Army Rumour Service

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Household cavalry questions

Hello all, I’ve applied to join the household cavalry and got a few questions. Has the phase 2 been moved to Knightsbridge as I read it was? What are the rooms like in Knightsbridge? Can you stay as a ceremonial rider after the “two years” you’re supposed to do? Can you go on some normal army exercises though while you are a ceremonial rider? Thanks
 
I´m way out of date so can´t answer all your questions but I can tell you that your job title is "Mounted Dutyman" not ceremonial rider. Whether you can stay on at Knightsbridge after two years depends entirely on the manning requirements at the armoured regiment, which varies. However, if you show promise on the horses, you could be trained as a riding instructor (remount rider) or farrier and will end up staying at Knightsbridge most of your career. If you go armoured after the first two years, you can be posted back to Knightsbridge on promotion at various stages of your career.
 
Last edited:
Phase 2 for HCav is now conducted with the RAC Training Regiment in Bovington. It was done at HCMR as a COVID measure to allow RACTR the chance to catch up with a backlog of trainees. After training is complete you will usually spend between 18 months at 2 years at the Mounted Regiment before drafting to the Armoured Regiment in Bulford. If you want to specialise in HCMR related roles you can then go back to the Mounted Regiment as apply to become a Riding Instructor, Farrier, Saddler or Tailor. Most HCav soldiers will post between both Regiments throughout their career.

There are opportunities to take part in exercises at HCMR. It's usually supporting other units exercises or training - some of these are fun, some less so.
 
Thanks for the replies all, either of you know what pt is like at Knightsbridge also? Is it anything like what it is in phase 1? Also do you get assigned you’re own horse while you’re there? I heard you live in the tower block on the camp, is that the case? And are you allowed to bring your car there?
 
Last edited:
Thanks for the replies all, either of you know what pt is like at Knightsbridge also? Is it anything like what it is in phase 1? Also do you get assigned your own horse while you’re there? I heard you live in the tower block on the camp, is that the case? And are you allowed to bring your car there?
Hi John, there is PT at least 3 times a week. At the moment it's all done in camp due to covid restrictions. You will not get your own horse, you ride and groom the horses you're assigned that day. No doubt you will have a favourite - and a least favourite in time! During Kit Ride and for a a bit of time you will live in shared rooms and when a flat becomes available in the tower block you will move in there. In the tower block flats have 2-3 bedrooms, kitchen and sitting room and the best views in London! As for bringing a car, usually you are not allowed to start off as parking is very limited. I hope that helps. Good luck!
 

8fairrc

Swinger
Hi Guys, I have my main board for Sandhurst coming up soon and I am thinking about putting HCav down as one of my regiment choices, so I wanted to ask a couple of questions.

For context, I am planning on applying to the Light Dragoons first, but I am also really interested in HCav as well for their role. While doing recce work with the Jackals looks like an awesome job, working with light tanks seems like it could be even more exciting, and the idea of getting to work with AJAX is the kicker for me as it's brand spanking new relative to our other vehicles. Bonus points also for the London connection as I love the city; I think the ceremonial aspect of the role would be an amazing experience as well and I would love to have the chance to learn to ride a horse. That said, above all it's their role and the fact they are testing AJAX that is the biggest pull factor to me.

Unfortunately with Covid not looking to go away any time soon it seems like trying to arrange a regimental visit is off the cards for the time being, so I am wondering how I can try and get a better idea of what life is actually like for a young officer in the regiment in meantime?

I am also aware that both regiments are highly competitive for aspiring officers, and so I am wondering if it is even worth putting HCav down speculatively as a second choice without some kind of prior connection to them?

Lastly, how deployable is light armour compared to recce troops like LD these days? LD seem to be doing well operationally having been deployed previously to Poland/Estonia and now Mali. Would we expect HCav to be equally deployable in the near future? Presumably yes as otherwise the AJAX program would have been a colossal waste of money, but you never know...
 
Last edited:
Hi Guys, I have my main board for Sandhurst coming up in about 5 weeks time and I am thinking about putting HCav down as one of my regiment choices, so I wanted to ask a couple of questions.

For context, I am also planning on applying to the Light Dragoons as my uncle was a Captain with the 13th/18th Queen Mary's Own Hussars way back before they got amalgamated, but I am really interested in HCav as well for their role. While doing recce work with the Jackals looks like an awesome job, working with light tanks seems even more exciting, and the idea of getting to work with AJAX is the kicker for me as it's brand spanking new relative to our other vehicles. Bonus points also for the London connection as I studied and worked there before and love the city; I think the ceremonial aspect of the role would be an amazing experience as well and I would love to have the chance to learn to ride a horse. That said, above all it's their role and the fact they are testing AJAX that is the biggest pull factor to me.

