Scottish Horse

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Scottish Horse
Cap badge of the Scottish Horse.
Active 1900–1956
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Yeomanry
Role Formation Reconnaissance
Army Air Corps
Size Battalion
Colors Black and Gold
March The Scottish Horse
The Garb of Old Gaul
Engagements Anzio
Battle honours Second Boer War
1900 – 1902 South Africa
First World War
France & Flanders
Macedonia (1916–18)
Gallipoli (1915)
Egypt (1915–16)
Second World War
North West Europe
Sicily & Italy [1]
Henry Peregrine Leader
Regimental Tartan

(Murray of Atholl)
Stable Belt Colours Sh belt.png

The Scottish Horse was a Yeomanry regiment of the British Army's Territorial Army (TA) from 1902 to 1956, when it was amalgamated with the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry.

It carries the traditions and battle honours of The Scottish Horse raised in South Africa in 1900 for service in the Second Boer War. The regiment saw heavy fighting in both the First World War, as the 13th Battalion, Black Watch, and in the Second World War, as part of the Royal Artillery.

Today, the combined regiments are perpetuated by "C" (FFY/SH) Squadron of The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry based in Cupar in Fife.


Formation and the Boer War 1900–1902[edit]

The Scottish Horse were raised for the South African War in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg and expanded to two regiments. The 1st and 2nd Scottish Horse were formed from Australian volunteers plus drafts from Scotland and South Africa.

In late 1900, the Marquess of Tullibardine was in asked by Lord Kitchener, whom he had served under on the Omdurman Campaign, to raise a regiment of Scotsmen in South Africa, called The Scottish Horse. The regiment was raised quickly and soon saw active service in the Western Transvaal. A second regiment of Scottish Horse was raised from troops recruited by the 7th Duke of Atholl and a permanent headquarters was set up to supply both of these regiments, with Atholl in command but with subordinate commanding officers in the field in charge of each of the Regiments. This success continued until the Scottish Horse was a whole brigade by the end of the Second Boer War. After the war ended in June 1902, 780 officers and men of the regiments left Cape Town in the SS Goth and arrived in Southampton in late August.[2] Both regiments were subsequently disbanded at Edinburgh Castle, after repatriating Australians and discharging South Africans.

Later in 1902, The Scottish Horse was reconstituted as two regiments by the Duke of Atholl, both claiming descent from the original Scottish Horse:

  • A British Army Regiment (whose history is below).
  • Volunteer Regiment in Transvaal Army. By June 1906, it was 396 men strong; however, it was disbanded in 1907 in favour of the Transvaal's Imperial Light Horse.

Scottish Horse Imperial Yeomanry 1903–1913[edit]

Returning to Scotland after the Second Boer War, initially, as an Imperial Yeomanry Regiment of four squadrons, the Scottish Horse was made the county Yeomanry Regiment for Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Elgin, Nairn, and Argyllshire. By 1908, the Scottish Horse had been expanded to two regiments (eight squadrons in total) with its headquarters at Dunkeld co-located with the Headquarters of the 1st Regiment. The regiments were trained and equipped as dragoons.

The Scottish Horse Boer War memorial in Edinburgh
1st Scottish Horse
(Yeomanry for Perthshire)
2nd Scottish Horse
(Yeomanry for Aberdeenshire,
Elgin, Nairn, and Argyllshire)
HQ Dunkeld HQ Aberdeen
A Squadron Blair Atholl
(dets at Ballinluig, Pitlochry, Kirkmichael, Kinloch Rannoch)
E Squadron Elgin
(dets at Pluscarden, Craigellachie, Cullen, Dallas, Dufftown, Forres, Keith, Archiestown)
B Squadron Dunkeld
(dets at Murthly, Bankfoot, Dupplin, Perth, Cluny, Aberfeldy)
F Squadron Kintore
(dets at Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Ellon, Huntly, Insch, Inverurie, Monymusk, Cluny, Alford, Turriff, Fyvie, Rothie-Norman, Maud, Mintlaw, Newmachar, Bucksburn)
C Squadron Coupar Angus
(dets at Blairgowrie, Alyth, Invergowrie)
G Squadron Aberdeen
(dets at Torphins, Aboyne, Tarland, Ballater, Braemar)
D Squadron Dunblane
(dets at Crieff, Comrie, Lochearnhead, Auchterarder, Muthill, Dunning, Methven)
H Squadron Connel, Argyll
(dets at Kilchrenan, Appin, Easdale, Ardrishaig, Taynuilt, Calgary (Mull), Tiree, Craignure (Mull), Campbeltown, Bunessan (Mull), Torloisk (Mull), Port Ellen, Port Charlotte, Bowmore, Bridghead)

