Outline History - 21st Regiment of Foot
The Earl of Mar's Regiment of Foot raised in 1678, from 1686 The 21st Scots Fusiliers Regiment of Foot, from 1691 Brigadier O'Farrell's Fusiliers, from 1686 The 21st Scotch Fusiliers Regiment of Foot, from 1751 The Royal Regiment of North British Fusiliers, later The 21st (Royal North British) Fusiliers, from 1877 The Royal Scots Fusiliers, since 1959 part of The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment).
The main changes of name over time were:
- 1678 - Raising of Earl of Mar's Regiment of Foot
- 1686 - Renamed The Scots Fusiliers Regiment of Foot
- 1695 - Renamed again as The Scotch Fusiliers
- 1707 - Named as The Royal North British Fusiliers
- 1712 - The Royal North British Fusiliers, granted the prefix 'Royal'. Became known as 'Marlborough's Own'
- 1751 - Renamed 21st (Royal North British) Fusiliers Regiment of Foot
- 1804 - 2nd Battalion raised
- 1816 - 2nd Battalion disbanded at Stirling
- early 19th century - 21st (Royal Scots Fusiliers)
- 1858 - 2nd Battalion raised at Paisley
- 1877 - Renamed The Royal Scots Fusiliers with two regular battalions and one (later two) militia battalions
- 1887 - Two Volunteer Battalions associated with the regiment.
- 1914-1918 - The regiment raised a total of 18 battalions; four of its soldiers were awarded Victoria Crosses; the regiment gained 54 battle honours but lost 5,600 men as casualties.
- 1919 - Reverted to two regular, one reserve and one territorial battalions
- 1939-1945 - Raised several battalions and fought in most theatres of war
- 1948 - 2nd Battalion reduced and joined with the 1st Battalion
- 1959 - became The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment), on amalgamation with the Highland Light Infantry.
The Royal Scots Fusiliers dates its history from 1678. Originally known as The Earl of Mar's Regiment, the regiment has had several name changes over the years: The 21st Foot, The Scots Fusiliers, The 21st Royal North British Fusiliers, and finally The Royal Scots Fusiliers. The regimental nickname "the Duke O'Mars Greybreeks" stems from their first title. The 21st Foot had a long tradition of recruiting in Ayrshire and in south-west Scotland. But the formal county affiliations only took place after the 1881 post-Cardwell territorial reforms of the British Army.
The Earl of Mar's Regiment of Foot was raised in 1678 and in 1686 renamed The 21st Scots Fusiliers Regiment of Foot. In 1689 it was brought onto the English establishment in 1689. The 21st Foot was deployed on operation in Flanders between 1689 and 1697, including the Battles of Steenkerk (or Steinkirk) and Landen. In 1691 it was referred to as "O'Farrell's Fusiliers" and in 1695, the regiment was named as The 21st Scotch Fusiliers.
The regiment was in Flanders again and in Germany during the War of the Spanish Succession between 1704 and 1714. It was part of the force led by Marlborough and it gained honours at the Battles of Schellenberg, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet and at the great Siege of Lille. In official documents of 1713, the regiment is referred to as the Royal Regiment of North British Fusiliers. [The term North British was often used to replace Scots or Scottish after the Act of Union of 1707. This was part of attempts by the Hanoverian Government in London, in the face of Jacobite threats, to eliminate the name of Scotland.] By that time the regiment had informally become known as 'Marlborough's Own'. The regiment returned to Scotland in 1714 and was for some time quartered at Ayr. There it helped to train the two companies of volunteers sent by the burgh to fight for King George during the ill-starred rising led by the Earl of Mar, son of the first Colonel of the regiment.
The 21st were employed in the Highlands by General Wade in 1727. The regiment was deployed to continental Europe, under command of Sheriff Sir Andrew Agnew, at the Battles of Dettingen and Fontenoy. The 21st returned to Scotland in late 1745 and was in the first line at the Battle of Culloden. It returned to Flanders for the Battle of Val on 2 Jul 1717.
In 1751, the regiment was referred to as The 21st (Royal North British) Fusiliers. The 21st were based in Gibraltar between 1753 and 1760. The regiment reverted to its ancient title of Royal Scots Fusiliers some time before the regimental numbering system was abandoned in 1881.
