Scottish infantry unit marks 15 years of service

The Catterick-based 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS) celebrates its 15th birthday on 28 Mar 21.

The infanteers, known as the Highlanders, have been at the centre of the action involving the British Army since the unit's creation in 2006.

Troops have served across the globe, including four operational tours of duty in Afghanistan and a further three in Iraq, while they have also assisted the civil authorities in the UK on numerous occasions.

This includes helping out firefighters during the Saddleworth Moor fire in 2018 and deploying to the Calder Valley in 2020 to repair flood defences ravaged by Storm Dennis.

While celebrations will be muted due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, with all military activity subject to UK government guidance barring certain exceptions, the unit are delighted to have a double occasion to mark once lockdown ends.

This is because Major Damien Mead, who deployed to Afghanistan last year, has been awarded an MBE in the latest iteration of the Operational Honours and Awards List.

The Glasgow-raised officer, who ensured that there was not a single case of Covid-19 on his base while overseas, acknowledged that providing force protection in the Central Asian country was a team effort.

He said: "It was a huge privilege to receive this award on behalf of all Highlanders, attached Corps, and families, who together delivered a critical operational outcome in support of UK and NATO objectives in Kabul."

His Commanding Officer (CO), Lieutenant Colonel Tim Draper, was keen to praise Major Mead as well as the men and women who made up the six-nation contingent on the deployment.

He said: "I am delighted that Major Mead has been awarded an MBE for his work in Afghanistan. It is testament to his extraordinary leadership coupled with the outstanding efforts of his entire company."

The soldiers of 4 SCOTS now look forward to playing a full part in the Future Soldier programme, where they are set to form part of the Army's Strike Brigade concept.