The Scots Guards

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1854-1914

In 1854, the 1st Battalion of the Scots Guards Fusiliers were dispatched as part of the Guards Brigade to the East, being deployed to Malta, Bulgaria and Turkey, before, in September, the British finally landed in the Crimea, at a place called Calamity Bay. The British and their French allies then began the advance on Sevastopol, a Russian naval base, but was blocked at the River Alma by Russian forces. And here came the Battalion's first engagement at the Battle of Alma, an action that saw chaotic and heavy hand-to-hand combat between the British and Russians. For their actions at Alma, the Scots Fusilier Guards won a battle honour and four men of the regiment would later win the Victoria Cross, an award created in 1856 to become the highest award for valour in the face of the enemy. These men were Captain Robert James Lindsay, Sergeants John Knox and James McKechnie, as well as Private William Reynolds.
In 1855, the regiment took part in another bloody engagement, at the Battle of Inkerman. The regiment won its thirteenth battle honour for their part at Inkerman. The Scots Fusilier Guards also took part in the arduous Siege of Sevastopol, which lasted from September 1854 to September the following year. The Crimean War would end in 1856 with the Treaty of Paris, with the Scots Fusilier Guards returning home to the UK that same year.

In 1862, the 2nd Battalion landed in the then-colony of New Brunswick to reinforce the garrison there during increased tensions with the United States during the American Civil War. The battalion departed in 1864, while the American Civil War still raged, and returned home to the UK. In 1877 Queen Victoria, changed the regiment's name to the now more familiar Scots Guards

In 1881, the 1st Battalion deployed to Dublin, Ireland and the following year the battalion, as part of the Guard Brigade, took part in an expedition to Egypt, which came about in response to a revolt led by Urabi Pasha, an Egyptian military officer. The Scots Guards gained the battle honours "Tel-el-Kebir" and "Egypt 1882" for their taking part in the Egyptian Expedition, and it was the last time the regiment carried the Colours into war.

In 1885, the 2nd Battalion took part in the Suakin Expedition to the Sudan, taking part in the Battle of Hasheen, and gaining the battle honour Suakin 1885 for their part in the campaign The battalion returned home to the peace and quiet of the UK in late 1885 and took part in Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Military Review in 1887. In 1895, the 2nd Battalion of the regiment deployed to Dublin and returned to their barracks in London in 1897, with the 1st Battalion deploying to Dublin that same year.

In 1899, war broke out between the British Empire and the Dutch Boer Republics, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The 1st Battalion soon departed Ireland for South Africa to join up with the 1st Guards Brigade, and reached that country in November. The battalion quickly saw its first engagements in November, at Belmont, and at the Battle of the Modder River. In December, the battalion took part in its first major engagement of the war at the Battle of Magersfontein. The Boers, well defended in their positions, poured a terrible fire into the attacking British, causing very heavy casualties, with the battle ending in a defeat for the British.
In 1900, the 2nd Battalion departed the UK for South Africa, landing there in April, whereupon it joined the 16th Infantry Brigade. The Scots Guards then saw action at another major battle, at the Battle of Paardeberg, which last for a number of days in February, though the Boers there were eventually defeat when the Boer leader Piet Cronje surrendered. The following month, the regiment took part in the Battle of Driefontein and in May, the 2nd Battalion took part in a small engagement at Biddulphsberg and on the 31st, the regiment was present at the capture of Johannesburg. During their time in Africa, the regiment performed a variety of duties, including manning blockhouses, rather than just their involvement in the many battles of the war. In 1902, the regiment returned home, having proven their professionalism once more to the world, and returned to the usual public duties that accompany the Guards.

 


Photo Stuart Brothers (London)


PhotoGordon's (Aberdeen)


Photo Barnard (Cape Town)


 

 

 

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