The Bengal Lancers

The Bengal Lancers have their beginnings in 1787 when the Nawab Wazir of Oudh created Bengal’s first Regiment of cavalry and then developed his horsemen into a whole army of cavalry regiments.  In 1865, by now under the control of the British Indian Army, the force was expanded further and reorganised with five regiments of Bengal Cavalry becoming “Lancers.”

While the majority of cavalry regiments carried guns, the Lancers were armed with bamboo lances, between ten and eleven feet high and weighing just four pounds.  Lancers were ordered to be able to “jump hedges, cross ditches, scale walls and other obstacles.”

Thus armed the Bengal Lancers fought with a distinction that became legendary throughout the Empire.  From Abyssinia to Peking and from Eqypt to Persia the Bengal Lancers drew distinction as a fighting force.  There were even Lancers at the Relief of Lucknow.

By the beginning of this century, as the armed forces needs of the Empire were changing, Lancer regiments were being decommissioned.  The last regiment of the Bengal Lancers left the service of the Crown in 1903; they may be a thing of the past but the legend lives on.