Cavalry of the Line 1939 ...

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Skip, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Hello All,

    Wondering if anyone can enlighten me - I have a service record that notes that the soldier concerned enlisted into the 'Cavalry of the Line' in October 1939 and was posted to the 3rd (Heavy) Cavalry Training Regiment. Does this mean that he was joining the RAC, or was this a different entity?

    He briefing went to France during the following month but can find not immediate reference to this unit being with the BEF.

    Any ideas?

    All the best

  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    The Royal Armoured Corps came into being in April 1939 and it consisted of those cavalry regiments that had converted to armour as well as the Royal Tank Regiment. There were still many cavalry regiments which were not mechanised and still had their horses.

    Cavalry of the Line was all the regular cavalry regiments except the Household Cavalry. Heavy Cavalry were Dragoons and Dragoon Guards. The most senior regiments such as the Royal Dragoons and Scots Greys were still horsed cavalry.

    Surprisingly the British Army still had two cavalry divisions in 1939 and one of these was earmarked for the BEF. It did not have a high priority and did not actually get there. One went to the Middle East where it soon exchanged its horses for trucks and then for tanks or armoured cars.

    Aixman likes this.
  3. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Mike - many thanks for the fast and comprehensive response - I'm not too hot on Cavalry regiments so it's much appreciated.

    Having had another look through his paperwork there is an undated pencil reference to 'Gen List R Dgs' ... given what you've written I'm taking it that he enlisted into the Royal Dragoons not RAC, and that the '3rd (Heavy) Training Regiment' was more like a depot?

    His next posting is noted as August 1940 having volunteered for the Commandos ... do you think it's safe to say he was with the Royal Dragoons up until then?

    Does anyone have any ideas why he might have gone to France during November 1939 for a period of only two weeks? His SR gives no details of sickness/postings etc.


  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Queens Bays (2 Dragoon Guards, 4/7 Royal Dragoon Guards and 5 Royal Innniskilling Dragoon Guards were the only Dragoons in France as a unit. He may have been attached to make up the numbers but not sure why he would have only been there for two weeks? Whats the dates he was there?

    One possibility is anyone known to be under the ages of 19 was sent home before 10th May.

  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Royal Dragoons were still horsed cavalry in late 1939. They were the most senior Dragoon Regiment and one of the last to be mechanised. I can see why the Cavalry Division would send men to France to liaise, reconnoitre etc but a new recruit would not be first choice.

    Yes the Training Regiment was the equivalent of the infantry regiments depot.


    Just realised that the Royal Dragoons were in Palestine at the time. Your man could still have enlisted with them but presumably never physically joined them.
  6. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Hello Andy and Mike,

    Thanks for the replies and for clearing a couple of bits up on where Dragoons were in 1939 and depots. The man concerned was born in June 1912 so, although a good idea, him being under age for the BEF does not fit the bill.

    Here are the relevant scans to see what you make of them, i.e. enlistment, postings, and time in France ...

    It's got me flummoxed!

    Cheers - really appreciate your help


    P.S - his S/N is six figures starting 327 if this helps?

    Attached Files:

    • One.jpg
      File size:
      115.9 KB
    • two.jpg
      File size:
      31.8 KB
  7. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    My interpretation of the entry on the 2nd posted extract from the record for the period 1.11.39 till 14.11.39 is an abbreviation for "DEFERRED EMBODIMENT" meaning although he was called up 31.10.1939 he didn't actually report for duty until 15.11.1939.

    You appear to have read the first word as BEF rather than the abbreviation DEF.


    Steve Y
    Drew5233 likes this.
  8. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Argh! Thanks a lot Steve - thinks makes A LOT more sense! Appreciate you pointing that out and sorry everyone for the red herring ...

    Still would be interested in comments on his first regiment ...


  9. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Skip,

    Glad to have been of some assistance.


  10. david hircok

    david hircok Member

  11. david hircok

    david hircok Member

    This makes sense as my grandfather Pte Alfred George was in the 4/7 Royal Dragoons in WW2and I thought he first went to France - but he told me of stories in N. Africa and that he had a horse and then a camel - until he had had an armoured car. He was not keen on the camel. I do remember that our family had horses and he never thought we looked after them will enough.

Share This Page