Post Second World War Conflicts 1945 to Present Day

In 1945 the KDG were based in the Middle East to keep the peace in Lebanon and Syria. In September they moved to Palestine in aid of the civil power and returned to Britain in 1948. After the war the Bays remained in Northern Italy and returned to Britain in 1947. In 1956 the KDGs were ordered to Malaya where they served throughout the Emergency in a number of roles including internal security, riot control and escort duties.

A KDG Daimler armoured car on operations in Malaya

On November the 1st 1958 the Queen’s Bays paraded for the last time and were reviewed by their Colonel-in Chief, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

KDG and Bays were Amalgamated On 1st January 1959 to Form QDG

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the first Colonel-in-Chief of the QDG, reviews the new regiment on amalgamation in 1959

After the amalgamation of the KDG and Bays in 1959, the newly formed 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDG) moved to Wolfenbuttel in Germany, a strategic position close to the East German Border, as one of the armoured car regiments of the 1st British Corps.

After 6 years in Germany the Regiment moved to Omagh in Northern Ireland for a brief period before being placed on standby to send a squadron to Cyprus to support the United Nations, as well as sending troops to Borneo. QDG then moved to Aden where it again saw active service in the reconnaissance role from August 1966 to 1967. During this period one squadron was detached to Sharjah on the Persian Gulf. The Regiment was involved in: the defence of and eventual withdrawal from outposts in the mountainous hinterland close to the Yemen Border; combating rioters; and suppressing the mutiny of the local police.

Patrolling Crater in Aden with the Northumberland Fusiliers

In January 1970 the Regiment was posted to Catterick Camp in Yorkshire where it became the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment and provided an armoured squadron for the Berlin Brigade. After two years in Catterick the QDG moved to Hohne, Germany as an armoured regiment equipped with the Chieftain main battle tank where it served for the next eight years. It took part in many Cold War deterrent exercises across North Germany, as well as deploying to Northern Ireland to serve in the anti-terrorism role. In November 1980, after nearly eight years in Germany, the Regiment moved to Lisanelly Barracks, Omagh, Northern Ireland. Here the QDG operated in an infantry role assisting the Royal Ulster Constabulary in combating terrorism in the Province. During this two year tour the Regiment was mainly responsible for County Tyrone but also operated in parts of Fermanagh and Armagh.

In November 1982 the Regiment returned to England to Carver Barracks in Wimbish, Essex. Its role once again reverted to armoured reconnaissance equipped with the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) family of vehicles. These were mainly Scorpion and Scimitar, with ‘D’ Squadron equipped with Striker.

Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) Scimitar

In February 1983 ‘C’ Squadron was sent to Cyprus to undertake a six month tour as the Scout Car Squadron of the United Nations Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Here they patrolled the green line or buffer zone between the Turkish occupied north and Greek controlled south, as shown on the map below. Whilst in Cyprus, and at short notice, a large element of the squadron was sent to Beirut in the Lebanon to form the British contingent of the Multinational Peace Keeping Force. ‘C’ Squadron were later relieved by ‘A’ Squadron, who witnessed some of the worst fighting there. In subsequent years both ‘B’ and ‘D’ Squadron fulfilled the UN Scout Car role in Cyprus.

Map of Cyprus showing the green line denoting the buffer zone between the Greeks and Turks

In 1985 the Regiment celebrated its Tercentenary (300 years) with a parade held that June on the airfield of Carver Barracks, a former RAF base. The salute was taken by the Colonel-in-Chief, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In February 1987 the Queen Mother held a reception at Clarence House to mark her fiftieth anniversary as Colonel-in-Chief of the Bays and the QDG. Later that year the Regiment moved from Wimbish and returned to Wolfenbuttel where they formed a part of the 1st Armoured Division in the same reconnaissance role in which they had been employed on their previous tour based in this Lower Saxon town.  The Inner German Border that divided the Eastern Bloc off from the rest of Europe was only a few miles away and as the Cold War was at its height, time was spent patrolling the border and practising for the defence of West Germany in the event of an attack by the Warsaw Pact forces.  Long periods of time was spent on large British Army of the Rhine exercises, but there was time for sport, adventurous training and enjoying life in Germany.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 was a great shock and was the moment the world changed.  Members of the Regiment were amongst the first non-Germans to drive through the old Inner German Border and visit towns in East Germany. For many it seemed like another world, it was extraordinary to be paying for coffee and cake in East German Marks and sit as Russian soldiers walked by just yards away.