First World War[edit]

In accordance with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (7 Edw. 7, c.9) which brought the Territorial Force into being, the TF was intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, many members volunteered for Imperial Service. Therefore, TF units were split in August and September 1914 into 1st Line (liable for overseas service) and 2nd Line (home service for those unable or unwilling to serve overseas) units. Later, a 3rd Line was formed to act as a reserve, providing trained replacements for the 1st and 2nd Line regiments.[3]

1/1st, 1/2nd and 1/3rd Scottish Horse[edit]

The 1st and 2nd Scottish Horse were expanded with the creation of the 3rd Regiment in August 1914 and the Scottish Horse Mounted Brigade was then formed with these three Regiments in September 1914. By January 1915, the Scottish Horse Mounted Brigade was attached to the 50th Division on coastal defence duties in the UK.

Gallipoli and Egypt[edit]
1st Regiment Scottish Horse constructing a redoubt at Duadar, Summer 1916

By August 1915 the regiments were ready for foreign service and took part in dismounted landings at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on 2 September 1915, attached to 2nd Mounted Division.

December 1915 saw the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments evacuated from Gallipoli and moved to Egypt. Due to heavy casualties, the Scottish Horse Brigade was absorbed into 1st Dismounted Brigade on Suez Canal defences in February 1916.


On 29 September 1916, the 1st and 2nd Regiments formed an infantry battalion. Just over two weeks later, on 15 October 1916, it became known as the 13th (Scottish Horse Yeomanry) Battalion, the Black Watch. The 3rd Regiment was formed into the 26th Squadron, the Machine Gun Corps and continued to serve in Egypt before being re-titled as a company and posted to the Lovat's Scouts Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders.

The 13th (Scottish Horse Yeomanry) Battalion of The Black Watch was sent to fight in Salonika as part of the 81st Brigade in 27th Division. It was during this time that the water colour titled "Sport In War" was painted showing the Officers of the 13th Regiment hunting in Macedonia just after returning from a raid on Hungarian Lines.

Western Front[edit]

In June 1918, with victory looming on the Macedonia front, the Regiment was transferred to the 149th Brigade, 50th Division on the Western Front, where it remained until the end of the war.

2/1st, 2/2nd and 2/3rd Scottish Horse[edit]

Three 2nd Line regiments were formed in August and September 1914 at Dunkeld and Aberdeen. They moved to Kettering, Northamptonshire and formed 2/1st Scottish Horse Mounted Brigade. At the end of 1915, they moved to Alford, Lincolnshire.[4] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were numbered in a single sequence. As a consequence, the 2/1st Scottish Horse Mounted Brigade was redesignated as 19th Mounted Brigade, in Northern Command.[5]

In July 1916, the regiments were converted to cyclists (and the brigade became 12th Cyclist Brigade, later 8th Cyclist Brigade) still in Lincolnshire.[4] At the end of 1917, they moved to Fife with the regiments at Ladybank (2/1st), St Andrews (2/2nd) and Cupar (2/3rd). In April 1918, they moved to Ireland and the regiments were stationed at Limerick (2/1st), Lahinch (2/2nd) and Tulla (2/3rd) where they remained until the end of the war.[6]

3/1st, 3/2nd and 3/3rd Scottish Horse[edit]

