The 3 main presidency armies, namely the Bengal Army, the Bombay Army and the Madras Army were merged to form the United British Indian Army in 1903. The 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry was also known as the 7th Light Cavalry. The unit was stationed on the North West Frontier and also served during the First World War and the Second World War.
History of 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry
The army unit was created in the year 1784 as the 2nd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry. Initially the troops were hired by the East India Company from the Nawab of Arcot. After these units rebelled due to lack of payment, John Company was compelled to pacify the mutiny. All the regiments that participated in the mutiny were dissolved. Later volunteers raised the 2nd Madras Cavalry from the remnants. The newly formed regiment later changed its title to the 3rd Madras Native Cavalry.
During the initial years, the regiment had the official uniform of red coats with green facings and gold lace. In the year 1814, the formal dress was modified to dark blue with orange facings. Later, under an instruction by a general order in 1817, the uniform of all regular native cavalry in the service of the HEIC was altered to French grey (a light blue - grey colour). This uniform was maintained as the full dress coat colour by the 7th Light Cavalry until the year 1914.
Military Operations of 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry
The 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry first fought against Tipu Sultan in the Third Mysore War in the year 1790. Later in 1799, the unit provided military service in the Fourth Mysore War and also participated in the Battle of Seringapatam. The 7th Light Cavalry also fought in the Pindari War and served at the Battle of Mahidpur in the year 1817. Eventually the battalion was re-designated as the 3rd Madras Light Cavalry. The regiment was honoured with battle honors Mahidipore, Mysore and Seringapatam for their loyal services.
During the next 100 years, the troops of the 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry operated only in the mall military operations against the southern Mahrattas from the year 1844 to 1855. Moreover, a part of the troops were sent to unite with the Decan force during Great Revolt of 1857. The regiment was converted to Lancers in 1891 and was renamed as the 3rd Regiment of Madras Lancers. During the re-structuring of the British Indian Army in the year 1903, their designation was altered to the 28th Light Cavalry.
During the commencement of the First World War, the 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry was sent to Quetta as a part of the 4th (Quetta) Division. After the Russian Revolution, the army unit was sent to Russia in the year 1917 to provide support to the White Russian forces in order to fight against the Bolsheviks. The 28th Light Cavalry was awarded the battle honors Merv and Persia 1915 for their distinguished services during the First World War. During the restructuring of the army in the year 1922, the company was re-designated as The 7th Light Cavalry. In the following year, with the beginning of the British Indian Army Officer Corps, the squadron officers were substituted by Indian officers and were identified as Viceroy's Commissioned Officers (VCOs).
During the Second World War, the military battalion was sent to Bolarum as a part of the 4th (Secunderabad) Cavalry Brigade. The unit was grouped with the 4th Cavalry Brigade Signal Troop, 3rd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry and the 14th/20th Hussars. In the year 1942, the regiment was mechanized and was joined with the 254th Indian Tank Brigade. Under the authority of Brigadier Reginald Scoones, the brigade included the 150th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps; 11th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force); 3rd Battalion, 4th Bombay Grenadiers; 1st Squadron 3rd Carabiniers; and the 7th Light Cavalry.
The Army unit was unified with the 7th Indian Infantry Divisions in Burma and the 5th Indian Division. It later participated in the Battle of Kyaukmaung Bridgehead, the Battle of Imphal, the Rangoon Road and the Battle of Meiktila.
Development of 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry
After the nation acquired independence and the partition of India in the year 1947, the nation was divided in the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. Consequently, the regiments of the British Indian Army were divided amongst the 2 newly independent nations. The 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry was allocated to the modern Indian Army and was titled as the 7th Regiment of Light Cavalry.
Designations of 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry
The 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry comprised of many designations through out its existence in the British Indian Army. These are mentioned as follows -
* 2nd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry - 1784
* 1st Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry - 1786
* 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Cavalry - 1788
* 3rd Regiment of Madras Light Cavalry - 1819
* 3rd Regiment of Madras Lancers - 1891
* 28th Light Cavalry - 1903
* 7th Light Cavalry - 1922
* 7th Regiment of Light Cavalry - 1947