During the Seven Years War, the 21st Foot was in Flanders and Germany including the famous Siege of Bellisle in 1761.
For the American War of Independence, the 21st Foot was sent to the relief of Quebec in 1776 and then employed under General Burgoyne up to the disaster at Saratoga.
French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
In 1789, the 21st Foot was despatched to Nova Scotia, serving there for four years. At the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, it was redeployed to the West Indies where it was at the capture of Martinique and Guadalope. It was later commended for its defence of post in Guadalope, from where it returned home in 1795. It was then for some years in Scotland and between Jan 1803 and Jun 1805, in Ireland including the insurrection in Dublin in 1803.
In 1804, after the revival of war with Napoleonic France, the 21st Foot raised a 2nd Battalion at Ayr from men enrolled under the Defence Acts in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire. This 2nd Battalion remained at home until 1813, serving as a depot for the 1st Battalion. The 2nd Battalion, after ten year's home service was set to Holland with Sir Thomas Graham and took part in the attempt on Bergen-op-Zoom on 10 Jan 1814. It returned to Scotland from Ostende in Sep 1815 and was disbanded at Stirling on 13 Jan 1816.
The 1st Battalion, 21st Foot returned to England about 1805, where it was moved from Lewes, Sussex to London on the occasion of Admiral Nelson's funeral. The battalion embarked for Sicily in 1806 and was among the reinforcements sent to Alexandria after the disasters in Egypt in 1807. It returned from Alexandria to Sicily and was next used in the expedition to the Bay of Naples and the capture of the islands of Ischia and Procida in 1809. It was at the attack on Scylla Castle and in the later defence of Messina, when Murat's army attempted a landing there in 1810. Its grenadier company was employed on the coast of Spain in 1812. In 1813, the battalion was at Pisa and Lucca and at the capture of Genoa.
From Genoa, the 1st Battalion, 21st Foot was despatched to America to deal with the threat from the United Sates in the War of 1812. There it was engaged in operations on the Chesapeake and the Patuxtent, including the Battle of Bladensburg and the capture of Washington. The next year it was engaged in the unsuccessful attempt on New Orleans and in the attack on Fort Bowyer. Returning to England it arrived in Jun 1815 and the next month sent via Ostende as reinforcements for Wellington's army. It was at the occupation of Paris and remained there and in Valenciennes until 1817, when it returned home.
Post Napoleonic War period
The 21st Foot, once again a single battalion corps, served in the West Indies and Demerara (Guyana) from 1819 to 1827. This included dealing with an insurrection in the Maihaca District of Demerara.
Having returned home, the 21st Foot in Oct 1828, moved from Bath to Fermoy, Ireland. In Jun 1829 it was at Mullingar and in Jan(?) 1830 in Kilkenny. In Sep 1831 the regiment moved from Dublin to Warrington, Lancashire.
The 21st Foot went out to Australia in detachments in charge of convicts sent to the Australian colonies between 1832 and 1833. It was then stationed in Tasmania, with detachments in Perth and Swan River in Western Australia until 1839, when it proceeded to India.
In India the 21st Foot was stationed in Kamptee in the Madras Presidency during the Sikh invasion of 1845, when it was ordered to the North-West Provinces. The regiment arrived at Agra on 7 Feb 1846, having marched the previous 34 days without a break. The regiment returned home in 1848. In Jun 1853, the 21st Foot went to Ireland, sailing from Hull to Dublin.
In Aug 1854, the 21st Foot embarked at Cork for the Black Sea. It landed in the Crimea with Sir George Cathcart's Division and it fought at the Battles of Alma and Inkerman, where it was much distinguished and suffered heavy losses. The regiment served throughout the siege of Sevastapol, including the assault on the Redan of 18 Jun 1855. It was in reserve in the second assault on 8 Sep 1855. The 21st was present at the assault and capture of Kinbourn, returning to the Crimea in Nov 1855. In Jun 1856, the 21st embarked from Balaclava for Malta. It then served in Malta and later in the West Indies and Demerara until 1864.
