OC's 2004 Annual ReportOfficer Commanding: Captain R G Howe
The Light Cavalry was re-formed as a ceremonial sub-unit in 1979 and our Squadron is formed of three troops, Dismounted, Mounted and a Transport and Driving Troop. Our equestrian headquarters are in Windsor Park, where we have stabling, a magnificent covered riding school and the opportunity to ride in Windsor Great Park.
The aim of the Light Cavalry is to recruit to the Active Unit and we have been particularly successful over the years in attracting young men and women to the ranks of the HAC. We do this by promoting the name of the Company, via military equitation, with mounted (and dismounted) duties.
In January we provided a mounted escort to the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's racehorses for a charitable event at Ascot racecourse - 'The Queen Mother Memorial Fund'. In February we were pleased to provide a small mounted guard at the HAC marquee at Sandown Park for the Grand Military Gold Cup day.
April 20th was the most important day for us since we were re-established. To mark our Silver Jubilee our Captain-General inspected us at Windsor Park and presented us with a Royal Warrant. A great day indeed, and the day on which we said farewell to Philip Wright, who stepped down as Squadron Serjeant Major after 25 years' service
At the request of HRH The Princess Royal we provided dismounted stewards and a mounted escort to the prizewinners at the Windsor Three Day Event, of which Her Royal Highness is President. In June and July we attended upon our Captain-General at Smiths Lawn on three occasions, providing dismounted and mounted guards at polo matches. In August there was a display of skill- at-arms at an agricultural show and September saw the HAC represented, via the Light Cavalry, at Lingfield Park in support of the Army Benevolent Fund, and at Hurst Park for BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association).
In late September we provided a dismounted guard for the celebrations at Smithfield Market at the request of the Worshipful Company of Butchers. October saw the 27th HAC Uniformed Services Show at the King's Troop RHA, St John's Wood, an event now organised by the Light Cavalry. This attracts riders from the UK and Europe, both Regular and Reserve, and from as far afield as Canada. Our own Equitation Instructor, Sgt Paul Allison, was amongst the medals in two of the classes. And perhaps to prove that we still have it in us, the Light Cavalry team won the military section of the Foxcote Team Chase, beating such worthy rivals as the Household Cavalry and the King's Troop.
This brings us round to November 2004, with a dismounted guard for the Lord Mayor Treloar event at the Mansion House; and on November 13th the largest ever contingent of mounted and dismounted men turned out for our Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress with a dismounted guard at the Law Courts and mounted escort for the Lady Mayoress's carriage. 2004 also saw us working even more closely with our Active Unit. We were pleased to welcome wives, girlfriends and other family members to come and ride with us at Windsor - bringing the HAC families together whilst their men were on active duty in Iraq.
A very full year! And it's important to note that every time the Light Cavalry parades, appropriate commentary is provided to the organisers of the event to ensure that we achieve coverage for the Regiment. No matter whether it is a hundred or so diners at a livery company dinner or thirty thousand spectators at the Cartier Polo Championships, the recruiting drive continues apace.
We in the Light Cavalry have all served as Regulars or Reservists in the armed services, or in the police service, and are proud to be part of one of the Company's two ceremonial sub-units. Of course, we recognise how difficult it is to recruit; especially now in the aftermath of the Iraq conflict. It was difficult enough when 1 was the HAC Recruiting Officer in the 70s. We know that it is far harder now.
In 2005 we are continuing to progress with military equitation - giving displays, providing guards and running cavalry courses at Flemish Farm where we already have a number of affiliated units - including the Inns of Court & City Yeomanry, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, the Berkshire Yeomanry and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. Our side-saddle section for the ladies had their first session of 2005 on January 28th and the driving course is now under way ... another very busy year ahead.
The entire enterprise is to further our efforts on behalf of the Active Unit. We must have a wide spectrum of activities in order to generate the revenue required to keep the whole thing going. As we receive no grant, it is up to us in the Light Cavalry to find the necessary £10,000 per month. It is a very challenging but extremely worthwhile endeavour, and we are all keen to continue the work of Roy Sanders, who stepped down as OC in July 2004, and who was instrumental in establishing the wonderful facilities that we enjoy at Windsor.
R G Howe