The Royal Scots Fusiliers

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  • First World War collection at the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum in Glasgow
    First World War collection at the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum in Glasgow
  • 4th battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1914. Courtesy of the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum.
    4th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers in November 1914
  • Winston Churchill (centre) sits with the 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers at Ploegsteert in 1916
    Winston Churchill (centre) sits with the 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers at Ploegsteert in 1916

Winston Churchill famously said ‘it was in Scotland I found the three best things in my life: my wife, my constituency and my regiment’. The regiment he found was the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the second oldest of all the Scottish regiments and one of the most distinguished in the British Army.

Active:

1678 - 1958

Type:

Line Infantry

Regimental Depot:

Ayr Barracks.

Nicknames:

The regiment became known as the ‘Duke of Marlborough’s Own’ in the wake of its formidable performance in all of Marlborough’s campaigns during the War of the Spanish Succession.

Motto:

Nec Aspera Terrent (Hardships do not deter us)

March:

Highland Laddie (Pipes)

Tartan:

Hunting Erskine

Origins:

4th battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers in February 1915. Courtesy of the Royal Highland Fusiliers MuseumOriginally called the Earl of Mar’s Regiment of Foot, the regiment was raised in Scotland in 1678 by Stuart loyalist Charles Erskine, 5th Earl of Mar, to suppress the rebelling Covenanters. Although the regiment was converted to ‘Fusiliers’ in 1689 after being armed with ‘Fusil’ muskets – the most technologically advanced weaponary of the day – it wasn’t until the restructuring of the infantry regiments of the British Army under the Childers Reforms in 1981 that the regiment received the title of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. 
Throughout its long and distinguished history, the regiment fought in conflicts on both British soil and overseas, from the Second Jacobite Rebellion at the infamous Battle of Culloden to the American War of Independence and the Boer wars. It was eventually amalgamated in 1959 with the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment) to from the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

First World War:

During the war the regiment raised 19 battalions, was awarded 58 battle honours and 4 Victoria Crosses. It lost a total of 5,600 men over the course of the war.

Did you know?

  • After being expelled from the government for his part in the catastrophic Gallipoli Campaign, Winston Churchill served as commander of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
  • To mark the 250th anniversary of the regiment, the immensely popular author of The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan published The History of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (1678-1918). The book was dedicated to Buchan’s brother Alastair who fell in the Great War while serving with the regiment.
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