The 1st Battalion, 21st Foot in Sep 1866 was deployed to Ireland, sailing from Glasgow to Dublin. In Jul 1867 the battalion was in The Curragh; in Nov 1867 in Enniskillen; in Jun 1868 back at The Curragh.
In Feb 1869, the 1st Battalion, 21st Foot proceeded to Bombay. It was stationed in the Scinde and in Madras up to Sep 1875, when it was redeployed to Burma, with a detachment in the Andaman Islands, until 1877, when it returned to Madras. In 1881, the 1st Battalion returned home.
The 1st Battalion moved to Ireland on 10 Aug 1886 sailing from Portland and being deployed to Fermoy. On 29 Sep 1887 it moved to Crimble(?) Barracks in Birr; and on 14 Feb 1889 to Dublin. On 21 Apr 1891, the 1st Battalion returned to Scotland, initially in Glasgow. It left Glasgow in 1893 for Shorncliffe. In 1896, the 1st Battalion was despatched to India where it took part in the arduous Tirah Campaign of 1897-98, under command of Sir William Lockhart.
A new 2nd Battalion, 21st Foot was raised at Paisley in 1858. In Apr 1862 it moved from Shorncliffe, Kent to Dublin and in Jun 1863 was at The Curragh in Ireland. In Jul 1863, The 2nd Battalion left the UK for India for a 9 years 6 months tour which included the Madras Presidency, Burma and the Andaman Islands before returning to Madras. In 1872 the inhabitants of Madras presented the officers' mess with a piece of silver for services rendered by the regiment in the great cyclone of that year. The 2nd Battalion returned home at the end of 1873.
On 27 Jul 1875 the 2nd Battalion moved from Aldershot to Portadown, Ireland. On 4 Aug 1876 it returned to England to Portsmouth, before moving to Fort George. In Apr 1878 the battalion moved from Fort George to Dublin and then in Sep 1878 to The Curragh. The 2nd Battalion was stationed at the Curragh when it received the order to go on active service as reinforcements to South Africa following the debacle of Isaldhwana, and the stalling of the British attempt to invade Zululand. From Cork it embarked on 20/22 Feb 1879, arriving at Capetown on 31 Mar, joining Newdigate's Division. On 1 Jun 1879, the 2nd Battalion entered Zululand and was present at the Battle of Ulundi and later in the Sekukuni War in the Transvaal.
The 2nd Battalion was involved in the defence of Potchefstroom and Pretoria during the First Boer War of 1881. The battalion marched from Pretoria in Oct 1881 and embarked from Durban for Bombay in Jan 1882, relieving the 1st Battalion at Madras. The 2nd Battalion was stationed in the Madras Presidency until the end of 1884, where it was first stationed at Secunderabad, then at a variety of Indian stations. It then proceeded to Burma, being employed in the military operations there during 1885-86. The 2nd Battalion returned to India where it remained until 1896, when it returned home after a total of 17 years 10 months service in the Far East.
The 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers were despatched to South Africa during Nov 1899 and fought with Buller's relieving army at Colenso, Spion Kop, Vaalkranz and the eventual breakthrough battles, relieving Ladysmith on 28 Feb 1900. Private Ravenhill was awarded the Battalion's first VC at the battle of Colenso. The 2nd Battalion returned home. On 1 Oct 1907, the 2nd Battalion moved from Tidmouth (?) to Dublin.
The 1st Battalion went out to India in 1896 and was stationed at Peshawar. The battalion remained in India until 1910.
In 1877, as part of the post-Cardwell territorial reforms of the British Army, the regiment reverted to its ancient title as The Royal Scots Fusiliers with 1st and 2nd regular battalions then in existence. In 1901, when The Royal Scots Fusiliers adopted tartan trews, the regiment adopted the Government (Black Watch) sett with a blue line added.
Militia, Rifle Volunteers and Volunteer Battalions
In the 1881 reorganisation of the British Army, the county-based militia units were restructured and associated with regular infantry regiments. In 1881, the Royal Scots Fusiliers acquired the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (that had originally been the 3rd Battalion, the Scottish Borderers) and the 4th (Militia) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers, formerly The Prince Regent's Royal Regiment of Ayr and Wigtown Militia. The 4th Battalion was later renamed the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers. In the 1908 Haldane reforms that included the creation of the Territorial Force (later the Territorial Army), the militia became the "Special Reserve" and the 3rd Battalion became The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers.
