The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum is located at Scotland’s world-famous Edinburgh Castle. The Museum is a charitable trust and is also responsible for the Regimental Archive.

It is accredited by Museums Galleries Scotland and the Scottish Regimental Museums’ collection is recognised as nationally significant by the Scottish government.

Operating as usual

The Battle of the Boyne1st July 1690.Today marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. On the 12th July  Orange Or...

The Battle of the Boyne

1st July 1690.

Today marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. On the 12th July Orange Order Parades are held annually in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Northern England in commemoration of this event. Orange Order Banners feature depictions of a victorious King William III (1650-1702) and ‘King Billy’ adorns many gables of terraced housing within Ulster Protestant communities.

On this day in 1690, an army of 36,000 men under the command of King William III faced 26,000 men under the command of the deposed James II and VII (1633-1701) by the River Boyne, the last major obstacle for William III south on the road to Dublin.

The 9th Horse (later the 6th Dragoon Guards) under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Byerley formed part of King William’s cavalry at the Battle of the Boyne. The battle was a victory for King William in which manoeuvres played a major factor. For King William, the Battle of the Boyne was a victory and a great political gain but the fight in Ireland was to continue for another year until the decisive victories at Athlone and Aughrim. These victories enabled the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland.

For King James the Battle of the Boyne was a defeat; though his army’s losses were relatively small and his army largely intact, James took the defeat badly and retreated into exile in France. He never reclaimed his Kingdom but his Jacobite supporters continued to support the exiled Stuart dynasty in the armed risings of 1715 and 1745.

For their service in King William’s campaign in Ireland the 9th Horse was honoured by the King in 1691, being given the title ‘The King’s Carabiniers’. Over time this honorific title was shortened to become ‘The Carabiniers’ and stayed with the 6th Dragoon Guards through to their amalgamation with the 3rd Dragoon Guards in 1922, and in 1928 the 3rd/6th Dragoon Guards were re-styled the 3rd Carabiniers.

The charge of the 3rd Prince of Wales’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards at Villeselve.On the 24th March 1918 the remnants of ...

The charge of the 3rd Prince of Wales’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards at Villeselve.

On the 24th March 1918 the remnants of the Third Cavalry Division, comprising 23 Officers and 150 other ranks, were assembled. The cavalry detachment moved up to a position north-east of the village of Villeselve to protect the left flank of the 14th Division.

A Planned Mounted Attack.

At 2pm the 6th Cavalry Brigade Mounted Detachment, about one squadron in strength was sent to attack some hostile infantry and machine guns on the line of 81-Copse and to take objectives ‘A’ and ‘B’. It was hoped that a successful mounted attack would rally the British infantry and regain some of the lost ground.

The Third Dragoon Guards to attack German Machine Guns.

Fifty mounted 3rd Dragoon Guards under Lieutenant A.B.P. L. Vincent MC were ordered to attack Copse ‘B,’ to charge any Germans met, and secure the right flank. The 10th Hussars and the Royals were to make a frontal attack on Copse ‘A’. 1200 yards of ploughed land had to be crossed to reach Copse ‘B.’

Lieutenant Vincent

Lieutenant A.B.P.L (Pat) Vincent was an Irish Officer educated at Cheltenham College and R.M.C. Sandhurst. Vincent was commissioned in the 3rd Dragoon Guards at the start of the First World War in 1914. Described by his fellow Officers as magnificent in Battle.

The Charge.

The 3rd Dragoon Guard Troopers begin to come under enemy fire immediately. Enemy fire and the fast pace of the charge caused the riders to open out. When Lieutenant Vincent gave the Troop the order to charge the horses were fairly well extended.

The German Machine Gunners and Infantry attempt to run into the Copse but many are sabered and shot as they ran.

Twelve German prisoners were taken and four machine guns captured. The right flank of the 14th Division was now secured.

British Infantry rallied behind the success of the cavalry charge and filed into the copse with renewed spirit after the German Machine Guns are captured.

The Infantry advance beyond their original position, enabling the remnants of two Battalions to withdraw from Cugny to Villeselve and reform.

Lieutenant Vincent was awarded a bar to his Military Cross


"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in a successful charge against the enemy infantry and machine guns, resulting in the capture of a valuable tactical position. he also rendered fine service in obtaining valuable information on numerous mounted patrols during operations."

