Royal Regiment of Scotland

The Royal Regiment of Scotland is the senior and only Scottish line infantry regiment of the British Army Infantry. It consists of four regular and two reserve battalions, plus an incremental company, each formerly an individual regiment (with the exception of the first battalion, which is an amalgamation of two regiments). However, each battalion maintains its former regimental pipes and drums to carry on the traditions of their antecedent regiments.

Royal Regiment of Scotland
Cap Badge of the Royal Regiment of Scotland
Founded28 March 2006
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch British Army
SizeSix battalions
One reinforced company
Part ofScottish, Welsh and Irish Division
RHQ: Edinburgh
1st Battalion: Belfast
2nd Battalion: Edinburgh
3rd Battalion: Fort George
4th Battalion Catterick
Balaklava Company: Edinburgh
6th Battalion: Glasgow
7th Battalion: Perth
Motto(s)"Nemo Me Impune Lacessit"
"No One Provokes Me With Impunity"
MarchQuick: Scotland the Brave
Slow: Royal Regiment of Scotland Slow March
Mascot(s)Cruachan IV (Shetland pony)
Colonel in ChiefHM The Queen
Colonel of
the Regiment
Major-General Bob Bruce CBE DSO
Tactical Recognition Flash
TartanGovernment 1A
HackleBlackcock Feathers
From the Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers


As part of restructuring in the British Army, the Royal Regiment of Scotland's creation was announced by the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon in the House of Commons on 16 December 2004, after the merger of several regiments and the reduction in total regular infantry battalions from 40 to 36 was outlined in the defence white paper, Delivering Security in a Changing World, several months earlier.[1]

The regiment consists of a total of seven battalions: one of these was formed by the amalgamation of the Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers, while the others are each formed from one of the remaining single-battalion regiments of the Scottish Division. Of all of the new regiments formed following the announcement of 16 December 2004, the Royal Regiment of Scotland is the only one where the former regimental titles have been prominently retained with the new numbered battalion designations as subtitles. There is however a common regimental cap badge, tactical recognition flash (TRF), tartan, stable belt and Glengarry headdress but distinctively coloured hackles are also worn by each separate battalion on the Tam o' Shanter headdress to maintain their individual identity and the pipes and drums of each battalion continue to wear the ceremonial uniforms and tartans of their former regiments.[2]

Along with the Rifles, the Royal Regiment of Scotland is also one of only two line infantry regiments to maintain its own regular military band within the Corps of Army Music, which was formed through the amalgamation of the Highland band and Lowland band of the Scottish Division. In addition, there are two Territorial bands, the Highland Band and the Lowland Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, which are administered by the regiment's two Territorial battalions. The regiment also has its own Parachute Display Team, the Golden Lions and shinty team, the Scots Shinty Club.[3]

In 1948, every regiment of line infantry was reduced to a single battalion. The subsequent process of reducing the overall number of infantry regiments in the Army through disbandment or amalgamation of the traditional county regiments that were formalised in the Childers Reforms of 1881 to form larger multi-battalion regiments, has continued to affect most of the British Army Infantry since the 1957 Defence White Paper outlined the first mergers. The creation of the Royal Regiment of Scotland encountered considerable opposition amongst former soldiers, conservatives and nationalist groups.[4]

The new regiment is also primarily a kilted one and there are concerns that the much older Lowland units, which traditionally wore trews, will be effectively absorbed into a Highland tradition. However, the Ministry of Defence's case that change was necessary to enhance operational efficiency through economies of scale, improve and create more flexible conditions of service and to resolve chronic recruiting and retention problems amongst the eight single-battalion Scottish regiments appears to have been accepted by the majority of serving personnel, and indeed was recommended by the then Chief of the General Staff, Sir Mike Jackson. Jackson delegated the decision on how the reduction of battalions would be achieved to the Council of Scottish Colonels. The Council recommended that the Royal Scots should be amalgamated with the King's Own Scottish Borderers reflecting the former regiment's long term poor recruiting record and high reliance on Commonwealth recruits.[5]

The status of the Black Watch was particularly controversial. When the confirmed plan to amalgamate the regiments was announced, 1st Battalion The Black Watch was deployed away from Basra at Camp Dogwood in a relatively dangerous region of Iraq. Hoon was accused by the SNP of "stabbing the soldiers in the back" and being motivated purely by political and administrative concerns, with little regard to the effect on morale. This controversy was further exacerbated in the minds of some by the fact that the Colonel of the Black Watch, Lieutenant-General Alistair Irwin, was a member of the Army Board at the time that the options to change the size and structure of the infantry by forming large regiments, including to amalgamate regiments of the Scottish Division into a single regiment, were being considered in the Ministry of Defence and final decisions taken.[5]

The regiment was initially formed of six regular and two Territorial battalions on 28 March 2006. On 1 August 2006, the Royal Scots Battalion and King's Own Scottish Borderers Battalion were amalgamated into the 1st Battalion, Royal Scots Borderers, leaving the final regular roll of five regular battalions.[6]

In 2012, as part of the Army 2020 reform package, it was announced that the 5th Battalion, while not losing its name, connection and history as the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, would be reduced to the status of an incremental company, similar to the three companies in the Guards Division, and be transferred to become a permanent public duties unit in Scotland.[7]


All battalions in the Royal Regiment of Scotland, to preserve regional ties and former regimental identities, took the name of their former individual regiments. The order of battle is as follows:[8][9]

