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Royal Dragoon Guards Museum, York

The Royal Dragoon Guards of the British Army provide a fascinating illustration of the contradictions that have gone into making the present United Kingdom. The Dragoon Guards were actually created out of two rival troops of cavalry, one troop recruited to protect an English king, the other to overthrow him.


In 1685 the protestant Duke of Monmouth threatened a rebellion against Catholic monarch James II. Six troops of cavalry were raised to defend the king. These six troops became the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards in 1789. They fought in Holland, Ireland, in the Crimean War at Balaclava and Sevastopol. At the beginning of World War One Captain Thomas of the regiment fired the first shot for the British Expeditionary Force in France. Meanwhile another set of Dragoon Guards, the 7th, was set on a different course through history. In 1688 the 7th Dragoon Guards had been raised by the Duke of Devonshire to help William of Orange overthrow James II, the same king the 4ths had been raised to protect. Known as the Black Horse, and then as the Princess Royal's Dragoon Guards from 1788, the 7th Dragoon Guards fought in the Duke of Marlborough's campaigns in the War of Spanish Succession 1702 - 09. The Dragoon Guards, charged with defending British national interests, are a reminder that what we think of as Britain is constantly changing. The slogan of the regiment is "Quis Separabit" meaning "Who Shall Separate Us?" The Dragoon Guards show the complexity of the whole idea of them and us.

In 1922 the 4th and 7th Dragoon Guards were amalgamated as a tank regiment. This unified regiment was in France in 1939, and had to be evacuated through Dunkirk. They were amongst the first ashore on D Day in 1944. Since the Second World War the regiment has served in the Middle East, Germany, Aden and Northern Ireland.

The museum tells the Dragoon Guards' story from its origins, through to the present role as a tank regiment. There are displays of uniforms, prints and artifacts. There are also special displays on historical figures connected to the regiments, such as Baden Powell who set up the Scout movement, and Lawrence Oates, who died with Captain Scott while returning from the South Pole in 1912. In the reception area there is a small shop, selling books, and regimental memorabilia.



Opening Times: Please use contact details below.

Address: The Regimental Museum of the Royal Dragoon Guards, 3a Tower Street, York, YO1 9SB

Directions: The museum is in the centre of York, next to Clifford's Tower. The nearest car park is the pay and display car park behind Clifford's Tower. Click here for an interactive map centred on the Royal Dragoon Guards Museum.

Access: There is level access to all areas of the museum via a lift. Adapted toilet facilities are provided.


telephone: 01904 642036


web site:



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