9th/12th or Light Dragoons?

My ideal is to commission in the HCR (Life Guards) but naturally it's extremely competitive. So as an alternative I'm looking into the Light Dragoons and 9th/12th Lancers- what are the respective reputations of the two, and which do you recommend? I saw on one thread that 9th/12th have a bad reputation but there was no reason given - does anyone have any thoughts?

Yeh, they are hardcore Ruperts. To be honest its a reputation from the 80s and 90s. The regiment are not to far behind the rest of the pack now and there are some very good officers that have come through in the last 3 years.

Everyone raves about the LD's not sure why,but they do.
Thanks. The general opinion of people on ARRSE about the RAC seems to be that the background of the other officers is only an issue with regard to fitting in, as opposed to whether or not you get in in the first place. I'm not so fussed if that's the case as most of my closest friends from University are ex public schoolboys so I'm used to it - so long as the regiment has a good level of professionalism / standards.

Any thoughts on HCav? Similar story to 9th/12th?
Terminal Rupert-syndrome? Don't all RAC regiments have that feel about them?
If you think that, why one earth would you want to join the RAC? Have a think about your attitude if you genuinely wish to commission as an officer of any cloth.

In answer to your original question, the HCR, 9/12L and LD are all pretty much equally competitive. While the number of applicants per space might vary a little in different years, it balances out. Therefore if you fail to meet the potential to be sponsored by one, you will probably fail to demonstrate the potential required by all.

In terms of regimental reputations, it depends who you ask. In truth all regiments go through better and worse periods. There are always plenty of people ready to slag off the 9/12L, but in truth they are probably not significantly better or worse than any other RAC regiment. On an individual level, all regiments have both the good and the less good.
Thanks for your comments. With regard to the "Rupert-syndrome" comment: I don't actually think like that at all, it was just a question about why other people might dislike them. I strongly admire the history and tradition of the RAC regiments (hence the HCav aspiration) and am not especially bothered by the aversion to "ruperts" that some people have. If the bad reputation of the 9th/12th is solely down to that, then I probably don't need to worry - I was just concerned that its reputation was due to poor standards / unpleasant atmosphere / biased selection process, etc.

It was a similar thing with university colleges - people would say College X has a bad reputation, but it would soon emerge that the only justification for this was a belief among members of other colleges that it was elitist and exclusive, when in fact it was just smart / old / encouraged excellence and high standards.

If you think HCav, 9/12 and LDragoons are all similarly competitive, what would you recommend as a more realistic second choice?
All army regiments are "elitist", in that each thinks it is as good or better than the rest, that is the whole point of the regimental system (i.e. the absolute belief in your own unit's superiority). Pick any regiment and speak to someone in it; provided that they are not utterly disillusioned and have had limited exposure other regiments, they will tend to tell you that their Regt/Sqn/Tp is the best/most professional/etc.

When you get to Sandhurst (unless things have changed), you will need two choices of potential cap-badges. You can (or at least could in my day) put down two RAC regiments, although one had to be FR and the other Armd (in recognition that RAC regiments are more alike in character than they are different, the principle difference being their role).

I would suggest that you ask to go on a potential officer visit to your chosen regiment. On the basis of this (and perhaps an interview with the Colonel of the Regiment) you will be told if they are prepared to "sponsor" you to Sandhurst and thus if you have any realistic chance of commissioning into it.

Another (probably sounder) option would be to ask to go on the generic RAC potential officers' visit (down in Bovington). When you are there you will see and learn about what the different parts of the HCAV/RAC do and give you the chance to meet some RAC young officers (to see if they are the sort of people you might like to share a mess with). During this process you will probably be steered towards the HCAV/RAC regiment which might best suit you and which is likely to have spaces for officers in your projected year of commission.

Out of curiosity, why the HCR/Life Guards? Also what stage are you at (school, university, graduate, etc?)

Edited to add:

Forgot to suggest some other choices of regiment/arm. Most people will tend towards one end of the Combat-Combat Service Support spectrum or the other. This means that if you were to put down both HCAV and RLC/R SIGNALS/SPS/etc as regimental choices, it might appear a little odd (as if you don't really know what you want). If you are keen to join the HCAV/RAC, then you will probably err toward the combat (or possibly combat support arms). Therefore, you could have a look at the infantry, RA, RE; or if it flicks your switch something a bit out of the mainstream such as the AAC, Int Corps, etc. You may of course end up looking at the HCAV/RAC and something else and decide that you prefer the "something else."
Many thanks - this is all very helpful indeed. What sort of thing might one be asked on a regimental visit / interview with a colonel? Presumably the physical side of things, mental arithmetic etc. are dealt with at AOSB, so on what criteria will they judge someone on a visit?

