|THE PENINSULAR WAR|
|In January the
1st 1809 Battalion sailed for
the Peninsular. It consisted of 43 officers, 71 sergeants, 20 drummers, 1,214 rank and file and 18 women, organized into ten companies. It was to serve under the Duke of Wellington for five years of continuous action in Spain and Portugal, during which it added to the Colours five battle honours and not only upheld the traditions of the Regiment but gained a reputation unsurpassed by any.
Its first action was the Passage of the River Douro in the
face of Marshal Soult’s Army. At Talavera in July
the French were defeated with loss, and it was recorded in General Orders that “the Charge made by the Brigade of Guards on the enemies’ attacking columns was a most gallant one.” The 1st Battalion lost 24 killed and 267 wounded in this battle, which is a battle honour for the Regiment . Whilst the 1st Battalion was thus engaged in Spain, part of the 2nd Battalion took part in the ill-fated Waicheran expedition in Holland, where its casualties from sickness were far graver than those at Talavera, though it never fired ashot.
1810 Soon after its return, three’ companies were sent out with two of the Coldstream to form a composite battalion for the reinforcement of Cadiz, then besieged by the French. Meanwhile, the 1st Battalion saw action at the Battle of Bussaco in September and in the defence of the Lines of Torres Vedras covering Lisbon.
1811 The companies of the 2nd Battalion in Cadiz took part in an audacious enterprise to break the seige and won the Regiment another battle honour. Landing behind their besiegers, 4,000 of the garrison attacked 10,000 French at Barrosa, and defeated them in less than two hours. The report of this fierce battle states “how gloriously the Brigade of Guards maintained the high character of His Majesty’s Household Troops”.
At Fuentes d’Onor in May the 1st Battalion won the year’s second battle honour for the Regiment, and in the following year, 1812, it added Salamanca. It was also involved in the seige of Burgos, at the Battle of Vittoria and at the Crossing of the Bidassoa in October, 1813.
By this time Wellington had driven Napoleon from Spain and the last great battle of the Peninsular War was fought on French soil on the banks of the River Nive, where the brunt of the five days’ fighting fell upon the Guards Brigade. Here the 1st Battalion won another battle honour for the Regiment.
1814 At the crossing of the next river, the Adour, in February, “a handful of Coldstream and Third Guards” were first to cross, supported by a battery of rockets. The Siege of Bayonne followed, and in the last action of the war the 1st Battalion held at bay the final desperate sortie of the French and repelled it, though at heavy cost. For this and many other actions the battle honour Peninsula was granted.
* Awarded to the Regiment as a battle honour in 1951
THE WATERLOO CAMPAIGN 1813
Having played the minor part in
the Peninsular Campaign, it was the turn of the 2nd Battalion
to represent the Regiment at the climax of
|1820 ACCESSION OF KING GEORGE IV|
|1820 The 2nd
Battalion served in Portugal until-1828.
|1830 ACCESSION OF KING WILLIAM IV|
1831 Shortly after his Accession King Wi!liam
restored to the
Regiment its Scottish title, and the Third Guards became Scots Fusilier Guards. In the following year the whole Regiment took into wear bearskin caps, which since 1778 had been worn by Grenadier companies. Dark grey trousers—white in summer— had already taken the place of white breeches and black gaiters in 1823, and in 1820 the short coat worn since 1795 had been replaced by swallow-tailed coatees with epaulettes. This uniform was worn until 1856, when were abolished and tunics broadly similar today were introduced.
1837 ACCESSION OF QUEEN VICTORIA
THE CRIMEAN WAR, 1854-55
THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR, 1899-1902
Battalion, thirty officers and 1,088 other ranks strong,
sailed for Cape Town and was soon in action at Modder River,
which it gained as a battle honour for the Regiment.
At home the 3rd Battalion Scots Guards was formed for the first time, and eight new company badges were approved by the Sovereign and taken into use by this Battalion.
In 1900 the 2nd Battalion joined the 1st Battalion in South Africa at an equal strength. For the next two years it was to operate as part
of the Eighth Division, known as “Rundle’s Greyhounds,” in the general area of the town of Harrismith, against elusive Boer Commandos.
Two companies of Mounted Infantry were formed from the Brigade of Guards for service in South Africa, and the Regiment was well represented in both.
1901 ACCESSION OF KING EDWARD VII
became the first Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Guards, an
appointment in which he has been followed by successive
Sovereigns. In May he presented Colours to the 3rd Battalion
on Horse Guards Parade.