Unfortunately with Covid not looking to go away any time soon it seems like trying to arrange a regimental visit is off the cards for the time being, so I am wondering how I can try and get a better idea of what life is actually like for a young officer in the regiment in meantime?

I am also aware that both regiments are highly competitive for aspiring officers, and so I am wondering if it is even worth putting HCav down speculatively as a second choice without some kind of prior connection to them?

Lastly, how deployable is light armour compared to recce troops like LD these days? LD seem to be doing well operationally having been deployed previously to Poland/Estonia and now Mali. Would we expect HCav to be equally deployable in the near future? Presumably yes as otherwise the AJAX program would have been a colossal waste of money, but you never know...

Best,

Cam
Cam, You're right, it's difficult to get an idea of a regiment without visiting it. That said, you will be able to visit when you are at RMAS. The best you can do is try to get in touch with serving officers. Ask among your mates whether they have friends in the Household Cavalry. There are books and documentaries you can read and watch. While fiction "Rain" by Barney Campbell (former RHG/D) is a great book and gives an idea of the interaction between officers and soldiers in the Regiment. Equally, books by Mick Flynn CGC MC and Craig Harrison give a bit of HCav flavour, albeit from the point of view of borderline lunatics! And there are a couple of documentaries, Queen's Cavalry and Her Majesty's Cavalry that should be floating around on YouTube.

Places at RMAS for the Regiment are competitive but don't let that put you off. You don't need any prior connection to the Regiment to join - sometimes connections help, sometimes they don't! Visit the Regiment, meet the soldiers and officers, learn more about the role and see if it floats your boat when you get to RMAS.

Finally, how deployable is AJAX? Time will tell, but it's highly unlikely that the MOD would invest significantly in a capability and not deploy it. The smart money would be on AJAX heading out to the Baltic States in the next few years as part of the Enhanced Force Presence.

I hope that helps. Good luck.
 

8fairrc

Swinger
Cam, You're right, it's difficult to get an idea of a regiment without visiting it. That said, you will be able to visit when you are at RMAS. The best you can do is try to get in touch with serving officers. Ask among your mates whether they have friends in the Household Cavalry. There are books and documentaries you can read and watch. While fiction "Rain" by Barney Campbell (former RHG/D) is a great book and gives an idea of the interaction between officers and soldiers in the Regiment. Equally, books by Mick Flynn CGC MC and Craig Harrison give a bit of HCav flavour, albeit from the point of view of borderline lunatics! And there are a couple of documentaries, Queen's Cavalry and Her Majesty's Cavalry that should be floating around on YouTube.

Places at RMAS for the Regiment are competitive but don't let that put you off. You don't need any prior connection to the Regiment to join - sometimes connections help, sometimes they don't! Visit the Regiment, meet the soldiers and officers, learn more about the role and see if it floats your boat when you get to RMAS.

Finally, how deployable is AJAX? Time will tell, but it's highly unlikely that the MOD would invest significantly in a capability and not deploy it. The smart money would be on AJAX heading out to the Baltic States in the next few years as part of the Enhanced Force Presence.

I hope that helps. Good luck.
Great stuff, many thanks for the advice! I will get on the stick and do some more research in that case.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Hi Guys, I have my main board for Sandhurst coming up in about 5 weeks time and I am thinking about putting HCav down as one of my regiment choices, so I wanted to ask a couple of questions.

For context, I am also planning on applying to the Light Dragoons as my uncle was a Captain with the 13th/18th Queen Mary's Own Hussars way back before they got amalgamated, but I am really interested in HCav as well for their role. While doing recce work with the Jackals looks like an awesome job, working with light tanks seems even more exciting, and the idea of getting to work with AJAX is the kicker for me as it's brand spanking new relative to our other vehicles. Bonus points also for the London connection as I studied and worked there before and love the city; I think the ceremonial aspect of the role would be an amazing experience as well and I would love to have the chance to learn to ride a horse. That said, above all it's their role and the fact they are testing AJAX that is the biggest pull factor to me.

Unfortunately with Covid not looking to go away any time soon it seems like trying to arrange a regimental visit is off the cards for the time being, so I am wondering how I can try and get a better idea of what life is actually like for a young officer in the regiment in meantime?

I am also aware that both regiments are highly competitive for aspiring officers, and so I am wondering if it is even worth putting HCav down speculatively as a second choice without some kind of prior connection to them?

