Timeline - 1900s


1903 -14

2 RSF returned home in 1903 and was stationed in England and Ireland until 1914 when it was sent to Gibraltar.

1909 -14

1 RSF left India in 1909 and was engaged in garrison duties in South Africa until 1914 when it returned to Gosport.

1903 -14

1 HLI left South Africa for Egypt (1903-04), Sudan (1904-05), India (1905-14).

1884 -1914

2 HLI was stationed in India (1884-1900) and the British Isles (1900-14).



Every Scottish Infantry regiment took part in the Battle of Loos, which raged from 25 September until 8 October 1915 – this proved to be the largest British assault of 1915.
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Sergeant Turnbull of 17th Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry, was awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
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The British Army experienced a high degree of expansion during the First World War. In the infantry regiments not only did the regular battalions take part but also the Territorial battalions were mobilised. In addition, each regiment raised a number of ‘service’ battalions as part of this wider expansion.

Regular Battalions

1 RSF moved to France in August 1914 as part of the original British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Serving in France and Flanders throughout the War its record included Mons, Ypres, The Somme, Arras and the Hindenburg Line.

2RSF was recalled from Gibraltar and joined the BEF in October 1914. Almost immediately it was involved in the First Battle of Ypres. In this struggle it made an heroic defence near the village of Gheluvelt : reduced to a mere handful commanded by a subaltern it held its place in the line at a time when men were desperately needed. Its further exploits include Neuve Chapelle, Loos, The Somme, Arras and Lys. After the Armistice on 11 November 1918 it was the first battalion to enter Cologne.

1 HLI arrived in France as part of the Indian Corp, serving in the 3rd Indian or Lahore Division. Landing in December 1914 it was in action within days at Festubert. During 1915 it was at Neuve Chapelle, St. Julien and Ypres. In November 1915 the bulk of the Indian Corps (including 1 HLI) was transferred to Mesopotamia in the Middle East, to fight the Turks, and remained there for the rest of the War. Actions included Tigris, Kut al Amara, Trabes and Sharquat.
Trenches 1

2 HLI, in common with 1 RSF, was part of the original BEF. It was in action at the Aisne, Ypres, Loos, The Somme, Arras, Cambrai and the Hindenburg Line. On 9 December 1918 this battalion, the 74th Highland Light Infantry, marched into Germany with pipers playing and the Colours – including the Assaye Colour – uncased.

Territorial Battalions

4 and 5 RSF and 5,6 and 7 HLI were all in the 52nd (Lowland ) Division. They disembarked at Gallipoli on June 1915 and fought there until the evacuation in January 1916. Moving to Egypt they took part in the defence of the Suez Canal against the Turks and then began to advance northwards into Palestine. Actions included Romani, Gaza, Jaffa and El Burj.

In April 1918 the 52nd Division was transferred to France and was involved in 2nd Battle of the Somme, 2nd Battle of Arras, the Hindenburg Line and the Canal du Nord.
Trenches 2

The Glasgow Highlanders were originally brigaded with 5,6 and 7 HLI but became one of the first Territorial Battalions to go to war, moving to France and Flanders in November 1914 and remaining in that area until the end of the War. The actions in which it fought included Festubert, The Somme, (where the Battalion fought most gallantly at High Wood), Arras, Ypres and the Hindenburg Line.

Service Battalions

The Service Battalions were 6,7,8 and 9 RSF and 10,11,12,14,15,16,17 and 18 HLI.

Of these the bulk were raised in 1914 and were in action by the end of 1915. All, with one exception, fought in France and Flanders.The exception was 8RSF which went to France in 1915 but was transferred later that year to the Salonika front. The battle honour Doiran 1917,18 was won by this battalion.

15,16 and 17 HLI were raised in Glasgow , the first two at the expense of the Corporation and the third by the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce : their unofficial soubriqets, 15th (Tramways),16th (Boys Brigade) and 17th (Chamber of Commerce) show how their initial recruits were obtained. 6 and 7 RSF were amalgamated in 1916 to become 6/7 RSF, whilst 10 and 11 HLI became 10/11 HLI.