The 1st Admin Battalion of the Ayrshire Rifle Volunteers was formed in 1860 and soon contained the 14 individual corps of riflemen that had been raised throughout the county as part of the Rifle Volunteer movement. This number of units proved too cumbersome to be easily managed. So in 1873 the battalion was divided in two. The 2nd Admin Battalion had its headquarters in Kilmarnock and its companies were in north Ayrshire. This battalion was consolidated in 1880 as the 1st Ayrshire Rifle Volunteer Corps. In 1887, it was renamed the 1st Volunteer Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers. In common with other volunteer units, the battalion contributed a number of men to the Imperial Volunteers who served in the South African War (1899 - 1902). With the Haldane reforms creating the Territorial Force in 1908, the battalion became the 4th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force). In 1914, the battalion consisted of a Headquarters at Kilmarnock, A Company at Kilmarnock, B Company at Irvine, C Company at Stewarton, D Company at Beith, E Company at Saltcoats, F Company at Dalry, G Company at Darvel and H Company at Kilmarnock. The Ardeer Company, (Territorial Force) formed in 1913 by Nobel's Explosives Factory to guard their factory at Ardeer in the event of war, was attached to 4th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers
When the 1st Admin Battalion of the Ayrshire Rifle Volunteers was divided in 1873, those companies in the south of the county remained under that title. But in 1880 it became the 2nd Ayrshire Rifle Volunteer Corps and in 1887, the 1st Volunteer Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers. With the Haldane reforms creating the Territorial Force in 1908, the battalion became the 5th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force). In 1914, the battalion consisted of a Headquarters and A Company at Ayr, B Company at Catrine, C Company at Maybole, D Company at Stranraer, E Company at Cumnock, F Company at Troon, G Company at Muirkirk and H Company at Dalmellington.
In 1881, the nine companies of the 1st Roxburgh and Selkirk Rifle Volunteer Corps (formerly of the 1st Dumfriesshire Rifle Volunteers and the Galloway Rifle Volunteer Corps) were assigned to the Royal Scots Fusiliers as their 3rd Volunteer Battalion. However, seven years later, this battalion was handed over to the King's Own Scottish Borderers, becoming the 1st (The Border) Volunteer Battalion, the King's Own Scottish Borderers and in 1908, after amalgamation with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, The 4th (The Border) Battalion, the King's Own Scottish Borderers (Territorial Force).
Pre First World War Battle Honours
The principal pre-World War I battle honours awarded to the Royal Scots Fusiliers were:
Blenheim; Ramillies; Oudenarde; Malplaquet; Dettingen; Minden; Martinique, 1794; Bladensburg; Alma; Inkerman; Sevastapol; South Africa, 1870; Burma, 1885-87; Tirah; Relief of Ladysmith; South Africa 1899-1902.
World War I
The Royal Scots Fusiliers raised a total of 18 battalions during WWI from the pre-war establishment of two regular, one reserve and two territorial battalions. The regiment was awarded a total of 58 battle honours and four of its officers and men were awarded Victoria Crosses. The regiment lost a total of 5,600 casualties during the Great War.
The 1st Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers began WWI on 4 Aug 1914 at Gosport, Hampshire serving in the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Division. The battalion embarked for France and Flanders as part of the original British Expeditionary Force, landing at Le Havre on 14 Aug. It remained in the same division in France and Flanders for the duration. The 1st Battalion ended the war in the 8th Brigade of 3rd Division at Romieres, north-east of Solesmes in France.
The 2nd Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was based at Gibraltar on 4 Aug 1914. It returned to England in Sep 1914 and was based at Lyndhurst, Hampshire in 21st Brigade of the 7th Division. The battalion embarked for France and Flanders, landing at Zeebrugge on 6 Oct 1914. It too remained in France and Flanders for the duration, serving in a number of formations. The 2nd Battalion ended the war at Cuerne, north-east of Kourtrai in Belgium.