  • The Regiment also has many bands:[10]
  • Pipe Bands
    • Pipes and Drums of the 1st (Royal Scots Borderers) Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland
    • Pipes and Drums of the 2nd (Royal Highland Fusiliers) Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland
    • Pipes and Drums of the 3rd (Black Watch) Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland
    • Pipes and Drums of the 4th (The Highlanders) Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland
    • Pipes and Drums of the 6th (52nd Lowland) Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland (TA)
    • Pipes and Drums of the 7th (51st Highland) Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland (TA)

Regimental museum

The Museum of the Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) and the Royal Regiment of Scotland is located in Edinburgh Castle. Operating as an independent museum, the exhibits include dioramas, uniforms, medals, weapons, drums, ceremonial regalia and silver. Displays focus on the regiment's activities since its founding up to contemporary Army life.[11]


The regiment's Colonel-in-Chief is HM The Queen.[12] The colonels-in-chief of the constituent regiments making up the new regiment have become the Royal Colonels of their representative battalions:

^1 The Duke of Rothesay takes the title of Prince of Wales whilst outside Scotland.

Uniform and dress

Cap badge and motto

In August 2005, the new regimental cap badge was unveiled at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The design was the result of a collaborative effort, led by Brigadier Andrew Mackay, along with other serving and retired officers and Regimental Sergeant Majors, with advice from the Lord Lyon King of Arms. The new cap badge incorporates the Saltire of St Andrew and the Lion Rampant of the Royal Standard of Scotland, which are two prominent national symbols. The cap badge is surmounted by a crown, in this case the Crown of Scotland. The regiment's motto is Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No One Assails Me With Impunity)—which is the motto of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland's highest order of chivalry, and was also the motto of four of the pre-existing Scottish regiments.[13]


The new regiment's various Dress Uniforms incorporate a number of "golden threads" from the antecedent regiments. Some of the most prominent include:[14]


While in PCS combat dress, each battalion wears its own unique coloured hackle on the Tam O'Shanter:

  • 1st Battalion: Black
  • 2nd Battalion: White
  • 3rd Battalion: Red
  • 4th Battalion: Blue
  • 5th Battalion: Green
  • 6th Battalion: Grey
  • 7th Battalion: Purple


The official mascot is a Shetland pony named Cruachan. He was originally the regimental mascot of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders prior to the amalgamation. The first pony mascot was presented to the Argylls in 1929 by HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll and named after Ben Cruachan, a mountain in the Argylls' namesake lieutenancy, and the war cry of Clan Campbell, of whom the Duke of Argyll was chief. The current mascot is a Shetland pony Cruachan IV who was presented in late 2012.[16]


Historic alliances are as follows:

The Royal Scots Borderers
The Royal Highland Fusiliers
The Black Watch
The Highlanders
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders


1880[17]1881 Childers Reforms[17]1921 Name changes1957 Defence White Paper1966 Defence White Paper1990 Options for Change2003 Delivering Security in a Changing World
1st (The Royal Scots) Regiment of Foot The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) The Royal Regiment of Scotland
25th (King's Own Borderers) Regiment of Foot The King's Own Borderers
renamed in 1887:
The King's Own Scottish Borderers
21st (Royal Scots Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot The Royal Scots Fusiliers The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment)
71st (Highland) (Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot The Highland Light Infantry
renamed in 1923:
The Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment)
74th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot
42nd (Royal Highland, The Black Watch) Regiment of Foot The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
73rd (Perthshire) Regiment of Foot
72nd (Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders) Regiment of Foot Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs)
renamed on 22 November 1881:
Seaforth Highlanders (Ross–shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's)[18]
The Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)
78th (Highlanders) (Ross-shire Buffs) Regiment of Foot
79th (Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment of Foot The Gordon Highlanders
92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot
91st (Princess Louise's Argyllshire Highlanders) Regiment of Foot Princess Louise's (Sutherland and Argyll Highlanders)
renamed on 2 June 1882:
Princess Louise's (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders)[19]
93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

See also


  1. "Delivering Security in a Changing World" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  2. Chappell, Mike (1987). The British Soldier in the 20th Century Part 2, Field Service Head Dress 1902 to the present day. Wessex Publishing. ISBN 978-1870498012.
  3. "Shinty in the Armed Forces". Shinty. 20 March 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  4. "Outrage at plans to disband three Scots infantry regiments Axe hangs over the Royal Scots, Black Watch and King's Own Scottish Borderers". Herald Scotland. 24 November 2003. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  5. "Why the Royal Scots can no longer hold the line". The Daily Telegraph. 10 October 2004. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  6. "Royal Regiment of Scotland". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  7. "Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders downgraded in MoD cuts plan". BBC News. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  8. "Transforming the British Army: An update" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  9. "2020 Structure" (PDF).
  10. "Corps of Army Music". Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  11. "Museum of the Royal Scots and the Royal Regiment of Scotland". The Royal Scots. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  12. "Queen presents new colours to Royal Regiment of Scotland". The Daily Telegraph. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  13. "New Cap Badge for Royal Regiment of Scotland". British Armed Forces. 17 August 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  14. "Royal Regiment of Scotland Dress Regulations" (PDF). Royal Regiment of Scotland. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  15. "The Royal Regiment of Scotland 2006". Scottish Military Articles. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  16. "Meet Cruachan IV - The mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland". Scottish Television. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  17. The London Gazette, Page 3300-3301 (1 July 1881). "Childers Reform" (24992). Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  18. The London Gazette, Page 5713 (22 November 1881). "War Office Memorandum" (25040). Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  19. The London Gazette, Page 2590 (2 June 1882). "War Office, Pall Mall" (25114). Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
Preceded by
Welsh Guards
Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.