From December 1915 to May 1916 6 RSF was commanded by Lieutenant  Colonel Winston Churchill .

12 RSF: This Battalion has a special notation. In Palestine in 1917 the Ayrshire Yeomanry and the Lanarkshire Yeomanry were converted to Infantry and were linked to form 12 ( Ayr and Lanark Yeomanry) RSF. This Battalion fought in Palestine in 1917 and in France in 1918.

Training Battalions

In addition to the Service Battalions each regiment also had a number of training battalions which remained at home ; these are not listed here.The old Militia battalions (3 RSF and 3&4 HLI ), now Special Reserve Battalions had a training role, with special regard to the regular battalions.

A Special Note

Many officers and soldiers of the RSF and the HLI became distinguished in one way or another during the Great War. But one deserves a special mention.When the war broke out Captain Hugh Trenchard RSF was a senior Captain on secondment to the Royal Flying Corps. Because of his ability to lead and to organise he was promoted rapidly and took over the command of the rapidly expanding RFC. When the war ended he was Air Chief Marshal of the new Royal Air Force and is known today as the Father of the Royal Air Force. He served as Colonel of the RSF from 1919 to 1945.



Sergeant T Caldwell of the 12th Battalion, The Royal Scots Fusiliers, and Corporal David T Hunter of the 1/5th Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry were both awarded Victoria Crosses for conspicuous bravery at the Battle of Passchendaele in1917.

It is interesting that forty-two years after these brave acts, the two regiments would amalgamate to form The Royal Highland Fusiliers.
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– Regimental Events

In 1919 the Prince of Wales was appointed Colonel in Chief of the Royal Scots Fusiliers – the Regiment’s first. In 1923 the rank of Fusilier was authorised in Army Order 222 of that year : previously the official title had been Private.

1RSF – Home Service 1919-32

The 1st Battalion, reduced to a cadre, left Germany in May 1919. After a brief stay in Ayr the cadre moved to Fort Matilda, Greenock and absorbed 3 RSF to form a full strength 1st Battalion. 1 RSF moved to Bordon later in the same year.

Ireland 1921-22

The Battalion was sent to Ireland in January 1921 for operations in aid of the Civil Power during the Troubles. Following the settlement with the Irish leaders 1 RSF left Ireland in 1922. Entraining at the Curragh to move to Dublin for embarkation, it was the last British unit to leave that once-famous camp.

In the UK

The Battalion served at Edinburgh, Portsmouth and Bordon.

1RSF – Overseas Service 1932-39

1 RSF’s overseas tour began in Palestine in 1932. Later that year it was transferred to Egypt where it served for 4 years. 1936 saw a sudden return to Palestine when trouble between Jews and Arabs escalated into the ‘Arab Revolt’. The Battalion was deployed in support of the Civil Power and fought several small actions until the Revolt ended in October 1936. At the end of that year the Battalion was moved to India. It was still there when the Second World War broke out in September 1939.

2RSF – Overseas Service 1919-32

2 RSF left Germany in April 1919 and was briefly at Aldershot before moving to Constantinople to join the British Army of the Black Sea.

In March 1920 it was sent to the port of Novorossiysk in South Russia. Its duties were to help keep peace in the town and to assist in the evacuation of White Russian soldiers and civilians. By the end of March it was back in Constantinople, its duty done.

At the end of 1920 the Battalion moved to India serving in Barrackpore, Sialkot, Landi Kotal and Ferozepore.

The beginning of 1931 saw 2 RSF move to Shanghai to join the International Force guarding the International Settlement in the city. At that time China and Japan were at war and the Force was intended to protect Shanghai from invasion. In addition troops provided anti-pirate guards on ships travelling up the River Yangtze.