The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was activated at Ayr on 4 Aug 1914. Later that month it was moved to Gourock where it was employed on Clyde Defences. In Apr 1916 it was moved to Greenock where it remained for the remainder of the war as part of Clyde Garrison.
The 4th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was a pre-war territorial unit owing its origins to those companies of the 1st Admin Battalion of the Ayrshire Rifle Volunteers formed in 1860 that were based in the north of the county. Those companies in 1873 became The 2nd Admin Battalion with its headquarters in Kilmarnock. This battalion was consolidated in 1880 as the 1st Ayrshire Rifle Volunteer Corps. In common with other pre-war territorial units, the 4th Battalion formed itself into two, and later, three lines. These were titled the 1/4th, 2/4th and 3/4th Battalions respectively.
The 1/4th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was mobilised at Kilmarnock on 4 Aug 1914. It was assigned to the South Scottish Brigade in the Lowland Division and later in Aug 1914 moved to Stirling. On 11 May 1915 the formation became the 155th Brigade of 52nd (Lowland) Division. In May 1915 the battalion embarked for the Dardanelles, sailing from Liverpool on 21 May and arriving at Mudros, Greece on 29 May. On 7 Jun 1915 the battalion landed at Gallipoli and remained there until Jan 1916 when it was withdrawn to Egypt. In 1918 it sailed to France with its Brigade, landing at Marseilles on 17 Apr. The 1/4th Battalion ended the war at Jurbise, south of Mons in Belgium.
The 2/4th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was mobilised at Kilmarnock in Oct 1914. In Jan 1915 it was assigned to 194th Brigade in 65th Division. By summer 1915 it was at Rumbling Bridge, Kinross and in Nov 1915 at Falkirk. There, with the 2/5th Battalion and the 2/5th Battalion, The Border Regiment, it formed No 13 Battalion in 194th Brigade. In Jan 1916 it resumed its own identity and absorbed the 2/5th Battalion. In Mar 1916 it was at Chelmsford. In Jan 1917 the battalion was sent to Ireland and based at Ballykinler and Dublin. In Aug 1917 it moved to Oughterard, Galway and in Nov 1917 to Dublin and later to The Curragh. The 65th Division was broken up in mar 1918 and the 2/4th Battalion was disbanded at The Curragh on 15 may 1918.
The 3/4th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was mobilised at Kilmarnock and Ayr in May 1915. By the end of 1015 the battalion was in Ripon, Yorkshire. On 8 Apr 1916 the battalion was retitled the 4th Reserve Battalion and moved to Catterick Camp. On 1 Sep 1916, the 4th Battalion absorbed the 5th at Catterick and was assigned to the Lowland Reserve Brigade (Territorial Force). In Nov 1917 it was moved to Edinburgh and in Dec 1917 to Kinross where it remained as part of Forth Garrison.
The 5th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was a pre-war part-time battalion. It owed its origins to the companies of the 1st Admin Battalion of the Ayrshire Rifle Volunteers formed in 1860 in the south of the county and which in 1880 it became the 2nd Ayrshire Rifle Volunteer Corps. With the outbreak of war, the 5th Battalion, in common with other territorial units formed itself into two, and later, three lines. These were titled the 1/5th, 2/5th and 3/5th Battalions respectively.
The 1/5th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was mobilised at Ayr on 4 Aug 1914. It was assigned to the South Scottish Brigade in the Lowland Division and later in Aug 1914 moved to Stirling. On 11 May 1915 the formation became the 155th Brigade of 52nd (Lowland) Division. In May 1915 the battalion embarked for the Dardanelles, sailing from Liverpool on 21 May and arriving at Mudros, Greece on 29 May. On 7 Jun 1915 the battalion landed at Gallipoli and remained there until Jan 1916 when it was withdrawn to Egypt. In 1918 it sailed to France with its Brigade, landing at Marseilles on 17 Apr. The 1/5th Battalion ended the war at Jurbise, south of Mons in Belgium.
The 2/5th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was mobilised at Ayr in Oct 1914. In Jan 1915 it was assigned to 194th Brigade in 65th Division. By summer 1915 it was at Rumbling Bridge, Kinross and in Nov 1915 at Falkirk. There, with the 2/4th Battalion and the 2/5th Battalion, The Border Regiment, it formed No 13 Battalion in 194th Brigade. In Jan 1916 it resumed its own identity and was absorbed into the 2/4th Battalion.
