WF Boreel

The life of Jonkheer Willem François Boreel

The life of Jonkheer W.F. Boreel is closely connected to the history of the regiment that bears his name.

Jonkheer Willem François Boreel (Amsterdam, 3rd September 1774 – Friedrichshafen, 21st May 1851) was a Dutch careerofficer. He played an important role during the formation of the Dutch cavalry of the new Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Willem François Boreel was born as a son of Willem Boreel and Maria Trip. He started his military career at the early age of 12 on May the 16th 1787, as an ensign of the Hollandse Regiment Gardes te Voet (Holland regiment of Footguards). In 1791 he was transferred to the Regiment Gardes Dragonders (Dragoonguards) and received his commision as lieutenant. He resigned his commission after the French invasion of the Netherlands in 1795.

In 1813 he entered the newly formed Dutch army as a Lieutenant-Colonel. On the 25th of November 1813 he was requested by the Prince of Orange (the later King William I) to form a regiment of light cavalry (hussars). He commanded this regiment, the 6th Hussar regiment , on June the 16th 1815 at the Batle of Quatre-Bras and on June the 18th at the Battle of Waterloo. After the brigadecommander generalmajor J.B. Baron Van Merlen was killed in action at Waterloo, he took over the command of this brigade.

For his conduct during both battles he received on July the 8th 1815 the knighthood 3rd Class of the Military Order of William, the highest Dutch military order, he promoted to the rank of colonel in 1820 and in 1821 he became a nobleman (Jonkheer, there is no English equivalent for this Dutch nobility-title.) In 1824 he was promoted to the rank of Generalmajor and he became the Inspector of the Light Cavalry. In 1830 he took part in the Ten Days Campaign against Belgium. In 1835 he was Supreme Commander of the Dutch Cavalry. On the 5th of November 1840 he retired. From 1841 till 1844 he was head of the Royal Stables under King Will1iam II of the Netherlands and from 1845 till 1849 he was Grandmaster of the Royal Court.

Boreel also received the Order of the Dutch Lion to become a knight and even a commander in that same order in 1831 and in 1849 he received the knighthood of the Grandcross of the Dutch Lion.

Boreel died on the 21st of May 1851 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The regiment of his name is still active in the modern Dutch army.