2RSF – Home Service 1932-39

In the beginning of 1932 2 RSF returned home and was stationed at Catterick, Aldershot and Edinburgh. During part of its stay at Aldershot it was converted into a Machine Gun Battalion but was reconverted to normal duties in 1937. The Battalion was still in Edinburgh when war broke out.


– Regimental Events

In March 1921 the Depot moved from Hamilton to Maryhill Barracks. In June 1923 the title of ‘City of Glasgow Regiment’ was authorised to be added to the name of the Regiment.

1 HLI – Home Service (with interruptions) 1919-39

1 HLI, reduced to a cadre, moved from Mesopotamia to India in 1919 and then went home to Scotland. In Cupar the cadre absorbed 3 HLI to reform the 1st Battalion. Following a brief period in Egypt in 1920 it returned to Scotland at the end of that year, moving to Edinburgh.

Ireland 1921

1 HLI spent two months on operations in Ireland before returning to Edinburgh.

Britain and Northern Ireland

After two more years in Edinburgh 1 HLI moved to Northern Ireland in December 1923, serving first in Ballykinlar and then Holywood, just outside Belfast. In 1926 it returned to Britain and was stationed in Aldershot.

Home Service in Malta

Although officially the ‘Home Service’ Battalion of the HLI the Battalion was sent to Malta in 1929. This break from home service was very welcome although described as being ‘just too social for words.’

Home Again

1 HLI returned home in December 1931 and was stationed at Dover. 1934 saw a move to Fort George. 1936 saw another short break in home duty, the Battalion being sent to Egypt for 7 months during the trouble between Britain and Italy. Returning to Fort George at the end of that year the 1st Battalion was still there at the outbreak of war.

2 HLI – Overseas Service 1919-39


2 HLI returned to Aldershot from Germany in April 1919 and was almost immediately ordered to move to Archangel, North Russia, as part of the British force assisting the White Russians. This task involved active operations and several men were killed and wounded. The force was withdrawn late in 1919 but this brief post-war operation gained the HLI the Battle Honour, Archangel 1919.


After a brief period of leave 2 HLI was sent to Ireland at the end of 1919 in aid of the Civil Power in Co. Clare. This tour lasted until June 1920.

Egypt, Palestine and Turkey

Following a short stay in Edinburgh 2 HLI was sent to Egypt at the end of 1920. In the following year the Battalion was transferred to Palestine to help keep the peace during trouble between Jews and Arabs. Then, after a brief return to Egypt in 1922 trouble beckoned again, this time in Turkey. War between Turkey and Greece threatened a Turkish crossing of the Dardanelles into European Turkey, still occupied by Britain. A British force was sent to the Dardanelles and 2 HLI found itself based in Fort Nagara, just north of Chanak. Here the Battalion remained for nearly a year.

India and Palestine

2 HLI, having withdrawn from Chanak to Egypt in 1923, was then sent further east to India. Here the Battalion served for 13 years, at Bangalore, Cawnpore, Razmak and Peshawar. While at Peshawar it once again returned to the NW Frontier, taking part in the Mohmand Operations of August – October 1935 and gained the India General Service Medal.

In 1938 2 HLI was sent to Palestine and was still there when World War II broke out.

WORLD WAR II 1939-45

Expansion during the War was not as significant as it had been throughout the First World War. Despite the introduction of conscription , a smaller number of infantry battalions were required. In the summer of 1939, all Territorial battalions were required to raise a ‘ duplicate’ battalion. 4/5 RSF raised 6 RSF, whilst 5 and 6 HLI raised 10 and 11 HLI. The Glasgow Highlanders (officially 9 HLI ) obtained authorisation to become 1 GH ( HLI) and to raise 2 GH (HLI) : the title 1st Bn The Glasgow Highlanders was retained after the war.

Regular Battalions

1 RSF was in India in 1939. Recalled to Britain in 1940 it concentrated on home defence. In 1942 it moved, via SouthGerman Artefacts Africa, to take part in the capture of Madagascar, held by the French under the control of the Vichy Government. After this operation the Battalion retrained in South Africa and then moved to India in 1943 to take part in operations against the Japanese in Burma, where it remained until the end of the War.

