with the date. The regimental history also contains a list of awards. An important source of information for the date of an officer’s commission and subsequent promotions is the London Gazette. If they served pre-war, then Hart’s Army List is a good resource to consult.
Other Ranks: The most important document to research a soldier who served in the ranks of the 10th Hussars is their service record. Unfortunately, many were destroyed in the Blitz in 1940. If a service record has survived, it will either be available to view online or if the soldier served past January 1921, it should be held by the Ministry of Defence. Ordering a service record from the Ministry of Defence is a straightforward process and I’ve written an article on how to order a copy on my Second World War website Researching WW2. Providing a soldier served outside of Britain and Ireland there will be medal records to consult. Often, these will be the only surviving documents for a soldier. Other useful sources of information are silver war badge records, local newspapers and pension records held by the Western Front Association available on Fold3.
The regimental history contains a list of other ranks who became casualties, and were also awarded decorations. Other ranks are also frequently mentioned in the regimental history. There are medical sheets for the Regiment in MH 106/2197 and these often contain a wealth of information if your soldier’s documents are amongst them. The soldiers are listed in numerical order and start with 40 Private Charles Gladwell with officers appearing after the other ranks. The date a soldier joined the 10th Hussars or Corps of Hussars can usually be worked out if you know their regimental number. Though, you have to be careful as there are two numbering systems. Prior to 1907, all hussar regiments used their own number block so you have multiple soldiers with the same regimental number. From 1907, all soldiers who joined the Corps of Hussars were numbered from the same numbering block to stop duplication. Though, there was still an overlap between the two numbering systems.
To research a soldier who served in the 10th Hussars you’ll need to use both FindmyPast and Ancestry as they both have different record sets. Both sites offer a free trial and clicking on the banner below will take you to FindmyPast.
War Diaries of the 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars
A war diary was written by an officer of a unit and recorded its location and activities. They often include appendices in the form of reports, orders, maps etc. There are three war diaries for the 10th Hussars and they have all been digitized by the National Archives. To download the war diaries for a small fee click on the blue links below. I have transcribed the war diary for October 1914 at the bottom of the page to provide you with an example of the type of information they contain.
- Date: 07 October 1914 – 28 February 1918
- 6th Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division
- Reference: WO 95/1156/4
- Notes: A good war diary with detailed entries for when the 10th Hussars are in action. There are a few appendices including a list of casualties sustained by the 10th Hussars on 13 May 1915 which include the soldier’s squadrons.
- Date: 01 March 1918 – 31 March 1919
- 6th Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division
- Reference: WO 95/1153/3
- Notes: A good war diary though the post-war months only contain monthly summaries rather than daily entries. There are no appendices.
- Date: 01 April – 31 August 1919
- Hussar Brigade, Rhine Cavalry Brigade
- Reference: WO 95/1166/8
- Notes: A short war diary with brief entries covering long periods rather than daily entries for a couple of months. There are no appendices.
Regimental History of the 10th Hussars
There is a regimental history which also covers the Essex Yeomanry: The 10th (P.W.O) Royal Hussars and The Essex Yeomanry, during the European War, 1914-1918 by Lieutenant-Colonel. F. H. D. C. Whitmore. This book is available to download and view online for free from archive.org and has also been reprinted by the Naval and Military Press. In addition, there is also a history of the 6th Cavalry Brigade which can also be viewed on archive.org.
Extracts from the War Diary of the 10th Hussars
October 1914, WO 95/1156/4
7 October 1914: Southampton: 2 am: Set sail for Ostend.
8 October 1914: Ostend: 4 PM: Arrived and disembarked during the night.
9 October 1914: Ostend: 9 am: Proceeded to Race Course. Marched in the afternoon and billeted as follows: A Squadron and Headquarters Jabbeke, B Squadron Bekeghem and C Squadron Zekeghem.
10 October 1914: Lophem: 9 am: Concentrated with brigade and marched to Torhout. 1 Troop as advanced post at Cortemarck. Remainder billeted at Torhout.
11 October 1914: Torhout: 2 Troops A relieved Troop at Cortemarck to Werchew. Remainder billeted at Torhout.
12 October 1914: Torhout: Marched to Roulers and billeted. Brigade joined by “K” Battery Royal Horse Artillery.
13 October 1914: Marched to Ypres, halted, and then proceeded to Gheluvelt, Dadizeele, and Ledegem. “A” Squadron to Rolleghem-Capelle and billeted. German troops reported as follows: 1 Bavarian Cavalry Division at Warneton, 20,000 all arms at Tournai, and 20,000 all arms at Hazebrouck. Heavy battle reported at Lille, and Germans bombarding that town. The 6th Cavalry Brigade occupied protective line as follows: Ypres to Warneton, Zillebeke, Combines, Beselare to Werviez. One man wounded and captured near Comines whilst on officers’ patrol under Lieutenants Wilson and Earl of Airlie.
14 October 1914: Left Ledegem for Ypres, Kemmel. Left half-squadron at Ypres to guard exit of town, brought German Taube down aeroplane outside Ypres. Rounded up German patrol near Kemmel marched to Wytschaete and billeted.
15 October 1914: Half-Squadron re-joined from Ypres and were fired on by Germans, 3 men wounded. One troop of “C” Squadron sent to Zandvoorde in support of armoured car, killed one German, but had to retire to Hollebeke, thence to Wytschaete. Remainder of “C” Squadron sent to support the troop but failed to meet them, but had brushes with the enemy and took 2 officers and 3 men prisoners, and killed 8. Regiment less “A” Squadron left Wystchaete and bivouacked 2 troops of “B” Squadron at Hollebeke, 2 troops at crossroads one mile west of Houthem. Headquarters, Machine Gun, and “C” Squadron at crossroads east of Oostlaerwe and acted as line of defence for brigade; 3 men wounded.
