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The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.jpg
Cap badge of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Active 1971—Present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Line cavalry
Role Armoured
Size Regiment
Part of 51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland
Garrison/HQ HHQ - Edinburgh Castle
Regiment - Fallingbostel, Germany
Nickname(s) Scotland's Cavalry
Motto(s) Nemo me impune lacessit (Nobody touches me with impunity)
Ich Dien (I Serve)
Second to None
March Quick (band) - The 3DGs;
(pipes & drums) - Hielan' Laddie
Slow (band) - The Garb of Old Gaul; (pipes & drums) - My Home
Mascot(s) Drum Horse (Talavera)
Anniversaries 13 April (Nunshigum)
18 June (Waterloo)
25 October (Balaklava)
Engagements Operation Banner
Operation Tosca
Operation Granby
Operation Telic
Colonel-in-Chief HM The Queen
Colonel of
the Regiment
Brigadier S R Allen
Tactical Recognition Flash RSDG TRF.svg
Arm Badge Prince of Wales's feathers
from 3rd Dragoon Guards (Prince of Wales's)
Tartan Royal Stewart (Pipers kilts and plaids)
Abbreviation SCOTS DG

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (SCOTS DG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and the senior Scottish regiment. 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).

The regiment has won numerous battle honours and three Victoria Crosses, and, through the Royal Scots Greys, is the oldest surviving Cavalry Regiment of the Line in the British Army. The pipes and drums have also distinguished themselves, most recently winning the award for Album of the Year at the 2009 Classical Brits.[1]

The regiment is currently based in Bad Fallingbostel, British Forces Germany, as part of the 7th Armoured Brigade ('The Desert Rats'). In 1998, it became the first regiment in the British Army to operate the Challenger 2 main battle tank.[2]

In the Army 2020 plan, it will be re-reroled to be a light cavalry unit. It will move to the Leuchars area in 2015 under the Army 2020 plan.[3]

Current organisation

A Challenger 2 main battle tank in use with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

The regiment is one of five Type 58 armoured regiments in the Royal Armoured Corps, currently organised into three armoured Sabre Squadrons, each equipped with 14 Challenger 2 MBTs, as well as other support vehicles including a dedicated Samaritan ambulance with a medic and a fitter section consisting of various recovery and repair vehicles. From the Strategic Defence Review in 1998 until 2003, the regiment had four armoured Sabre Squadrons, but since the 2003 Defence White Paper, B Sqn has been re-roled to become a Medium Armour (MA) Squadron scaled to be equipped with 14 CVR(T) Scimitars, until the Future Rapid Effect System enters service.

In addition, the regiment also fields a Close Reconnaissance Troop consisting of eight CVR(T) Scimitars. The Reconnaissance Troop belongs to the large Headquarters Squadron, which also supplies ammunition, fuel, and rations, and includes specialist technicians, mechanics and artisans, as well as clerical and medical staff. The Headquarters Squadron also includes the Command Troop which is equipped with a number of armoured vehicles including a further two Challenger 2 tanks (normally commanded by the Commanding Officer and Regimental Second in Command), for a current total of forty-four in the regiment. The majority of these and the other armoured vehicles are held externally to the Regiment and issued when required for exercises and operations.

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is also affiliated to A (Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry) & C (Fife and Forfar Yeomanry/Scottish Horse) Squadrons of the Queen's Own Yeomanry regiment of the Territorial Army, who train to provide personnel to operate in the Formation Reconnaissance role and are equipped with CVR(T) vehicles, including the Scimitar and Spartan.


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.[4]

It saw active service during OP GRANBY (the Gulf War in 1991), in Bosnia as part of SFOR in 1996–97 and deployed to Kosovo twice, in 2000 and 2001, as part of KFOR.[citation needed]

SCOTS DG (C Squadron) during live fire training exercises on Bergen-Hohne Training Area (Germany) near the Fallingbostel station

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 (SCOTS DG BG) with a single squadron (A Squadron) detached to the First Battalion The Black Watch Battle Group (1BWBG). All deployed elements of the regiment took part in the advance on Iraq's second largest city, Basra. Prior to reaching Basra, A Squadron (with 1BWBG) fought in and around Az Zubayr and C Squadron was detached from the SCOTS DG BG to fight with 3 Commando Brigade (3 Cdo Bde) south of Basra that included Britain's largest tank engagement since the Second World War, when 14 Challenger 2 tanks, engaged and destroyed 14 Iraqi tanks (the so-called '14–0' engagement). A and B Squadrons each conducted raids into Basra prior to the city being taken on 6 April, an action in which all SCOTS DG Squadrons were involved. All elements of the regiment left Iraq shortly after the war was officially declared over on 1 May.[citation needed]

More recently in 2006–7 and again in 2008 the majority of the regiment has returned to Iraq (in 2008 one squadron was detached from the regiment and deployed to Afghanistan).[citation needed] In 2010 the Regiment deployed three squadrons to Afghanistan.