2 RSF went to France in 1939 as part of the BEF. In May 1940 it was heavily engaged on the Ypres-Comines Canal just outside Ypres and here it was over – run after a gallant defence. The remaining men were evacuated at Dunkirk and the Battalion was reformed in Aberdeenshire. It was an odd coincidence that its great fight at Ypres was only about three miles from where it paid such a high price at Gheluvelt in 1914.

2 RSF’s next operation was also in Madagascar. From here it moved on to India and the Middle East. In1943 it landed on Sicily and fought both here and on mainland Italy, being particularly heavily engaged  at Anzio and the Garigliano.

In the latter part of 1944 2 RSF refitted and retrained in Egypt, Palestine and Syria before returning to North- West Europe in 1945 and fighting in Germany, ending the War in Lubeck.

1 HLI moved to France in 1939 as part of the BEF. In 1940 it was engaged during the withdrawal to Dunkirk and was eventually evacuated. After four years training in Britain it returned to France as part of the 53rd (Welsh ) Division, which included a regular brigade.It landed in Normandy towards the end of June 1944: it was engaged in the crossing of the Odon and then in the advance firstly into Belgium and later, Holland. Its battles included the Ardennes, the Reichswald and the final advance into Germany.

2 HLI was in Palestine when the war began and was moved to Egypt. Its first main action occurred in the liberation of Ethiopia, playing a leading part in the battle of Keren. After a period in Egypt, Syria and Cyprus, 2 HLI went to the Western Desert, fighting at Fuka, Knightsbridge and the Cauldron. Withdrawn to refit in the latter part of 1942, the Battalion formed a ‘beach brick’ in the landing in Sicily, 1943. Following retraining as a mountain battalion, it fought in Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece. Early in 1945 it was sent to Italy for the final advance in the North, where it remained until the end of the War.

Territorial Battalions

4/5 RSF, 5 and 6 HLI and 1 GH remained in the 52nd (Lowland) Division. This Division moved to France in June 1940 for a short period. Only the HLI battalions, all in 157 Brigade, were actually in action , taking part in what turned out to be a fighting retreat. The 52nd Division was withdrawn via Cherbourg in the middle of June. For the next four years it trained in Britain, becoming a Mountain Division in Scotland for much of the period. With the approach of D-Day the role of the Division was changed and it landed in Belgium in October 1944. Its first major action was the capture of the Dutch island of Walcheren. Thereafter it fought throughout Southern Holland and into Germany, with the Division’s final action resulting in the capture of Bremen.

6 RSF, 10 HLI and 2 GH were in the 15th ( Scottish ) Division, although changes occurred throughout the early period of the War. 11 HLI was converted into an armoured regiment in 1942 and was later disbanded. 6 RSF, temporarily on the strength of the 51st ( Highland ) Division, went to France in 1940 and was in action several times before being evacuated from Le Havre. The 15th Division landed in Normandy a few days after D-Day. Fighting included the Crossing of the Odon, the advance into Belgium, the attempt to reach Arnhem, the Siegfried Line, the Rhine Crossing and the advance into Germany.
11 RSF This was the only battalion of either the RSF or the HLI which was raised during the war and which went on active service. Raised in 1940 it was first employed in the UK on coastal defence before being transferred to the 49th ( West Riding ) Division. Landing in Normandy a few days after D-Day it took part in the fighting in the bocage country and then in the advance across France. In October 1944 the 11th entered Holland and remained on operations in that country until the end of the war, when it joined the Occupation forces in Germany.

Other Battalions

As in WWI , other battalions were raised for training and home defence. 10 (later 30) RSF served on home defence duties until being disbanded in 1942. 12 (later 30) HLI and 13 HLI were also on home duties. 14 HLI existed in North Africa for a short period but was never in action.



