King's Own Scottish Borderers

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Not to be confused with King's Own Royal Border Regiment.
King's Own Scottish Borderers
King's Own Scottish Borderers logo.JPG
Cap badge and tartan of the King's Own Scottish Borderers
Active 1689 – 1 August 2006
Allegiance  Kingdom of Scotland (1689–1707)
 Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–2006)
Branch  British Army
Type Line Infantry
Size One battalion
Part of Scottish Division
Garrison/HQ Berwick Barracks, Berwick-upon-Tweed
Motto In Veritate Religionis Confido (I put my trust in the truth of religion)
Nisi Dominus Frustra (Without the Lord, everything is in vain)
Anniversaries Minden – 1 August
Last Colonel-in-Chief HRH the late Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, GCB, CI, GCVO, GBE
John Cooper (Operation Banner, 1993–97)
Tartan Leslie (trews)
Royal Stewart (pipers kilts and plaids)[dead link]

The King's Own Scottish Borderers was a line infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Scottish Division. On 28 March 2006 the regiment was amalgamated with the Royal Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment), the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland, becoming the 1st Battalion of the new regiment.


17th-19th centuries[edit]

Plaque commemorating the raising of Leven's regiment

The regiment was raised on 18 March 1689 by David Melville, 3rd Earl of Leven to defend Edinburgh against the Jacobite forces of James II. It's claimed that 800 men were recruited within the space of two hours. The regiment's first action was at the Battle of Killiecrankie on 27 July 1689. Although this battle was a defeat for the Williamite army, the Jacobite commander, John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee (Bonnie Dundee), was killed by a volley fired by Leven's Regiment, bringing an end to James II's attempt to save his throne in Scotland. The regiment was judged to have performed well and was granted the privilege of recruiting by beat of drum in the City of Edinburgh without prior permission of the provost.[1]

For a period it was known as Semphill's Regiment of Foot, the name under which it fought at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 and the Battle of Culloden in 1746. When the British infantry were allocated numerical positions in the 'line' of Infantry the regiment was numbered 25th Foot (based on its formation date) in 1751. The regiment fought at the Battle of Minden on 1 August 1759 with five other regiments; this battle honour was celebrated by the regiment each year on 1 August. The 25th was the county regiment of Sussex in 1782 when it became known as the 25th (Sussex) Regiment of Foot.[1]

The regiment was awarded the right to bear the emblem of the Sphinx for their role in the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. Its recruiting area was moved to the Scottish Borders region in 1805 from when the regiment became known as the King's Own Borderers. During the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1878 to 1880, the second division was renamed the Khyber Line Force while guarding the lines of communication between Kabul and Peshawar.[2] The regiment became known as the King's Own Scottish Borderers in 1887.[1]

20th and 21st centuries[edit]

A 3rd, Militia, Battalion was formed of the formed Scottish Borderers Militia, with headquarters at Dumfries. It was embodied in January 1900 for service in the Second Boer War, and embarked for South Africa two months later. Most of the battalion returned home in June 1902.[3]

World War I[edit]

During the Home Rule Crisis in 1914, the Borderers were stationed in Dublin. They killed four civilians and wounded 38 after opening fire on a group of unarmed civilians on the day of the Howth gun-running.[4] Later, during the First World War, the regiment was enlarged to nine battalions and served in notable campaigns such as Gallipoli and the Somme.[5]

World War II[edit]

In between the wars, the regiment's regular battalions were sent all over the British Empire to Ireland, Egypt and Hong Kong but were quickly recalled home at the outbreak of World War II in September 1939. One of its heaviest losses during the war was at the ill-fated Battle of Arnhem in which the 7th Battalion, as part of the 1st Airlanding Brigade of 1st Airborne Division, suffered 90% casualties;[6] the defended the perimeter in Oosterbeek against 2nd SS Panzer Corps. Several of the other battalions were dispatched to Southeast Asia and fought against the Japanese in the Burma Campaign and in India.[5]

After the war[edit]

After the Second World War, the regiment served internal security duties in the British Mandate of Palestine and was reduced to a single battalion around 1948. The regiment was part of the United Nations forces deployed to the Korean War.[7]

Between 1972 to 2004, the regiment was regularly posted to Northern Ireland as part of Operation Banner during the Troubles. They were victims of the 1989 Derryard attack which killed two of their men. During the 1990s, they were one of the few Scottish regiments not deployed to the Yugoslav Wars but were mainly stationed in Northern Ireland instead.[8] The regiment also served in Iraq on Operation Telic in 2003.[5]

Restructuring of the infantry[edit]

Until 2004 the regiment was one of five in the line infantry never to have been amalgamated, the others being The Royal Scots, The Green Howards, The Cheshire Regiment and The Royal Welch Fusiliers. However, in 2004, as part of the British Government's defence review, it was announced that the Scottish Division would lose an infantry battalion. On 28 March 2006 the regiment became the King's Own Scottish Borderers Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Then on 1 August 2006 the King's Own Scottish Borderers Battalion merged with the Royal Scots Battalion to form the Royal Scots Borderers Battalion. This single battalion became known as the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland.[9]

King's Own Scottish Borderers Regimental Museum[edit]

The King's Own Scottish Borderers Regimental Museum is located in Berwick Barracks, Berwick-upon-Tweed. Exhibits include uniforms, badges, medals, weapons and relics from different campaigns. Berwick Barracks is operated by English Heritage. Admission includes access to the King's Own Scottish Borderers Museum, Berwick Gymnasium Art Gallery, the Berwick Museum and Art Gallery and the exhibition ‘By Beat of Drum’ on the life of the British infantryman.[10]

Battle honours[edit]

The battle honours are:[11]



  1. ^ a b c The King's Own Scottish Borderers Association. "1689 – 19th Century". The King's Own Scottish Borderers Association and Museum. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Royle, Trevor (2011). The King's Own Scottish Borderers: A Concise History. Random House. ISBN 9781780572505. 
  3. ^ "The War - Troops returning home" The Times (London). Wednesday, 4 June 1902. (36785), p. 13.
  4. ^ "Today in Irish History – July 26th 1914 – The Howth Gun Running". The Irish Story. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c The King's Own Scottish Borderers Association. "20th and 21st Centuries". The King's Own Scottish Borderers Association and Museum. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Arnhem 1944 by Martin MIddlebrook, page 456
  7. ^ "King's Own Scottish Borderers in Korea". Britain's small wars. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Northern Ireland". 4 December 2003. 
  9. ^ "Why the Royal Scots can no longer hold the line". The Telegraph. 10 October 2004. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Regimental Museum". King's Own Scottish Borderers Association. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "About the regiment". The King's Own Scottish Borderers Association. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]