Valentine's Day 2020A private of the 2nd Dragoons acting as orderly to a staff officer has caught the attention of young...

Valentine's Day 2020

A private of the 2nd Dragoons acting as orderly to a staff officer has caught the attention of young woman. Watercolour by Orlando Norie, 1870s.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2020.Sweetheart badge and postcard.A Royal Scots Greys enamel ‘Hands across the Sea’ medal.Having ...

Happy Valentine’s Day 2020.

Sweetheart badge and postcard.

A Royal Scots Greys enamel ‘Hands across the Sea’ medal.

Having captured the Standard of the 45th Infantry of the Line at the Battle of Waterloo, images of the Eagle began to appear on regimental insignia. In 1838 the Eagle was officially authorised as a regimental badge and as a cap badge from the end of the 19th century

The ‘Hands across the Sea’ medal was first made in 1915; they were presented to members of an ‘Edinburgh Ladies Work Party’ in appreciation of their services in supplying comforts to the Royal Scots Greys during the First World War (1914-1918). The medal's ribbon is in the regimental colours.

December 17th, 1942. Battle of Nofilia, Libya.Royal Scots Greys attack rear-guard of Field Marshal Rommel’s Afrika Corps...

December 17th, 1942. Battle of Nofilia, Libya.

Royal Scots Greys attack rear-guard of Field Marshal Rommel’s Afrika Corps.

The Royal Scots Greys were ordered to engage the enemy by Lieutenant General Sir Bernard Freyberg commanding the New Zealand Division.

Units of the retreating Afrika Corps including 37 tanks were rapidly attacked by the Regiment, which exploited the element of surprise to some advantage. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham Fiennes, Bt, known ‘as lugs’ to the men, led the attack mounted in his command vehicle Astra (a Stuart Tank with a removed Turret. Such was the swift nature of the tank charge the Germans were totally unprepared and two –anti tank batteries were nullified. A German counter attack took place with the Greys loosing seven tanks and an officer and two men. The Germans eventually withdrew. Nofilia, is a Regimental Battle Honour of the Royal Scots Greys.

The Royal Scots Greys spent Christmas in Nofilia and indulged in a special Christmas Dinner of Turkey and Plum Pudding brought all the way from Benghazi (240 miles). Soldiers then gathered around the radio to listen to the King’s Speech. A month later the Scots Greys had reached Tripoli having covered 1500 miles in three months.

The Struggle for Bourlon Wood, Battle of Cambrai, November 1917.On the morning of the 23rd November the 51st Division, s...

The Struggle for Bourlon Wood, Battle of Cambrai, November 1917.

On the morning of the 23rd November the 51st Division, supported by tanks, attacked Fontaine-notre-Dame, but was unable to force an entrance.

Early in the afternoon this division repeated its attack from the west, and a number of tanks entered Fontaine, where they remained till dusk, inflicting considerable loss on the enemy.

British Forces did not succeed, however, in clearing the village, and at the end of the day no progress had been made on this part of the front.

At 10.30 a.m. the 40th Division (Major-General I. Ponsonby) attacked Bourlon Wood, and after four and a half hours of hard fighting, in which tanks again rendered valuable assistance to British infantry, captured the whole of the wood and entered Bourlon Village. Here hostile counter-attacks prevented further progress.

A heavy hostile attack upon British positions in the wood, in which all three battalions of the 9th Grenadier Regiment were deployed was completely repulsed.

Throughout this day, also, the 36th Division and troops of the 56th (London) Division (T.) were engaged in stubborn fighting in the neighbourhood of Moeuvres and Tadpole Copse, and made some progress.

This struggle for Bourlon resulted in several days of fiercely contested fighting, in which English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish battalions, together with dismounted cavalry of the 5th Cavalry Brigade, performed most gallant service and inflicted heavy loss on the enemy.

During the morning of the 24th November the Germans twice attacked, and at the second attempt pressed back British troops in the north-eastern corner of the wood. An immediate counter-attack delivered by the 14th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the 15th Hussars, dismounted, and the remnants of the 119th Infantry Brigade (40th Division and 1st Cavalry Division), drove back the enemy in turn, and by noon the British line had been re-established.

Meanwhile, dismounted cavalry repulsed an attack on the high ground west of Bourlon Wood, and in the afternoon a third hostile attack upon the wood was stopped by British artillery and rifle fire.