Three 3rd Line regiments were formed at Dunkeld around May 1915.[6] In the summer of 1915, they were affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot and in June 1916 they returned to Dunkeld. The regiments were disbanded in early 1917 with personnel transferring to the 2nd Line units or to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Black Watch at Ripon.[4]

Between the wars[edit]

Post war, a commission was set up to consider the shape of the Territorial Force (Territorial Army from 1 October 1921). The experience of the First World War made it clear that cavalry was surfeit. The commission decided that only the 14 most senior regiments were to be retained as cavalry. Eight regiments were converted to Armoured Car Companies of the Royal Tank Corps (RTC), one was reduced to a battery in another regiment, one was absorbed into a local infantry battalion, one became a signals regiment and two were disbanded. The remaining 25 regiments were converted to brigades[a] of the Royal Field Artillery between 1920 and 1922.[9]

The Scottish Horse was reduced to a single regiment, but remained mounted as a "scouts" unit[10] – as did the Lovat Scouts.[11]

Second World War[edit]

Howitzers of the 79th (The Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment during a training exercise, Banffshire, Scotland (May 1941)

The Regiment started the war as reconnaissance mounted cavalry. However, the horses were withdrawn at Dunkeld and, after a brief wait. the Scottish Horse was formally dismounted.

In 1940, The Scottish Horse Regiment was split to become the 79th (The Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery and the 80th (The Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery. The 80th Medium Regiment served as part of 6th Army Group Royal Artillery in the Italian Campaign.

During the War, the regiment won a Distinguished Service Order, 14 Military Crosses, an OBE, seven MBEs, two Distinguished Conduct Medals, 19 Military Medals and 83 Mentions in despatches.[12]

The Post War Period 1945–1956[edit]

In 1947, the Scottish Horse rejoined the Territorial Army list with its HQ back at Dunkeld.

It was transferred from the Royal Artillery to become part of the Royal Armoured Corps. At this time, the Regiment was made up of two squadrons of Scottish Horse and the third from the Lovat Scouts.

This merger was to be short lived and, by 1949, the Lovat Scouts had been roled as Artillery, leaving both the Scottish Horse and The Royal Armoured Corps.

In 1956, an amalgamation was announced with the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry and, on 31 October 1956, the Scottish Horse became part of a new Regiment known as the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry/Scottish Horse.

Victoria Cross[edit]

The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.[13] Lt William John English (later Lt Col) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism on 3 July 1901 in South Africa whilst serving as a Lieutenant in The Scottish Horse.

The citation read:

This officer, with five men, was holding the position at Vlakfontein on 3 July 1901 during an attack by the Boers. Two of his men were killed and two wounded, but the position was still held, largely owing to the lieutenant's personal pluck. When the ammunition ran short, he went over to the next party and obtained more; to do so he had to cross some 15 yards of open ground, under a heavy fire at a range of from 20 to 30 yards.

Battle honours[edit]

The battle honours of the Scottish Horse are displayed on the guidon which are now laid up in Dunkeld Cathedral. The battle honours were carried forward on to the guidon of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry/Scottish Horse and are represented today on the guidon of the Queen's Own Yeomanry.

The Scottish Horse was awarded the following battle honours (honours in bold are emblazoned on the regimental colours):[14]

Second Boer War South Africa 1900–02
Honorary Distinction from the Second World War, awarded to the Shropshire Yeomanry for service as a Royal Artillery regiment. The Scottish Horse Honorary Distinction would be similar.
First World War Beaurevoir, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1918, Macedonia 1916–18, Gallipoli 1915, Rumani, Egypt 1915–16
Second World War The Royal Artillery was present in nearly all battles and would have earned most of the honours awarded to cavalry and infantry regiments. In 1833, William IV awarded the motto Ubique (meaning "everywhere") in place of all battle honours.[15]

Honorary Distinction: Badge of the Royal Regiment of Artillery with year-dates "1943–45" and three scrolls: "North-West Europe", "Sicily" and "Italy"

