Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Royal Scots Greys

Yesterday as I described our assault on the Edinburgh Castle, I posted a picture of this crypt, having noted as I approached the single word causes Sarge to focus like a laser.  That word would be "Waterloo!"

As the inscription reads, the Ensign was able to capture the Standard of the French 45th Regiment from which the Royal Scots Greys Insignia was developed.


Near to the top of the Castle (not AT the top, but Near the top), were two regimental museums.  One for the Royal Dragoons and the other for the Royal Scots Greys.  Mrs Juvat was concerned about the missing baggage and wanted to call to see if there was any progress (or maybe to pause, sit down and catch her breath, or both), so she elected to avail herself of the bench outside whilst I was allowed to proceed in.

I'm pretty sure the brass medallion reads "Mrs Juvat was here, March 13, 2017"
The museum was fairly small, but had some pretty neat exhibits about the history of the regiment.  For the interested, more detail can be found here,  I will focus on a three choice exhibits that struck my fancy, mostly because of their tangential references to our beloved host.

The first of these exhibits was this one.

This handsome young Sergeant is doing what good Sergeants do best.  He's carrying his Officer on his back and out of harms way.  During the Battle at Waterloo, the Regimental Colors were being carried by Ensign Kennedy.  At some point, the Ensign was mortally wounded, and the Sergeant attempted to retrieve the colors from him.  The Ensign would not give them up, so the Sergeant picked him up and carried him off the field.

The French were so impressed, that they held fire until they were off the battlefield.

That little vignette hits so many of the "Juvat List of Personal Characteristics to Strive for in Life" that it is a must include.  The fact that is occurred at Sarge's personal favorite battle, was icing on the cake.

The second of the exhibits was this one.

Now, our Host calls himself "Old AF Sarge", and I suppose that's so on many levels.  However, he doesn't hold a candle to Sergeant William Hiseland.

During the Battle at MalPlaque, which for those of you who are not as versed in the Martial history of Europe in the late 1600's as Sarge is (that would be me), took place in the Wars of Spanish Succession and was the fourth victorious battle won by the Duke of Marlborough for the English.  (I know, NOW you remember!)

In any case, Sergeant Hiseland of the Royal Scots Greys took part in the battle at age 89.  That, in and of itself is fascinating, however, the good Sergeant survived the war, eventually retiring and taking his pension at 100.  He lived in a retirement home in Chelsea until he turned 103, then was kicked out because he got married.  Lived a blissful married life until finally passing at 112.

So...Sarge, My Friend, this diverticulitis thing?  You still got 50 years til your certifiably THE Old AF Sarge, better get back in the saddle.

Finally, there's this one.

At the battle of Malplaquet, on the other end of the age spectrum, was a 3 week old baby.  Private McBain's wife had delivered and decided to return to Scotland, so as he's marching off to the battle, she hands him his infant son.  Having no other options, he puts the child in his knapsack and goes off and fights the battle.

Now, before I left for Scotland, I had asked Sarge what his ancestral clans were just in case I ran across something cool from them.  He had said his paternal Grandmother was a "Bain".  Now, according to this site, one of the Septs (a family division) of MacBain is "Bain".

So...It's a small world isn't it?  Apparently, two of the Sarge's ancestors, fought in a large battle in the 1700's (and won!).  But...Do we really know if it was one of Sarge's ancestors in the knapsack?  or was it the OLD Sarge hisself?  Cue Twilight Zone music!

All kidding aside, The Royal Scots Greys have fought in many significant engagements throughout the years and have a lot of proud history behind them.  Spending a little time in their museum was enjoyable and enlightening.

Well worth the visit.


  1. Does this mean that we now have to hum Scotland the Brave whenever perusing the blog?

    1. I think it helps, or at least it has in these last couple of days.

  2. Well...

    There are actually two museums, as you noted. One is for the Royal Scots, an infantry outfit, the other is for the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the descendant of a number of cavalry regiments, the Scots Greys (of which regiment Ensign Ewart was a member) being the most important. To a Scotsman anyway.

    You visited the infantry museum, the gravel agitators, of which group many of my ancestors can claim to be members of, the PBI, the "Poor Bloody Infantry."

    As to Sgt Hiseland, he was a grunt, a gravel agitator in the Royal Scots. Not that I would say THAT to his face, tough old fellow that he was. He wasn't a cavalryman.

    Malplaquet, that fellow Pvt McBain might be a distant relative. Family history of the Bains has a lot of intrigue, dirty doings, and scuffles therein. Would na surprise me.

    It's deuced hard for a Yank to keep all the regimental distinctions of Her Majesty's Forces straight. I lost track during the last amalgamation in 1971 when a lot of long standing regiments were combined into "new" units. Oft times a regiment would become a battalion in a new regiment, or brigade.

    Unless I miss my guess, ye went to the wrong museum laddie. Though the Royal Scots are a fine regiment, the Greys they are not.

    Next time, take me wi' ye, for I do believe ye have the makings of a fine historian in ye.

    Sònraichte dreuchd agus càin oidhirp!

    1. Doh! No wonder the other one was more crowded.

      However, had I chosen that one, we wouldn't have a mystery to solve. Who was the wee lad in the Knapsack?

      Tapadh leibh caoimhneil

  3. Gah, I REALLY should have braved the rain/cold and gone up there... sigh...

    1. Mrs Juvat and I have decided we're going back again. (We've entered into negotiation on whether the first "going back" is to New Zealand or Scotland though. I'm not sure there's a downside to that negotiation.) We'll probably skip the distillery tours relying on Pubs to expand our knowledge of Whisky. The Castle and Old Town will definitely get a more thorough going over. (I'll also pick the right museum this time! ;-) )

  4. Excellent post once again. I notice you said (typed, keyboarded, whatever) "whilst." Did you notice you said whilst? I imagine you did and that you used the word intentionally. You never know without asking though, at that Brit talk can sneak up on ya. I wonder why that is?

    1. To paraphrase..."When in Britain...." I mean, Friday I even used "queue" and correctly!


  5. Thanks for the post juvat. Educational and entertaining as usual.

    Paul L. Quandt

  6. These photos remind me of our tour through the castle. Here is the my blog post with a few photos from our trip to Edinburgh.

    1. Yep, looks like we both had a pretty good time with similar experiences. Now, I just need to go back! ;-)


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