The Scots Guards is the only Regiment in the Guards to have both pipe and drum and fife bands. The pipers wear the Royal Stewart tartan, and the pipe majors have the unique honor of wearing silver chevrons, surmounted by a silver crown.
Scots Guards RSM and Piper in Full Dress.
Raising and Early History
A Commission was granted and sealed at Westminster on the 18th of March 1642 by Charles I to the Marquis of Argyll for the raising of the Regiment of Scots Guards. In 1678 the regiment was styled His Majesty’s Foot Guards of Scotland, and was commanded by James, Earl of Douglas. The Regiment went to Flanders under William of Orange, and while in camp at Gimpes in 1691, the King bestowed on it the same ranks and priveleges that were enjoyed by the other two regiments in the Guards.
The regiment acquitted itaelf with honor in its earliest campaigns, especially in Spain in 1709-10, but details of its achievements at that period are scanty and unconnected. In 1713 the title of the regiment was changed to the 3rd Foot Guards, and it took turn with the other regiments of the Guard in the duty about the Royal household. In 1742 the regiment went to Flanders under Lord Stair, and fought with distinction at Dettingen and Fontenoy, and a 2nd Battalion that was raised took part in the Flanders campaign of 1747-48, under the Duke of Cumberland and Field-Marshall Wade.
During the subsequent 40 years the regiment saw much hard service on the French coast, in Germany, and America. Side by side with the 1st and 2nd Guards, the Regiment fought in many of the wars of the period, at Lincelles and elsewhere in Flanders, in Holland under the Duke of York, in North Holland in 1799, in Egypt under the brave Abercromby in 1801, in Germany in 1805, in Copenhagen in 1807, and on the Peninsula under Wellington from 1809 to 1814, during which they won fame and honor by unsurpassed bravery in every general engagement and in a multitude of minor actions.
The regiment was represented by the 2nd Battalion at Quatre Bras and Waterloo, one half of the battallion defending the orchard and grounds of the Chateau Hougoumont in the latter battle, and fought with such fierce courage throughout that awful day, that the enemy never once succeeded in driving them from their posts on the walls.
King William IV changed the title of the regiment to the Scots Fusilier Guards, and gave instructions for all ranks to wear the bearskin caps previously worn only by the Grenadier company, drummers, and pioneers.
Action in Crimean War
The 1st Battalion went out to the Crimean War, and was among the first to cross the Alma river and storm the heights on the far side, and signally defeat the enemy. At the battle of Inkerman, where every man was a hero, the Scots Fusilier Guards maintained their precarious position throughout the battle, in the face of overwhelming odds, and further devoted duty was performed in the long and arduous siege of Sebastopol, where the hardships of service in the trenches were borne with splendid fortitude.
At Inkerman, part of No 1 Company of the Scots Fusilier Guards, led by Ensign Lindsay (afterwards Lord Wantage, VC), who had been on picket duty on a neighbouring hill all night, came up at the double in the mist of the early morning and plunged right into the heart of the dense enemy masses round the Sandbag Battery. They were but a mere handful, but were by no means dismayed by the overwhelming forces around them.
They were cut off and surrounded, but the dauntless band rushed with levelled bayonets at the enemy, the brave Lindsay leading, and they actually hewed a lane for themselves through the enemy to join the remnants of the other regiments in the battery.
Action in Egypt
In 1877 Queen Victoria restored to the regiment its ancient title of The Scots Guards, and in 1882 the 1st Battalion was sent to Egypt, and as part of the Guards Brigade behaved with great gallantry in the battles which led up to the occupation of Cairo. The 2nd Battalion landed later at Suakin, and took part in the desert campaign. Detachments of both battalions made the famous Nile Campaign, which called for such fortitude on the part of every soldier engaged, owing to the extremely arduous conditions prevailing.
Action in the Boer War
Both the 1st and 2nd Battalions were engaged in the Boer War, and never failed to display the same splendid courage and ready obedience that has ever characterised the regiment. During the war a 3rd Battalion was formed, and after a most creditable existence of several years it was disbanded on the reduction of the Army, but was re-formed in 1915 after the 1st and 2nd Battalions had been sent to the Continent to oppose the Germans in Belgium.
Action in World War1
The 1st and 2nd Battalions were early engaged in World War I in France and Belgium, and every man who stood in the ranks proved worthy of the splendid traditions of the regiment. Where all were heroes it is difficult to single out individuals, but mention must be made of Lieutenant GA Boyd Rochfort of the 1st Battalion, who in August 1915 was in charge of a working party at La Bassee. A shell from a trench mortar landed in the trench in which his party were at work, and but for his splendid courage must have killed or wounded all. He dashed forward, picked up the bomb, and hurled it over the parapet, when it immediately exploded.
No regiment has won higher credit or exhibited greater courage and devotion than the Scots Guards, and all ranks have shown a spirit creditable to the high traditions handed down to them. The splendid courage of the Guards was exemplified by Private James Mackenzie of the 2nd Battalion who, ignoring all danger, dashed from a trench and succeeded in rescuing a wounded man after a stretcher party had been compelled to abandon the attempt. This hero was killed later the same day while attempting a similar deed, but he will be forever remembered in the regiment, for the Victoria Cross was awarded to him, though he did not live to receive it.
‘Our Gallant Guards’ Gale & Polden c1916