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The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Cap Badge of the Royal Regiment of Scotland
Active 28 March 2006 -
Country Scotland, UK
Branch British Army
Type Line Infantry
Role Air assault/Light role
Part of 16th Air Assault Brigade
Garrison/HQ Howe Barracks, Canterbury
Nickname "The Argylls", "The Thin Red Line"
Motto Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No One Assails Me With Impunity)
Royal Colonel HM The Queen
Tactical Recognition Flash Royal Regiment of Scotland TRF.PNG
Tartan Government
Sutherland (Pipes and Drums)
Hackle Green
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)
Active 1 July 1881-28 March 2006
Country United Kingdom
Branch Army
Type Line Infantry
Role Air assault
Nickname Thin Red Line
Motto Sans Peur, Ne Obliviscaris
March Quick: Hielan' Laddie
Quick: The Campbells Are Coming
Charge: Monymusk
Funerals: Lochaber No More
Mascot A Shetland Pony named "Cruachan"
Anniversaries Balaklava (25 October)
Tartan Sutherland

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Scottish Division. In 2004, as part of the restructuring of the infantry, it was announced that the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders would be amalgamated with the other Scottish infantry regiments into the single Royal Regiment of Scotland, it is now known as The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (5 SCOTS).





It was formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 91st (Princess Louise's Argyllshire) Regiment and the 93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment as outlined in the Childers Reforms. The regiment is one of the six Scottish line infantry regiments, and wears a version of the Government Sett as its regimental tartan. It also had the largest cap badge in the British Army. The uniform included the Glengarry as headgear.

World War I

When the Great War broke out in 1914 the regiment had two Regular Battalions (1st and 2nd), two Militia Battalions (3rd and 4th) and five Territorial Battalions (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th each of which split into 1st, 2nd and 3rd-line battalions). Seven more Service Battalions were raised for Kitchener's Army and they were numbered 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th.

Ten of the battalions served in France and Flanders (1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 14th) gaining 65 battle honours and four served in the Mediterranean area (1st, 5th, 6th and 12th) gaining a further 13 battle honours.

431 officers and 6475 other ranks lost their lives and six Victoria Crosses were awarded to the regiment during the war.

World War II

There were nine Argyll and Sutherland battalions raised during the Second World War.

The 1st Battalion fought in the Western Desert Campaign, Crete, Abyssinia, Sicily and in the Italian Campaign. The first action for the 1st Battalion was at Sidi Barani where they joined the battle on 10 December 1940 as part of the 16th Brigade. On 17 May 1941 the battalion moved to Crete where they formed part of the defence based on the east side of the island at Tymbaki. Most of the Argylls marched from Tymbaki to the airfield at Heraklion on the night of 24 May to help support the 14th Infantry Brigade in the fighting at that airfield. They were successfully evacuated on 29 May from Heraklion but their convoy suffered air attacks and many casualties on the route away from Crete. The Argylls left at Tymbaki were captured when the island surrendered. The 1st Battalion was shipped to Alexandria and after garrison duties followed by a raid into the Gondar region of Abyssinia, they were sent back to the Western Desert where they were eventually attached to the 10th Indian Infantry Division and fought at the Battle of El Alamein. The 1st Battalion landed on Sicily during Operation Husky in 1943 and fought throughout the Italian Campaign with firstly the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division and then the 8th Indian Infantry Division.

The 2nd Battalion fought valiantly against the Japanese Army during the fighting in Malaya and Singapore(See Battle of Bukit Timah). Led by the tough Lieut. Col. Ian Stewart they were one of the very few British units that was prepared for the jungle warfare in Malaya. During the withdrawal of the Indian 11th Infantry Division the 2nd Argylls slowed the enemy advance and inflicted heavy casualties on them. After suffering massive losses themselves, due to being continuously used as the buffer to protect the retreating army (especially at the Battle of Slim River), the remaining Argylls were reinforced with Royal Marines who had survived the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse in December 1941 changing their name to Plymouth Argylls. The battalion surrendered with the rest of General Percival's army in Singapore in February 1942.

In May 1942 the 15th Battalion was redesignated as the new 2nd Battalion. This battalion took part in the Normandy battles with the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division and ended the war on the Elbe River.

In March 1942, two British privates of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Macfarlane and Goldie, escaped from Stalag IXC at Bad Sulza in Thuringia. They jemmied their way out of their barrack hut wearing their blue work detail overalls over their battledress. These were boldly marked 'KG' (Kriegsgefangener, prisoner of war) on the back in red.

Throughout their escape bid, both men wore 40 lb rucksacks that concealed the markings and which they never took off in public. One of them later recalled, 'We attracted a certain amount of attention on the road because of our large packs but we made a point of keeping ourselves clean and shaven and also cleaned our boots regularly. No one stopped us on the way.'

After enduring a week in a salt wagon bound for Belgium, the two men made contact with an escape line there and, by mid-summer, they were safely back in Scotland.

After the war, in 1948, the two regular battalions were merged into one, forming a single-battalion regiment.

Korean War

The battalion was one of the first British units to serve in Korea, arriving there in September 1950 as part of the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade.

Its first major action, in the battle of Naktong, the battalion was involved in a tragic friendly fire incident, in the fight for Hill 282.