On this afternoon British infantry again attacked Bourlon Village, and captured it. Later in the evening a fourth attack upon British positions in the wood was beaten off after fierce fighting. Further progress was made on this day in the Hindenburg Line west of Moeuvres, but the German resistance in the whole of this area was very strong.

On the evening of the 25th November a fresh attack by the Germans regained Bourlon Village, though British Troops offered vigorous resistance, and parties of the 13th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment (40th Division), held out in the south-east corner of the village until touch was re-established with them two days later.

The continual fighting and the strength of the enemy’s attacks, however, had told heavily on the 40th Division, which had borne the brunt of the struggle. This division was accordingly withdrawn, and on the following day British troops were again pressed back slightly in the northern outskirts of Bourlon Wood.

With the enemy in possession of the shoulder of the ridge above Fontaine-notre-Dame, as well as of part of the high ground west of Bourlon Wood, the British position in the wood itself was a difficult one, and much of the ground to the south of it was still exposed to the enemy’s observation. It was decided, therefore, to make another effort on the 27th November to capture Fontaine-notre-Dame and Bourlon Village, and to gain possession of the whole of the Bourlon Ridge.

In this attack, in which tanks co-operated, British Guards (Major- General G. P. T. Feilding) temporarily regained possession of Fontaine-notre-Dame, taking some hundreds of prisoners, and troops of the 62nd Division once more entered Bourlon Village.

Later in the morning, however, heavy counter-attacks developed in both localities, and British troops were unable to maintain the ground they had gained. During the afternoon the enemy also attacked British positions at Tadpole Copse, but was repulsed.

As the result of five days of constant fighting, therefore, British forces held a strong position on the Bourlon Hill and in the wood, but had not succeeded in gaining all the ground required for the security of this important feature. The two following days passed comparatively quietly, while the troops engaged were relieved and steps were undertaken to prepare for a deliberate attack

During the fighting on the 25th -27 November the Royal Scots Greys supplied Headquarters of the 5th Dismounted Cavalry Brigade and fought at Bourlon Wood. Pte. Riddell (the Regimental boxing champion) was among those killed. Riddell was found by Captain Elliot RAMC, medical officer to the Regiment, who asked him if he could do anything for him. Riddell replied “No just dig a hole for me, and look after the others” before he passed away. Elliot had dressed 360 wounded during the 26-hour operation in Bourlon Wood. The Casualties inflicted on the Royal Scots Greys were 3 officers killed, 6 OR's killed; 101 wounded and 8 missing. Gas shells were fired into British positions in the wood

Lieutenant Dudgeon of the Scots Greys was awarded the Military Cross for his conduct on the field. Sergeant Purvis and Private Tritton of the Regiment were awarded the Military Medal.

The wood and village were ultimately retaken by the 3rd Canadian and 4th Canadian Divisions on the 27th September 1918.

The 3rd Dragoon Guards and the Queen Square riots, Bristol, 1831.In 1831 there were serious riots in Bristol, Derby and ...

The 3rd Dragoon Guards and the Queen Square riots, Bristol, 1831.

In 1831 there were serious riots in Bristol, Derby and Nottingham. In Bristol crowds of people looted and burned down buildings, including the Mansion House, the Bishop's Palace and the new jail. The riots were a protest at the House of Lords preventing the Second Reform Bill from passing through Parliament. More people would have been given the right to vote if the Reform Bill became law and the franchise would be extended.

Before the Reform Act of 1832 just 5% of the population in England and Wales had the right to vote. The right to vote depended on a person's wealth: if you were a 40-shilling freeholder, (a small landowner), or wealthier, you were entitled to vote. Bristol had two MPs. Its population was 100,000.

The Bristol Riots were a reaction to the statement in Parliament of Bristol's Recorder (senior judge) Sir Charles Wetherell, that the people of Bristol were not in favour of reform. Actually, Bristol had gathered a petition of 17,000 signatures supporting the Reform Bill. Wetherell was also an MP for Boroughbridge, a 'Rotten Borough' in Yorkshire where just 48 men were eligible to vote. Many people were incensed and took to the streets.

