Thursday 10 December 2015

The Saucy Seventh

It's my pleasure to welcome Sarah Waldock, author of Ophelia’s Opportunity, with a look at the Saucy Seventh!


The Saucy Seventh

The ‘Queen’s Own 7th  Hussars’ had their origins in a newly formed dragoon troop in 1690, raised to police Scotland, known then as ‘The Queen’s Own Dragoons’, and in its early years served largely in the Low Countries and Scotland.  Disbanded twice, and spending some time as ‘The Princess of Wales’s Own Regiment of Dragoons’ in 1715, the regiment returned to being ‘The Queen’s Own 7th  Dragoons’ in 1727 with the accession of George II.  It was out of action again until 1742 when the regiment saw action all over a troubled Europe, and gained one of its nicknames [not popular with its members] of ‘strawboots’, when the regiment mended their broken boots with straw after the battle at Warburg in 1760.  

The regiment, who called themselves ‘The Saucy Seventh’ served in the French revolutionary wars, and in 1801 their new Colonel was Henry Paget, who remained with the regiment until 1842, serving through Waterloo where he lost his leg. 

However, before Waterloo, in 1807, the Dragoon regiment became the second regiment of dragoons to be honoured by the Prince of Wales with a slight change of designation to become Hussars; this was largely, so far as I can see, because Prinny liked the uniform of hussars and wanted some in England.  The appellation ‘the Lilywhite Seventh’ arose from this, because the facings of their new uniforms with all that frogging were white, from their old dragoon uniforms, not blue.  

The 7th served with distinction on the Peninsula and throughout the Napoleonic campaigns, and they were one of the regiments at Quatre Bras.  Not all losses were to the enemy, however, since on 22nd January 1809, 60 officers and men and 44 horses were drowned when their troop ship was wrecked off the coast of England.

The hero of my book ‘Ophelia’s Opportunity’ [book 2 of the ‘Charity School’ series] is a captain in the Saucy Seventh.  He had joined when it was still a Dragoon regiment, and because I needed him elsewhere when his daughter, Lucy, was born, and the regiment had not been mobilised, I came up with a mission to help with the re-forming of the Royal Corsican Rangers, on the grounds that he spoke fluent Italian.  He went on to serve at Corunna, where he lost a hand.  We meet him in the book as he has tracked down his daughter, who has formed a close bond with the new young preceptress at Swanley Court School for Impoverished Gentlewomen. 

April had come in with definite April showers after a fine close to March, but as the showers were intermittent, in consultation with both the doctor and Mrs.  Ashley, Ophelia bundled Lucy into outdoor garb to walk in the grounds with her father. 
Captain Sanderville, now sporting a somewhat more fashionable jacket, the left sleeve cut to accommodate his hook, lifted an eyebrow. 
“Am I like a wet hound, not permitted in the house?” he asked. 
“Oh I think you can be trusted, sir, to keep your muddy paws off the furniture,” laughed Ophelia.  “It is good for Lucy to get as much fresh air as possible, and while it is not raining, I thought we might stroll down to the folly, sit a while, then stroll back up to take tea, or in Lucy’s case, milk.”
“I shall be guided by you, Miss Rackham,” said the captain.  “I promise faithfully not to shake muddy water all over the place too.”
Lucy giggled. 
“If you were a dog, you would be a very nice one,” she said. 
“If any of my brothers were dogs, I’d hide until they finished shaking,” said Ophelia. 
“Oh, small boys are small boys,” said Captain Sanderville.  “Are we to do botany lessons?  I don’t know how much I remember, except that I can recognise that there is a buttercup over there, so I can find out if Lucy likes butter.”
“Oh how?  How?” demanded Lucy.   Captain Sanderville picked a blossom and held it under her chin.
“Definitely the Queen’s Own Lucy likes butter,” he said, solemnly. 
“Well, I do, but how do you know, Papa?” demanded Lucy. 
“Why, because the petals shine a buttery glow on your skin,” said her father.  “Try it with Miss Rackham, if she permits of course, and see; it is harder to see it above a man’s stock.”
“Ahah, men say that, Lucy, to hide just how much they love butter!” laughed Ophelia.  “Let me lean down and lift my chin for you.”
Lucy’s mouth described a silent ‘O’ as she saw the golden glow reflected under Ophelia’s chin. 
“It’s like magic!” she said. 
“Fun, isn’t it?” said the captain.  “As to the botany side of it, I think it’s a Ranunculus of some kind.”
“I wasn’t going to trouble about botany,” said Ophelia, “just some fun for Lucy.” 
“Saved from my ignorance, by Jove!” laughed the captain. 

Ophelia’s Opportunity kindle:
Also available in paperback. 

Find the previous book here:

About the Author
Sarah Waldock grew up in Suffolk and still resides there, in charge of a husband, and under the ownership of sundry cats. All Sarah’s cats are rescue cats and many of them have special needs. They like to help her write and may be found engaging in such helpful pastimes as turning the screen display upside-down, or typing random messages in kittycode into her computer. 

Sarah claims to be an artist who writes. Her degree is in art, and she got her best marks writing essays for it. She writes largely historical novels, in order to retain some hold on sanity in an increasingly insane world. There are some writers who claim to write because they have some control over their fictional worlds, but Sarah admits to being thoroughly bullied by her characters who do their own thing and often refuse to comply with her ideas. It makes life more interesting, and she enjoys the surprises they spring on her. Her characters’ surprises are usually less messy [and much less noisy] than the surprises her cats spring. 

Sarah has tried most of the crafts and avocations which she mentions in her books, on the principle that it is easier to write about what you know. She does not ride horses, since the Good Lord in his mercy saw fit to invent Gottleib Daimler to save her from that experience; and she has not tried blacksmithing. She would like to wave cheerily at anyone in any security services who wonder about middle aged women who read up about making gunpowder and poisonous plants.

Written content of this post copyright © Sarah Waldock, 2015.


Sarah said...

Many thanks for inviting me!

Unknown said...

Wonderful info about the Queen's Own 7th Hussars. I had not heard of their losses due to shipwreck in 1809. It's bad enough to lose soldiers and horses during battle, but to lose so many because of something like that is just awful.

Helena said...

What a collection of nicknames! I hadn't realised that "the Lilywhite Seventh" and "the Saucy Seventh" were the same regiment. Thank you!

Sarah said...

Thank you, Helena! yes, the nicknames some of the regiments accrued were many and varied, through various occurrences in their history! I first heard of the 'Lilywhite Seventh' when it was mentioned by, IIRC, Hugo Darracott, in Heyer's 'The Unknown Ajax', and the name intrigued me!

Sarah said...

It was a real tragedy, and that they rebuilt to be a prominent regiment so quickly was pretty impressive