A Squadron Scimitar flying the Welsh Dragon in action in the First Gulf War 1991

Events soon illustrated how different life would be.  On 2 August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and a UN authorised coalition was deployed, initially to defend Saudi Arabia and then to evict Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.  ‘A’ Squadron was to support the British force, initially 7th Armoured Brigade, and there was intense activity as CVR(T)s were painted desert yellow for the first time. ‘A’ Squadron was amongst the first British units deployed to Saudi Arabia on Operation GRANBY in September 1990.  Soon, the British Government increased the force to the 1st (UK) Armoured Division and by the time the ground offensive started on 24th February 1991 over half the Regiment had deployed. A large number reinforced the 16th/5th Queen’s Royal Lancers and others formed a new Chemical Reconnaissance Troop mounted on German Fuchs specialist vehicles. During the ground war A Squadron led 7th Armoured Brigade into Kuwait.

After the First Gulf War ended the Regiment moved to Assaye Barracks at Tidworth in Hampshire. ‘C’ Squadron undertook the reconnaissance squadron role in the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Mobile Force (LAND) in which they undertook exercises in Norway. The QDG also sent a composite Squadron in support of 1 RRF in Northern Ireland. In the summer of 1991 the Government announced Options for Change and the QDG were one of only three Cavalry Regiments to survive amalgamation along with the SCOTS DG and the 9/12th Lancers. The Regiment then re-roled to the Challenger tank and moved to Athlone Barracks in Sennelager, Germany in September 1992. During their initial period in Sennelager QDG undertook battle group training exercises on the prairies of Alberta Canada where they were supported by all arms groupings including armoured infantry, artillery, engineers and the Army Air Corps. As part of the NATO force (IFOR) the Regiment spent a six month tour in Bosnia and Croatia, the QDG commitment consisted of two armoured squadrons (‘C’ and ‘D’ Squadrons) and RHQ forming the lead regiment in an armoured battlegroup. ‘B’ Squadron was also deployed as a mechanised infantry company with the Royal Green Jackets equipped with Saxon armoured vehicles.

Challenger 1 MBT Patrol

Just after their return to Germany, the QDG undertook one more exercise in Canada and then deployed to Northern Ireland. In 1998 the Regiment was tasked to cover the troubles in Belfast during the famous Drumcree stand-off. In August 1998, after a 26 year absence, the QDG returned to Cambrai Barracks in Catterick and a year later the Regiment deployed to Kosovo for a six month tour. The initial deployment for this included one armoured squadron (‘A’ Squadron) and one light role squadron (‘B’ Squadron). ‘C’ Squadron was deployed in the light role in January 2000 for six weeks. In the year 2000 the QDG re-roled back from armour to formation reconnaissance and later that year participated in the 100th birthday celebration of its then Colonel in Chief, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The Regiment went on to commit two squadrons to further operations in Bosnia in 2001 and 2002; both had successful tours with their parent infantry battle groups. They were primarily involved in locating and seizing illegally held weapons, detaining war criminals and assisting in the maintenance of the ceasefire. In 2001 B Squadron and Regimental Headquarters were deployed to south west England to tackle the foot and mouth disease epidemic. In the summer of 2001 the QDG exercised its right to march through the streets of Cardiff. For the first time snipers and forward air controllers were included in the QDG order of battle.