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The Westminster Dragoons were not an old Regiment compared with many volunteer regiments in the British Army since it only just passed its Diamond Jubilee.

However, it did include a wide variety of functions and roles in a number of different parts of the world in those sixty years of its existence. The Regiment was raised in 1901, with Colonel C. Larkin as Honorary Colonel, as the 2nd County of London Imperial Yeomanry and enrolments started in October with the regiment under command of Lt. Col. C.R. Bum, 1st The Royal Dragoons, who was largely responsible fa- its formation.

Other than the location and later the name 'Westminster" which was not adopted until 1902, the Regiment had no direct connection with previous cavalry or yeomanry regiments associated with Westminster, such as the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers or the Westminster Regiment of Volunteer Cavalry.

But these regiments had been raised to meet national emergencies and so too was the Westminster Dragoons raised to meet just such a national emergency. 

Throughout the life of the Regiment there have been two Regular Regiments which played leading parts in the activities of the Regiment, particularly with the officers and N.C.O.'s. For the first twenty years, as cavalry, it was 1st Royal Dragoons, and for the rest of the period from 1921 onwards, when in armour, the Royal Tank Regiment.

To both of these regiments the 'W D’s' owe a great deal, particularly for the high reputation which the Regiment achieved during the period of its active life, firstly as cavalry and then in armour.

The newly formed Regiment did not fight as a unit in the Boer War but trained
and sent out drafts totalling almost 1000 men to the Imperial Yeomanry Brigade which was serving in South Africa. Many of these men rejoined the Regiment in 1901 when it reformed after the war. 

In South Africa, the hat badge adopted was the Prince of Wales Feathers, but when the Regiment reformed a new badge and uniform was evolved, and in 1902 the Regiment became affiliated to the City of Westminster and adopted the arms of the City as a regimental badge and was given the title of' 'Westminster Dragoons’'. The officers cap badge was the staff officers badge of a lion surmounting a crown, but this was also the original badge of the "Royals'' from which Regiment so many of the officers had come. The regimental colours of royal purple, scarlet and gold were the royal racing colours of Edward VII and were adopted with his permission because of his friendship with Colonel Burn who had also been an A.D.C. to the King.

The full dress mounted uniform was as for dragoons — a silver helmet with brass fittings and fronted with an eight pointed Garter Star on which was a raised figure '2' with the name of the Regiment surrounding it and the initials' 'IY'' beneath. The plume was originally purple and was later white for officers, but the purple plume was changed to white for all since the purple dye 'ran' after being in the rain. 

The jacket was scarlet serge with purple facings and shoulder chains. Breeches were of black barathea with yellow leg stripe and normal military riding boots and spurs. White buff leather gauntlets and sword belt and a cross belt with black patent leather pouch completed the uniform. The walking out dress was similar but with black overalls and box spurs, a blue pill box hat with a wide yellow band and a swagger stick. There was also a mess kit for officers and sergeants. On duty an adapted khaki uniform was worn (first used in South Africa) which included a purple collar and cuffs, a slouch hat with turned up brim and a small purple plume. Brown boots, leggings and a bandoleer were worn. Later a flat peaked khaki hat was adopted.

Within months of the formation of the Regiment, its strength was up to 20 officers and 500 O.R.'s and at no time was there any shortage of volunteers; it was a popular and fashionable regiment to belong to and was selective in its recruitment. By 1906 the Regiment was at full strength. During the period up to the outbreak of the War in 1914 the Regiment trained hard and progressed steadily under its ex 'Royals' officers and its ex-regular N.C.O.’s, of the troopers, they were young business and professional men living in the  London area. There were few junior officers and most of the troops were led by N.C.O.'s, many of whom were later commissioned and some were later to command the Regiment. The Regiment numbered amongst its ranks some very wealthy and influential men
(including a maharajah!) and it was this fact that enabled the Regiment to buy, build and equip the magnificent Headquarters at Elverton Street, Westminster, at a cost of £10,000 of which £7,000 was raised by the officers. The accommodation included an indoor riding school, stabling for twenty horses, drill hall, officer and N.C.O. messes, club rooms and a caretakers quarters. In 1908 with the establishment of the Territorial Army, the Regiment became Territorial Yeomanry instead of Imperial Yeomanry, and the Territorial Association took over the H.Q. but paid much less for it than it cost which justifiably upset the Regiment and the chief subscribers.

In 1909 at a great presentation parade of volunteer units at Windsor, the Regiment received a guidon from Edward VII which was to last for more than fifty years
before being laid up in Westminster Abbey in 1961. The highlight of the regimental year was the annual camp lasting for two weeks at which the Regiment was always well mounted and turned out, and displayed a high standard of training with venues at Eastbourne, Churn and Salisbury Plain. At the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, the Regiment was in camp in Berkshire, and returned to H.Q. to be mobilised when great activity took place particularly in the requisitioning of horses — from many sources! A few days later the Regiment moved to Pirbright, and a month later embarked on the S.S. "Aragon” at Southampton for Alexandria to relieve the 3rd Dragoon Guards in Cairo as garrison cavalry.

Major Reginald Wynn-Wynne, in the uniform of the regiment he had the bright idea to form:
the Westminster Dragoons
The Maharajah Shri Raj Rajeshwar, 
one of the WDs’ first Troop Leaders
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