Before Wetherell arrived on his annual visit to Bristol, public meetings were organised in Queen Square on 10th, 11th and 12th October. Demonstrators met Wetherell on his arrival in Bristol on 29th October, then full scale rioting broke out, and angry crowds of protesters held the city for two days.
To Disperse the Protesters, the authorities had arranged for three troops of cavalry of the 3rd Dragoon Guards and the 14th Light Dragoons, to support special volunteer constables to control the crowd. The 3rd Dragoon guards consisted of thirty three men commanded by Captain Warrington. When the crowd attacked the Council House in Corn Street near midnight on the Saturday, the 14th Light Dragoons charged.

Two men were sabered and killed. There was then a short lull in proceedings and the 14th Light Dragoons were withdrawn. The Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Brereton believed that some of the Dragoons were actually escalating trouble and ordered a withdrawl.

Sir Charles Wetherell then made his escape past the mob dressed as a woman. Crowds, looted the wine cellar of the Mansion House and becoming more drunk and disorderly. Over the next two days’ rioters broke into Bridewell Jail and Lawford's Gate Prison and set prisoners free. The Tollhouses, the Bishop's Palace and, in Queen Square, the Mansion House and the Custom House, were all attacked. Mob rule held firm in Bristol.

At dawn on Monday 31st October the destruction of the south side of Queen Square was underway. Then the 3rd Dragoons charged, bringing the rioting to a final and violent end by sabering and dispersing the crowds with the use of brutal force. The 3rd Dragoon Guards held the balance against the rioters until they gained the support of a squadron of the 14th Light Dragoons under the command of Major Beckwith. The combined cavalry forces was also aided by seven or eight troops of yeomanry from the North Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Regiments who set about sabering the crowd. The streets were cleared in a matter of hours. Casualties are estimated at around 250.

Rioters were put on trial in January 1832. Seven were transported to Australia and forty-three were imprisoned. Five others, Christopher Davies, Richard Vines, Joseph Kayes, William Clarke and Thomas Gregory, were sentenced to be hanged in front of the New Jail. Vines was later reprieved.
Captain Warrington and Lieutenant-Colonel Brereton, were both court-martialled by the British Army. Warrington was allowed to resign his commission on grounds of ill-health. Tragically Brereton committed su***de before the trial was concluded.

Years of Domestic Service in Industrial Towns of Britain and Ireland.During the 1820s -1840s both the 3rd and 6th Dragoo...

Years of Domestic Service in Industrial Towns of Britain and Ireland.

During the 1820s -1840s both the 3rd and 6th Dragoon Guards were chiefly stationed domestically in Britain and Ireland. The Industrial Towns of Northern England and Scotland were potentially combustible due to economic deprivation and the impact of the industrial revolution. Often gangs of Navvies competing for work in canal and railway construction became involved in pitched battles that required the intervention of the Military. Cork, Dublin, Newbridge, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Paisley, Glasgow, Hamilton were regular postings to help keep the peace.

In such areas Chartism was a growing political movement for the industrial working classes led by radical orators such as Feargus O’Connor and his Northern Star Newspaper. Chartists campaigned to further the voting franchise to all men and held mass meetings across the country under the careful watch of Special Constables and supporting soldiers.
Famine in Ireland during the 1840s led to a growing resentment to British Rule in some quarters. In 1848 the Young Ireland Movement staged a nationalist revolution in South Tipperary which was easily quashed. However, many of the movements leaders escaped to the United States where they established the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Ireland was a potential powder keg and large numbers of Troops were stationed there to prevent a potential nationalist uprising.

For many young Officers the constant succession of domestic postings, inactivity and atmosphere of studied gentility which permeated the luxurious and decadent Mess led to boredom, inefficiency, corruption and petty squabbling. Drinking, gambling and womanising were rife. Such vices could be found all the way up the chain of command. Indeed, Lieutenant -Colonel St George French of the 6th Dragoon Guards was called before a Court Martial to answer charges including Keeping a Woman in Barracks, issuing excessive punishments to Sergeants Gilroy, McLaughlin and Byrne and dealing in the sale of Regimental Horses. Colonel French was found guilty of the first two charges but was allowed to retain command of the Carabiniers. It was only in the aftermath of the Crimean War that led to the reform of Army and the abolishment of Paid Commissions in 1871.


The Castle

Opening Hours

Monday 9:30am - 5:15pm
Tuesday 9:30am - 5:15pm




Be the first to know and let us send you an email when The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum:


Nearby museums

Other Edinburgh museums

Show All