The Royal Regiment of Scotland is the most senior and only Scottish line infantry regiment forming a core part of the British Army. The regiment consists of four regular battalions and two reserve battalions. As each battalion was formerly an individual regiment, they all maintain their former regimental pipes and drums to carry on the traditions of their antecedent regiments. The Royal Regiment of Scotland was formed in 2004 by the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, after a British Army restructuring. The regiment, along with the Rifles, is one of two line infantry regiments to maintain its own regular military band within the Corps of Army Music. This was formed through the amalgamation of the Highland Band and the Lowland Band of the Scottish Division. All battalions in the Royal Regiment of Scotland took the name of their former individual regiments. This was to preserve regional ties and former regimental identities. The order of battle is shown below: Regular battalions The Royal Scots Borderers The Royal Highland Fusiliers The Black Watch The Highlanders Balaklava Company Reserve battalions 52nd Lowland 51st Highland The Royal Scots Borderers operate in a light infantry role and are based at Palace Barracks in Belfast. The battalion, however, is moving to Aldershot and converting to a specialised Infantry battalion, to contribute to counter-terrorism and building stability overseas. The uniform and dress of the battalions differs slightly: hackles are worn while in PCS combat dress, and each battalion wears a different colour. The Royal Scots Borderers wear a black plume while the Royal Highland Fusiliers’ is white. The new Dress Uniforms incorporate a number of traditions: all battalions wear the Lowland pattern Glengarry and all battalions wear Blackcock tail feathers in the No.1 and No.2 dress which are attached to the Glengarry. The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland wears the feather bonnet which has a red over white hackle and scarlet doublet in Full Dress uniform. The regiment’s new cap badge was unveiled at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2005. The new badge incorporates the Saltire of St Andrew and the Lion Rampant of the Royal Standard of Scotland. These are two prominent nations’ symbols. The Royal Regiment of Scotland’s motto is Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No One Assails Me With Impunity). This is the motto of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland’s highest order of chivalry, and was the motto for four of the pre-existing Scottish regiments. To view our range of uniform accessories for the Royal Regiment of Scotland click here.
The plume/hackle is generally made from clipped chicken feathers and is worn on a military headdress purely for decorative or ornamental purposes. The colour of the plume differs between regiments but they are mostly worn by infantry regiments, especially those designated as fusilier regiments. The large plume was originally named a heckle by the Scots, and was attached to the feather bonnet worn by the Highland regiments, drummers, pipers and bandsmen. The smaller version was adopted by the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment and to be worn as a sun helmet. The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers wears a very distinctive red and white hackle. The regiment was awarded the hackle to recognise its defeat of the French at the Battle of St Lucia in 1778. The white hackles were removed from dead French soldiers and then in 1829 the regiment was ordered by King William IV to make their white plumes more distinguished with a red tip.