Lastly, how deployable is light armour compared to recce troops like LD these days? LD seem to be doing well operationally having been deployed previously to Poland/Estonia and now Mali. Would we expect HCav to be equally deployable in the near future? Presumably yes as otherwise the AJAX program would have been a colossal waste of money, but you never know...

Best,

Cam
I'm ex-15/19H and hence LD Association. LD are indeed pretty much non-stop. In recent years they've had a continuous presence in Poland. As you say, they're now in Mali. And in between, whenever there's flooding, they're out providing aid.

But I'm biased.
 

8fairrc

Swinger
Thanks for the reply, that's great to hear; definitely keen on LD for that very reason and their role equally looks dynamic and exciting for YOs.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on heavy armour? I could be completely wrong here, but as an outsider it seems like these days if you want to join the cavalry and have a chance of getting deployed, then it's basically light cav or bust. As much as I love the idea of marauding Salisbury plane in a Challenger II (who wouldn't!?), it appears that they are not long for this world, as I read recently they are due an upgrade for which there doesn't seem to be much appetite in Whitehall, and so could be destined for the scrapheap.

Apart from the invasion of Iraq I can't remember ever seeing our MBTs get deployed in my lifetime, and in Afghanistan it looks like those regiments mainly got repurposed to work with Mastiffs instead.
 
Last edited:

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Thanks for the reply, that's great to hear; definitely keen on LD for that very reason and their role equally looks dynamic and exciting for YOs.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on heavy armour? I could be completely wrong here, but as an outsider it seems like these days if you want to join the cavalry and have a chance of getting deployed, then it's basically light cav or bust. As much as I love the idea of marauding Salisbury plane in a Challenger II (who wouldn't!?), it appears that they are not long for this world, as I read recently they are due an upgrade for which there doesn't seem to be much appetite in Whitehall, and so could be destined for the scrapheap.

Apart from the invasion of Iraq I can't remember ever seeing our MBTs get deployed in my lifetime, and in Afghanistan it looks like those regiments mainly got repurposed to work with Mastiffs instead.
I joined 15/19H because I wanted to go Chieftain, and there was a poster in my ACIO announcing that my local cavalry regiment were on Chieftain. Unfortunately for me, the poster was out of date. I got to patrol Tyrone and Fermanagh, the Green Line in Cyprus just after their war and to reconnoitre the front line of the Cold War.

I never got to crew Chieftain before I took a job that would see me employable when I left the army, but they were far and away the best seven years of my life.
 

P.O.N.T.I

War Hero
My two bobs worth. (10p for the benefit of @8fairrc )

If it is a toss up between LD and H/Cav...........go LD.

LD currently do the job they are designed for, proper light Cav.
A full career would be available at the pointy end.
Easily deployable kit that they are up to speed on.

H/Cav where originally heavy Cav. Then armoured in various types until they ping ponged about with RHG/D changing from heavy to light every 4 years.
They are currently best described as 'being in transition'.
Their new regimental home is Bulford using enormous vehicles, that are not light.
You would have the added 'distraction' of a couple of years 'up town' (Knightsbridge) every now and then.
All very socially exciting, but professional soldiering it is not.

MBT's.........Challenger, or whatever comes next, just don't.
We have MBT's because we always have had MBT's and because other people have MBT's.
I am sure we will keep a few for old times sake.

Bottom line,if it is a toss up, LD. And no, I was never part of the fractions.
0.385826 in new money
 

8fairrc

Swinger
My two bobs worth. (10p for the benefit of @8fairrc )

If it is a toss up between LD and H/Cav...........go LD.

LD currently do the job they are designed for, proper light Cav.
A full career would be available at the pointy end.
Easily deployable kit that they are up to speed on.

H/Cav where originally heavy Cav. Then armoured in various types until they ping ponged about with RHG/D changing from heavy to light every 4 years.
They are currently best described as 'being in transition'.
Their new regimental home is Bulford using enormous vehicles, that are not light.
You would have the added 'distraction' of a couple of years 'up town' (Knightsbridge) every now and then.
All very socially exciting, but professional soldiering it is not.

MBT's.........Challenger, or whatever comes next, just don't.
We have MBT's because we always have had MBT's and because other people have MBT's.
I am sure we will keep a few for old times sake.

Bottom line,if it is a toss up, LD. And no, I was never part of the fractions.
0.385826 in new money
Thanks for your input. I am interested in LD precisely because they seem to be very deployable as you have outlined. Interesting to hear about HCav's history moving between roles also as I was unaware that it had changed frequently over the years. I also am inclined to agree with you on the MBTs.

