On a special 50th anniversary day for The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, we also mark a remarkable 66 years of service for His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent.
Today, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SCOTS DG), Scotland’s senior and only cavalry regiment, celebrate their 50th anniversary. The Regiment’s long and illustrious heritage dates back to 1678 when three independent troops of dragoons were raised at the House of the Binns, Linlithgow by General Thomas ‘Bluidy Tam’ Dalyell and the current Regiment was formed through an amalgamation of the Royal Scots Greys and the 3rd Carabiniers at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh on 2nd July 1971.
During the last 50 years the SCOTS DG have participated in four Operational Tours of Northern Ireland, fought in the Gulf war in 1991, deployed to Bosnia and twice to Kosovo in the later 1990s and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan three times each since 2001. The SCOTS DG are now based in Leuchars in Scotland and are equipped with JACKAL and COYOTE vehicles for their role as Light Cavalry. The Regiment’s recent commitments include Operation CABRIT, the UK contribution to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Poland and the Baltic states, in 2019-20, and Operation RESCRIPT, supporting NHS Scotland with COVID-19 testing and vaccination programmes from the outset of the pandemic until February this year. This summer the Regiment successfully completed its validation training on Salisbury Plain as a combined arms Light Cavalry battlegroup; it now stands ready to serve the nation across a range of tasks from supporting national resilience to major combat operations.
In marking the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation and the formation of the Regiment the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Craig said: “While our antecedent lineages run deeper into history, this anniversary prompts an important moment of reflection for The SCOTS DG. We draw much of our of fighting spirit from our strong connection with our veterans, and I find it inspiring to think of the number of people who have served wearing our capbadge over the last 50 years, as well as those attached to us, representing a vast wealth of experience, operational prowess, individual stories and Regimental folklore. No-one in the serving Regiment was alive and present at the time, but the amalgamation remains very much within the living memory of our wider Regimental family.”
The Regiment are very proud to have Her Majesty The Queen as their Colonel in Chief since 1953 and His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent as Deputy Colonel in Chief since 1993. Both have sent messages to the serving soldiers, veterans community and the families of the Regiment on this auspicious day. These messages highlight the affection and time-honoured bonds between The Regiment and the Royal Family.
The Duke of Kent was commissioned into The Royal Scots Greys in 1955 and served as a Regular Officer for more than 20 years. He served as a regimental soldier and on the staff in West Germany, Hong Kong, as part of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus and in Northern Ireland, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1973. He retired from the Army in 1976 and was subsequently promoted to Major General. He is currently one of only six UK serving Field Marshals.
The Duke of Kent commanded the No3 Guard on the Amalgamation Parade in the presence of Her Majesty (see picture 1); his Guard was symbolic of both the antecedent regiments and the new Regiment, removing headdress at the key moment and revealing the new cap badge (formed from the French Imperial Eagle that the Greys had captured at the Battle of Waterloo and the distinctive carbines of the 3rd Carabiniers) and the unique yellow Vandyke hatband of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
At 85 years old, His Royal Highness epitomises a lifetime of duty and service, and connections with our Armed Forces, most recently on parade as escort to Her Majesty The Queen at Trooping the Colour at Windsor Castle. Alongside many other duties and appointments, The Duke of Kent is Colonel of the Scots Guards, Colonel in Chief of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Colonel, 1st Battalion The Rifles and an Honorary Air Chief Marshal in The Royal Air Force.
As well as making the 50th anniversary on the 2nd July, the SCOTS DG will continue to celebrate across the summer including events in Leuchars and a parade through Edinburgh in September.