Under the Army 2020 Refines, the regiment moved to Leuchars Station and reroled as a light cavalry reconnaissance. After this move, they joined the 51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland.

Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have a regimental museum situated at Edinburgh Castle.[5] Opened in 2006, the exhibits include uniforms, medals, weapons, regalia, music and a captured enemy standard from the Battle of Waterloo.

Official abbreviation

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 whereby, for example, The 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards was abbreviated 4/7DG, and the Royal Scots Greys was abbreviated GREYS.

Accoutrements and uniform

The cap badge features an eagle, which represents the French Imperial Eagle that was captured by Sergeant Charles Ewart, the Royal Scots Greys at Waterloo, from the French 45th Regiment of Foot. 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.

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).

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. In addition, the Regiment's officers are permitted to wear the Black Stewart tartan. On informal occasions in their own Mess, officers may, at the discretion of the Commanding Officer, wear trews of Black Stewart tartan with their blue Undress tunics and also when in a civilian dinner jacket.

The regimental beret is in remembrance of the colour of the grey horses ridden in former times. In No.1 and No.2 dress uniform, a Peaked cap with the regimental capbadge and distinctive yellow Vandyke pattern (yellow zig-zag on a dark blue background) cap band is worn. This pattern is believed to have originated from that on the Kilmarnock bonnets worn by the Scots Greys in undress uniform at the Close of the 18th Century.

Although no longer general issue, full dress uniform is still maintained by the Regiment for special occasions. Full dress uniform consists of a bearskin hat with white hackle and badge of the Kings of Hanover on the back, British Heavy Cavalry scarlet tunic, dark blue pantaloons with double yellow stripes down the seams, boots and spurs. The bass drummer of the Pipes and Drums however wears a distinctive white bearskin with a red hackle. The white bearskin was given to the Regiment by Tsar Nicholas II in 1894, on his becoming Colonel in Chief of The Royal Scots Greys. With the Royal Stuart kilt and plaid, the pipers wear a dark blue doublet and feather bonnet with a white hackle and yellow Vandyke cap band.

The Mess Kit is scarlet with yellow facings and a yellow waistcoat, embroidered with gold thistles. Officers' cloaks are dark blue with a scarlet lining and grenade clasp. The field officers wear straight silver spurs with rowels ornamented with thistles, like their gold sword knots which are also fashioned like the head of a thistle. The spurs of the Colonel and Commanding Officer are gold.

In Khaki Service Dress the officers have leather buttons, originating from those worn by the Scots Greys in the Boer War, a brown leather pouch and wear their swords slung. A similar pouch belt is worn by the soldiers.

The gold lace worn on uniforms and NCOs' chevrons is thistle patterned, whilst officers' gold belts are woven with thistle and saltires. The Colonel and the Commanding Officer wear double gold laced stripes on their overalls. The black backings to the badges and black welts on officers' khaki caps originate from the Scots Greys. They and the 1st Dragoons, both being Royal regiments wore dark blue Royal facings on collars. cuffs, behind their badges and, in the case of the Scots Greys, on the welts of the officers' khaki caps - their dress caps having been royal blue with a white welt. In both regiments that dark blue evolved into black. The black backings were retained by the new Regiment to set of their silver badges against yellow facings, adopted from the 3rd Dragoon Guards.

Officer's chargers have red and black horsehair jowl plumes hanging from their bridles, thistle stirrup runners and the Order of the Thistle on bits and breastplates. The black lambskin saddle covers have scarlet scalloped edging. The right to wear tweed, made exclusively for the Regiment, was passed to the officers of the Scots Greys by HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught whose family tweed it was. Prince Arthur, a grandson of Queen Victoria, was for years a serving officer in the Scots Greys and later became their Colonel-in-Chief. The tweed is light brown, woven into a very fine zigzag pattern which is divided into 2 x 2 inch rectangles by narrow yellow lines. The colours of the Regimental Tie and Stable belt are adjacent narrow stripes of grey, yellow and red upon a dark blue ground. On the tie the stripes run diagonally downwards from the wearer's left shoulder.


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, murdered during the Russian Revolution.

Regimental mottos

  • The regimental motto is Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (Nobody assails 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

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.[6] 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. Spirit Of The Glen was officially launched at Edinburgh Castle[7] and won Album of the Year at the 2009 Classical Brits.[1][8] They have also made regular appearances at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo over the years.

Order of precedence

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


Affiliated yeomanry

Battle honours

  • [combined battle honours of 3rd Carabiniers and Royal Scots Greys, plus:]
  • Wadi al Batin, Gulf 1991;[9] Al Basrah, Iraq 2003[10]



  • 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

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