HAC Journal article, Autumn 2004

Light Cavalry Appointments
OC R G Howe
21C J W M Page
Adjutant C H Robinson
Remount Officer S H Waters

Elsewhere is a report of the Review by the Captain‑General, which naturally took up most of our time and thoughts in the earlier part of this year. Seldom has a sub‑unit of any Regiment been inspected thus. The only other that springs to mind is the Riding Troop RHA, now the King's Troop, when inspected by Her Majesty's father, HM King George VI.

On Parade
The turnout was impeccable. Dougie Mann would have won the prize for 'Best Turned Out Troop Horse' until it was discovered that the horse had been produced for him by a professional showing groom, and the bridle, which glowed, had been achieved by giving two twenty‑pound notes to a young gunner at the King's Troop. Well tried, Dougie; that's the spirit!

Two pairs of glass‑like riding boots particularly caught the eye: those of Alan Willis, a mounted Light Cavalrymen, and in real life RSWO of the Sig Sqn; and those of Cpl Mike Aston, which had a comparable shine, as you'd expect from an ex-­member of 3 RHA. It was commented that the shiny boot is something that only the Orderly Officer sees early on in the day, and once the boots have been banged against a neighbour's sword, sabretache or stirrup iron they are 'for nothing'. Likewise, two full dress outings with only two days in between somewhat test the re‑polishing endeavour; angry wives were heard to complain of black and brown polish all over the kitchen table.

The Show season is now in full swing, with duties, both mounted and dismounted, at the Windsor Horse Trials in May, and three polo guards at Smith's Lawn, culminating in the Cartier Polo Championship in July. One or two horses need more training in 'standing still', and the numbers turning out for the earliest parade were disappointing. However, it was pleasing to be told by the announcer that we were the oldest Cavalry unit in the British Army. Thank God the Household Cavalry were not on parade that day.

The Cartier Championship at Smith’s Lawn produced a good turnout of thirteen horses. Eight dismounted gentlemem, manning the Royal Box, did not go unnoticed by members of the Royal Family, who were profuse in their thanks for their long and onerous duty.

We now have a new leader, Capt Reg Howe. Also a Royal Warrant, putting us on a comparable footing with the Pikes. Meanwhile, Pikeman Roy Sanders has been returned, as it were, to that august body "from whence we have hath loan of his body, substance, and service these several years past, thanks be to Almighty God" (I'm sure that is how they would say it!).

Dismounted duties, lining entrances or staircases at Livery Halls and other City functions, continue, and it is a pleasure to see increasing participation in these events by those who more often prefer to sit on a horse. An hour of gazing down the décolletage of the lady guests, some of whom are inclined to give the immobile, grim-v­isaged warriors a conspiratorial wink, or even smile, and occasionally a kindly word, does much to pass the time and heighten the pleasure of doing duty for the Regiment. Likewise, generous refreshment afterwards, if supplied, is of course always welcome.

A small duty finding a guard for visiting members of the legal profession at Armoury House, organised by Col Brian Kay, a former Commander, was rather larger than we expected. The presence of 'Explosive Dogs' and handlers and several Armani‑suited gents with things in their ears told us that someone important was coming. It was not the Captain‑General, who only has two minders. Security does not allow me to reveal the identity, but a small boy, who told us his name was Leo Blair, much enjoyed a visit to the Cavalry Stores, where he handled a sword. Some of the guests failed the Armoury House dress code, and the run on loaned Light Cavalry ties was considerable.

The Annual Dinner on 15th July was an outstanding success, with a large number of distinguished guests and their ladies. Most importantly for us was the presence of Alderman Michael Savory, the likely next Lord Mayor, and Fiona Savory, whose carriage will be escorted by the Mounted Troop. Mrs Savory replied eloquently on behalf of the guests, and we look forward to seeing her again in November.

At our rifle meeting at Bisley in August we fired the muzzle loading P52 replica, a percussion cap weapon in service more than one hundred and fifty years ago, generously supplied by Sandy Rogers. It is totally untrue that he was actually issued with this or a similar weapon when he served on the North West Frontier. The flintlock cavalry pistol was also fired; on the basis of the performance shown, it is thought that duelling would have been pretty safe. The .303 No 3 service rifle, together with the 7.62 rifle, were the main weapons of the day and good practice was made by all, the all‑round best shot being Keith O'Callaghan. For those who have not attended these meetings, it is a rare opportunity to fire live rounds from a variety of weapons. A pleasant day out was had by all, and our thanks must go to David Jeffcoat for again organising the event.

The tent pegging team have been making names for themselves at various venues, and the Cross Country Team will be risking their necks over the hedges at Foxcote, just off the A40, on 31st October.

Recruiting goes on apace; we shall soon achieve our Royal Warrant quota if we are not careful, with a lot of enquiries from the Active Unit. Our most distinguished 'recruit’, Maj Roy Sanders, Vice‑President of the Court, has rejoined as a Tpr. Hasn't he had enough? Also, Lt Col Simon Garrett has been allowed to sign up as a Tpr. We only take the very finest! Furthermore, the new Remount Officer seems to have an endless supply of horses to be tested for parade‑worthiness and has declared that “’A’ Squadron will be grey and 'B' Squadron will be bay". The appointment seems to have gone to his head!

Make much of your horses.

Note: Pictures of some of these activities can be found in the Photo Galleries on the Light Cavalry website.

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