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The 2nd Queen's Dragoon Guards (Queens Bays)
The 2nd Queen's Dragoon Guards (The Queens Bays) were first raised in 1685 by King James II.
In the Great War The Queens Bays formed a part of the original British Expeditionary Force ('The Old Contemptibles') and were heavily engaged throughout the War in France and Flanders. Seeing action in all the major battles; the Retreat from Mons, Le Cateau, the battle of the Marne, Messines, Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, Cambrai, the Scarpe, and in the final victorious advance of 1918 including their successful chase of the German cavalry at Montigny-les-Lens on the last day of the Great War.
14th Aug 1914 The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) depart from Aldershot, marching to Farnborough station to entrain for Southampton.
15th Aug 1914 The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) arrived at Southampton Docks and embarked for Le Harve on the SS Minneapolis.
16th Aug 1914 The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) disembarked at Le Harve from the SS Minneapolis, having spent the night anchored in the bay. The horses were stabled in a large store at the docks until noon, then the regiment moved to a large cotton store near the railway. The men spent most of the morning conversing with French soldiers who were guarding the docks.
17th Aug 1914 The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) having spent the night in a large cotton store near the railway, underwent exercise and grazed the horses by the coast. That evening Headquarters mess dined aboard the Dieppe of the Newhaven-Dieppe line, which was engaged in bringing ammunition across from Newhaven. A Squadron left at 9pm to entrain for the concentration area.
18th Aug 1914 The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) left cotton store near the railway, with Headquarters minus the Machine Gun section departing just after midnight with ‘C’ Squadron and MG section following at 3:30am. They gathered at point ‘S’ entraining place, where there was an hour's wait to entrain then a further three hours before departing. They enjoyed a breakfast of hard boiled eggs, jam and tea and had a good wash in buckets beside the train before leaving at 8:15am for the concentration area. They traveled via Rouen where they stopped to water and feed the horses, and the men had hot coffee made by the French soldiers. The train moved slowly with frequent stops where the locals handed over flowers and cigarettes. They traveled via Amiens and Busigny to Mauberge on the Belgian frontier.
23rd May 1915 “We have had a terrible time this last ten days. Thirty of my chums were killed in one day and a lot wounded. The General said it was the worst shell fire since the beginning of the war. Only yesterday we were in the trenches and a bullet hit my chum in the head. I had to bury him in a wood. We made a little wooden cross out of an old box. He was not a married man, but a lot of the others were. We had a message of praise from two or three Generals, praising us on the way we held the trenches against the Germans. I am going to the trenches again to-night; we shall be in them five days.”
An extract from a letter written 23rd May 1915 by D/3565 Private William Angell, 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays), published in The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette on 29th May.Can you add to this factual information? Do you know the whereabouts of this unit on a particular day? Which battles they took part in? Or any other interesting snipts?
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Those known to have served with The 2nd Queen's Dragoon Guards (Queens Bays) during the Great War 1914-1918.
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