The 3/5th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was mobilised at Kilmarnock and Ayr in May 1915. By the end of 1015 the battalion was in Ripon, Yorkshire. On 8 Apr 1916 the battalion was retitled the 5th Reserve Battalion and moved to Catterick Camp. On 1 Sep 1916, the 5th Battalion absorbed by the 4th at Catterick.
The Ardeer Company, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was formed at the Nobel's Explosive Factory, Ardeer in 1913 using employees who were prepared ro guard the factory site in time of war. In 1913 and 1914, the company went to annual camp with the 4th Battalion. On or before mobilisation on 4 Aug 1914, the company was on duty at the factory. However it appears to have been disbanded in Nov 1914, allowing staff to return to their vital war work. The guard responsibility was taken up by a company of The Cameronians. The company is still shown on the Army List for Nov 1918 with five officers. It was not reformed after WWI.
The 6th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was formed at Ayr in Aug 1914 as part of the first of Kitchener's new armies. It was moved to Borden, Hampshire and assigned to 27th Brigade in 9th Division. In Feb 1915 it moved to Bramshott, Surrey for final training. The battalion landed in France at Boulogne on 11 May 1915. On 7 May 1916 it was reassigned to 45th Brigade in 15th Division where it was amalgamated with the 7th Battalion to form the 6th/7th Battalion. On 21 Feb 1918 the composite battalion was reassigned to 59th Division as a Pioneer Battalion. On 10 May 1918 it was reduced to a training cadre and on 181 Jun joined 47th Brigade in 16th Division at Boulogne and went to England. On 20 Jun 1918 it moved to Deal and on 2 Jul 1918 was absorbed by the 18th Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
The 7th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was formed at Ayr in Sep 1914 as part of the second of Kitchener's new armies. It was moved to Aldershot, Hampshire and assigned to 45th Brigade in 15th Division. In Nov 1914 it moved to Bramshott, Surrey and in Feb 1915 to Basingstoke in billets. It moved to Draydon Camp, Chiseldon, Wiltshire in Mat 1915 for final training. The battalion landed in France at Boulogne on 9 Jul 1915. On 13 May 1916 it was reassigned to 45th Brigade in 15th Division where it was amalgamated with the 7th Battalion to form the 6th/7th Battalion.
The 8th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was formed at Ayr on 1 Oct 1914 as part of the third of Kitchener's new armies. It was moved to Codford St Mary, Wiltshire and assigned to 77th Brigade in 26th Division. In Nov 1914 it moved to Bristol in billets. In Apr 1915 it moved to Sutton Veny for final training. The battalion landed in France at Boulogne on 20 Sep 1915. In Nov 1915 it was redeployed to Salonika where it remained for the remainder of the War. The 8th Battalion ended the war on 30 Sep 1918 in the same formation north-west of Lake Doiran, near Strumica in Macedonia.
The 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was formed at Gourock, Renfrewshire on 23 Oct 1914 as a service battalion of the fourth of Kitchener's new armies. On 10 Apr 1915 it became a second reserve battalion and in May moved to Paisley. In Aug 1915 the battalion was at Stobs and in Oct 1915 went to Catterick Camp, Yorkshire. In Apr 1916 it moved to Inverkeithing in the 12th Reserve Brigade. On 1 Sep 1916 it became the 55th Training Reserve Battalion in the 12th Reserve Brigade at Inverkeithing.
The 10th (Works) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was formed at Ayr in Jun 1916 and then moved to Dumbarton where it remained until Apr 1917 when it became the 4th Labour Battalion, The Labour Corps.
The 11th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was created on 1 Jan 1917 from the 11th Provisional Battalion at Deal, Kent. This battalion had been formed in summer 1915 from the Home Service personnel of the Territorial Force battalions. On 27 Apr 1918 it became a Garrison Guard Battalion and went to France on 5 May. On 12 May it was assigned to 178th Brigade in 59th Division. In Jul 1918 the Garrison Guard designation was dropped. It ended the war in the same formation at Velaines, north of Tournai, Belgium.