The 1st and 2nd Battalions returned home late in 1902, having lost 287 all ranks throughout the war, but without yielding to the Boers a single prisoner. For its services the Regiment was awarded the battle honour “South Africa, 1899-1902”.
Government economy in 1906 caused the disbandment of the 3rd Battalion, which handed back its Colours to King Edward VII.
The Scots Guards Association was formed in 1907.
|1910 ACCESSION OF KING GEORGE V|
A small party of the 1st Battalion took part in
the famous Siege of Sydney Street in 1911. This battalion then
served for two years in Egypt, returning in January, 1913.
WAR ONE, 1914-18
Both the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the
Regi1914 ment served on the Western Front from 1914 until the
Armistice in 1918. The former left England in August, 1914, as
part of the 1st Brigade of the First Division in the original
B.E.F.—”The Old Contemptibles”— and took part in the desperate
defensive battles of the first months of the war. The 2nd
Battalion left England in October, 1914, in the 20th Brigade
of the Seventh Division. In July, 1915, on the formation of
the Guards Division, the 1st Battalion joined 2nd Guards
Brigade, and the 2nd Battalion 3rd Guards Brigade. Between
them they gained for the Regiment thirty-three battle honours,
of which the following are borne on the Colours: “Retreat from
Mons”, “Marne 1914”, “Aisne”, “Ypres 1914”, “Ypres 1917”,
“Festubert 1915”, “Loos”, “Somme 1916”, “Somme 1918”, “Cambrai
1917”, “Cambrai 1918”, “Hindenburg Line”, “France and Flanders
1918, the title “Guardsman” was introduced to replace that of
“Private” in the Brigade of Guards.
1936 ACCESSION AND SUBSEQUENT ABDICATION OF KING EDWARD VIII
|ACCESSION Of KING GEORGE VI|
|Who, as Duke
of York, had been since 1932 twenty-fourth-Colonel of the
1938 In November, having spent some three weeks packed and labelled for Czechoslovakia, the 2nd Battalion left for what was intended to be a routine two-year tour of duty in Egypt. It eventually returned home in 1944.
* Members of the 2nd Battalion received the General Service Medal with clasp “Palestine.”
WORLD WAR Two, 1939-45
Battalion served in the campaigns in 1939 Norway, in North
Africa and in Italy, including the Anzio Landing. The 2nd
Battalion served in Africa from the Western Desert to Tunisia,
in Italy including the Salerno Landing, and in North West
Europe. The 3rd Battalion fought in Churchill tanks from
Normandy to the Elbe. The 4th Battalion, formed in 1941 but
disbanded before it could go overseas, found two independent
companies, who fought in Italy and North West Europe
respectively, “S” Company with 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards
and “X” Company first with the 3rd Battalion Irish Guards and
subsequently with 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. Between them
these battalions and companies gained for the Regiment
forty-one battle honours, of which the following are borne on
“North Africa 1941-43”, “Gazala” , “Medenine”, “Djebel bou Aoukaz 1943, I”, “Italy 1943-45”, “Monte Camino”, “Anzio”, “North West Europe 1944-45”, “Quarry Hill”, “Rhineland”.
Captain The Lord Lyell was awarded a posthumous
Victoria Cross whilst serving with the 1st Battalion in
Tunisia. Ninety-eight officers and 943 other ranks of the Regiment lost their lives between 1939 and 1945.
At home the 5th Battalion was raised in 1940 as a ski battalion to fight against the Russians in Finland, but after training in France it was disbanded. The Holding Battalion existed for three years from April, 1940, and the Training Battalion was located at Pirbright for the duration of the war. *
In May, 1945, the 1st Battalion moved into 1945 Trieste, where until its return home in October,
1947, it was involved in holding the Morgan Line against the Yugoslav claim to the Venezia Giulia.
* The war precluded any large-scale celebration of the Tercentenary of the Regiment in 1942, but a special programme was broadcast by the B.B.C., an historical pageant was enacted at Pirbright,and the 2nd Battalion had a day’s holiday in the Western Desert.
POST-WORLD WAR Two
The 2nd Battaion remained as part of the
Occupation Force in Germany until its return home in
December, 1946. During this time it found the British
Guard of Honour at the Potsdam Peace Conference and
accepted the surrender of Heligoland.
The 3rd Battalion, after handing in its tanks in June and reverting to infantry, was finally disbanded in January, 1946. Its Colours were handed back to the Sovereign for the third time for safe keeping.
1948 As a Government economy measure, the 1st
Battalion assumed the role of Guards Training Battalion at Pirbright for three years until April, 1951. At this time the Guards Independent Company, The Parachute Regiment, was formed with a proportion of Scots Guardsmen.
