Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

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The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
(Carabiniers and Greys)
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.jpg
Cap badge of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Active2 July 1971 – present
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeLine cavalry
RoleLight Cavalry
SizeOne regiment
Part ofRoyal Armoured Corps
Garrison/HQRHQ - Edinburgh Castle
Regiment - Leuchars
Nickname(s)Scotland's Cavalry
Motto(s)Nemo me impune lacessit (No one provokes me with impunity)
Ich Dien (I Serve)
Second to None
MarchQuick (band) - The 3DGs;
(pipes & drums) - Hielan' Laddie
Slow (band) - The Garb of Old Gaul; (pipes & drums) - My Home
Mascot(s)Drum Horse (Talavera)
Anniversaries13 April (Nunshigum)
18 June (Waterloo)
25 October (Balaklava)
Colonel-in-ChiefHM The Queen
Tactical Recognition FlashRSDG TRF.svg
Arm BadgePrince of Wales's feathers
from 3rd Dragoon Guards (Prince of Wales's)
TartanRoyal Stewart (Pipers kilts and plaids)
AbbreviationSCOTS DG

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (SCOTS DG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and the senior Scottish regiment. The regiment, through the Royal Scots Greys, is the oldest surviving Cavalry Regiment of the Line in the British Army. The regiment is currently based at Leuchars Station, as part of the Scottish 51st Infantry Brigade.


It was formed on 2 July 1971 at Holyrood, Edinburgh, by the amalgamation of the 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales's Dragoon Guards) (themselves the product of the amalgamation in 1922 of 3rd Dragoon Guards (Prince of Wales's) and 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers)), and The Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons).[1]

The regiment has deployed on four tours of Northern Ireland in 1972, 1974, 1976 and 1980, suffering one fatality in 1972, when Trooper Ian Hunter Caie, was killed by a bomb in a beer barrel that exploded in the path of his Ferret scout car in Moybane, near Crossmaglen County Armagh.[2]

The Scots Dragoon Guards raise the regimental flag on their Challenger 2

It saw active service during the Gulf War in 1991 deploying 57 Challenger tanks[3] and in Bosnia as part of SFOR in 1996–97.[4]

In 1998, it became the first regiment in the British Army to operate the Challenger 2 main battle tank.[5]

It deployed to Kosovo, as part of KFOR, in 2000.[6]

The regiment deployed to Iraq for Operation Telic, the British element of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The bulk of the regiment deployed as part of the Scots Dragoon Guards Battle Group with a single squadron (A Squadron) detached to the First Battalion The Black Watch Battle Group. All deployed elements of the regiment took part in the advance on Iraq's second largest city, Basra. Prior to reaching Basra, A Squadron fought in and around Az Zubayr and C Squadron was detached from the SCOTS DG BG to fight with 3 Commando Brigade in actions south of Basra that included Britain's largest tank engagement since the Gulf War, when 14 Challenger 2 tanks engaged and destroyed 14 Iraqi tanks (the so-called '14–0' engagement).[7]

The regiment deployed to Iraq in 2006, where it suffered two casualties Lieutenant Richard Palmer[8] and Corporal Gordon Pritchard.[9] The regiment also saw service in Iraq in 2008.[10]

More recently in 2008, 2011 and 2013/14 the regiment deployed to Afghanistan.[11]

The pipes and drums distinguished themselves, most recently winning the award for Album of the Year at the 2009 Classical Brits.[12]

In November 2013, the unit bade farewell to its Challenger 2 tanks and converted to a Light Cavalry unit, armed with Jackal vehicles.[13]

Under the Army 2020 plan, it was re-reroled as a light cavalry unit, and moved to Leuchars Station in summer 2015.[14]

The Regiment deployed to Cyprus with the United Nations as part of the Op TOSCA 27 peace-keeping for a 6 months tour in September 2017.[15]

Current organisation[edit]

Jackal Vehicles in use with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

The regiment has converted to the role of light cavalry as part of restructuring in the army under Army 2020. It is now equipped with Jackal armoured fighting vehicles.[13] The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is paired up with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, an Army Reserve light cavalry regiment.[16]

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is broken into the following structure: A Squadron, B Squadron, C Squadron, D Squadron, Headquarters Squadron.[17]

Regimental museum[edit]

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum is situated at Edinburgh Castle. Opened in 2006, the exhibits include uniforms, medals, weapons, regalia, music and the French Imperial Eagle that was captured by Sergeant Charles Ewart of the Royal Scots Greys from the French 45th Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne at the Battle of Waterloo.[18]

Official abbreviation[edit]

The regiment's official abbreviation (as listed in Joint Service Publication 101 (Service Writing)) is SCOTS DG (note all capitals and the space), the format of which follows the traditional Cavalry line.[19]

Accoutrements and uniform[edit]

Officers of the SCOTS DG in No.1 dress uniform

The cap badge features an eagle, which represents the French Imperial Eagle that was captured by Sergeant Charles Ewart of the Royal Scots Greys from the French 45th Regiment of Foot at the Battle of Waterloo.[20] It is always worn with a black backing in mourning for Tsar Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, who was their Colonel-in-Chief at the time of his execution. The cap badge also has the crossed carbines of the 3rd Carabiniers at the rear of the eagle.[21]

The Plume of The Prince of Wales with its motto "Ich Dien" is worn by all members of the Regiment embroidered on the upper part of the left sleeve. The right to wear this badge was granted to the 3rd Dragoon Guards in 1765, subsequently became the cap badge and later, with the crossed carabines, formed the badge of the 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales's).[22]

The distinctive yellow zigzag (or "vandyke") cap band was inherited from the Royal Scots Greys, who had worn it since the mid-19th century.[23]

