Military Wiki
The Lothians and Border Horse
Cap Badge of The Lothians and Border Horse
Active 1797–1956
Country  Kingdom of Great Britain (1797–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1956)
Branch  British Army
Type Yeomanry
Size World War I, 3 Regiments
World War II, 2 Regiments
Current, 1 Squadron
Part of The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry
Garrison/HQ Edinburgh
Nickname(s) E (L&BHY) Sqn
Engagements Battle of Normandy
Battle of the Scheldt
Geilenkirchen salient
Rhine crossing
Elbe crossing
Bou Arada
El Kourzia
Battle of Tunis
Liri Valley
Advance to Florence
Gothic Line
Argenta Gap

The LOTHIANS AND BORDER HORSE was a Yeomanry regiment, part of the British Territorial Army. It was ranked 36th in the Yeomanry order of precedence and was based in the Scottish Lowland area, recruiting in the Lothians – East Lothian (Haddingtonshire), Midlothian (Edinburghshire), and West Lothian (Linlithgowshire) – and along the border with England, particularly Berwickshire. It amalgamated with the Lanarkshire Yeomanry and the Queen's Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry to form the Queen's Own Lowland Yeomanry in 1956.

In 2014 following the 2013 Future Army Reserves announcement, the regiment was re-formed within the new Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry.


Formation and early history

Raised in 1797, the regiment comprised five troops among which were the "East Lothian Yeomanry Cavalry" and the "Berwickshire Yeomanry". After disbandment in 1838 and re-raising in 1846,[1] the unit became the "Lothians and Berwickshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry" in 1888 and "Lothians and Berwickshire Imperial Yeomanry" in 1901.[1] In 1908, the regiment was named "The Lothians and Border Horse TF (Dragoons)".[1]


In the Second Boer War, the regiment sponsored the 19th Company of the Imperial Yeomanry, which served in the 6th (Scottish) Battalion in South Africa from 1900 until 1902.[2] The regiment was based at Dundonald Street in Edinburgh at this time.[3]


Lowland Mounted Brigade
Organisation on 4 August 1914
Assigned units
A Squadron at Ayr
B Squadron at Cumnock
C Squadron at Kilmarnock
D Squadron at Beith
A Squadron at Douglas, South Lanarkshire
B Squadron at Lanark
C Squadron at Coatbridge
D Squadron at Dumfries (Dumfriesshire)
  • Lothians and Border Horse, Edinburgh
A Squadron at Dunbar
B Squadron at Edinburgh
C Squadron at Hawick
D Squadron at Edinburgh
  • Brigade troops
Transport and Supply Column, ASC,
Training attachments
A Squadron at Glasgow
B Squadron at Glasgow
C Squadron at Paisley (Renfrewshire)
D Squadron at Glasgow

In accordance with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (7 Edw. 7, c.9) which brought the Territorial Force into being, the TF was intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, many members volunteered for Imperial Service. Therefore, TF units were split in August and September 1914 into 1st Line (liable for overseas service) and 2nd Line (home service for those unable or unwilling to serve overseas) units. Later, a 3rd Line was formed to act as a reserve, providing trained replacements for the 1st and 2nd Line regiments.[4]

In August 1914, the Lothians and Border Horse was based in Edinburgh and assigned to the Lowland Mounted Brigade.[5][6]

1/1st Lothians and Border Horse

In the Summer of 1915, the 1/1st was split up as follows:[5]

  • Regimental Headquarters and B Squadron joined the 25th Division. In May 1916, it moved to become V Corps Cavalry Regiment[lower-alpha 1] but, in July 1917, due to manpower shortages, it was dismounted and transferred to the infantry. In September 1917, after infantry training, it was redesignated the 17th Battalion Royal Scots.
  • A Squadron first went to the 26th Division, then, in November 1916, it joined the 8th Mounted Brigade.
  • D Squadron initially joined the 22nd Division. In November 1916, it was reunited with A Squadron in the 8th Mounted Brigade.

On 11 May 1917, A and D Squadrons formed the XII Corps Cavalry Regiment in Salonika, where they remained until the end of the war.[5]

2/1st Lothians and Border Horse

The 2nd line regiment was formed in 1914. In 1915, it was under the command of the 2/1st Lowland Mounted Brigade in Scotland (along with the 2/1st Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry[8] and the 2/1st Lanarkshire Yeomanry[9]) and by March 1916 was at Dunbar, East Lothian.[10] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were numbered in a single sequence and the brigade became 20th Mounted Brigade, still at Dunbar under Scottish Command.[11]

In July 1916 there was a major reorganization of 2nd Line yeomanry units in the United Kingdom. All but 12 regiments were converted to cyclists[11] and, as a consequence, the regiment was dismounted and the brigade converted to 13th Cyclist Brigade. Further reorganization in October and November 1916 saw the brigade redesignated as 9th Cyclist Brigade in November, still at Dunbar.[12] The regiment moved to Haddington in July 1917.[10]

About May 1918 the Brigade moved to Ireland[12] and the regiment was stationed at Derry and Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. There were no further changes before the end of the war.[10]

