History of 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry
The former battalion was founded by the British East India Company as the 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry in the year 1857. The purpose of the regiment was to provide military service during the occurrence of the Great Revolt of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny. Lieutenant Hugh Henry Gough of the regiment was honoured with the Victoria Cross for his loyal services during the Indian Rebellion. The Bengal European Light Cavalry Regiments were recruited in November 1857 in Britain in order to substitute the 8 regiments of Bengal Light Cavalry that revolted against the British. The use of the term "European" in the title suggested that the army unit was commanded by British soldiers instead of Indian Sowars, who were the cavalry troops of the Presidency Armies. The units of the Bengal European Light Cavalry Regiments were reassigned to the British Indian Army in the year 1861. These regiments were transferred as the 19th Hussars, 20th Hussars and 21st Hussars.
The Government of India Act 1858, which was authorized after the Sepoy Mutiny in the year 1857, transferred the authority of the 3 Presidency Armies from the British East India Company to the British Empire in India. During the late 19th century, several of the regiments in the Bengal Army were disbanded due to their participation in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Subsequently the British Empire took control over the British East India Company and the three Presidency Armies, namely the Bengal Army, the Madras Army and the Bombay Army. The 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry officially became a part of the British Indian Army in the year 1862.
The army battalion was formally authorized to receive the battle honours of the dissolved regiment of the 19th Light Dragoons. The 19th Royal Hussars regiment participated in the conquest to Egypt in the year 1882, the Sudan expedition from 1884 to 1885 and also fought at Tel el Kebir. The unit also took part in the Siege of Ladysmith in the South African War. Later it was re-designated as the 19th (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own) Hussars and was eventually known as the 19th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Hussars.
During the First World War, the 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry regiment was segregated and some units were attached as divisional cavalry squadrons the 4th Infantry Division, 5th Infantry Division and 6th Infantry Division. The battalion was united again in the year 1915 and was consequently amalgamated with the 9th Cavalry Brigade 1st Cavalry Division. The 1st Bengal Light Cavalry took part in the Battle of Flers Courcelette in 1916 and in the Battle of Cambrai in the year 1917 and the Battle of Amiens in 1918.
Dissolution of 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry
Later in 1921, the regiment was renamed as the 19th Royal Hussars (Queen Alexandra's Own). The unit was dissolved after the War as part of reducing of army forces. The next year, a small unit was shortly revived to unify with the regiment of 15th The King's Hussars in order to establish the 15th/19th Hussars.
Battle Honours of 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry
The 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry regiment was awarded several battle honours including Mysore, Tel-el-Kebir, Niagara, Assaye, Egypt (1882), Defence of Ladysmith, Seringapatam, Nile (1884 to 1885), South Africa (1899 to 1902), Abu Klea, Bapaume (1918), Bellewaarde, Ypres (1915), Flers Courcelette, Frezenberg, Amiens, Cambrai (1917) and others.
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