This may well be a silly question, but do you think that HCav will be the only reg operating AJAX for the foreseeable future, or will it be rolled out to other armoured regiments before long? I suppose it seems more probable that as Challengers are retired, those regiments who previously manned MBTs will be repurposed to work with the new IFVs instead?
 
Last edited:

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Thanks for your input. I am interested in LD precisely because they seem to be very deployable as you have outlined. Interesting to hear about HCav's history moving between roles also as I was unaware that it had changed frequently over the years. I also am inclined to agree with you on the MBTs.

This may well be a silly question, but do you think that HCav will be the only reg operating AJAX for the foreseeable future, or will it be rolled out to other armoured regiments before long? I suppose it seems more probable that as Challengers are retired, those regiments who previously manned MBTs will be repurposed to work with the new IFVs instead?
My understanding (so much reorganisation since the 80s) is three MBT regiments, three Light Cav and, when we get it, three Ajax. But I am hopelessly out of touch.
 

P.O.N.T.I

War Hero
Thanks for your input. I am interested in LD precisely because they seem to be very deployable as you have outlined. Interesting to hear about HCav's history moving between roles also as I was unaware that it had changed frequently over the years. I also am inclined to agree with you on the MBTs.

This may well be a silly question, but do you think that HCav will be the only reg operating AJAX for the foreseeable future, or will it be rolled out to other armoured regiments before long? I suppose it seems more probable that as Challengers are retired, those regiments who previously manned MBTs will be repurposed to work with the new IFVs instead?

I believe the statement from from the CO H/Cav was that the were "excited to be the first unit to get Ajax"
No doubt the first unit to receive the Fox armoured car was equally "excited".
An average weight of 40 tons makes it around four times heavier the a CVRT scimitar and twice as heavy as a Warrior APC/IFV/AFV
Also, with a tight fit, two scimitar can fit in a shipping container and be lifted by a CH47.
In short, the Ajax/Ares portability will need much more thought that sending some Scimitars.
That said, it is chalk and cheese. Both vehicles are designed for very different tasks.
 
Last edited:
The Household Cavalry made the decision to move out of Windsor after 200 years and relocate to Bulford specifically because Ajax doesn´t fit in Windsor and it was felt that re-roling to Ajax was a better long term option for the regiment. It was a gamble. @8fairrc You´ve got to make the same gamble.
 

8fairrc

Swinger
The Household Cavalry made the decision to move out of Windsor after 200 years and relocate to Bulford specifically because Ajax doesn´t fit in Windsor and it was felt that re-roling to Ajax was a better long term option for the regiment. It was a gamble. @8fairrc You´ve got to make the same gamble.
Can't fault your logic there!
 

QRK2

LE
To play devil's advocate what do you think the prospects are for the Light Cav role in the medium term? There is a school of thought that they were a capbadge preservation exercise combined with a use for a vehicle that we had left over from AFG.

Sure they are getting some publicity helping the French in Mali, but their involvement and utility in the Baltics (or opposed by anything more than lightly equipped insurgents anywhere) is much more debatable. They do however have the advantage in a defence review of being, relatively to armour of any meaningful sort, cheap.

ETA: The HCR is the Regiment with the most clout when it comes to picking and choosing their destiny, there is a reason they chose the role that they did.
 
Last edited:

8fairrc

Swinger
To play devil's advocate what do you think the prospects are for the Light Cav role in the medium term? There is a school of thought that they were a capbadge preservation exercise combined with a use for a vehicle that we had left over from AFG.

Sure they are getting some publicity helping the French in Mali, but their involvement and utility in the Baltics (or opposed by anything more than lightly equipped insurgents anywhere) is much more debatable. They do however have the advantage in a defence review of being relatively (to armour of any meaningful sort) cheap.
It's a fair point to make. I suppose my view on that up until now has been that the Light Cav role seemed to have been tailored specifically to meet the strategic shift towards "strike brigades" set out during the last defence review, and so would naturally be quite deployable for the foreseeable future. I would have thought that being proficient in mounted and dismounted soldiering also makes them more versatile and thus more likely to be deployed across a wide range of operational scenarios, as exemplified with the Mali deployment.

The idea that the Army would take the Jackal, which (do correct me if I'm wrong) I understand was originally meant for SF use on a small scale, and then roll it out to conventional cavalry regiments, seems counterintuitive if they didn't think they would have use for it in future conflicts, but there's no accounting for MoD spending decisions sometimes. It also remains to be seen what comes under the next round of spending decisions under this government, and whether there will be any further significant changes to the broader strategic doctrine which could have an impact here.
 

Latest Threads

Top