3/1st Lothians and Border Horse

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915. That summer, it was affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot. In June 1916, it was affiliated to the 2nd Reserve Cavalry Regiment, also at Aldershot. Early in 1917, it was absorbed in the 4th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, still at Aldershot.[10]


On 7 February 1920, the regiment was reconstituted in the Territorial Army with HQ still at Edinburgh. Following the experience of the war, it was decided that only the fourteen most senior yeomanry regiments would be retained as horsed cavalry,[13] with the rest being transferred to other roles.[14] As a result, on 21 May 1920, the regiment was one of eight[lower-alpha 2] converted and reduced to an Armoured Car Company. The company was originally designated 1st (Lothians and Border) Armoured Car Company, Tank Corps. It was later renumbered as 19th (Lothians and Border) Armoured Car Company, Royal Tank Corps. On 30 April 1939, it was transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps.[1]

By 1939, it had become clear that a new European war was likely to break out, and the doubling of the Territorial Army was authorised, with each unit forming a duplicate.[16] The Lothians were expanded to an armoured regiment on 24 August 1939 as 1st Lothians and Border Horse[1] and formed a duplicate 2nd Lothians and Border Horse in the same month.[17]


1st Lothians and Border Yeomanry

Bromsgrove cemetery, memorial for T.J. Atkins, MM

The 1st Lothians and Border Horse was part of the 51st Highland Division, which had been sent to reinforce the French Maginot Line and was serving there when the Germans started their offensive. Together with the rest of the Division, the regiment attempted to rejoin the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Moving around the south of Paris, the regiment engaged the German Army south of the River Somme near Abbeville. Outnumbered, it fought a retreat of sixty miles in six days to the fishing port of St. Valery-en-Caux, where, having run out of food, ammunition and other supplies, they surrendered on 12 June.[18]

Prior to this, some of the regiment's personnel were evacuated during Operation Ariel, and went on to re-form the 1st Lothians and Border Horse, which was attached to the 30th Armoured Brigade, 79th Armoured Division and returned to France on D Day, 6 June 1944. The regiment remained with 79th Armoured in North West Europe until the end of the war. Casualties, from D-Day up to the end of the war, consisted of 17 men killed, 90 officers and other ranks wounded, and 16 officers and other ranks missing in action. Equipment losses were four Sherman Gun Tanks and 36 Sherman Crab Tanks destroyed.[19]

2nd Lothians and Border Horse

On Tuesday, 22 August 1939, while German Wehrmacht were assembling near the Polish border in preparation of war, the 2nd Regiment Lothians and Border Horse was hastily formed under the command of Lieutenant Colonel R.S.G Perry, as the 9th Motor Machine Gun Company. On Wednesday, 29 May 1940, the regiment received notice that it would come under a hastily forming unit, the British 1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade. This was an interim formation formed due to the shortage of Tanks and Armoured Vehicles after the retreat from Dunkirk.

In September the following year 2nd Regiment Lothians and Border Horse changed from a Motor Machine Gun Company to a unit of the Royal Armoured Corps. Along with the 16/5th Lancers and the 17th/21st Lancers, they were amalgamated with several supporting infantry, artillery and other field units into the newly formed fighting unit, the 26th Armoured Brigade.

At the same time, on Thursday 12 September 1940, the British 6th Armoured Division.[20] was formed and the 26th Armoured Brigade was taken on strength. The Lothians and Border Horse were equipped with fast moving Crusader Mark II battle tanks along with the slower Valentine and Matilda infantry support tanks. Soon after they also received Crusader MkIII battle tanks.

At Greenock Scotland, the 2nd Regiment Lothians and Border Horse embarked on troopships for Operation Torch in November/December 1942. The Regiment served with distinction in the North African campaign where they converted to M4A2 diesel powered Sherman tanks in March 1943. Following the Tunisian campaign they served extensively in Italy until the end of the war.

2nd Regiment Lothians & Border Horse took part in the following major battles:

North Africa

  • Jan 1943 Bou Arada
  • Feb 1943 Thala (South) / Kasserine Pass (North)
  • Mar 1943 Ebba Ksour and Kairouan
  • Apr 1943 Fondouk
  • Apr 1943 Goubellat Plain (Sidi Khalif, Salt Lake & Mosque Hill)
  • May 1943 Hammam Lif
  • May 1943 Bou Ficha
  • May 1943 Tunis


  • Cassino
  • Arezzo
  • River Arno
  • River Po


The regiment amalgamated with the Lanarkshire Yeomanry and the Queen's Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry to form the Queen's Own Lowland Yeomanry in 1956.[21]


In 2014 the regiment was re-formed as a squadron within the new formed Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry. After forming, the squadron was designated as E (The Lothians and Border Horse) Squadron, SNIY. The squadron is currently based at Redford Barracks as a "command and support squadron".[22] The squadron is currently organised as follows;[22]

