The Cameronians - Scottish Rifles
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The Cameronians - Scottish Rifles



THEN ...

Extract from General Sir John French's Address to the 2nd Cameronians after the battle of Neuve Chapelle, 10th March 1915:

'I come here as Commander-in-Chief of this Army to express to you my heartiest gratitude for the splendid part which you took at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. I know what awful losses you suffered, I know the gallantry you displayed on that occasion has never been surpassed by a British soldier. You came up against the enemy's wire, and although the artillery was unable to get at it, you showed the utmost bravery and gallantry. I deeply regret the terrible losses you suffered on that occasion. No less than 22 officers were killed or wounded; the officer commanding your splendid Battalion, Colonel Bliss, being included amongst the losses. Everyone in the Regiment will deeply regret this loss. I do not mean to say it was too much - I want you all to realise that, I am sure your officers will always lead you on, it may be to die, but follow them right gallantly, I know you will. I am sure at the same time you will all feel what your officers have done for you, leading you as they have done; but still at the same time the officers on their part felt they had splendid and gallant men who would follow them anywhere and had every confidence in them. That is one great thing, the mutual confidence which exists between leaders and men. I can not say more.'


From Lieutenant General Sir William Slim KCB, CBE, DSO, MC
Commanding 14th Army

“The retreat from Burma in 1942 was as severe an ordeal as any army could be called to endure, but the British and Indian Units of the Burma Corps, fighting and falling back and turning to fight again and again, lived up to the great traditions of their Services. Unsurpassed among them in that unquenchable spirit, which lifts men above fatigue and disaster and is the essence of a Regiment was the 1st Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

Battered, exhausted, hungry, reduced by casualties to a fraction of their strength, they never lost their fighting spirit or their indomitable cheerfulness. Whether they were six hundred or one hundred they were always the 1st Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)."

(Signed) WJ Slim Lieutenant General


Two extracts from 'The Road Past Mandalay' by John Masters

'The Cameronians, also called the Scottish Rifles, were a Regular battalion that had fought through the first Burma campaign. "Damned good they were, too", Joe said. "And they've still got a good many left from '41, officers and men! They recruited most of their men from the streets of Glasgow, and had the reputation of being one of the toughest regiments in the British Army, in peacetime.".'

'A Cameronian lay near the ridge top, near death from many wounds. "Gi' me a Bren", he whispered to his lieutenant. "Leave me. I'll take a dozen wi' me!".'


Remark made by R. T. Paget, MP in the House of Commons, 26th June 1962

"... . In the early part of April some Jocks beat up a honky tonk one night. I do not know whether I am somewhat out of date but in my day it would have been news if two months had gone by without the Jocks doing something like that.'"

Extract from 'The Covenanter', December 1966, the concluding lines of an article 'Jottings from a visit to Aden' written by the present Colonel of the Regiment, General Sir George Collingwood, KBE, CB, DSO.

.'... And so ended a wonderful experience for an elderly and retired soldier to have been able to live with the Regiment for a short space in an operational camp. The actors were different people and the conditions rather different from what we knew, but basically it seemed to me that they were doing just the same things that we used to do. It was rather like a ghost coming back to his family house after thirty years, to see what was going on, and retiring again with a happy sigh to find that the old home was in good hands and the old tradition going on just as before.'

Extract from a letter written by the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir James Cassels, GCB, KBE, DSO to the Colonel of the Regiment on 24th February 1987.

'I enclose a copy of a letter I have from John Willoughby which I know you will find very good reading.

I saw your Battalion in Aden in January, and everywhere I went there was nothing but praise for the way all the men had behaved and acted. I should therefore like to add my most greatful thanks and congratulations for the splendid work that they did.'

Text of a letter sent by Major General Sir John Willoughby, General Officer Commanding,
Middle East Land Forces on 17th February 1967 to The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

Source: '300 Years of Service' published by the Regimental Trustees