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Royal Regiment of Scotland

As last Saturday was Armed Forces Day and as the Royal Regiment of Scotland was formed in 2006, I thought perhaps I would look at the entries in the Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) defining some of the Scottish regiments which were combined to make this one Scottish regiment.

Arguably, one of the most famous and oldest of these regiments was the Black Watch, formed in 1740. Given that the regiment was formed to police the Highlands after the 1715 uprising, it was not universally popular - as this example from 1739 demonstrates:


“My dear Frank is not to stay any time in what you call the Black Watch” (William Fraser, Chiefs of Grant).


One of the battalions in the Royal Regiment of Scotland was formed from an amalgamation of the Royal Scots and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, which was even older than the Black Watch being raised in the late 17th century.

The DSL has a store of information relating to many Scottish Regiments. This sometimes includes detailed histories, as in the entries for the Seaforth and Gordon Highlanders. Or nicknames for soldiers of a particular regiment, for example Rory,


“a nickname for a solder in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders”.


The regiments even found their way into popular culture through music hall performer Robert Wilson’s song A Gordon for Me, with its chorus:


“A Gordon for me, a Gordon for me, If ye’re no a Gordon ye’re no use to me. The Black Watch are braw, the Seaforths and a’, But the cocky wee Gordon’s the pride o’ them a’.


This Scots Word of the Week was written by Pauline Cairns Speitel, Dictionaries of the Scots Language