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The Story of the Royal Scots
Author’s Introduction

The title of this book, The Story of The Royal Scots, indicates its scope and purpose. It does not pretend to take the place of the Regimental Records of The Royal Scots, a portly volume of which a limited edition has been prepared by a Committee of the Regiment for issue to subscribers only. If any reader would know such details as the names of officers written in the Blenheim Bounty Roll, or by how many men the regiment was augmented in 1734, or the state of the colours and accoutrements in 1830, he must betake himself to the Records. I have passed such matters by. Important as they may be to the student of regimental development, they have little human significance. A regiment such as The Royal Scots is a continuing entity, made up indeed of so many officers and men, but presenting itself to the world as a fighting unit which has dyed its name on the Roll of History in pursuit of its proper business of war.

It is therefore as a fighting regiment that it appears in the following pages, crowned with the glories of long and arduous services given wherever the country needed them. No one will forget that it is during times of peace that the army fits itself for its great function, but they are times of preparation rather than of achievement. It is, however, on the field of battle that the strong spirit of the fighting Scot has moved the First or Royal Regiment of Foot to achieve so much for its own undying honour and for the safety of the Kingdom and Empire.

The writer of a recent military book has referred to The Black Watch as “Scotland’s oldest and best beloved regiment." This is characteristic of the prevailing ignorance. which regards no regiment as Scottish unless it wears the kilt. Splendid as are the records of the Black Watch, the oldest of the Highland regiments, it was not in being as a unit of the British army until nearly eighty years after Charles II bestowed the title of Royal on his First Regiment of Foot, or until more than a century after The Royal Scots were constituted a British regiment by warrant of Charles I.

With the single exception of another Lowland regiment, the Royal Scots Fusiliers (Twenty-first) raised in 1678, The Royal Scots was the only regiment of North Britons to fight in the British1 service during the wars of William III and the Marlborough campaigns.

So it happens that the story of The Royal Scots covers a wider field of British military history than that of any other regiment, the Guards not excepted. I must here make warm acknowledgment to the Regimental Committee, which has not only placed at my disposal the literary matter of the Records, which include much new material, but also permits me to reproduce many illustrations from rare prints, drawings by Mr. J. C. Leask, etc. To Captain McCance I owe an especial debt for much help and counsel, for reading my proofs and making many helpful suggestions.

Without the assistance which many officers at the Front and at home have given in preparing the chapters on the present war I could not have attempted writing them, and I owe thanks to so many that I may be pardoned omitting the long list of their names. I shall be grateful for further information, so that when we are once more at peace I may attempt a complete narrative.

Mr. Campbell Smith, who has worked so strenuously on behalf of all Lowland causes and for The Royal Scots in particular, has also put me in his lasting debt.

It may be asked why a civilian and a Southerner should venture to write the story of the oldest Scots regiment. The reasons are, in the main, two. The book is in some sort a memorial to my gallant kinsman, Captain Charles Lempriere Price, D.S.O., who distinguished himself so notably in the South African War and fell fighting in September 1914 at the Battle of the Aisne. It is also a result of my long delight in reading Scottish history, and of much writing about the delightful fabric presented by the building of that history into the walls of Scottish castles.

I make no claim to be a military expert, and have followed the path of pleasure and safety in relying on the Hon. John Fortescue’s monumental History of the British Army, Professor Oman’s History of the Peninsular War, and other standard authorities. Regimental histories in plenty have been written since Richard Cannon brought out his long row of volumes in the eighteen-forties. Most of them are over-charged with details of no interest to any but the military expert, and few of them endeavour to connect the life of the regiments with the political history of the country. The idea at which I have aimed has been to show The Royal Scots moving gallantly in the pageant of the war story of Great Britain during three centuries. The series of which this volume forms a part is designed to satisfy the grateful interest which the country feels in the history of the great military units, by whose efforts, under God and the British Navy, our shores have been kept inviolate and the Empire built on foundations of honour and liberty.

Lawrence Weaver.
Reform Club,
Pall Mall.

The Badge of the Royal Scots.

Since 1881 it has been the custom of the regiment to use the Glengarry cap badge as a device for note-paper, etc., but for more than a century the correct badge has appeared on the colours, "The Royal Cypher within the Collar of the Order of the Thistle with the Badge appendant,” as figured above.

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