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The Royal Scots

The Royal Scots, once the oldest infantry in the British Army, were involved in almost every major battle fought by the army from 1633 onwards. One of the most decorated regiments of World War I, an estimated 100,000 soldiers served with them during the conflict.


  • Started life in 1633 as the Royal Regiment of the Foot by Sir John Hepburn, who had been tasked by Charles I to recruit troops to serve in France.
  • Recalled to Britain in 1661 following the disbandment of the New Model Army and the introduction of the Regular Army. This was the model used by all future regiments.
  • Only renamed the Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) in the 19th century when it became the county regiment of Edinburgh.
  • The Royal Scots saw action in numerous conflicts 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.
  • Joined forces with the King's Own Scottish Borders in 2006 and became part of the Royal Scots Borderers.

Facts and figures


In the 17th century the regiment took part in a boasting competition with the French Regiment of Picardy who boasted they'd been guardians of Christ's tomb before the Resurrection. The Scottish soldiers' response and their subsequent nickname was 'Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard'.

When the 9th Territorial Battalion joined forces with the 7th Battalion, they were the only kilted soldiers of the lowland regiment made up of Highlanders who had settled in Edinburgh. They were affectionately known as the 'Dandy Ninth'.

They were also known as 'First of foot, right of line and the pride of the British army'.


Nemo me impune lacessit (Nobody harms me with impunity)


Many regiments have their own marches which were traditionally used to rally the troops and boost morale before battle.

  • Dumbarton's Drums (quick march)
  • The Garb of Old Gaul (slow march)


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

World War I

On the eve of World War I, the Royal Scots consisted of 10 battalions, with eight more based in the Lothians. The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion was based at Glencorse along with the regimental depot and seven others were all Territorial Force (volunteer reserve) battalions and had drill halls spread across the region.

  • The Royal Scots raised 35 battalions of infantry, 15 of which served as active front line units.
  • Of the 100,000 men who served over the course of the war, 11,162 were killed and 40,000 wounded.
  • The active service battalions were engaged in every area of battle, from the Western Front and Dardanelles, to Macedonia, Egypt and North Russia.
  • The soldiers were awarded a total of 71 battle honours and 6 Victoria Crosses.

Find out more at the Royal Scots Regimental Museum.