The Royal Scots

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  • The aftermath of the Quintinshill rail disaster near Gretna on 22 May 1915
    The aftermath of the Quintinshill rail disaster near Gretna on 22 May 1915
  • raiding party of 11th Royal Scots preparing for action in July 1918
    11th Royal Scots preparing for action in July 1918

Formerly the oldest and most senior infantry regiment in the British Army, the Royal Scots were involved in almost every major campaign fought by the British Army from 1633. One of the most decorated regiments of the First World War, an estimated 100,000 soldiers served with the regiment over the course of the conflict.

Active:

1633-2006

Type:

Line Infantry

Regimental Depot:

Glencorse Barracks, Penicuik

Nicknames:

In the 17th century the Royal Regiment of Foot took part in a boating contest with the French Regiment of Picardy who boasted that they had been the guardians of Christ’s tomb before the Resurrection. Upon hearing this, the regiment are said to have responded by calling themselves ‘Pontius Pilate’s Bodyguard’.

The 9th Territorial Battalion, following its amalgamation with the 7th Battalion, became known as ‘The Dandy Ninth’ as it was the only kilted battalion of this lowland regiment to be comprised of Highland immigrants who had settled in Edinburgh.

The Royal Scots were also known as ‘First of foot, right of line and the pride of the British army’.

Motto:

Nemo me impune lacessit (Nobody harms me with impunity)

March:

Dunbarton’s Drums (quick march) and The Garb of Old Gaul (slow march)

Tartan:

Hunting Stewart (trews)
Royal Stewart (pipers, kilts and plaids)

Origins:

The regiment was first raised as the Royal Regiment of the Foot in 1683 by Sir John Hepburn under a royal warrant granted by Charles I to recruit troops to serve in France. After being recalled to Britain in 1661 following the disbandment of the New Model Army and the introduction of the Regular Army, it served as the model for all the regiments founded thereafter. It wasn’t until the 19th century when it became the country regiment of Edinburgh that it was retitled The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment).

Throughout its long history the regiment saw action in numerous conflicts at home and abroad from the Monmouth Rebellion and the Jacobite Rising at Culloden, to the Napoleonic Wars at the Battle of Waterloo, and the Crimean and Boer wars.

It existed right up until 2006 when it was amalgamated with the King’s Own Scottish Borders and became part of the Royal Scots Borderers.

First World War:

On the eve of the First World War, the regiment consisted of 10 battalions with an additional eight based in the Lothians. The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion was based at Glencorse along with the Regimental Depot. The seven other battalions were all Territorial Force battalions and had drill halls spread across the Lothians. The Royal Scots raised some 35 battalions of infantry, 15 of which served as active front line units. Of the 100,000 men who served in the battalions over the course of the war, 11,162 were killed and 40,000 wounded.

The active service battalions were engaged in every theatre of operations, from the Western Front and the Dardanelles, to Macedonia, Egypt and North Russia, accruing a total of 71 battle honours and 6 Victoria Crosses.

Did you know?

  • The regiment’s 7th battalion was traveling aboard a train transporting them on their way to Gallipoli when it collided with a local passenger train near Gretna Green at Quintinshill killing 210 officers and men and wounding another 224. 
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