Governor General's Bodyguard

Governor General's Bodyguard

::"For the Canadian regiment of the same name, see Governor General's Body Guard"Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Governor General's Bodyguard

dates= 1773 - 1950
country= India
allegiance= British Indian Army
branch= Cavalry
Past Commanders=
battles=French invasion of Egypt (1798)
campaign to seize Java
First Burmese War
Gwalior War
First Anglo-Sikh War
Third Burmese War
North-West Frontier
World War I
World War II

The Governor General's Bodyguard was a cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army. The regiment was, in effect, the Indian equivalent of the Household Cavalry of the British Army.


The regiment was first formed in 1773 as the Governor's Troop of Moghuls for the first Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings.

The regiment saw extensive service. In 1801 the regiment took part in the Egyptian campaign that removed a French force that had invaded Egypt. In 1811 the regiment was involved in the campaign to seize Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) from the Dutch, which was successfully achieved -- Java and other Dutch territories were not returned to the Dutch until 1816, after the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1824 the First Burmese War began and the regiment took part in that conflict, winning the battle honour "Ava".

The regiment saw service in the 'Gwalior War of 1843, fighting at the Battle of Mahrajapore (29 December) that saw a British victory against the Mahrattas -- Gwalior was effectively taken over by the British. The regiment saw extensive service in the First Sikh War in 1845 -- this war saw the most battle honours awarded to the regiment in a single campaign. It was involved in the first engagement of that conflict, at mudki(moodkee), where the regiment's commanding officer (CO), Lieutenant Charles Digby Dawkins, was killed. The regiment took part in the subsequent battles of the war; at Ferozeshah, Aliwal, and the last battle of the war -- Sobraon.

Transfer to the Crown

In 1858 -- when the Earl Canning became the first Viceroy of India due to India being transferred from British East India Company-rule to the British Crown, signifying the creation of the British Raj -- the regiment also became formally known as the Viceroy's Bodyguard. In 1885 the Third Burmese War -- the last war between the British and Burmese -- began and the regiment participated in it. In 1893, William Riddell Birdwood (later WWI General and 1st Baron Birdwood) became the Master Adjutant of the regiment, seeing service in a number of North-West Frontier expeditions, with his home (regimental) base in Dehradun.

World War I

The First World War began in 1914; the British Empire, France and their allies were at war with Germany and its allies. Men of the regiment deployed to the Middle East in the fight against the Ottoman Empire -- allied with Germany -- seeing service in Mesopotamia (now Iraq).

World War II

The Second World War began in 1939 and the Allies were at war with Germany once again. In 1944 the regiment became a mechanised regiment, though retained a ceremonial mounted squadron. The regiment subsequently re-roled as an airborne unit and joined the 44th Indian Airborne Division, being renamed the 44th Indian Airborne Division Reconnaissance Squadron (Governor General's Bodyguard) -- it would retain the name until sometime after the war when it reverted to its former name.


In 1947, India gained its independence; partition of that country saw the country of Pakistan established and Muslim personnel from the regiment were transferred to the Pakistani Army to form the President's Bodyguard; the rest of the regiment remained with the Indian Army as the President's Bodyguard upon India proclaiming itself a republic in 1950.

Battle honours

Java, Ava, Mahrajapore, Moodkee, Ferozeshah, Aliwal, Sobraon

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