This article on the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars during the First World War will help you to research those who served with the Regiment. The article is one of a series I have created on researching soldiers who served in the British Army during the war:
The 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars in the First World War
When Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914, the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars was stationed at Tidworth in Wiltshire. The Regiment was initially split up and used as divisional cavalry. A and B Squadrons went to France in August and C Squadron in September where they served with the following Divisions:
- A Squadron – 5th Division
- B Squadron – 4th Division
- C Squadron – 6th Division
Fortunately, each squadron had its own war diary so you can follow their movements. In April 1915, the squadrons were withdrawn from their divisions. On 14 April 1915, the 19th Hussars joined the 9th Cavalry Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division in which it served for the remainder of the war. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission recorded 162 dead for the Regiment between 24 August 1914 and 11 November 1918.
Researching a soldier who served in the 19th Hussars in the First World War
Start by looking at my guides to researching those who served in the British Army during the First World War. The most important pages to look at first are those on service records, medal records, and British Army abbreviations and acronyms. The latter will help you with all the military jargon you’ll come across. The most important resource for researching the Regiment is its war diaries which are discussed below.
Officers: An officer’s service record, if one has survived, is the most important document to find. It will either be at the National Archives or if they served past April 1922, it should still be held by the Ministry of Defence. I have written a guide to ordering service records held by the Ministry of Defence on my Second World War website. The process is straightforward and you don’t need to supply a death certificate or have the permission of the next of kin for those who served in the First World War.
The Regiment’s war diaries frequently mention officers by name and they include nominal rolls of officers serving with the 19th Hussars on certain dates. When it comes to finding an officer’s promotion dates, have a look in the London Gazette and Hart’s Army List (pre-war). A very good source of information for cavalry officers is the British Library digitized newspaper archive which is available on FindmyPast. This is especially the case if the officer became a casualty. The social background of cavalry officers meant they often made an appearance in society magazines like The Tatler.
Other Ranks: Soldiers who served in the ranks are usually far harder to research than officers. A service record is still the most important document to find, though a large percentage were destroyed in the Blitz. If a soldier served past January 1921 then their service record should still be with the Ministry of Defence and I have a guide on my Second World War website. If you know, or suspect post-war service. I’d recommend checking the Royal Tank Corps enlistment records 1919-1934 on FindmyPast.There is also the Military Discharge Indexes, 1920-1971 on Ancestry which records the army numbers of those who served post-1920. Soldiers who appear in these resources will have had their First World War regimental number replaced by an army number by 1920/1. Another important resource to check are the War Office casualty lists.
The photograph below shows jockeys who were serving with the 19th Hussars and was taken from The Tatler, 16 September 1914. You would not usually expect to see named photographs of other ranks in Tatler!
To research either an officer or other rank who served in the 19th Hussars during the war, you’re going to have to look at the records on both FindmyPast and Ancestry. Both sites offer a free trial and if you live in Britain, you can often access them at your local library. Clicking on the banner below will take you to FindmyPast.
War Diaries of the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal) Hussars
There are five war diaries for the 19th Hussars and all can be downloaded for a small fee from the National Archives’ website by clicking on the blue links below. War diaries were written by an officer and described a unit’s location and activities. They often contain appendices consisting of maps, orders and reports. I have transcribed a couple of months from B Squadron’s war diary below.
- Date: 23 August -16 September 1914
- Headquarters, 19th Hussars
- Divisional Troops, 6th Division
- Reference: WO 95/1596/1
- Notes: A short war diary consisting of only four pages.
- Date: 17 August 1914 – 14 April 1915
- A Squadron, 19th Hussars
- Divisional Troops, 5th Division
- Reference: WO 95/1527/1
- Notes: An average war diary which gives an overview of the activities of A Squadron, 19th Hussars. There are no appendices and most of the entries are brief.
- Date: 22 August 1914 – 14 April 1915
- B Squadron, 19th Hussars
- Divisional Troops, 4th Division
- Reference: WO 95/1466/1
- Notes: An average war diary, though there are more detailed entries between October and November 1914.
