Historical Society: The Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars at the end of WWI

As the Society’s contribution to Dorchester’s Commemoration of the end of World War I,

Colonel John Bridgeman CBE TD DL will talk about

The Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars at the end of WWI

The Regiment which returned to England early in 1919 was very different from the one which had gone so unexpectedly to Flanders in the first months of the war. Whereas it had formerly been derided by regulars as the “agricultural cavalry” and its QOOH title used to create the nickname “Queer Objects on Horseback”, now, hardened by four years of gruelling active service and raised to a degree of military efficiency previously unheard of in a yeomanry regiment, it was indistinguishable from regular cavalry. In addition to official commendations, perhaps the clearest recognition of their new status came from the officers of no less a regiment than the 3rd, The King’s Own Hussars, alongside whom the QOOH had fought for much of the war. They hoped that “the Officers of the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, past present and future, will always consider themselves Permanent Honorary Members of their Mess”

Returning through St Aldates, Oxford

By the end of the War the total killed was 12 officers and 138 men – altogether about one man in four of the established strength. A further 17 officers and 238 men were wounded – a high price to pay for the Yeomanry Regiment which won more battle honours than any other. After Messine in 1914 further battle honours were won in 1918 for Somme, St Quentin, Lys, Hazebrouck, Amiens, Bapaume, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Selle, Sambre and France and Flanders – as many in 1918 as in the first three years of the war.

Colonel Bridgeman will talk about the regiment at the end of the war. With other Oxfordshire Yeomanry Officers he will be in Erquelinnes in Belgium on November 11th 2018 celebrating the town’s liberation by the Oxfordshire Hussars.

Biographical note: Colonel Bridgeman was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars in 1996 and is a founding Director of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust with its Museum in Woodstock. He has served with the Northumberland Hussars and the Queen’s Own Yeomanry and in a number of roles in the Ministry of Defence. His last job was as Chairman of Recovery Career Services providing employment support to the most seriously wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women of all three Services.

Colonel Bridgeman lives in Oxfordshire. He has been a Deputy Lord Lieutenant since 1989 and is a former High Sheriff of the County. Formerly he has been Chief Executive of British Alcan Aluminium plc, founder Chairman of the Horseracing Regulatory Authority, Vice Chairman of British Waterways and a founder trustee of the Canal & River Trust. He currently has a number of chairman appointments in the public and private sectors.

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Posted on October 2, 2017 in

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