The Scots Guards (SG), part of the Guards Division, is one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army. Their origins lie in the personal bodyguard of King Charles I of England and Scotland. Its lineage can be traced back to 1642, although it was only placed on the English Establishment (thus becoming part of what is now the British Army) in 1686.
Country Kingdom of England
Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800)
Nickname(s) The Kiddies; Jock Guards
Motto(s) "Nemo Me Impune Lacessit"
"No one touches me with impunity"
March Quick – Hielan' Laddie
Slow – The Garb of Old Gaul
Anniversaries St Andrew's Day
In 1804, the United Kingdom's nemesis, Napoleon Bonaparte (known as 'Boney' to the British), became Emperor of the French. The following year the Third Coalition was formed against France and the 1st Battalion took part in the expedition to Hannover in 1805 at a time when Napoleon's armies burnt across the continent. In 1806 the Fourth Coalition against France was created and the following year the 1st Battalion took part in the second Battle of Copenhagen in Denmark, an expedition intended to prevent the Danish Fleet falling into the hands of the French. A combined British and Hannoverian Army under General Lord Cathcart besieged the Danish city while the Royal Navy bombarded the city. The operation was a success and the Danes surrendered their fleet of eighteen warships to the British.
In 1809 the Fifth Coalition was formed against France, though was much smaller than the previous coalitions, consisting of just Austria and the United Kingdom. That same year the 1st Battalion made their way to the Iberian Peninsula where they were to take part in the Peninsular War in Portugal and Spain, a war that had begun in 1808 . On the 12 May, the 1st Battalion took part in the crossing of the River Douro, an operation that ended so successfully that the French Army were in full retreat to Amarante after the actions in Oporto and its surrounding areas.
In late July, the 3rd Foot Guards took part in the Battle of Talavera, one of the bloodiest and most bitter of engagements during the war. The British were commanded by Lieutenant-General Arthur Wellesley, a man who gained immortal fame in the history of the British Army, and would soon gain the honour Duke of Wellington for Talavera. The British-Spanish Army numbered about 50,000 and the 1st Battalion was part of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division, while the French numbered over 40,000. The battle that ensued was ferocious, with the British defenders receiving the first attack on the night of the 27 July, an attack that nearly forced the British off the Cerro de Medellin, a hill to the left of the 3rd Foot Guards position, but a counter-attack successfully repulsed the French. In the early hours of the 28th, the French attacked once more, meeting stiff resistance from the British defenders. At the Cerro position, the British poured a relentless and overwhelming fire into the advancing French formations, and repulsed the French, inflicting heavy casualties on them. Further French attacks took place, at one point, the Foot Guards distinguished themselves greatly when they poured a devastating fire into the French ranks, though the Guards advanced after the fleeing French and in doing so became the target of a French artillery battery and French infantry who duly ripped into the Guards, causing hundreds of casualties. However, despite suffering terribly, the Guards managed to reform and, along with other infantry battalions, commenced yet another professional and overwhelming fire to repulse a large French counter-attack, which caused quite horrific casualties for the French. The Battle of Talavera was bloody and ended in victory for the British though at a terrible price, with over 5,000 men being killed or wounded, while their French opponents lost over 7,000 men. For their role in the battle, the regiment won its fifth battle honour.
Also that year, the 2nd Battalion's flank companies took part in the disastrous Walcheren Expedition in the Low Countries, a campaign that would suffer many casualties from disease rather than the bullet of an enemy, through Walcheren Fever, which affected the troops that suffered from it so severely that many thousands of the troops still suffered from it years afterwards, and led to the Duke of Wellington stating that he did not want any unit that served in the Walcheren Campaign to serve with him.
In 1810, the 1st Battalion took part in the Battle of Buçaco in which a British-Portuguese Army of about 50,000 soundly defeated a numerically superior French force before marching to the Lines of Torres Vedras, a series of trenches and redoubts designed to protect the Lisbon, and where the British again defeated the French, forcing the French Army to withdraw. The following year, in March, companies of the 2nd Battalion, who were now deployed to the Peninsula, took part in the Battle of Barrosa in an attempt to lift the siege of Cadiz, and soundly defeated the French relatively quickly, and for their actions, won the regiment its sixth battle honour.