As a royal regiment, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is permitted to wear the Royal Stewart tartan, which was a privilege granted by HM King George VI, and is worn by the regiment's pipers.[24]


The Loyal Toast is drunk at formal dinners in the Mess and is always drunk seated, except when Royalty is present. On evenings when a military band is present, besides playing "The Queen' the band also play "God Bless the Prince of Wales", an old 3rd Dragoon Guards custom, and the "Imperial Russian Anthem" in memory of Tsar Nicholas II, the Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Greys, killed during the Russian Revolution.[25]

In 2015 the Regiment introduced a small mounted unit named the "Waterloo Squadron". Eight members of the Guards were coached by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment before making their debut at Kilmarnock on 20 June 2015, and then moved on to Edinburgh the following week for the Battle of Waterloo victory celebrations. The Duke of Kent took the salute. At the time it represented a return to horseback for the first time in eighty years. This has sparked speculation that the troop may now begin to undertake more ceremonial duties in Scotland.[26][27] The regiment also has a mounted Drum Major who wears a distinctive white bearskin - a gift to the regiment from Tsar Nicholas during his time as Colonel of the Regiment.[28]

Regimental mottos[edit]

  • The regimental motto is Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No one provokes me with impunity), also the motto of the Order of the Thistle, to which it refers.
  • The regiment also uses the motto "Second to None".

Pipes and Drums[edit]

The regiment has its own Pipes and Drums, who were first formed in 1946 and tour widely, performing in competitions, concerts and parades. Their most famous piece is "Amazing Grace", which reached number one in the charts in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa in 1972. The track sold over seven million copies by mid 1977, and was awarded a gold disc.[29] The band released a new CD in late November 2007 through Universal Music, featuring a number of classic pipe tunes along with some modern arrangements and was recorded while the regiment was based in Iraq. The album Spirit Of The Glen was produced by Jon Cohen and released by Universal on 26 November 2007. It was a remake of their most popular song "Amazing Grace" and featured the Czech Film Orchestra. Spirit Of The Glen was officially launched at Edinburgh Castle[30] and won Album of the Year at the 2009 Classical Brits.[12][31] They have also made regular appearances at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo over the years.[32]

Order of precedence[edit]

Preceded by
1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
Cavalry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Royal Dragoon Guards


1881 Childers Reforms 1922 Amalgamations 1957 Defence White Paper 1966 Defence White Paper - today
3rd (Prince Of Wales's) Dragoon Guards 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales's Dragoon Guards) Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys)
6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers)
2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)


Affiliated yeomanry[edit]

Battle honours[edit]

Combined battle honours of 3rd Carabiniers and Royal Scots Greys, plus:


  • 1971.07.02: HM Queen Elizabeth II

Regimental Colonels[edit]

Colonels of the Regiment have been: [35]


  1. ^ "Royal Scots Dragoon Guards: History". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Sutton Index of Deaths". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  3. ^ "British Units in the Gulf War". Archived from the original on 28 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Royal Scots Dragoon Guards launch £1m appeal to raise cash for injured comrades". Daily Record. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Challenger 2". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  6. ^ Tank Spotter's Guide. p. 124. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  7. ^ "UK Operations - Iraq 2003". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Lt Richard Palmer of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards killed in Iraq". Ministry of Defence. 16 April 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Corporal Gordon Alexander Pritchard killed in Iraq". Ministry of Defence. 31 January 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Scottish pipers record album while serving in Iraq". The Telegraph. 9 November 2008. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  11. ^ "The Serving Regiment". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Classical Brits". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  13. ^ a b Ministry of Defence (2013-11-20). "Royal Scots Dragoon Guards receive new Jackal vehicles". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  14. ^ "Regular Army Basing Plan - 5 Mar 2013" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Royal Dragoon Guards Assume UN Peacekeeping Duties In Cyprus". Forces Network. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  16. ^ "Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  17. ^ "The Regiment Today". Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  18. ^ "Treasures". Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  19. ^ "The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Shop". Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  20. ^ "The Battle of Waterloo and The Royal Scots Greys and Sergeant Charles Ewart". British Battles. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Collar badge, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys), 1971". National Army Museum. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  22. ^ Doyle & Foster, p. 37
  23. ^ Wood, Stephen (2015). Those Terrible Grey Horses: An Illustrated History of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
  24. ^ "Army Regiments and their Pipers, part 6". Piping Press. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  25. ^ "Colonels-in-Chief". Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Connecting People Through News". Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  27. ^ "The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - Home". Facebook. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  28. ^ Whitecross, David (2012-03-09). "Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, drum horse; The drummer wears full dress with white bearskin cap a present to the Scots Greys from Tsar Nicholas when Colonel in Chief". Flickr. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  29. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 320. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  30. ^ "Scotland on TV - Videos about Scotland and all things Scottish". Retrieved 3 May 2014.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "Royal Scots Dragoon Guards band wins Classical Brit award". Daily Record. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  32. ^ "Scottish Regiments". Edinburgh Tattoo. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  33. ^ "Gulf Battle Honours". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  34. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Written Ministerial Statements for 10 Nov 2005 (pt 1)". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  35. ^ "The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) at". Archived from the original on 14 August 2004. Retrieved 31 August 2018.


  • Doyle, Peter; Foster, Chris (2010). British Army Cap Badges of the Second World War. Shire Collections. ISBN 978-0747807971.
  • Nicoletti, Tony; Stephen, Aidan (2003). Shot and Captured: Photographs of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Battlegroup in Iraq 2003. Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail.
  • Wood, Stephen (1988). In the Finest Tradition: The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers & Greys): Its History and Treasures. Mainstream Pub. Co. ISBN 1-85158-174-X.

External links[edit]