The 12th (Ayr and Lanark Yeomanry) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Force) was formed in Egypt on 14 Jan 1917 from the dismounted Ayrshire and Lanarkshire Yeomanry in 229th Brigade of 74th Division. In May 1918 the battalion was redeployed to France and Flanders and on 21 Jun was transferred to 94th Brigade of 31st Division. It ended the war on 11 Nov 1918 near Renaix, Belgium.
The 13th (Home Service) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was formed at Deal on 27 Apr 1918 to replace the 11th Battalion in 221st Brigade and moved to Ramsgate. About Jul 1918 it moved to Sandwich where it remained until war's end.
The 1st Garrison Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was formed at Gailes in Oct 1915 and despatched to India in Feb 1916. A 2nd (Home Service) Garrison Battalion was formed early in 1916 and soon after absorbed into the 1st Garrison Battalion.
First World War Battle Honours
The World War I battle honours awarded to the Royal Scots Fusiliers were:
France and Flanders:
Mons;Le Cateau; Retreat from Mons; Marne 1914; Aisne 1914; La Bassée, 1914; Armentieres 1914; Ypres, 1914, '17, '18; Langemarck, 1914; Ghuleveldt, Nonne Bosche; Neuve Chapelle; Aubers; Festubert 1915, Loos; Somme, 1916, '18; Albert 1916, '18; Bazentin; Delville Wood; Poziéres; Flers Courcelette; Thiepval; Le Transloy; Ancre Heights; Ancre 1916; Arras 1917, '18; Scarpe 1917, '18; Arleux; Messines 1917; Pilckem; Menin Road; Polygon Wood; St Quentin; Bapaume 1918; Rosieres; Lys; Estaires; Hazebrouck; Ballieul; Béthune; Scharpenburg; Drocourt-Quéant; Hindenburg Line; Canal du Nord; Courtrai; Selle; France and Flanders, 1914-18.
Macedonia: Doiran 1917, '18; Macedonia 1916-18.
The Dardanelles: Helles; Gallipoli 1915-1916.
Egypt: Rumani; Egypt 1915-1917.
Palestine: Gaza; El Mughar; Nebi Sanwoo; Jerusalem; Jaffa; Tell 'Asur; Palestine, 1917-18.
Post WWI Changes
In 1921, the 4th Battalion and the 5th Battalion were amalgamated to become the 4th/5th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Army).
World War II
The 1st Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was based in India at the outbreak of war on 3 Sep 1914. It was recalled in 1940 and after retraining was despatched on the Madagascar invasion of 5 May 1942, conducted by Force 121 - consisting of No 5 Commando and six independent brigades. The 1st Battalion, in 29th Independent Infantry Brigade Group, and the 2nd Battalion, in 17th Infantry Brigade, landed some 20 miles south of the key town of Antsirane on the northern tip of the island, occupied by Vichy French forces on 5 May 1942. At the successful conclusion of the campaign in Nov 1942, the island was handed over to Free French authorities. In Jan 1943, the 1st Battalion, in the 29th Brigade, left South Africa for India. The battalion remained in the Far East for the remainder of the war, fighting in North Arakan, Mandalay and the Rangoon Road in Burma.
The 2nd Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was in the UK at the outbreak of war on 3 Sep 1938 and was despatched to France with the British Expeditionary Force. In May and Jun 1940 it was involved in the operations in North-West Europe, winning a battle honour at the Ypres-Commines Canal before withdrawing from Dunkirk. It was next involved in the invasion of Madagascar in May - Jun 1942. The battalion remained for on the island only 6 weeks before going to the Middle East with 17th Infantry Brigade. There it was in the first formation to land in the amphibious operations to take Sicily. The battalion was also amongst the first Allied troops to and on mainland Italy on 3 Sep 1944. It was then involved in the bloody battle to cross the Garigliano before being used at the Anzio landings. The 2nd Battalion was then withdrawn home to prepare for combat in North-West Europe, arriving in time to contribute to the crossing of the Elbe.
The 4th/5th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Army) was mobilised in 1939 and saw action with the British expeditionary Force in France and Belgium in May-Jun 1940. It was later in the invasion force and took part in operations in north-west Europe in 1944-45. Fusilier Dennis Donnini gained a posthumous Victoria Cross near Hongen in Holland on 18 Jan 1945.
