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The Royal Scots
(The Royal Regiment)
Regimental Day -  28th March


The United Kingdom's oldest infantry Regiment was raised by a warrant from the Privy Council of Scotland, given under King Charles I's authority at Whitehall on 28th March 1633

On 24th April 1633 Sir John Hepburn raised a regiment of 1,200 men in Edinburgh under a warrant from the Privy Council of Scotland, given under King Charles I's authority at Whitehall on 28th March. 

Sir Robert Douglas recaptures the Colour at the Battle of Steenkirke,1692

The Regiment when raised was formed of units which had served since the mists of time. It is the oldest regiment of infantry in the British Army and is the 1st Regiment of Foot. The Royal Scots have served throughout practically every major campaign in the last 372 years, up to and including the Gulf War in 1991, with honour and distinction. Many know the saying "Steady the Buffs..." but less well known is the last part "...stand fast the Queens and let the Royals go by." For it was the Royal Scots who had the honour of the Right of Line to be the first in any conflict. The Regiment's nickname is "Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard", consequent upon its antiquity. 

In its early days, in service in France, the Royals were quartered next to the Regiment of Picardy, which claimed to be older, having been on guard at the crucifixion. The Royals replied, they were there too, making a much better job of guarding the Governor of Palestine. Many legends have a basis in fact.  It is now thought that Pontius Pilate may have been born in Perthshire, and the Roman Legions recruited from every part of the Empire.

World War I
In World War I 100,000 men served in The Royal Scots.  The Regiment was awarded 71 Battle Honours, 10 of which appear on their Colours.  6 Victoria Crosses (VC), 32 Distinguished Service Orders (DSO), 217 Distinguished Conduct Medals (DCM), 158 Military Crosses (MC) and 337 Military Medals (MM). 11,213 were killed and 40,000 wounded, a casualty rate of over 50% over 4.5 years of war.

One of a million  Centenary candles lit at "Lights Out" for the million British and Colonial fallen of the Great War at 2200 hrs on 4th August 2014  and extinguished at 2300 hrs, the hour  war was  declared in 1914.

Contalmaison 1st-4th July 1916
The objective on 16th Battalion, The Royal Scots, known as McCrae's after their C.O.. This battalion was recruited fully in just six days and had at its core the Heart of Midlothian Football Team and its coaches and supporters.  The Battalion went in 1,000 strong and took and held their objective for four days.  When the roll was called 624 NCOs and Men and 12 officers were missing.  They are thought to be buried at Gordon Dump Comonwealth War Graves Cemetery nearby, only 19 are identified.  1,053 of the 1,676 war graves are unidentified.




Seven Battalions of The Royal Scots took part in the Battle of the Somme, The 2nd, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th (McCrae’s) and the 17th.

Memorial to the fallen of The Battle of the Somme with no known grave.
Cemetery Details


Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery
Cemetery Details


Menin Gate
Memorial to the fallen of WWI in Flanders with no known grave
The daily act of homage | Last Post Association

The Last Post at the Menin Gate, 31st May 2016 (315,975 Kb MOV)


Chocques Military Cemetery
Cemetery Details

Hinges Military Cemetery
Cemetery Details

Le Vertannoy Military Cemetery
Cemetery Details

Le Touret Military Cemetery and Memorial
Memorial to the 13,400 fallen from 1914 to the Battle of Loos 1915 with no known grave
Cemetery Details



Arras Memorial
Cemetery Details




Tyne Cot Cemetery






Dochy Farm New British Cemetery

* The error in spelling of "Royal Scots" here has been noted by the CWGC and the process to correct it has been initiated, 05/06/17

Trois Arbres Cemetery





World War II
In WWII there were 4 Battalions, the 1st, 2nd, 7th/9th and 8th.  The Regiment was awarded 38 Battle Honours, 10 of which appear on their Colours.  There was 1 George Cross (GC), there were 14 DSOs, 42 MCs, 10 DCMs and 40 MMs. 97 Officers and 1,151 Warrant Officers, Non Commissioned Officers and Soldiers were killed.

Le Paradis, 1940



WWII Memorial at British Community Church, St Paul's Valparaíso, Chile includes Lt A J Somerville, 1RS, killed at Kohima on 9th June 1944

The Regiment continues to be represented by the veterans of The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) Association with its HQ at
The Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh, which is, itself, a War Memorial.

Veterans of the Regiment at the 2016 Cenotaph Parade




Prints of
The Royal Scots through their history.

The Royal Scots Museum site

The Royal Scots Association Pipe Band

The Royal Scots in
Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth

This page includes Colonels and the names given to the Regiment and its Battalions throughout its history, badges, and VC awards


Last updated 05/06/2017