- Date: 13 August 1914 – January 1915
- C Squadron, 19th Hussars
- Divisional Troops, 6th Division
- Reference: WO 95/1596/2
- Notes: A poor war diary with few entries. The entry for November 1914 consists of “This Squadron has done nothing during the month of November” and there is a similar entry for December 1914 and January 1915.
- Date: 06 April 1915 – 31 March 1919
- 9th Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
- Reference: WO 95/1115/2
- Notes: This is the main war diary of the 19th Hussars which covers the Regiment from when it reformed in April 1915 to March 1919. Overall a very good war diary due to the variety of appendices, including operational orders and officer nominal rolls, which have survived. This war diary is nearly 600 pages in length.
Further Sources for the 19th Hussars
Unfortunately, there was no regimental history published for the 19th Hussars covering the First World War. There is also a war diary for the Headquarters of the 9th Cavalry Brigade WO 95/1114/1 which will add more information. The Brigade Headquarters diary will cover all the units in the Brigade and they often contain orders and reports missing from regimental diaries.
Extract from the War Diary of B Squadron, 19th Hussars, WO 95/1466/1
January 1915: Nieppe
3 January 1915: No change. Second Lieutenant W. F. Tuthill and one man left for Rouen to join cavalry details.
7 January 1915: Three men transferred to machine gun section attached to 16th Lancers.
10 January 1915: Eight non-commissioned officers and men joined from cavalry details Rouen.
17 January 1915: 17 non-commissioned officers and men joined from cavalry details Rouen.
22 January 1915: Corporal Leperrier (Interpreter) joined.
26 January 1915: Traffic control duties handed over to 4th Divisional Cyclist Company.
30 January 1915: Corporal Leperrier left for St. Omer.
During this month a miniature range was constructed and progress made in refreshing reservists in musketry. Training in riding, dismounted action and patrolling also carried out. On Wednesdays every man on parade. Weather cold with alternating freezing and thawing. A little snow fell during month. Nearly all horses under cover and doing well. Horses fed on “brewers’ grains” twice a week with beneficial results. Short periods of furlough to non-commissioned officers proceeded with.
February 1915: Nieppe
2 February 1915: Five men transferred to “A” Squadron 19th Hussars in exchange for five B Squadron Men.
5 February 1915: The squadron ordered to furnish a working party of one officer and 25 other ranks daily for the purpose of assisting the Royal Engineers to construct reserve and support trenches and various other field works near Le Touquet. Two troops detailed alternate mornings (9 am to 1 pm) and afternoons (2 pm to 6 pm) for this duty except on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when squadron was exercised in dismounted action, etc. Working party shelled occasionally, no casualties.
9 February 1915: Visit of Deputy Director Remounts, 2nd Army, who reported horses in excellent condition. All horses, except transport under cover: clipping trace high proceeded with.
21 February 1915: Lieutenant-Colonel Jamieson Commanding Canadian Divisional Mounted Troops attached from 21 February 1915 to 27 February 1915.
23 February 1915: Three chargers arrived from Base.
24 February 1915: Ten other ranks with four horses arrived from Base. Non-commissioned officers proceeded on short periods of furlough to England.
March 1915: Nieppe
6 March 1915: Court of Inquiry held on Sergeant Callaghan, Private Picton and Private Thomas, “Missing” from 27 August 1914.
13 March 1915: Seven men joined from Base.
18 March 1915: Lieutenant Bolitho rejoined from sick leave. Lieutenant G. T. Hanmer, 2 men and 3 horses joined from Base.
24 March 1915: Second Lieutenant H. M. Luttman Johnson, two men and three horses from Base.
26 March 1915: 60 dismounted men of Yorkshire Hussars, North Midland Division, attached for instruction from 26/31st.
28 March 1915: One man arrived from Base.
Individual and Squadron training proceeded with. Working parties provided for trench digging. Weather getting brighter but occasional falls of snow. Towards end of month, horses being clipped.