Royal Scots Fusiliers

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The Royal Scots Fusiliers
RoyalScotsFusiliers 1.jpg
Regimental cap badge
Active 1678–1959
Country  Kingdom of Scotland (1678–1688)
 Kingdom of England (1688–1707)
 Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1959)
Branch British Army
Type Line Infantry
Part of Lowland Brigade
Garrison/HQ Churchill Barracks, Ayr
Insignia
Hackle White
Tartan Hunting Erskine

The Royal Scots Fusiliers was a regiment of the British Army.

History[edit]

The Earl of Mar's Regiment of Foot ('Mar's Grey Breeks') (1678–1695)[edit]

The regiment was raised in Scotland in 1678 by Stuart loyalist Charles Erskine, de jure 5th Earl of Mar for service against the rebel covenanting forces during the Second Whig Revolt (1678–1679). It was used to keep the peace and put down brigands, mercenaries, and rebels. In the Glorious Revolution of 1689, the regiment was ordered south. Initially, it stayed loyal to James II of England; however, when he fled to Ireland, it opted to serve Prince William of Orange. Ironically, the regiment later fought against the Jacobites during the Second Jacobite Rebellion (1745) at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

The Scots Fusilier Regiment of Foot (1695–1712)[edit]

The regiment was converted to fusiliers in 1689, but didn't receive the title officially until 1695. It was nicknamed the "Duke of Marlborough's Own" for its excellent service in all of the Duke's campaigns in the War of the Spanish Succession and received the title of "Royal" in 1712.

21st (Royal North British Fusilier) Regiment of Foot (1713–1877)[edit]

The regiment was renamed the Royal North British Fusilier Regiment of Foot in 1713. It was later numbered the 21st Regiment in 1751, when seniority numbers were introduced.

Uniform of the 21st Regiment of Foot in 1742

21st (Royal Scots Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot (1877–1881)[edit]

The regiment finally saw the restoration of "Scots" in their title in 1877. Although the use of the name during the Georgian era can be proven by reference to swords carried by senior officers circa 1825.

Childers' reforms of 1881[edit]

The regiment did not suffer the indignity of being amalgamated, as it already had two regular battalions. However, it did become the County Regiment of Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Wigtownshire in South-West Scotland. This made them a Lowland Regiment and forced them to adopt trews. It also had to lose its numbering, becoming the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Regimental colours.

Amalgamations of 1959[edit]

The Royal Scots Fusiliers were amalgamated with the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment) in 1959 to form The Royal Highland Fusiliers, (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment). The regular 1st battalions of the two Regiments combined at Redford Barracks, Edinburgh to form the 1st battalion of the new regiment (1 RHF).

Battle honours[edit]

The Regiment was awarded the following battle honours. Those shown in bold from the two World Wars were those selected to be emblazoned on the King's Colour.

  • Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet, Dettingen, Bellisle, Martinique 1794, Bladensburg, Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol, South Africa 1879, Burma 1885–87, Tirah, Relief of Ladysmith, South Africa 1899–1902
  • The Second World War: Defence of Arras, Ypres-Comines Canal, Somme 1940, Withdrawal to Seine, Odon, Fontenay le Pesnil, Cheux, Defence of Rauray, Mont Pincon, Estry, Falaise, Le Vie Crossing, La Touques Crossing, Aart, Nederrijn, Best, Le Havre, Antwerp-Turnhout Canal, Scheldt, South Beveland, Lower Maas, Meijel, Venlo Pocket, Roer, Rhineland, Reichswald, Cleve, Goch, Rhine, Dreirwalde, Uelzen, Bremen, Artlenberg, North-West Europe 1940 '44–45, Landing in Sicily, Sicily 1943, Sangro, Garigliano Crossing, Minturno, Anzio, Advance to Tiber, Italy 1943–44, Madagascar, Middle East 1942, North Arakan, Razabil, Pinwe, Shweli, Mandalay, Burma 1944–45
The 1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers in Burma, 1944

Famous officers[edit]

  • Sir Andrew Agnew (in command at the Battle of Dettingen)
  • Field Marshal Sir Paul Haynes (in command at Inkerman).
  • Lord Trenchard (founder of the Royal Air Force and later made Marshal of the Royal Air Force) served as a subaltern during the Second Boer War.
  • Deneys Reitz, one time deputy Prime Minister of South Africa and South African High Commissioner in London. Reitz served as a Commando against the British during the Second Boer War, but served on the British side against the Germans in Africa, commanded the 1st Battalion of The Royal Scots Fusiliers from 5th October 1918 to January 1919 in France.
  • Sir Winston Churchill, while in disgrace after Gallipoli, commanded the 6th Battalion (New Army) of the Regiment from 25th December 1915 until 7th May 1916, near Ypres on the Western Front .
    • Churchill's second-in-command was Sir Archibald Sinclair, later made Secretary of State for Air in 1940 as part of Churchill's coalition government.
    • One of Churchill's subalterns was Sir Edmund Hakewell Smith, During World War II, he would later be promoted to Major-General and become commander of 52 (Lowland) Division in 1943.
  • Thomas Corbett, 2nd Baron Rowallan commanded the 6th (Pioneer) Battalion during the Battle of France.

References[edit]

Three histories of the Regiment have been written:

  1. The History of the Royal Scots Fusiliers 1678–1920 by John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir)
  2. The Royal Scots Fusiliers 1920–1959 by Colonel J C Kemp.
  3. Cannon, Richard (1849). Historical Record of the Twenty-First or Royal North British Fusilier Regiment of Foot. 

A sword datable to circa 1825 shows that the name "Royal Scots Fusiliers" was in wide use long before being made official