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During the Seven Years War with France the 3rd Dragoon Guards and the 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons formed light troops to attack the Channel coast. They raided Saint-Malo and Cherbourg in 1758. The 2nd Dragoons fought at Minden the following year, and along with the 3rd Dragoon Guards and 3rd Irish Horse, distinguished themselves at the Battle of Warburg in 1760.

In executive command of the 2nd Dragoons at the start of the war was Lieutenant-Colonel John Forbes who left the regiment in 1757 to serve as Colonel of the 17th Regiment of Foot in the American colonies. Forbes was promoted to Brigadier General and in 1758 led British troops to capture Fort Duquesne in Pennsylvania from the French.

Lieutenant-Colonel John Forbes, oil on canvas attributed to Thomas Robertson Aikman, 20th century.

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