The 6th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (Territorial Army) was formed as a duplicate of the 4th/5th Battalion in Kilmarnock in 1939. The battalion was sufficiently combat-ready to be part of the British Expeditionary Force, in the 51st (Highland) Division in May and Jun 1940. It was involved in that formations' operations to divert German forces from the Dunkirk beachhead and one of the few elements to escape capture. The 6th Battalion returned to the continent on 15 Jun 1944 and took part in the operations in north-west Europe until May 1945.
The 11th (Service) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was formed in 1940 from newly conscripted and basically trained soldiers. Originally in 76th Division, a war-formed division and part of Home Forces, the battalion was then assigned to 49th (North Riding) Division, a first-line territorial division. The battalion and formation first saw active service with the North-Western Expeditionary Force despatched to Norway to repel the threatened German invasion of that country. Having withdrawn from Norway, and after a brief pause in the UK, the battalion and its division were despatched to Iceland to form the main body of the force defending that Atlantic base. The 49th Division spent over two years in the garrisons of Reykjavik, Akureyi and Halfordurfjord. The 49th Division's original sign was the Yorkshire white rose, the symbol used by that division during WWI. But in Iceland the badge of a polar bear on a black background was adopted. On its return from Iceland in 1943, the division, including the 11th Battalion formed part of the force intended for the re-invasion of Europe. As part of 21st Army Group, it landed at Normandy in Jun 1944. The battalion took part in operations in France, Belgium and the southern Netherlands, including the battles of Odon 25 Jun 1944 to 2 Jul 1944 and the Sheldt from 1Oct 1944 to 8 Nov 1944. In the latter stages of the campaign, the battalion and its parent formation were under the command of the 1st Canadian Army in the liberation of the Netherlands. The 11th Battalion was disbanded after VE Day in 1945.
The 30th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers was originally formed in 1936 as 68a Group National Defence Companies and was retitled the 10th (Home Defence) Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1939 and the 30th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1941. The battalion was disbanded at Perth in 1943.
Post World War II restructuring
In 1948, as part of the post-war reductions and in common with all other infantry regiments of the line, The 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers was reduced and joined with the 1st Battalion.
The 6th Battalion was disbanded in 1947. The 4th/5th Battalion was reconstituted with the revival of the Territorial Army in 1947. It was later absorbed into the 52nd Lowland (Volunteers).
In 1959, The Royal Scots Fusiliers (formerly the 21st Regiment of Foot) amalgamated with The Highland Light Infantry (formerly the 71st and 74th Regiments of Foot) to become the Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment). The RHF recruits from the City of Glasgow and Ayrshire. HRH Princess Margaret is the Colonel in Chief.
Royal Highland Fusiliers Battle Honours
The Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Highland Light Infantry and their forebears have fought in most of the major campaigns of the Brititish Army over the last three centuries. The Royal Highland Fusiliers carry more than 120 Battle Honours on its colours from Blenheim (1704) to The Gulf (1991).
The Royal Scots Fusiliers Regimental Memorial is a statue in the gardens west of County Buildings Ayr. The former Regimental Depot of the Royal Scots Fusiliers was at Churchill Barracks, Ayr.
Regimental Museum of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, Regimental Headquarters, The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 518 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3LW, Scotland; Phone: (0141) 332 0961. Uniforms and medals, weapons, pictures, models etc. illustrate three centuries' history of the Highland Light Infantry and the Royal Scots Fusiliers infantry regiments which were merged into the Royal Highland Fusiliers in 1959. Open Monday - Friday 0930 - 1730. (weekends by appointment).
"History of the Royal Scottish Fusiliers" by John Buchan, published in 1925.
"The Lowland Regiments 1972"; by W. Pratt-Paul; published by Impulse, 1st edn, 186 pp. The four sections in this book deal with The Royal Scots, The Royal Highland Fusiliers (the amalgamation of The Royal Scots Fusiliers and The Highland Light Infantry), The King's Own Scottish Borderers and the now disbanded regiment of The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
"A Soldier's History: The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment"; published by The Glasgow University Press (date unknown).