Tag Archives: 1 SCOTS

The Ghost of Robert Rogers, now taking the Queen’s schilling

One of the key figures in the historically abhorrent but no less entertaining AMC series Turn, portrayed by Angus Macfadyen, was Robert Rogers, the famed irregular whose unit excelled in combat along the frontier during the French and Indian War.

Color mezzotint of a representation by Johann Martin Will of Robert Rogers, published by Thomas Hart Anne S K Brown Military Collection

Known as Wobomagonda (white devil) among the Abenakis, the frontierman gave birth to what was known then as “ranging” warfare, with his men being the Rangers, a scratch unit that had American Indians as well as freedmen in its ranks.

His men were no red-uniformed line infantry, ready for set-piece battle. 

Knötel, Herbert, Rogers Rangers, 1758. Ranger of Rogers’ Company. Summer dress (1949)

Knötel, Herbert, Rogers’ Rangers, 1758. Ranger of Spikeman’s Company, Winter dress (1949)

His most lasting piece of military guidance is, of course, his 28 Rules of Ranging also seen in as a more concise 19 Standing Orders.

A defacto loyalist, as in 1775 he still nominally held a British officer’s commission, Rogers tried to wrangle an appointment from Washington but was spurned, which led him to raise the Queen’s Rangers in 1776– a unit he was cashiered from the next year. The Queen’s Rangers, led at the time by the unremarkable Maj. James Wemyss was decimated at Brandywine when used as traditional infantry, leading the unit to be resurrected by John Graves Simcoe. After the war, the Rangers were sent to Canada and quietly disbanded.

As noted by the British Army today, “After the loss of the North American colonies, the British Army lacked a forested frontier where it could usefully employ a ranger unit and the capability ceased to exist in its pure form,” with later “Ranger” units such as the Central London Rangers, The Connaught Rangers, The Royal Irish Rangers, and The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, holding the name as more of an honorific title than as descriptor for a force designed for a specialist ranger role, or that they used unconventional tactics.

Now, the newly formed Ranger Regiment in the British Army– to be stood up with volunteers drawn from across the infantry as well as from four battalions folded into its organization, 1 SCOTS, 2 PWRR, 2 LANCS, and 4 RIFLES — will officially carry the legacy of the American-born Robert Rogers.

True to form, it will be part of the Army Special Operations Brigade and will be tasked with “unconventional action.

As per the Army:

While the new Rangers might not have to abide by the original 28 Rules of Ranging – including turning up to evening parade with a ‘firelock, sixty rounds of powder and ball, and a hatchet,’ they will be self-sufficient and highly resourceful, just like the Rangers of the past.

Those pants, tho

“My first warlike frenzy!” Via The Illustrated Naval and Military magazine

Happy birthday today to the oldest regiment in the British Army– and among the snazziest dressers, with Hunting Stewart tartan trews being a standard part of their kit for a long time.

The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), c.1908

Although the British standing army dates to a Royal Warrant issued by Charles II on 26 January 1661, the oldest regiment actually predates that by a good bit.

Sir John Hepburn, then a 34-year old Scottish soldier who had been fighting in the Thirty Years War for about half his life and had already been made a colonel and knighted by Swedish King Gustav II Adolf, was granted a warrant dated Edinburgh, 24 April 1633, by the Privy Council of Scotland to raise a regiment of 1,200 men in Scotland for French service.

Dubbed originally Régiment d’Hebron, it was off to the Continent in no time to see bloody combat. While Sir John himself was killed by a gunshot wound during the siege of Saverne in Alsace just three years later and buried at Toul, his regiment lived on and over time would become the First Foot or Royal Scots in British service, where it had remained ever since.

The Regiment has since picked up Battle Honours at:

Tangier 1680, Namur 1695, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet, Louisburg, Havannah, Egmont-op-Zee, Egypt,St Lucia 1803, Corunna, Busaco, Salamanca, Vittoria, San Sebastian, Nive, Peninsula, Niagara, Waterloo, Nagpore, Maheidpoor, Ava, Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol, Taku Forts, Pekin 1860, South Africa 1899–1902, Mons, Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914 ’18, Aisne 1914, La Bassée 1914, Neuve Chapelle, Ypres 1915 ’17 ’18, Gravenstafel, St Julien, Frezenberg, Bellewaarde, Aubers, Festubert 1915, Loos, Somme 1916 ’18, Albert 1916 ’18, Bazentin, Pozières, Flers-Courcelette, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Ancre 1916 ’18, Arras 1917 ’18, Scarpe 1917 ’18, Arleux, Pilckem, Langemarck 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917, St Quentin, Rosières, Lys, Estaires, Messines 1918, Hazebrouck, Bailleul, Kemmel, Béthune, Soissonnais-Ourcq, Tardenois, Amiens, Bapaume 1918, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, St Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Courtrai, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914–18, Struma, Macedonia 1915–18, Helles, Landing at Helles, Krithia, Suvla, Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli 1915–16, Rumani, Egypt 1915–16, Gaza, El Mughar, Nebi Samwil, Jaffa, Palestine 1917–18, Archangel 1918-19, Dyle, Defence of Escaut, St Omer-La Bassée, Odon, Cheux, Defence of Rauray, Caen, Esquay, Mont Pincon, Aart, Nederrijn, Best, Scheldt, Flushing, Meijel, Venlo Pocket, Roer, Rhineland, Reichswald, Cleve, Goch, Rhine, Uelzen, Bremen, Artlenberg, North-West Europe 1940, ’44–45, Gothic Line, Marradi, Monte Gamberaldi, Italy 1944–45, South East Asia 1941, Donbaik, Kohima, Relief of Kohima, Aradura, Shwebo, Mandalay, Burma 1943–45 and Wadi Al Batin 1991.

And they looked good doing it.

In 2006, the unit was merged with the other Scottish Infantry Regiments to form one of the seven battalions of The Royal Regiment of Scotland. The direct link is to 1st Battalion, The Royal Scots Borderers or 1 SCOTS, a Specialised Infantry Battalion providing overseas capacity building (training, assistance, advice and mentoring) to British allies.

The unit today is some 386 years old.

Sir John would be proud.

Part of B Company, 1 SCOTS, Camp Qargha, Kabul with their Foxhounds, 2016