A well-planned British defence held up the German advance on Tobruk and soon much of their armour was short of ammunition and fuel; as a result an Allied attack was mounted against enemy forces in an area known as The Cauldron, south of Tobruk.
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Captain (temporary Major) Frank G Blaker HLI was attacthed to The 9th Gurka Rifles of the Indian Army in Burma in 1944.
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During the assault of a village in NW Europe in January 1945 Fusilier Donnini’s platoon came under concentrated fire and he was hit in the head. After recovering consciousness he charged down 30 yards of open road and threw a grenade into the nearest window.
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POST-WAR 1945-1948

Regimental Events

1948 The Second Battalions of all regiments of Infantry were disbanded. HLI battalions formally amalgamated in order to preserve certain traditions of the old 74th Highlanders, including the retention of the Assaye Colour .

In 1947 the HLI re-adopted the kilt after a gap of 138 years.

In the same year, Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret was appointed Colonel – in – Chief of the HLI.

Royal Scots Fusiliers

1 RSF returned to India from Burma in 1945. The next two years were to be eventful and troubled as India prepared for independence and tensions increased between Muslims and Hindus. The Battalion was stationed in Delhi with a mixed remit of internal security and ceremonial duties. Later it moved to Meerut but soon returned to Delhi. Late in 1947 it was heavily involved in evacuating British civilians from the Punjab.

In December 1947 1 RSF, now reduced to a cadre, left India and returned home, being stationed in Ayr prior to moving to join 2 RSF in Germany.

2 RSF remained in Germany as part of the Occupation forces. After several moves in 1945 the Battalion settled in Minden and was later transferred to Dortmund. In 1948 it made an emergency move to Berlin to increase the garrison there. This was the year in which the Russians cut Berlin’s land routes in an attempt to force the Western Allies to leave. After a five month tour, 2 RSF returned to Dortmund.

Amalgamation: The cadre of 1 RSF joined 2 RSF in Dortmund and in October of the same year (1948), the 2nd Bn was re-titled 1 RSF.

HLI Battle Honours
HLI Battle Honours

Highland Light Infantry

1 HLI was sent from Germany to Palestine in 1945 to help with internal security as religious friction increased between Arab and Jew.

In 1946 it was moved to Egypt during which time it formed the ceremonial guard at the Citadel, Cairo when the Union Jack was lowered for the last time in July 1946.

Later in the same year, the Battalion returned to Palestine where tensions had reached a critical stage in the run-up to the creation of the State of Israel. 1 HLI was much involved in peace-keeping and suffered ten men killed and nearly seventy wounded. It was the last British unit to leave Jerusalem, in May 1948. Returning to Britain the Battalion went to Fort George to become the Training Battalion of the Highland Brigade.

2 HLI had a very brief stayin Austria before being moved back to Greece. Here it served at Drama on the frontier with Bulgaria. Then came a brief respite near Athens before a return to Drama and then a move to Salonika.

In late 1947, 2 HLI, reduced to a cadre, returned to Scotland and was stationed in Glasgow prior to amalgamation with 1 HLI. This occurred in Fort George, the remains of 2 HLI joining 1 HLI becoming 1 HLI ( 71st and 74th).

Here and There – 1948-59

Regimental Event

The impending amalgamation of the RSF and HLI was announced by the War Office in July 1957.


The Battalion continued to serve in Germany , stationed in Dortmund, Bielefeld, Munster and Wuppertal. At the end of 1952 it moved to what was to be its last station of the tour, Berlin, where it was housed in Montgomery barracks. From here the Regiment received news that it was to prepare for an operational tour in Malaya.

MALAYA – 1954-57

Leaving Berlin early in 1954 1 RSF disembarked in Singapore at the end of April. Following training in Johore it moved north, joining the 1st Federal Division. This was the time of the Malayan Emergency and a period of continuous active service, mostly in the jungle. There were several changes of location, Bn HQ being first at Butterworth, then Batu Gajah, Kroh and finally Ipoh.