Thereafter, the battalion took part in the 8th Army's push to the Yalu river, winning a battle honour at the Battle of Pakchon; then the subsequent retreat before the Chinese intervention, and the recovery and counter-attack to line Kansas, near the present cease-fire line.

The battalion finished its tour of operation, and left Korea, in April 1951.

1945 - 2006

In 1948 the 2nd Battalion was amalgamated with the 1st Battalion which then saw service in Palestine, Korea, British Guiana, Berlin, Suez, Singapore, Borneo, Hong Kong, Aden and the Falklands. The Argylls were noted during the Aden Emergency for their reoccupation of the Crater district of Aden, under controversial Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Colin Campbell Mitchell.

The beginning of the 21st century saw the battalion's contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process being recognised by the award of the Wilkinson Sword of Peace.

In 2006, as part of the restructuring of the infantry, it was announced that the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders would be amalgamated with the other Scottish infantry regiments into the single Royal Regiment of Scotland. The battalion traditionally recruits from the counties of Argyll, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, Clackmannanshire and Stirlingshire, with the Regimental Headquarters and Museum located at Stirling Castle.

In 2004, two platoons of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Land Rovers were ambushed by Iraqi insurgents near Majar al-Kabir, south of Amarah. The 20 men ran out of ammunition and resorted to bayonet charging the 100 insurgents, killing many but only receiving three casualties. 1 2

The regiment's last role before amalgamation was in the air assault role as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. The regiment now consists of a regular battalion (5 SCOTS), an affiliated company of the Territorial Army battalion, 51st Highland Volunteers (7 SCOTS) and an Army Cadet Force battalion.

Battle honours

Cape of Good Hope 1806, Rolica, Vimeira, Corunna, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse, Peninsula, South Africa 1846-7, 1851-2-3, Alma, Balaklava, Sevastopol, Lucknow, South Africa 1879, Modder River, Paardeberg, South Africa 1899-1902.

THE GREAT WAR - Mons, Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, 18, Aisne 1914, La Bassée 1914, Messines 1914, 18, Armentières 1914, Ypres 1915, 17, 18, Gravenstafel, St Julien, Frezenberg, Bellewaarde, Festubert 1915, Loos, Somme 1916, 18, Albert 1916, 18, Bazentin, Delville Wood, Pozières, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Ancre 1916, Arras 1917,18, Scarpe 1917, 18, Arleux, Pilckem, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917,18, St Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Rosières, Lys, Estaires, Hazebrouck, Bailleul, Kemmel, Bethune, Soissonnais-Ourcq, Tardenois, Amiens, Hindenburg Line, Epehy, Canal du Nord, St Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Kortrijk, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914-18, Italy 1917-18, Struma, Doiran 1917,18, Macedonia 1915-18, Gallipoli 1915-16, Rumani, Egypt 1916, Gaza, El Mughar, Nebi Samwil, Jaffa, Palestine 1917-18.

THE SECOND WORLD WAR - Somme 1940, Odon, Tourmauville Bridge, Caen, Esquay, Mont Pincon, Quarry Hill, Estry, Falaise, Dives Crossing, Aart, Lower Maas, Meijel, Venlo Pocket, Ourthe, Rhineland, Reichswald, Rhine, Uelzen, Artlenburg, North-West Europe 1940, 44-45, Abyssinia 1941, Sidi Barrani, El Alamein, Medenine, Akarit, Diebel Azzag 1942, Kef Ouiba Pass, Mine de Sedjenane, Medjez Plain, Longstop Hill 1943, North Africa 1940-43, Landing in Sicily, Gerbini, Adrano, Centuripe, Sicily 1943, Termoli, Sangro, Cassino II, Liri Valley, Aquino, Monte Casalino, Monte Spaduro, Monte Grande, Senio, Santerno Crossing, Argenta Gap, Italy 1943-45, Crete, Heraklion, Middle East 1941, North Malaya, Grik Road, Central Malaya, Ipoh, Slim River, Singapore Island, Malaya 1941-42.

Pakchon, Korea 1950-51.


The regiment has created several alliances with regiments in the Commonwealth during its history. An official alliance with the 91st Regiment (Canadian Highlanders) of the Canadian Militia was later recognized by that regiment changing its official title to The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) and adopting the dress distinctions of the regiment in Scotland.

In 1924, the Argylls formed an alliance with The Calgary Highlanders, and that unit also adopted the dress distinctions of the Imperial Argylls.

In 1886 it was widely speculated that English football club Plymouth Argyle which was formed in that year were named Argyle Football Club after the Argyll and Sutherland regiment's football team as they were stationed at the time in Plymouth, Devon. One of the club's founders F. Grose suggested the name in a meeting with the other founder members. He also suggested that the aim of the new club was to emulated the style of play and teamwork that the Argyll and Sutherland football team used that won them the Army Cup which greatly impressed him. There is also a strong belief that Argyle adopted the regiment's colour of Green[1]. There is also a street named after the regiment called Sutherland Terrace in the Mutley area of Plymouth.

Several Australian and New Zealand units had also formed affiliations with the Argylls during the 20th Century, including the Byron Scottish and the Royal Australian Regiment.

Victoria Cross recipients

External links



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