16 October 1914: Brigade concentrated at St. Jean-Ypres-Poelcapelle road, and marched to Poelcapelle to act as reinforcement to 7th Cavalry Brigade. Returned from Poelcapelle and spent night three 3/4 mile east of Zonnebeke.
17 October 1914: “A” Squadron reconnoitred via Becelaere and Dadizeele to Menin-Roulers Road “C” Squadron via Moorslede to Menin – Roulers Road, “B” Squadron Headquarters and Machine Gun remained East of Zonnebeke ready to reinforce squadrons if required. “A” and “C” Squadrons rejoined at noon. “B” Squadron patrolled district about Menin and Roulers for any large body of the enemy, returned about 5 pm. “A” Squadron lost 3 men wounded, one badly and had to be left at village. Billeted at Zonnebeke.
18 October 1914: Two troops of “C” Squadron picqueted the road leading to Zonnebeke South of Ypres-Moorslede road. Regiment marched to Passchendaele and billeted.
19 October 1914: Concentrated at Moorslede at 7.30 am and advanced East. The Regiment Ledegem, “A” Squadron advanced Guard, “B” Squadron, 1 troop, Baggage Guard; 3 troops at St Pieters as support. The Regiment marched West and South of Ledegem and drove enemy to outskirts of village, “A” Squadron galloping the right of it. Enemy reinforced strongly, and Brigade was ordered to retire towards Moorslege at 2.30 pm; 3 men wounded. Captured 2 German prisoners. “A” Squadron remained at Passchendaele, “B” Squadron at Spreit, “C” Squadron, Machine Gun and Headquarters at Poelcapelle.
20 October 1914: Brigade concentrated at Westrozebeke early morning and took up defensive line with 7th Cavalry Brigade and French Cavalry and Territorials, running South from Westrozebeke: commenced to retire about 12.30 pm on to Langemarck. About 11 pm Germans made night attack, and Regiment had to retire, retiring again about 2.30 am next morning. Captains Gibbs, Fielden, Lieutenants Chaplin, Bouch and one other rank joined.
21 October 1914: Regiment marched to Ypres at 4.30 am concentrated with Brigade, and proceeded to Hooge on Gheluwe Road. Halted there till 2 pm, then proceeded to bridges over canal north of Hollebeke, held them and attacked chateau South-East of bridges in conjunction with 4th Hussars (3rd Cavalry Brigade). Our guns shelled the chateau until dark, therefore impossible to take it on that account. An officers’ patrol at 10 pm under Lieutenant Drake found it still held by the enemy. Regiment then proceeded to Zandvoorde and took over defensive line from Scots Guards; going into the trenches at 3 am. Horses were ringed in the town.
22 October 1914: Town shelled by Germans at 8:15 am. Horses moved to the rear. A Squadron acted as reserve. B and C Squadrons and Machine Gun in trenches. One man A [Squadron] wounded. Regiment entered the trenches at night reinforced by 1 squadron Household Cavalry and 1 company King’s Regiment. Enemy made small attacks during night without effect.
23 October 1914: Enemy shelled town of Zandvoorde at 8 am. 3 German maxims and infantry fire concentrated against B Squadron all day. Intermittent shell fire in some cases very heavy was directed against the whole line of trenches. Relieved at dusk by 1st Life Guards and returned to billets at Klein Zillebeke. Shelling continued during the night on horses and transport. 3 men killed. Colonel Barnes, Major Mitford, Captain Stewart and 9 men wounded.
24 October 1914: Billeted at Klein Zillebeke. Germans shelled village at night.
25 October 1914: Relieved the Household Cavalry in the trenches at 5 pm. Captain Stewart rejoined from Ypres.
26 October 1914: Enemy sniping during the morning and shelling started at 8:30 am. Patrol of 12 men sent out in the early morning to try and stop sniping. 1 man killed and 1 wounded. Shelling lasted most of the day, very heavy in the afternoon. Captain Sir Frank Rose, Lieutenant Christopher Randolph Turnor and 3 men killed, 7 men wounded and machine gun disabled.
27 October 1914: Shelling of trench and town started at 8:30 am and continued throughout the day very heavily. Reserve of 20 men heavily shelled at Zandvoorde. Relieved at 6:30 pm by 7th Cavalry Brigade and went into billets. A Squadron at Zillebeke, B and C Squadrons, Machine Gun and Headquarters at railway crossing quarter of a mile southeast Verbranden-Molen. 5 men wounded.
28 October 1914: Remained in billets.
29 October 1914: Regiment marched at midday to north of Zandvoorde to support attack of 7th Division on Kruiseke. 3 men wounded. Returned to billets at dusk.
30 October 1914: Regiment marched out to act as reserve to infantry three quarters of a mile southwest of Klein Zillebeke, and took up position with 1st Royal Dragoons on right flank and Royal Scots Greys on left. Heavy attack by German infantry from Hollebeke chateau. Relieved at dusk by Irish Guards. Captain Kinkead Royal Army Medical Corps and 4 men killed, Major Crichton, Captains Fielding, Stewart, and Hon. H. Baring and 15 other ranks wounded.
31 October 1914: Concentrated and marched to Hooge as Reserve to 1st Corps; shelled by enemy: took up a line on left of Grenadier Guards; very heavy attack. Regiment in support both mounted and dismounted. German Emperor issued an order to his army that Ypres had to be taken at all costs. Bivouacked at Hooge.