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Probyn's Horse

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11thblprobyn

11th Prince of Wales's Own Lancers (Probyn's Horse) - Lieutenant-Colonel D M Probyn VC, 1862
Born in London 21 January 1833. He was one of 6 sons of a naval captain. His mother was sister to Sir William Macnaghten who was murdered at Kabul in 1841. In 1849, at the age of 16 he was gazetted to the 6th Bengal Cavalry and in 1852 transferred to 2nd Punjab Cavalry. This regiment was commanded by the famous Sam Browne. When the Mutiny broke out they were sent to Delhi and then to Agra where Probyn won his VC. General Hope Grant's despatch of 10 January 1858 says that Probyn '...has been distinguished for gallantry and daring throughout this campaign. At Agra, when his squadron charged the rebel infantry, he was some time separated from his men, and surrounded by 5 or 6 sepoys. He defended himself from the various cuts made at him, and, before his own men had joined him, had cut down two of his assailants. At another time, in single combat with a sepoy, he was wounded in the wrist by the bayonet, and his horse also slightly wounded; but, though the sepoy fought desperately, he cut him down. The same day he singled out a standard-bearer, and in the presence of a number of the enemy, killed him and captured the standard. These are only a few of the gallant deeds of this brave young officer.' He also added '..skillful in the use of word and spear and an excellent horseman, his active courage and coolness in conflict have bourne him safely through many combats.'
In May 1858 Probyn was appointed to command the 1st Regiment of Sikh Irregular Cavalry. However, since he had been granted 2 year's sick leave in England, he did not assume command until January 1860. He was treated as a great hero in London and while there, had his portrait painted. He joined the regiment just in time to lead them in the Second China War. He bravely led many charges against Tartar cavalry near the Taku Forts and at Peking for which the regiment was awarded battle honours. There was a dispute with the Army Pay Department because the regiment had accidentally been paid twice for their service in China. Pending the result of an inquiry, the extra money was put aside, but after two years no demand was made so the money was used to set up a regimental stud and the town of Probynabad. The first Arab stallion at the stud was Probyn's own charger, Clear-the-Line. There was further active service in 1863 during the Ambeyla campaign.
He left the regiment in 1866 and went on to command the Central India Horse. In 1870 he was chosen to accompany Queen Victoria's son Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, as equerry on the Duke's tour of India. In 1872 he became equerry to the Prince of Wales, and so began his service to the royal family that lasted until his death on 20th June 1924. See General Probyn 1897 for picture in later life and account of his last 52 years.

 

 

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