The regiment was formed in England during the interwar period by the amalgamation of the 17th Lancers and the 21st Lancers on 27 June 1922. The regiment was deployed to Meerut in India in 1936 and it was mechanised in 1938.
On the outbreak of the Second World War, in September 1939, the regiment transferred back to the United Kingdom and became part of the 1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade defending south-east England. On 12 October 1940, the 1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade became the 26th Armoured Brigade. Then on 9 November 1940, the brigade became part of the newly raised 6th Armoured Division, with which it served for the rest of the war.
In November 1942, the division was deployed to Tunisia for Operation Torch. Now equipped with Valentine Mk III and Crusader Mk III tanks, the regiment saw action in the Tunisia Campaign for some time, including taking heavy losses defending Thala in the Battle of Kasserine Pass in February 1943 during which fourteen tanks were put out of action. After this, the regiment was withdrawn and refitted with M4A2 Sherman tanks. In April, the regiment attempted to take the Fondouk Pass during which thirty-two tanks were put out of action. The campaign in Tunisia came to an end in May 1943, with the surrender of almost 250,000 German and Italian soldiers. Most of the 6th Armoured Division then deployed to the Italian Front in March 1944, and fought to breach the Gustav Line, taking part in Operation Diadem, the fourth and final Battle of Monte Cassino. The regiment advanced to the Gothic Line, and spent the winter there—at points, serving as infantry rather than as an armoured unit, due to the static nature of the trench warfare there. After the final breakthrough in April 1945, code-named Operation Grapeshot, the regiment ended the war in Austria.
It deployed units to Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles.After deploying two squadrons to the Persian Gulf in September 1990 for the Gulf War, the regiment returned to the United Kingdom later in the year. In 1993, with the reductions in forces after the end of the Cold War, the regiment was amalgamated with the 16th/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers to form the Queen’s Royal Lancers.
DEATH OR GLORY The 17th/21st Lancers 1922-1993
During its seventy-one years of existence, the 17th/21st Lancers became one of the best known British cavalry regiments of all time. Beloved by the Press as the ‘Death or Glory Boys’, their renowned skull and crossbones ‘Motto’, was one of the most recognised cap badges of the British Army. This volume, written by a former member of the Regiment, tells their complete story for the first time; much of which is in the words of those who served. The Regiment’s role during the Second World War on the Home Front, in North Africa and Italy; Austria; Greece, and Palestine in the aftermath of the war; its four years of service in Northern Ireland at the height of the ‘Troubles’; and the Gulf War, where one of its crews achieved the longest ever direct-fire tank kill, are all covered in considerable detail. Personal accounts add colour to descriptions of routine life for a cavalry regiment in Egypt and India; and an armoured regiment during the Cold War, serving in Germany, Hong Kong, Libya, Yemen and Belize. Eleven sketch maps and 128 photographs illustrate the text. Appendices include, a definitive Roll of Honour; all Commanding Officers, Colonels of the Regiment and RSMs.