1st King’s Dragoon Guards

Slow March Mercadante
Quick March The Radetsky March

The Queen’s Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards)

Slow March The Queen’s Bays or Rusty Buckles
Quick March The Queen’s Bays or Rusty Buckles

1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards

Slow March The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (Mercadante & The Queen’s Bays)
Quick March Radetsky & Rusty Buckles.

Radetzky March

The regimental quick march of the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards. This famous march was composed in 1848 by Johann Strauss (Senior), father of the renowned Waltz King.
He dedicated it to Field-Marshall Radetsky, and it later became the march-past of a crack Austrian cavalry corps named the Radetsky Hussars.
When, in the middle of the 19th century, an Austrian named Schramm became Bandmaster of the KDG he introduced the tune as being a very suitable Regimental March for the English cavalry regiment of whose band he had been given charge. He served from 1848 to 1874

The march gained an even stronger link with the regiment when, in 1896 the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria became the Colonel-in ‘Chief of the King’s Dragoon Guards, and it was he who gave permission for the regiment to adopt as its badge the Austrian Double-Headed Eagle-retained as the badge of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards.

Rusty Buckles

The regimental quick march of the Queen’s Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards). Published in 1952, it is a quickstep adaptation of the Regimental Slow March.
The regimental nickname-‘Rusty Buckles’- originated in the 18th century when at a parade shortly after the regiment returned to England from Ireland it had steel buckles on its saddlery and harness, whereas all other cavalry regiments had changed to brass. Steel buckles were liable to become rusty in wet or damp weather- hence the nickname.

Regimental Slow March

The Regimental Slow March of the King’s Dragoon Guards. The themes on which the march is based come from an opera by the Italian composer Mercadante who died at Naples in 1870. Though now almost entirely forgotten, several of his 60 operas were regularly staged in most European capitals during the period 1820-1870. They were especially successful in Vienna, and it is possible that Bandmaster Schramm who introduced ‘The Radetzky March’ was also responsible for selecting and adapting the Mercadante material.

The Regimental Slow March of the Queen’s Bays was composed for the regiment by Charles Cousins who was Bandmaster of the Queen’s Bays from 1863-1874 in which year he became Director of Music at the Royal Military School of Music, a position he held until 1890 when he died at Twickenham.
Within the regiment the march became known under the unofficial title of ‘Rusty Buckles’-a title, which became official in connection with a quickstep adaptation of the march published many years later.
When the regimental slow march was played at a ceremonial parade in Egypt in 1895, the Sirdar (Lord Kitchener) took a fancy to it and endeavored to obtain the march for the Egyptian Cavalry, but the Commanding Officer of the Queen’s Bays objected to the proposal.

The Soldiers Chorus

Formerly and for many years- the Queen’s Bays (in Common with several other cavalry regiments) marched past on dismounted parades to an arrangement of ‘The Soldiers Chorus’ from Gounod’s opera ‘Faust’ which was first staged in this country in 1863, four years after its initial production in Paris.


Quick March composed by Johann Nowotny, an Austrian Military Bandmaster who died in 1897.
It found its way into the march repertoire of the British Army bands at the turn of the century, and up to the outbreak of World War 1. It was regularly played at the conclusion of the programme of music on Officers Dinner Nights in the King’s Dragoon Guards in honour of the Colonel-in Chief of the regiment-the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria.

Radetzky March – Rusty Buckles

The Regimental Quick March of the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards a regiment formed in 1959 by the amalgamation of the King’s Dragoon Guards and the Queen’s Bays.