  • Squadron Headquarters
    • Command Team
    • Training Wing
    • Transportation Section
    • Administration Cell
    • Logistics Department
    • Welfare Cell
  • Command Troop
    • Medical Post
    • Influence Troop
    • Intelligence Cell
    • Military Provost Cell
  • x2 Support Troops


Pre First World War

Prior to 1914 the Lothians and Border Horse wore a full dress review order consisting of a silver dragoon style helmet with white plume, a scarlet tunic with dark blue facings, and dark blue "overalls" (cavalry breeches) with double scarlet stripes.[23]

First World War

On assuming the role of divisional cavalry in 1939, the 1st Lothians lost the privilege of wearing the cloth tank insignia. When the unit went to France in 1940, the only permissible ornamentation on the blouse was the sign of the 48th (T.A.) Division, a blue macaw on a red background. Later, it was decided that collar badges would be worn, at least by warrant officers (WO) and non-commissioned officers (NCOs), during the period that the regiment served with the 51st (Highland) Division.[24]

The reformed 1st Lothians chose the much greener shade of blanco for webbing equipment and collar badges were also issued to all ranks. Sleeve badges made a reappearance, worn on the chevrons (rather than above as in earlier times) by corporals and sergeants as an 'optional' extra. Those WOs who accepted the privilege, wore the gold-wire garb beneath their rank insignia. French-grey cloth shoulder titles, bearing 'LOTHIANS & BORDER YEOMANRY' in yellow lettering further distinguished the unit for a short period after it was reformed. On joining the 79th Armoured Division, these were displaced, as Divisional Orders stipulated that Royal Armoured Corps cloth titles would be worn by all R.A.C. regiments in the division. In late 1944, this order was rescinded and the regimental cloth titles restored.[24]

The 2nd Lothians also adopted the French grey shoulder titles, in this case bearing 'LOTHIANS & BORDER HORSE'; but nothing else, apart from the divisional sign of the 6th Armoured Division, a mailed fist on a black background, was used to embellish the battle-dress blouse. During the period of the unit's service as a mobile machine gun unit, peaked or forage caps were worn by sergeants and above, whilst khaki field service caps were worn by other ranks. Only in the 2nd Lothians was the practice continued of having this traditional colour on the head-band of the peaked or forage cap. A number of officers also wore a French grey field service cap, edged with gold piping on off-duty occasions.[24]

Post war

Battledress features show little change from their wartime originals, except that other ranks were now permitted to wear collar and tie on off-duty periods. The practice of wearing regimental sleeve badges with rank insignia adopted by the 1st Lothians corporals and above in the early 1940s was discontinued. Officers' service-dress reverted to the pre-war pattern with box-pleated pockets reappearing on the skirts of the tunic. With the return of peacetime conditions, a No. 1 Dress in dark blue was re-adopted, similar in form to that worn before the war. The officers' version was set-off with a French-grey stand-up collar. By the time of the Coronation in 1953, the features of this No. 1 Dress had altered considerably and illustrated, in the case of other ranks, both the horsed and mechanized eras of the regiment's history. Shoulder-straps were replaced by chains and the twin bands of scarlet separated by piping were restored to the trouser-seams. In the case of officers, the black beret was displaced by a peaked forage cap, similar in appearance to that worn around the start of the 20th century. This had a shiny peak, a head-band faced in scarlet and the seam on the crown was enhanced with piping in the same colour. Overalls were re-introduced, worn over Wellingtons with spurs.[24] The shoulder chains worn by all ranks were backed with scarlet cloth.[25]

See also


  1. Along with RHQ and A and B Squadrons of Queen's Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry,[7]
  2. The eight yeomanry regiments converted to Armoured Car Companies of the Royal Tank Corps (RTC) were:[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Lothians and Border Horse at by T.F.Mills". Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  2. "Boer War - Imperial Yeomanry Battalions". Retrieved 3 July 2007. 
  3. "Edinburgh, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 Dundonald Street". Canmore. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  4. Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Scots at war". 
  6. Baker, Chris. "The Lothians & Border Horse Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  7. James 1978, p. 19
  8. Baker, Chris. "The Ayrshire Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  9. Baker, Chris. "The Lanarkshire Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 James 1978, p. 24
  11. 11.0 11.1 James 1978, p. 36
  12. 12.0 12.1 James 1978, pp. 16,21,24
  13. Mileham 1994, p. 48
  14. Mileham 1994, p. 50
  15. "The Royal Tank Regiment at by T.F.Mills". Archived from the original on 3 May 2007. Retrieved 2016-01-09. 
  16. "History of the Army Reserve". MOD. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  17. Bellis 1994, p. 18
  18. "". 
  19. "Peoples war". 
  20. "Flames of War". 
  21. "Queen's Own Lowland Yeomanry". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 29 October 2017. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 "E Squadron - Edinburgh - British Army Website". 2017-09-15. 
  23. Smith, R.J.. The Yeomanry Force at the 1911 Coronation. p. 20. ISBN 0-948251-26-3. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Sabres to Scout Cars — An Illustrated History of The Lothians and Border Horse by Andrew S. Gardiner[page needed]
  25. "Sabres to Scout Cars" Fig D


External links

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