Honorary Colonels and Commanding Officers[edit]

Other Notable Commanders and Soldiers

Seniority in The British Army[edit]

This table shows how the Regiment's place in the Army List moved through its history

Year Preceded by Title Followed By
1913 The Lovat Scouts
The Scottish Horse
1916 12th (Labour) Bn
of the Black Watch
13th (Scottish Horse) Bn
of the Black Watch
14th (Fife and Forfar Yeomanry) Bn
of the Black Watch
1939 78th (Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry)
Medium Regt of RA
79th and 80th (Scottish Horse)
Medium Regt of RA
84th (Sussex)
Medium Regt of RA
1955 East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry
(Royal Armoured Corps)
The Scottish Horse
(Royal Armoured Corps)
Royal Regiment of Artillery(Volunteers)


SH Cap Badge[edit]

The Scottish Horse Imperial Yeomanry Badge as worn during the Boer War

The cross of St Andrew with a sprig of laurel on one side and a branch of juniper leaves on the other. The King's and in turn Queen's crowns on top were later additions.


A long schooling whip with silver top was carried by all Officers and SNCOs


The Duke of Atholl's Tartan, Murray of Atholl, was worn by the Officers and Men in various forms of dress.

The evening mess dress for Officers included a kilt. Junior Officers wore their family tartan but once an Officer reached Field Rank (Major or above) that he was expected to wear the Regimental Tartan.

Pipers (known as Trumpeter on the Establishment) wore the Tuliibardaine Tartan.

Head Dress[edit]

A Scottish Horse Slouch Hat in the Transvaal Scottish Museum

Full Dress: Slouch hat with kakhi and black silk in the pogri (only the Commanding Officer would wear the silk Murray of Atholl tartan in the pogri) a cap badge with backing of yellow/red or blue (depending on if with soldier was in 1st 2nd or 3rd Regiment) and black cock feather

Working Dress: The Atholl Bonnet, a tam o'shanter type headdress in navy with a green, white and red check band, with red tourrie (bobble) on top.

Stable Belt Colours[edit]

Black belt with three gold stripes – colours taken from The Duke of Atholl's crest.
Sh belt.png


The newly raised Scottish Horse appeared in full dress uniform for the first time in May 1903, on the occasion of a visit by King Edward VII to Edinburgh. The new uniform comprised the slouch hat shown above, a light khaki-drab tunic piped in yellow and khaki overalls (tight fitting cavalry trousers) also with yellow piping. The shade of yellow used was that of the body of the Scottish Standard. This uniform, worn for both parade and ordinary duties, was practical and smart but plain by the standards of the period.

In 1908 a more elaborate full dress was adopted in "Atholl Grey" (a light grey with slightly violet tint). Tunic and overalls were in this distinctive colour, with collars, shoulder straps, piping and trouser stripes in yellow. The slouch hat continued to be worn, with black cock's tail feathers. This uniform was worn by all ranks for ceremonial and church parades, plus walking out dress for other ranks, until the outbreak of war in 1914. There were also special uniforms for pipers, and for optional mess wear by officers and sergeants.[16]

The khaki field service dress adopted 1908–10 was of regular British Army pattern but the retention of the Atholl bonnet by all ranks and a number of minor features such as three buttoned cuffs and some yellow piping enabled the Regiment to retain a distinctive appearance.

The Atholl Grey uniform was worn by officers during the 1920s and 1930s when attending Royal Levees and on certain social occasions. The Scottish Horse, in common with the other Yeomanry regiments, wore standard khaki for most other occasions after 1914.

SH Pipes and Drums[edit]

The pipe band of the Scottish Horse was largely drawn from the musicians of the Atholl Highlanders

Affiliations and Alliances[edit]

 South AfricaTransvaal Scottish Regiment

 ScotlandAtholl Highlanders

Memorials, Archives and Museums[edit]

The Scottish Horse Memorial in Dunkeld Cathedral

The Cathedral contains a memorial to the Scottish Horse and a book of remembrance with the names off all who fell in the World Wars. In addition both of the guidons of the Scottish Horse are also lain up in the Cathedral. Each year on Remembrance Sunday the Regimental Association participates in the Church service in Dunkeld.

