Colonel Wardlaw's Regiment of Dragoons

Due to the continuing lockdown for the global pandemic, instead of writing more #ECWtravelogue entries, my attention has once again turn to units that appeared, briefly, at the dawn of this blog. Keeps me sane; and, judging by the surge in viewing figures (got another follower- woohoo!), I hope it is entertaining everyone stuck at home.

Today's spotlight falls upon Colonel James Wardlaw, and his Regiment of Dragoons.


James was a Scot who began his military career fighting for Gustavus Adolphus. He was sent, with several other Scots officers, to Russia where they were tasked with reforming the Russian army to  western European standards. This led to him being part of the Russian army that besieged Smolensk in 1634. He returned to Scotland in 1641 with the intention of joining the Covenanter cause, but his ship was blown off course to Newcastle. He was arrested and sent to prison in York, where he served four months in jail. Upon release he was employed by the Earl of Essex, where amongst several roles, he was commissioned as Colonel of Dragoons.


The Regiment's battle 'honours' are confusing: reputedly they fought badly at Edgehill, fled the battlefield and sacked their own baggage train; however more recent research does not have them at Edgehill, instead being tasked to guard the main baggage train some miles distant from the battle (their casualty returns show no losses for Edgehill, which would further support this research).  It is thought that they fought at Brentford (as their numbers significantly reduced after the battle); they were present at Turnham Green; early in 1643 they were reduced from a full regiment to just one troop. Once reduced they were no longer referred to as Wardlaw's RoD, but Captain Dundas's Troop of Dragoons.

As a troop they fought at Chalgrove, First Newbury, Lostwithiel, Caradon Down and Kidlington. At some point command of the troop had passed to Jeremiah Abercromby, who fell at Kidlington. In April 1645 the troop was disbanded, and most likely reduced into Okey's Dragoons.



Painted by Alan Tuckey, basing by my own hand. Strangely one base of horses and horseholder were a bit camera shy and don't appear in this picture. The photographer will be flogged for such an exhibition of incompetence.

Wardlaw's Dragoons is one of only a handful of dragoon guidons to have been recorded, and one of only two 'full sets' of guidons (the other being Waller's Dragoons) thanks to Turmile. Wardlaw's guidons are all identical, bar their mottos. Each troop bearing a different motto. I have represented Wardlaw's with Captain John Barnes's guidon. This choice may (or may not) have been influenced by John Barnes's 'rap' in the seminal New Order England world cup anthem 'World In Motion'. 



All six bases of horseholders and horses- yay!

We have no record of any coat colours issued, or even if any coats were issued. I have picked up the coat colours used by their Sealed Knot namesakes as it's a really good colour.

Once the Regiment had been reduced to a Troop, Wardlaw went to Plymouth to oversee the defence of the city as the city's Governor. James left Plymouth in 1644, apparently unhappy with Parliament's support of the besieged city, and it is thought that he returned to Scotland or Russia.

The Regiment is re-enacted by Col. James Wardlawe hys dragoones.

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