In May, the 1st Battalion took part in the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro which ended in yet another British victory and gained the regiment its seventh battle honour .The following year, in January, the 1st Battalion took part in the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo. The fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo was one of the two important French held fortresses (the other being Badajoz) and the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo began on the 8 January. Despite their more privileged nature as an elite force in comparison to the normal infantry, the Guards still helped in the digging of trenches, an arduous duty made especially more by the absolutely terrible weather. When the assault on Ciudad Rodrigo finally happened on the 19 January, it was bloody, with fierce and chaotic hand-to-hand fighting taking place at the two breaches made in the walls of the fortress. The casualties were heavy for the British, with over 500 being killed, wounded or missing during the assault and over 1,000 casualties in total for the siege, though despite this, the British took Ciudad Rodrigo.
In July, the 1st Battalion took part in the Battle of Salamanca, a decisive victory for the British, and then subsequently took part in the Siege of Burgos which ended in October. In 1813, the 2nd Battalion took part in an expedition to the Low Countries, while back in Spain, the 1st Battalion took part in the Battle of Vittoria in which the British and Allied forces won a resounding victory over the French, as well as at the bloody Siege of San Sebastian, where the British besieged San Sebastián from July to August, after two bloody assaults by the British troops. After fighting so hard against the French in Portugal and Spain, in late 1813, the British finally pushed into France itself, where the 1st Battalion took part in a number of successful engagements, including at Nive. Napoleon would eventually abdicate in April 1814.
In March 1815, Napoleon returned to France from his exile in Elba, eventually retaking France from Louis XVIII. The 2nd Battalion, 3rd Foot Guards, who were stationed in what is present-day Belgium, took part in, on the 18 June, one of the most famous battles in history, Waterloo. The battalion, was part of the two battalion 2nd Guards Brigade, under the command of Major-General Sir John Byng, the other battalion being the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards. The 3rd Foot Guards were positioned on the ridge just behind Hougoumont Farm under the command of Second Major Francis Hepburn, while the light companies of the two battalions, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel James Macdonnell, garrisoned the Farm, a place, on the right flank of the British and Allied army, that would be a key position during the battle.
Just after 11:00am, the battle commenced, with a French division, under the command of Prince Jérôme Bonaparte, beginning the assault on Hougoumont, with the Farm coming under heavy artillery fire. The French assaulted the farm, but the Guards' stout defense repulsed the first French attack. A second attack happened, and during that attack, the French attempted to push through the main gate. Despite the gallant efforts of the British Guardsmen to shut it, a few dozen French troops broke through before the Guardsmen managed to shut the main gate once more. What followed was a fierce hand-to-hand fight between the Guardsmen and French, until eventually all the French, minus a drummer boy who was spared by the Guardsmen, were killed.
The third attack came from the east of the farm, at the orchard. A few companies of the 3rd Guards subsequently confronted the French troops and, after some hard fighting, drove them from the orchard and back into the woods. The fourth attack soon came, this time with the use of a fearsome howitzer, and thus, the Grenadier Company of the 3rd Guards was sent into the woods to destroy the howitzer, but were faced with a superior French force and were forced out of the woods. The 3rd Guards were then sent to repulse the French from the orchard which they duly did, driving the French back into the woods once more.
Further attacks occurred on the farm, and the gallant defenders never wilted in the face of such French attacks, and held the farm against all odds, even when the farm was set ablaze by howitzer fire, the defenders still repulsed all French attacks. The elite Guards had proven their professionalism and valour once more in the field, and contributed greatly to the British and Allied victory at Waterloo, gaining the praise of the Duke of Wellington in the process. The defenders of Hougoumont suffered over 1,000 men killed or wounded during the Battle for Hougoumont, with the 3rd Guards suffering well over 200 men killed or wounded; while the French suffered many thousands of casualties in their numerous attempts to capture the farm. Napoleon was defeated and as before, he was exiled, this time to the British territory of St. Helena, where he would remain until his death in 1821.
The 2nd Battalion then joined the Army of Occupation in France where they would remain until 1816 when they returned home to the UK. In 1824, both battalions of the 3rd Foot Guards deployed to Dublin, Ireland, and in 1826, the 2nd Battalion deployed to Portugal until returning home in 1828. Also in 1826, the 1st Battalion deployed to Manchester during troubles there. In 1830, William IV ascended to the throne, and the following year gave the regiment a new name, the Scots Fusilier Guards.Also a little interesting Fact, the Scots Guards are one of 4 Regiments in the modern British Army to have Companies names by letters, this is like the American Regiment..