By the latter part of 1955 almost the entire Battalion was concentrated at Ipoh, with the exception of B Coy which was stationed a few miles away at Tanjong Rambutan. The main area of operations was in the Ipoh Valley and its surrounding jungle.

Home and Abroad – 1957-58

Leaving Malaya in May 1957, 1 RSF sailed home the long way, round the Cape of Good Hope , allowing a quick visit to Cape Town and a parade in the city. On arrival in Britain it moved to Shorncliffe to become part of 1st Guards Brigade. There followed a period of training and garrison duties before fate stepped in again in June 1958. The entire brigade was warned of a possible emergency tour of Cyprus as the Greek Cypriot terror campaign aroused the Turkish Cypriots to strike against the Greeks. 1 RSF was stationed in Famagusta, with B Coy at Larnaca. In July trouble in the Middle East resulted in 1st Guards Brigade preparing for a potential move to Jordan, however this did not materialise. 1 RSF moved to Nicosia and resumed internal security operations.

In October 1958, the Battalion returned to Shorncliffe and prepared for a move to Edinburgh and eventual amalgamation.


After two years at Fort George, 1 HLI reverted to being an operational battalion and moved to Colchester in 1950. The following year it moved to the Mediterranean area, serving in Tobruk, Cyprus and then the Suez Canal zone: the Army being plagued by Egyptian trouble-makers and alert thieves pretending to be ETMs!

Home, Cyprus and Germany

1 HLI returned home in late 1954 and was stationed in Bulford. While in this station it was alerted to prepare for an emergency tour in Cyprus, eventually moving there in January 1956 on internal security duties against EOKA, the Greek Cypriot terrorist organisation. The Battalion operated in NE Cyprus with its HQ at Dhavlos.

In January 1957 the Battalion returned home and prepared to move to Germany, where it served in Luneberg.

A new chapter – Edinburgh 1959

Early in January 1959 advance parties from 1RSF and 1HLI assembled in Redford Infantry Barracks to prepare for the arrival of the main bodies. These arrived on 20 January the date on which the Amalgamation took place: there was no ceremony of any kind as it had been previously decided that the first job was to set up a new battalion – parades to take place later.  On 12 May 1RHF had its first major ceremonial parade: this took place at Old Anniesland, Glasgow, where the Colonel-in-Chief, Princess Margaret, presented new Queen’s and Regimental Colours.  The remainder of the year was spent on public duties in the capital, the continued settling down and training, and also finding the Royal Guard at Balmoral.

Overseas – 1960-67

Aden 1960 – 1RHF’s first overseas tour was to Aden, the battaion being mainly responsible for security in the colony but also having one company group at Mukeiras.  The latter place, 90 miles from Aden and 7,000 feet up in the mountains on the border with Yemen was a world away from the colony: it is worth recording that in the winter months the night guard had to wear greatcoats because of the chilly temperature.

Malta 1961-62 – From Aden 1RHF sailed to Malta and spent nearly 2 years in this rather jolly posting. The battalion begun in a good way by providing Valletta with a Queen’s Birthday Parade of a scale and smartness not seen for many years: and it continued in that style.  From late 1961 one company group was deployed to Benghazi and regular training took place in North Africa.  When the battalion left Malta in December 1962 it was the last British unit to move by troopship, sailing in HMT Oxfordshire.

West Germany 1963-67

After disembarkation leave he battalion reassembled in Iserlohn early in 1963.  At first a motorised battalion mounted in Humber armoured trucks (“the Pigs”) it became fully mechanised in the spring of 1964 taking over Saracen armoured personnel carriers – a new and rather enjoyable role.  During this tour 1RHF also visited Denmark and France on battalion exercises.

In 1967, shortly before leaving Germany, the battalion had the honour to receive the Freedom of Iserlohn, being the first British Infantry Regiment to be granted such a distinction in Germany.

