The kilted soldiers of 'Balaklava' Company, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland passed a rigorous inspection at Wellington Barracks today and will now take on the world famous ceremonial duties in London over the next three weeks.
The operational soldiers were led onto the parade square for the “Fit For Role Inspection” by the Regimental mascot, a Shetland pony called Cruachan IV.
The inspection put the Edinburgh-based troops through their paces, and required them to conduct a series of complex drill movements to prove their ceremonial prowess in front of some of the Army’s toughest judges.
Today these officers and soldiers have proved that their standards, discipline and pride are also exceptional on parade. Lt Col Guy Stone
The Foot Guards, alongside the Household Cavalry, are famous for carrying out London’s ceremonial public duties. However, the prestigious task can on occasions be shared by other members of the Armed Forces following approval from Her Majesty The Queen.
Lieutenant Colonel Guy Stone, The Brigade Major of the Household Division, who oversees state ceremonial and public duties, said: “It is a considerable privilege to be able share our ceremonial duties with The Royal Regiment of Scotland; we have so much in common and hold these soldiers in very high regard. As combat infantrymen, like the Guards, we have shared operational experience from Afghanistan and other conflicts. Today these officers and soldiers have proved that their standards, discipline and pride are also exceptional on parade. Already skilled in ceremonial duties, having provided the Royal Guard at Balmoral, I hope their excellent ‘Fit for Role Inspection’ this afternoon provides them with further confidence and allows them truly to enjoy their period on Public Duties.’’
Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, will begin their public duties on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace on Monday 23 April and will be supported by the Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Balaklava Company assumed its current form on 29th June 2013 when the 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland was reduced in size and re-designated as a Public Duties Incremental Company. It is therefore responsible for conducting the ceremonial duties in Scotland, and frequently provides the Guard of Honour for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo as well as the Royal Guard at Balmoral Castle (and will provide the Royal Guard at Balmoral in 2018 too).
Balaklava Company can trace its lineage back to 1793 when King George III wrote to John, 5th Duke of Argyll, asking him to raise a kilted regiment of 1,100 men. Over the past 225 years the unit has changed in name several times, however has always served with distinction in campaigns throughout Britain’s history, particularly in the Napoleonic, Crimean, Boer, First and Second World Wars and Korea, winning a total of 16 Victoria Crosses.
The Royal Regiment of Scotland, proudly referred to as the SCOTS, is the senior and only Scottish line infantry regiment of the British Army. It was formed on 28 March 2006 and founded on the fighting heritage of historic Scottish Infantry Regiments. Today, The Royal Regiment of Scotland consists of four regular and two reserve battalions, plus an incremental company, each formerly an individual regiment – with the exception of the 1st Battalion (1 SCOTS) which is an amalgamation of two regiments.
The Royal Regiment of Scotland performs an essential role in the British Army’s Infantry capability, and currently both 2 SCOTS and 3 SCOTS are deployed on operations overseas. Balaklava Company last deployed operationally alongside the 2 SCOTS Battle Group to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2015. During this deployment, they were responsible for providing force protection to British and other Coalition troops deployed to the country in a training capacity, as well as providing a Quick Reaction Force to respond to any large-scale incidents in the city.
More recently Balaklava Company deployed to Kenya in 2017 where they had their infantry skills tested on the arduous Exercise ASKARI STORM, and in March 2018 returned from Oman where they spent a month exercising alongside the Royal Army of Oman.