I have just left Cambridge (so graduate) - bit of a late starter on thinking about the Army so I'm looking to find out as much as possible and acquire as much experience as possible quite quickly. I'd love ideally to do both the ceremonial and active combat side of things if possible, so the Household Division would be perfect, but obviously you have to be flexible. As to why the Life Guards - their unique history and foundation, historical role, the very high expectations of service / duty / discipline, the association with the monarch - it's difficult to give concrete reasons as to why a regiment leaps out at you. I also happen to like horses / riding, and find armoured and mobile warfare and strategy more interesting than infantry. Nevertheless my priority (if I do go into the Army) would be armed service; armoured and/or ceremonial would be a bonus to that.

Final question: do some regiments prefer candidates who intend to be full-career soldiers, or is there a level playing field for those going for the 3-year or 5-year track?
When I was in, the Ruperts had to have a private income.Mind you, I was in The Blues And Royals,which you have discounted,for some reason.
I had heard that, but have also heard (and hoped) that it's no longer true. If so, I'd have to rule it out. I haven't discounted Blues & Royals; I just prefer the Life Guards and I didn't realise you could apply to both!


Book Reviewer
When I was in, the Ruperts had to have a private income.Mind you, I was in The Blues And Royals,which you have discounted,for some reason.
When I wrote to my recruiting officer to see if we still needed such supplementary funding, he mercifully replied in the negative. Not so mercifully he also copied my father in on the missive lest I get any ideas.
AC; it may alsoe be worth considering in the current climate whether any of these Regiments will be still around in 5 years time. Rumour has it a 50% reduction in Armoured Corps Regiments.
I also read that cuts were unlikely to affect officer recruitment, but that could be wrong - thanks for the tip-off. Surely they can't significantly cut the HCR or Foot Guards, even if they cut the line cavalry?
To be honest no one really knows. (Of course SOMEONE knows but is not telling). However I can't see how a 50% cut in RAC Regts (IF that happened) would not affect recruiting in some way. Certain units believe that they may be exempt due to their ceremonial jobs but if the axe falls no one can consider themselves safe.
Lots of people join the Army with a firm idea of how long they will serve, only to change their minds during their first few years (happens both ways). I have friends who, while at Sandhurst, intended to serve until 55 but decided to leave after three years; I also know people who were only ever interested in an SSC and yet are still serving now.

No, you do not need a private income nowadays (this has been done to death on other threads, lets not revisit it).

In terms of cuts, at the moment we are working to the plan as iterated following the SDSR. This sees a cut of a single RAC regiment as a result of the Army losing the CBRN role to the RAF. In addition, each of the five Armd Regts will lose a Sqn and the two Germany based Brigade Recce Regiments (BRRs) will each gain a Sqn (i.e. net loss of 1x Regt and 3x Sqns). Currently there are no other cuts to the HCAV/RAC being discussed (in the open at least!) I would imagine that this would mean a net reduction of around 6 new HCAV/RAC officers through Sandhurst per year.

As to the Household Division being safer than anyone else, I think that this may come to an end. One thing that you do not seem to fully appreciate is that the Life Guards (LG) and the Blues and Royals (RHG/D) are for all intensive purposes now the same organisation, less for the colour of the uniform and the capbadge. The Household Cavalry Regiment (HCR) which is the BRR is made up of both capbadges as is the Household Cavarly Mounted Regiment (HCMR). Your career and army life will be virtually identical regardless of which HCAV capbadge you wear.

At the risk of crystal ball gazing, you may find that during your time in the Army (assuming all goes according to plan), that HCAV and RAC officers at least become just 'RAC Officer' and are posted between the regiments as required (as already happens in the multi-battalion infantry regiments).
I knew the the Life Guards and Blues are now essentially the same regiment (HCAR and HCMR) - I would just personally go for Life Guards if I had the choice for reasons of historical association - but thanks for the clarification.

There's a lot of really important / interesting information there so thank you once more. Which are the Germany based recce regiments? 9th/12th are one of them, I believe?

Similar threads

Latest Threads