A Cypriot Interlude 1965-66

The German tour was interupted for 6 months in 1965-66 when 1RHF moved to Cyprus as the British battalion in the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).  We were the first Scottish regiment to undertake UN duties: it appears that although one of the objects of the UN is to help little nations, Scotland was overlooked – the UN blue beret was thrust on 600 Caledonians with no alternative.  The battalion was based at Limassol and covered West Cyprus, with companies at Ktima and Polis.

More or Less at Home 1967-71

Fort George 1967-70  Any initial forebodings that Fort George (12 miles east of Inverness) was a postig to nowhere turned out to be wrong.  The tour in this magnificent place was a pleasant time, part of its attraction being that it is many, many miles away from any HQ.  Indeed an early tour as Spearhead Battalion showed that most of the MOD had no idea where the Fort is.

Gibraltar  In1969 the battalion had an emergency tour in Gibraltar: at this time the the Spaniards had closed the frontier and were making “Gibraltar is ours” noises, and the regular garrison was therefore reinforced.  The whole battalion was not required: 1RHF sent a tactical HQ, 2 rifle companies and a support weapons and administrative group – 1 rifle coy and the bulk of HQ coy remained in the Fort.  The tour was from late March until early December.

During 1969 the battalion found the Royal Guard at Balmoral.

First Emergency Tour, Northern Ireland

At the end of 1969 1RHF was warned for a tour in Northern Ireland and moved there in February 1970 – the first Scottish battalion to be sent there during the current troubles.  Headquarters was in Omagh and companies were deployed to Enniskillen, Dungannon and Armagh.  Although there were regular outbreaks of trouble in these three towns there was no use of firearms: at that time the IRA was neither oganised nor efficient.  In May the battalion returned to Fort George.

Bulford and Ireland 1970-71

In mid 1970 1RHF joine the Army’s Strategic Reserve and moved to Bulford where it trained as an airportable battalion, ready to move anywhere world wide.  However no “Sunny Island” seemed to require help: instead a second tour to Northern Ireland took place in 1971, from February to June.  This time the station was in Belfast, in a much more tense period.  The first of the Regiment’s war casualties took place when Fusiliers Joseph and John McCaig and Dugald McCaughey were murdered, by the IRA.  This sad set-back did not affect morale.  Patrolling was stepped up and later an IRA “lieutenant” was shot dead in a fire-fight.

Singapore 1971-73

The battalion had been warned in 1970 for a tour in Singapore and moved there by air in September 1971: it was the UK battalion of 28 Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom (ANZUK) Brigade.  The other battalions comprising the brigade were 6th Royal Australian Regiment and 1st New Zealand Infantry Regiment.  The role was to provide a Commonwealth force to help provide stability in the Far East and training in jungle warfare and internal security duties formed a major part of the programme.  During the tour 1RHF became particularly friends with 1RNZIR and in 1973 the two battalions were officially linked as allied units: a formal parade of alliance took place on 9th June 1973.

Edinburgh 1974-79

1RHF returned home at the very end of 1973 and, after leave, reassembled in Redford Barracks, Edinburgh.  This must have been a very successful as Edinburgh Battalion, as the regiment was awarded a double tour!  Fortunately the long duty was broken into by tours of Northern Ireland, a list of which is shown further on.

The battalion provided two Royal Guards at Balmoral in 1974 and 1976.  1975 saw a new version of Aid to the Civil Power when 1RHF along with other units, was involved in Glasgow during a dustmen’s strike: to the dismay of the trade union the Army turned out to be very efficient a the job and the strike did not last very long.  Training in Canada took place in 1977 at Camp Wainwright, Alberta.

On 23rd September 1978 the Regiment celebrated its Tercentenery: HRH Princess Margaret presented new Colours to the 1st Battalion in the presence of a large audience of families, members of affiliated regiments, old comrades and friends of the Regiment: on the following day the old Colours were laid up in the Auld Kirk of Ayr.

