- 1st Duke of York's Own Skinner's Horse
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=1st Duke of York's Own Lancers (Skinner's Horse)
dates= 1803 - 1946
British Indian Army
George VI of the United Kingdom
1937 - 1950
nickname= Yellow Boys
battles=First Afghan War
Battle of Ghazni Battle of Jellalabad Battle of Kabul (1842) Bhurtpore1842
First Sikh War
Battle of Moodkee Battle of Ferozeshah Battle of Aliwal Battle of Sobraon
Second Sikh War
Battle of Ramnagar Battle of Chillianwallah Battle of Gujrat
Second Afghan War
Kandahar1878 - 80 Afghanistan1878
Battle of Peking
World War I
Franceand Flanders Defence of Gumboz
World War II
East African Campaign Battle of Keren Amba Alagi Western Desert Campaign Agordat
Senio Flood Bank Italian Campaign
The 1st Duke of York's Own Lancers (Skinner's Horse) was originally raised in 1803 as Skinner’s Horse by
James Skinner(Sikander Sahib) as an irregular cavalry regiment in the service of the Honourable East India Company, the regiment became (and remains) the senior cavalry regiment of the Indian Army.
There were two regiments of Indian Cavalry raised by Colonel James Skinner in 1803. They became the
1st Bengal Lancersand the 3rd Skinner's Horse. On the reduction of the Indian Army in 1922, they were amalgamated and became Skinner's Horse (1st Duke of York's Own Cavalry). The old 1st Lancers wore yellow uniforms (unique in the world) and the old 3rd wore blue. Each regiment had the full-dress (mounted) long ' Kurta' worn with a turbanand cummerbund, also a full-dress (dis-mounted) or levee, dress. These were not in general use after 1914 (but could still be worn by officers on special assignments (e.g. as an Aide-de-camp). The mess jacket and waistcoat of the old 1st Bengal Lancers was adopted by the 1922 regiment of Skinner's Horse and was the cold weather mess dress until 1939. All six of these uniforms are in the collection of the National Army Museumat Sandhurst.
After formation in 1803 the regiment was involved in a number of the campaigns on the Asian sub-continent, notably the
First Afghan War, the Second Afghan War, the First Sikh Warand the Second Sikh War. It was first sent overseas during the Boxer Rebellionand participated in the Battle of Peking.
World War I
The regiment was at Meerut when the World War I broke out. The regiment was a part of the
7th (Ambala) Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. The brigade received orders to mobilise on October 24, 1914. The regiment was in France till August 1916. It saw extensive action in many parts of France. It was awarded the battle honours France and Flanders for its fine performance. They were sent to Mesopotamia as a part of the 7th Meerut Cavalry Brigade Headquarters. The regiment was then ordered back to India where it concentrated in Rawalpindi in August, 1916 for operations in Afghanistan. [cite web|title=global security|url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/skinners-horse.htm] A detachment of the regiment was tasked to guard the post at Gumboz.
Between the Wars
After World War I, the British Indian Army was scaled down, on May 18, 1921, two regiments were amalgamated at Sialkot there new title was now the 1st Duke of York’s Own Skinner’s Horse. [cite web|title=global security|url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/skinners-horse.htm] The
1st Duke of York’s Own Lancerswhich had been comprised only of Muslims and the 3rd Skinner’s Horseconsisted of one squadron each of Sikhs, Jats, Rajputs and Rangars (Muslim Rajputs). After the amalgamation, the regiment would only consist of only three Squadrons: Rajputs, Rangars and Jats. The Sikh Squadron, which formed part of the 3rd Skinner’s Horse for 72 years, was disbanded. [cite web|title=global security|url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/skinners-horse.htm]
Each of the Squadrons was equipped with one
Hotchkiss gunand with the .303 Short Magazine Lee Enfield rifle. The machine gun troops of the Headquarters Squadron were equipped with the .303 Vickers machine gun. The regiment acquired the status of a regular force of the British Indian Army and was equipped with the latest weapons which helped in later campaigns across the globe. [cite web|title=global security|url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/skinners-horse.htm]
World War II
At the beginning of World War II the regiment was still mounted, but was quickly converted to act as a mechanised reconnaissance regiment and was attached to the
5th Indian Division, as well to Gazelle Force; the 4th Indian Division; the British 10th Armoured Division; the 3rd Indian Motor Brigadeand the 10th Indian Division. The regiment fought in North Africa and Italy, and was awarded battle honours for Agordat, Keren, Amba-Alagi, Abyssinia, Senio Flood Bank and Italy. [cite web|title=global security|url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/skinners-horse.htm]
Post World War II
The regiment was switched to tanks in 1946, receiving the
Stuart tank, and a year later Churchill's. In 1947 with Indian Independence the regiment had its first Indian commander, Lt Col RM Bilimoria, and was stationed at Ahmadnagar. The regiment took part in the Hyderabad Police Action in 1948, following which action it stopped the use of Stuart tanks. The Churchill tank remain in use until 1957, after which the regiment was equipped with Sherman Mk IV's. Eight years later in 1965 the regiment converted to the T-54 and then to the T-55. In 1979 the regiment converted to the T-72tank.
Like all regiments of the Indian Army, the 1st Duke of York’s Own Lancers (Skinner’s Horse) underwent many name changes in there history.
*1823 1st (Skinner’s) Local Horse
*1840 1st Irregular Cavalry (Skinner’s Horse)
*1861 1st Regt. of Bengal Cavalry
*1896 1st Regt. of Bengal Lancers
*1899 1st (The Duke of York’s Own) Regiment of Bengal Lancers
*1901 1st (Duke of York’s Own) Bengal Lancers (Skinner’s Horse)
*1903 1st Duke of York’s Own Lancers (Skinner’s Horse).
*1921 1st Duke of York's Own Skinner's Horse
*Sikandar Sahib by Denis Holman
*Skinner's Horse by Christopher Rothero
*Sworn to Die by Lt-Col M A R Skinner
*A Short History of the 1st Duke of York's Own Lancers (Skinner's Horse),(1803 - 1908) by Major H Roberts
* Chris Kempton. "The Register of Titles of the Units of the HEIC and Indian Armies 1666 to 1947."
* J. Baillie Fraser (editor): "Military Memoir of Lieut. Col. James Skinner."
*cite web|url=http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/indiancavalry/skinners.htm |title=Land Forces of the British Empire: 1st Bengal Lancers (Skinner's Horse) |accessdate=2007-08-31 |accessdaymonth=|accessmonthday=|accessyear= |author=|last=Luscombe |first=Stephen |authorlink= |coauthors=Griffin, Charles |date=|year=|month=|format=|work=|publisher=|pages=|language=|doi=|archiveurl=|archivedate=|quote=
Follow this link to view the uniforms of the late 19th Century
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