The 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) Guidons and Battle Honours

The 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)
King's Guidon 1766
The early guidons of the Scots Greys are not described anywhere, but a description of a review on Putney Heath in 1684 gives details of the guidons of the Royal Regiment of Dragoons. There were 8 Troops, each having their own guidon. The colour of the guidons was crimson and each one had an emblem such as crossed ostrich feathers or a pheonix.

The Royal Warrant of 1751

The 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)
Second (Regimental) Guidon 1766
On 1 July 1751 regulations for clothing and equipment of the regiment were issued which limited the number of guidons to 3 per regiment. 'Guidons - The first or king's guidon to be of crimson silk, embroidered and fringed with gold and silver; in the centre the rose and thistle conjoined, and crown over them, with the motto DIEU ET MON DROIT underneath. The White Horse in a compartment in the first and fourth corners, and II D in gold characters on a blue ground in the second and third corners. The second and third guidons to be of blue silk; in the centre the thistle within the circle of St Andrew and motto NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT. The white horse on a scarlet ground in the first and fourth compartments; and II D on a red ground, within a small wreath of roses and thistles in the second and third corners.'

The Royal Warrant of 1768

The Royal Warrant of December 1768 gave details of the size of the guidons. The pole or lance was to be 9 feet long including the spear and ferril. The guidon itself was 3 feet 5 inches long, and 2 feet 3 inches deep. The number of guidons per regiment varied from one unit to another and as the size of regiments increased, as they did during the French Revolutionary Wars, so did the number of guidons. Cavalry standards were square in shape and carried by cornets, whereas dragoon regiments had guidons, at first carried by ensigns, but the title changed to cornet as dragoons became more and more like cavalry. Standards and guidons did not have the same respect that Colours were given. While infantry regiments received new Colours with a ceremony of consecration the regiments of Horse and dragoons received theirs without comment.

19th Century

By the early 19th century the guidon was not carried into battle so much and at Waterloo no cavalry regiment carried its standard or guidon. In 1822 there was official acknowledgement of the reduction in status of the standards and guidons. An order from Horse Guards issued on 30 Nov 1822 commanded that in future they should be carried by Troop Sergeant-Majors instead of junior officers.

Battle Honours

The first battle honour to appear on the Scots Greys guidon was WATERLOO. This honour was awarded to the regiment on 8 Dec 1815 so may have appeared on the guidons in 1816. It could well have been embroidered and sewn onto existing guidons. In 1821 the regiment requested permission to wear the badge of the Eagle on officers' sabretaches but this was refused. It is not clear when they asked to have an embroidered Eagle on the guidon but permission for that was not given until March 1838. The regiment did not have the opportunity to win any more battle honours until the Crimean War so that BALAKLAVA and SEVASTOPOL were added in 1855. There were retrospective awards for the four Marlborough battles, and DETTINGEN, awarded in 1882.

King's and Regimental Guidons 1766 & 1783 Queen's and Squadron Guidon c1855 & 1882
Guidon c1882
Guidon on Parade 1897. Cigarette Card 1899
Standard Bearer Sergeant-Major
Standard Bearer and Escort 1904 Guidon c1910
Guidon at Edinburgh Castle 1939
Guidon Presentation 1956 Guidon in Edinburgh 1962
Guidon in Ferret Scout Car 1966
Standard of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards 1971

Regimental Details

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by Stephen Luscombe