Emergency Tours 1974-78

Northern Ireland, Belfast – 1974
Northern Ireland, Belfast – 1975
Northern Ireland, South Armagh, 1976-77.  On this tour Lance Corporal Hind was killed by a sniper in Crossmaglen.
Belize, 1978.  This was a welcome change the from Northern Ireland circuit and involved a Tactical HQ, 2 rifle companies and a support weapons and administrative group: the task was security duties on the border with Guatemala.

Germany 1979-83

In April 1979 1RHF moved to Hemer, quite close to Iserlohn, as a mechanised battalion in 3rd Armoured Division.  With the emphasis on Battle Groups the battalion worked in close liason with 3rd Royal Tank Regiment to provide one Mechanised and one Armoured battlegroup.  During the tour the links with Iserlohn were renewed and the battalion carried out a march through the town with bayonets fixed, drums beating and Colours flying.

Despite the tour to Germany another tour in Northern Ireland took place in 1980, in North Armagh.  The battlion was unfortunate to have one man killed, Corporal Robert Thompson, who died in a bomb explosion at a Vehicle Check Point.

1981 brought another break: the mechanised battle group trained in Canada, taking advantage of the space available for armoured movement and field firing.

Northern Ireland 1983-85: A change in the pattern

In March 1983 1RHF returned to Northern Ireland, but this time as a garrison battalion.  This rolewas a two year tour complete with families nd with accommodation at Holywood Barracks, just outside Belfast: normally only one company at a time was involved in operational duties although special events required a stronger turn out from time to time.  Although the Emergency continued much of the work was done by the Royal Ulster Constabulary and it was rather strange to realise that the usual military presence in Belfast was one company from 1RHF and one other battalion on an emergency tour: a change from the days where 8 to 10 battalions were on duty in the city. The battalion was able to send companies to Britain or training and in 1984 a composite company had a two week tour in Gibraltar.

Berlin 1985-87

From Belfast the battalion went to Berlin in March 1985 and was stationed in Montgomery Barracks, the same barracks where 1RSF was in 1953.  The period was both busy and varied, including company and battalion training in West Germany – a marked change from 1953!  As part of the system of liason with the civil community 1RHF was involved with the Borough of Wilmersdorf.  Because of its good relations with the Borough the battalion was granted the honour of the Freedom of Wilmersdorf: this ceremony was carried out in April 1986.


March 1987 saw 1RHF return home and to Redford Barracks, Edinburgh – a place which is not unfamiliar to it.

The battalion fulfilled many public duties during 1987 culminating in the Royal Guard at Balmoral in the Autumn.  Very shortly later the battalion carried out a very successful training exercise in Kenya before returning to Redford Barracks at Christmas.

In the spring of 1988 1RHF, after training at the Hythe Cinque Ports Training Area moved to Ulster for its eighth tour of duty there.

1988 Aug Northern Ireland
1988 Nov Scotland – Edinburgh – Redford Bks
1988 Nov England – Oakington 54 Inf Bde
1989 Mar Belize
1989 Sept England – Oakington 54 Inf Bde
1991 Jan Gulf 1 – Iraq
1991 Apr England – Oakington 54 Inf Bde
1991 Dec Northern Ireland
1992 Feb England – Oakington 54 Inf Bde
1992 Nov Belize
1993 May England – Oakington 54 Inf Bde
1993 Jun Germany – Hohne 7 Armd Bde
1994 Nov Bosnia
1995 May Germany – Hohne 7 Armd Bde
1997 May Northern Ireland – Belfast
1999 Feb Macedonia – A Coy
1999 Jun Kosovo – A Coy
1999 May Bosnia
1999 Oct Germany – Hohne 7 Armd Bde

The building of a new regiment
Timeline - 1600s

The building of a new regiment

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across europe and beyond
Timeline - 1700s

across europe and beyond

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all change for the future
Timeline - 2000s

all change for the future

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famous faces of the rhf
world famous fusiliers

famous faces of the rhf

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  • 518 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3LW, Scotland