The 2nd Dragoon Guards "The Royal Scots Greys"
Nemo me impune lacessit
The history of the Scots Greys began in 1678, when three independent troops of Scots Dragoons were raised. In 1681, these troops were regimented to form The Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons and numbered the 4th Dragoons in 1694. They were already mounted on grey horses by this stage and were already being referred to as the "Grey Dragoons". In 1707, they were renamed The Royal North British Dragoons, but were already being referred to as the "Scots Greys". In 1713, they were renumbered the 2nd Dragoons as part of a deal between the commands of the English Army and the Scottish Army when the two were in the process of being unified into the British Army. They were also sometimes referred to, during the first Jacobite uprising, as Portmore's Dragoons.
The Scots Greys served with distinction in the War of Spanish Succession, the War of Austrian Succession, and the Seven Years' War. Some of the more notable battles the regiment participated in include the Battle of Blenheim (1704), the Siege of Bouchain (1711), the Battle of Fontenoy (1745), and the Battle of Minden (1759). The regiment also played a crucial role helping surpress the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715, 1719, and 1745. The regiment found itself engaged on the European continent throughout the 18th century fighting for Queen Anne, King George I, King George II, and served under King George III into the 19th century where they would soon win their greatest victory.
The Scots Greys fought in the early stages of the French Revolutionary Wars at Dunkirk and throughout the Low Countries. However, the regiment would not see action from 1794 to 1815. At Waterloo the regiment played a decisive role that helped contribute to the Duke of Wellington's decisive victory of the French Empire. On the morning of 18 June 1815, the Scots Greys found themselves in the third line of Wellington's army, on the left flank.
The Scots Greys were initially ordered to remain in reserve while the Household Brigade and Union Brigade attacked but as the rest of the British heavy cavalry advanced against the French infantry, just after 1:30 pm, Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton witnessed Pack's brigade beginning to crumble, and the 92nd Highlanders falling back in disorder. On his initiative, Hamilton ordered his regiment forward at the walk. Because the ground was broken and uneven, thanks to the mud, crops, and the men of 92nd, the Scots Greys remained at the walk until they had passed through the Gordons. The arrival of the Scots Greys helped to rally the Gordons, who turned to attack the French. Even without attacking at a full gallop, the weight of the Scots Greys charge proved to be irresistible for the French column pressing Pack's Brigade. As the Scots Greys waded through the French column, Sergeant Charles Ewart captured the Regimental Eagle of the 45e Régiment de Ligne earning the Scots Greys the nickname of "Birdcatchers".
The Scots Greys would continue to fight throughout the entire day, suffering 104 dead and 97 wounded and 228 of their 416 horses. Following the victory of Waterloo, the Scots Greys pursued the defeated French Army until Napoleon's surrender and final abdication. The Scots Greys would remain on the continent until 1816 as part of the army of occupation under the terms of the peace treaty.
Royal North British Dragoons' Sergeant Charles Ewart defending the seized standard of the French 45th
Regiment of the Line from a French lancer during the Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815.