5th Dragoon Guards

Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Baden-Powell
Commanding Officer
5th Dragoon Guards
India, 1897

From: Baden-Powell, Lessons from the Varsity of Life, 1933:

…. I had been awarded a Brevet Lieutenant-Colonelcy for the Ashanti campaign and a further Brevet of full Colonel for the Matabele campaign so although I figured as Major in the Regiment, below the Lieut.-Colonel in Command and the Senior Major, Second in Command, I was actually senior to both of these in rank, which was a bit of an anomaly.
This had not occurred to me until the Colonel sent for me one day and informed me I was appointed to command the 5th Dragoon Guards….

     My bombshells been falling on me in rather rapid succession. No sooner had I got home from Ashanti than I was ordered to Matabeleland, and now I was barely settled at home again when I had this order to go out to India.
     …. I was told that my services with the 5th were urgently required, and I must go at once, but so soon as I had got matters straight there I could ask for as much leave as I wanted.
     So off I went.
     I soon found after arrival at Meerut that with the excellent lot of officers and non-commissioned officers I should have no difficulty in having the Regiment in tip-top order, so soon as I got to know them and they me.
     There is no job on earth, that I know of, as delightful as that of Colonel of a Regiment, especially if, as it was with me under Sir Bindon Blood, your General is sympathetic to your fads.
     I found in both officers and men a most responsive team of keen soldiers and between us we took up several new lines of training for the development of efficiency. These were both interesting experiments and productive of useful results.

In The Story of the Fifth Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, Major-General Roger Evans recalls B-P and his command at the onset of the South African War: 

    "THE 5th Dragoon Guards at the beginning of September, when they were ordered to make ready to join the contingent which was being organized in India for service in South Africa, were commanded by an officer of-outstanding personality and ability, Lieutenant-Colonel R. S. Baden-Powell.* "B.-P.," as he was always called, held strong and slightly unorthodox ideas on the need for flexibility in cavalry tactics, the power of modern fire-arms as an adjunct to shock-action, and the advantages to be gained from training not only the junior leader but also the individual soldier to be self-reliant and capable of independent action in accordance with a general principle. Under him noncommissioned officers and men were instructed in "personal tactics"-then regarded as a specialized subject-scouting, and taught to use their brains in taking advantage of natural cover as well as in riding knee-to-knee, and encouraged to show initiative. This doctrine "went down" very well, and fully proved its value when the regiment came to take part in the grand maneuvers in the Delhi area with which the training season 1898-1899 ended.* Thus it came about that in the following September, although B.-P. himself was given special extra-regimental employment, his successor, the temporary Second-in-Command, Major Edwards, took over a regiment which was particularly well trained for the type of warfare which they soon afterwards met in South Africa. There was a great regimental spirit, too: eighty-six non-commissioned officers and men who were due to be sent home "time expired" voluntarily extended their service as soon as it was known that the 5th Dragoon Guards were for active service."

From: Major-General Roger Evans, The Story of the Fifth Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, Aldershot, 1951
with the kind permission of his son, Major-General Andrew Evans, C.B., M.C., C.L. and the courtesy Museum of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

On March 25, 1897, Baden-Powell was appointed to command the 5th Dragoon Guards. He served with the Regiment in India. In September, 1899, B-P left the 5th Dragoon Guards in India to serve in South Africa on "extra-regimental employment."
The Royal Dragoon Guards carry on the traditions of four Regiments of British Cavalry; the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, the 5th Dragoon Guards, the 7th Dragoon Guards and the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. The Regiment maintains a website at the Ministry of Defence Army web. The site includes a detailed listing of the Battle Honours and affiliations of the Royal Dragoon Guards, a short history of the Regiment and a link to the Military Museum of The Royal Dragoon Guards.
In 1876, Baden-Powell was posted to his first regiment, The 13th Hussars, a cavalry regiment with a long tradition. They were perhaps best known for their part in the Charge of the Light Brigade before the guns at Balaclava in the Crimean War. The regiment continues today as part of The Light Dragoons, an armored regiment of the British Army that saw service in Desert Storm.
"Loyalty to a regiment or corps is a peculiar characteristic of the British Army." In his comprehensive website "Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth," T. F. Mills provides insight in "Regiments and Corps of the British Army: An Introductory Overview" and "The Regimental System."
Baden-Powell Photo Gallery:
Early Years and Military Career, 1878-1899
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Military Career & Final Years, 1899-1937
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