  • Scottish National War Memorial

The memorial was built after a proposal in 1917 by the Duke of Atholl in Edinburgh Castle contains a memorial and book of remembrance to all Scottish Regiments including the Scottish Horse.

  • Boer War Cross of Iona

Two identical statues both in the shape of a Cross of Iona with a superimposed claymore and lion rampant in bronze. The inscription reads "Nemo me impune lacessit 1900". One is on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle and the other is on Caledonia Hill, Kensington Ridge Johannesburg. The later is cared for by the Transvaal Scottish Association

The Castle contains some of the Murray family's personal actifacts relating to the various family members's time in the Regiment

  • The Regimental Archive

The Regimental Archive is extensive and it is held at The Chapter House, Dunkeld Cathedral and can be viewed by appointment. Dunkeld Cathedral Chapter House

  • An LMS Royal Scot Class express passenger locomotive number 6129 was named after the Regiment. It was commissioned in September 1927 and decommissioned in June 1964.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The basic organic unit of the Royal Artillery was, and is, the Battery.[7] When grouped together they formed brigades, in the same way that infantry battalions or cavalry regiments were grouped together in brigades. At the outbreak of the First World War, a field artillery brigade of headquarters (4 officers, 37 other ranks), three batteries (5 and 193 each), and a brigade ammunition column (4 and 154)[8] had a total strength just under 800 so was broadly comparable to an infantry battalion (just over 1,000) or a cavalry regiment (about 550). Like an infantry battalion, an artillery brigade was usually commanded by a lieutenant colonel. Artillery brigades were redesignated as regiments in 1938.


  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Scottish Horse Museum. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Return of troops". The Times (36845). London. 13 August 1902. p. 5. 
  3. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  4. ^ a b c James 1978, p. 27
  5. ^ James 1978, p. 36
  6. ^ a b Baker, Chris. "The Scottish Horse". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "The Royal Artillery". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Baker, Chris. "What was an artillery brigade?". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Mileham 1994, pp. 48–51
  10. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 107
  11. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 90
  12. ^ From Fife Today.
  13. ^ "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3351. 
  14. ^ The Scottish Horse at by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  15. ^ Royal Regiment of Artillery at by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  16. ^ L.Barlow and R.J.Smith, pages 12–27 The Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794–1914 – Lovat Scouts & Scottish Horse ISBN 0-946771-87-1
  17. ^


  • “The Scottish Horse 1900–1946” by The Duchess of Atholl
  • “The Scottish Horse 1939–1945” by R A S Barbour MC (History 79th & 80th (Scottish Horse) Medium Regiments Royal Artillery
  • “The Scottish Horse 1900–1956” by Lt Col RMT Campbell-Preston
  • "The Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794-1914-The Lovat Scouts & Scottish Horse" by the Robert Ogilby Trust
  • Asplin, Kevin. The Roll of the Imperial Yeomanry, Scottish Horse & Lovats Scouts, 2nd Boer war 1899–1902, being an alphabetical listing of 39,800 men of these volunteer forces who enlisted for the 2nd Boer war, listing regimental details, clasps to Queens South Africa medal and casualty status . [Limited ed. of 100 copies]
  • Asplin, Kevin. The Roll of the Imperial Yeomanry, Scottish Horse & Lovats Scouts, 2nd Boer war 1899–1902, being an alphabetical listing of 39,800 men of these volunteer forces who enlisted for the 2nd Boer war, listing regimental details, clasps to Queens South Africa medal and casualty status . [2nd ed.] Doncaster : DP&G Publishing
  • Price, John E. Southern Cross Scots: the Australian and New Zealand participation in the Marquis of Tullibardine's Scottish Horse during the South African War of 1899–1902, 1992, OCLC 32478734

Additional References not fully devoted to the Regiment

External links[edit]