In September the 2nd Battalion left at short notice for Malaya, where it was to be occupied in operations against Communist terrorists until its return home in May, 1951.
Six officers and eight other ranks of the Battalion lost
their lives during these operations.
In November, 1951, the 1st Battalion moved by air and sea to Cyprus. In this year an alliance between the Regiment and the 3rd Battallion The Royal Australian Regiment was approved.
|1952 ACCESSION OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II|
the 1st Battalion made an emergency move to Port Said, where,
except for five months at Moascar, it was to stay until the
evacuation of the Suez Canal Zone brought it home in December,
In July, 1953, the 2nd Battalion moved to the British Army of the Rhine in Germany, where it was to remain until it returned home in February, 1957. The 1st Battalion mobilized with reservists at Lydd in Kent, in 1956 and embarked its vehicles and heavy equipment to take part in the Suez operation. In the event the Battalion did not leave England.1958 The Brigade of Guards Junior Guardsmen’s Company was formed at Pirbright, and the Regimental Junior Pipers began to be trained at the Piping School, formed there in 1954.
After a period of tension, during which it was under orders to move by air at short notice to the Middle East, the 1st Battalion moved in November for a tour of duty in Germany which lasted until November, 1960.
The 2nd Battalion was warned for service in Cyprus in
1959, but the situation there improved sufficiently for it
not to be required. It flew to Cyrenaica in early 1960 for
a short exercise in the Tmimi-Derna area.
1961 The Regiment in its entirety, with representatives from all branches of the Scots Guards Association, was reviewed on Horse Guards Parade by H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester in celebration of his twenty-fifth year as twenty-fifth Colonel of the Regiment.
1962 In February, the 2nd Battalion, reinforced by No. 3 Company Irish Guards, flew to Kenya, where until late 1964 it operated in aid of the Civil Power in that country and in Uganda and Zanzibar. After taking part in the Kenya Independance celebrations, it returned to Caterham.
1964 The 1st Battalion, reinforced by No. 9 Company Irish Guards which included a platoon of Coldstreamers, was posted to Malaysia. They carried out two operational tours against the Indonesians in Sarawak and in Sabah, returning in early 1967 to Redford Barracks, Edinburgh. Apart from the 2nd Battalion’s period at Hawick in 1944/45, this was the first posting of a battalion of the Regiment to Scotland for 250 years. Their duties included the Edinburgh Castle and Balmoral Guards. Half the battalion went to Jamaica for training in 1968.
1967 The 2nd Battalion was posted to the 1967 British Army of the Rhine in 1967 for the first time in a mechanised infantry role, initially to Iserlohn and in 1968 to Munster. Their training included six weeks in the Libyan desert. Returning to Windsor in 1970, the Battalion was moved at short notice to Northern Ireland, the first and shortest of many subsequent Regimental postings to that Province.
1970 On 31st March, 1971, the 2nd Battalion was placed in suspended animation as part of the Defence cuts, and remained so until, on a change of Government, it was reformed in Edinburgh in January, 1972. In the interval, F Company joined the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in Hong Kong, S Company served independently in British Honduras and later joined 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, and the 2nd Battalion Company moved to Edinburgh. On 21st April, 1972, a service of re-dedication was held in St. Giles Cathedral and the Battalion became operational on 1st July.
During the 1970s and early 1980s both battalions of the Regiment completed four four-month operational tours in Northern Ireland, and for eighteen months from March
1980 the 1st Battalion was stationed at Aldergrove, near
1975 The 2nd Battalion was stationed in Belize
for five months.
1979 The Regiment, complete, with representatives of all branches of the Scots Guards Association, was reviewed on Horse Guards
Parade by H.R.H. The Duke of Kent, who had succeeded his uncle as 26th Colonel of the Regiment in 1974.
1981 The 1st Battalion flew with its families to Hong Kong for a two-year posting.
1982 Regimental Headquarters moved back to Wellington Barracks after an eight-year sojourn in Bloomsbury.
The 2nd Battalion sailed for the South Atlantic in the Cunard Liner QE2 on 12th May as part of 5th Infantry Brigade.tThe Battalion landed at San Carlos, East Falkiand on 2nd June. They captured Mount Tumbledown following a night attack on 14th June. Eight members of the Battalion lost their lives in the action and 41 were wounded. The Battalion returned to the United Kingdom on 10th August
1st Battalion Scots Guards posted to Hong Kong. Battalion
exercise in Fiji,