Monday, 19 December 2011

8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars

The 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars were active between 1693–1716 and then 1719-1958. From the year 1800 they served in the UK while prior to this they were based in Ireland.

The 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars saw battle in both World War One and World War Two.

During World War One the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars were battling it out in the trenches of Northern France and Belgium. In fact along with many British forces the Hussars saw battles in some of the most pivotal and well known battles of the war.

The first battles that the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars saw in the First World War was at the Battle of Givenchy between December 18th and the 22nd December 1914. After this the Hussars were then sent into the Second Battle of Ypres. It was commonly known that the Hussars soldiers were frequently sent to the front to dig new trenches.

In the Second World War the Hussars continued there battle hardened ways by becoming a tank force (today the 7th Armoured Division, The Desert Rats based near the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany). The first battles of the Second World War came in the North Africa campaign where the Hussars in British Stuart tanks fighting in Operation Crusader in relieving the Siege of Tobruk.

Other battles ensued which the Hussars joined and suffered many losses before the final African campaign where the 8th Hussars were pivotal in attacking the minefields at Alamein.

After showing bravery in Africa the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars had some resbite in Cyprus before moving back to England. In England the Hussars were re-equipped with the stronger Cromwell tanks and stayed in England until duty called again and the Hussars were then to become a major part in the Normandy landings.

The Hussars were to land at Le Hamel on Gold Beach and were quickly to be brought into intense fighting around Villers-Bocage before then fighting against the 2nd Panzer Division. The Hussar forces saw many smaller battles as well as also being a major part of Operation Goodward in the march through France.

The 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars then battled hard through Belgium and Holland before finally getting over the Rhine into Germany in April 1945. It was in Germany that the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars liberated both the Fallingbostel POW camp and the well known Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp close by.

After working to support the liberated people of the concentration camp and also clear the camp of the thousands of dead bodies the Hussars were then to take part in the Berlin Victory celebrations on the 7th July 1945. Once their work was done the Hussars were based in Itzehoe within Germany until being demobbed in 1946.

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