Title: The Royal Scots 1914 – 1918 – Two (2) Volume set
Author: Ewing, John
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2002
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket
Comments: History of 34 battalions of the Regiment, essentially the fifteen front line battalions.
Volume 1 – 434 pages
Volume 2 – 391 pages
The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment), 1st Foot, is a Lowland regiment, the oldest regiment of the line in the British Army, and as if to emphasize that fact its nickname is “Pontius Pilate’s Bodyguard”. In 1914 it consisted of two regular, one reserve and seven territorial battalions; during the course of the war a further twenty-four battalions were formed, twenty-five according to this History, which includes a 4th Reserve Bn, made up by amalgamating the existing third line TF battalions and redesignating them 4th Reserve Bn.
In all some 100,000 passed through the Regiment, seventeen battalions (including the 19th Labour and the 1st Garrison Battalions) went on active service, 583 officers and 10,579 men lost their lives and more than 40,000 were wounded. Seven VCs were won (one while serving in the MG Corps) and 71 battle honours awarded. With 825pp, including a solid 33-page index, this is an impressive history by the author of The History of the 9th (Scottish) Division, also an impressive piece of work. The first chapter in the book is by way of an introduction to all the battalions which constituted the Regiment, the locations of the existing battalions and the creation of all the wartime battalions. In an appendix there is a brief account of all the battalions that remained in the UK, and another deals with the 19th Labour and 1st Garrison Battalion.
This leaves the rest of the book devoted to the fifteen front line battalions which, between them, saw service in France and Flanders, Gallipoli, Egypt, Palestine and Macedonia. The book is arranged on a chronological basis with each chapter covering a specific period of time whether on the Western Front any other front where the Regiment fought (for example there are three chapters on Gallipoli covering that campaign from start to finish), and the fortunes of every battalion involved in that particular period are described.
There is no Roll of Honour nor list of Honours and Awards though citations for the seven VC winners form a separate appendix. And at the end there are group photos of officers of twelve of the active battalions. Incidentally, the 8th Battalion was not the first of the Scottish Territorial units to be employed on active service (page 83); they were preceded by the London Scottish (the first Territorial infantry battalion to join the BEF) and 5th Black Watch.