Scots Greys antique print. On 4th. November 1899 ‘The Illustrated London News’ carried a front-page image above the caption, “Troops for the Front: The Scots Greys in Review Order.”
This regiment traces its history back to 1678, with the raising of three independent troops of Scots Dragoons that were regimented in 1694 to form the Scottish Army’s Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoon. In 1707 they were renamed The Royal North British Dragoons although they were already informally known as the Scots Greys due to the colour of their horses. Renumbered the 2nd Dragoons in 1713, in 1877 their nickname was officially recognised when they became the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys.) In 1971 they were amalgamated with the Prince of Wales’s Dragoon Guards to form The Scots Dragoon Guards.
As to their contribution during the Boer War (1899-1902) ‘The Greys’ embarked for South Africa from Glasgow arriving at the Cape on the 7th December 1899. Having discarded their red tunics for khaki, they camouflaged their distinctive white horses with khaki dye. Within months of arrival, the Scots Greys were in action at the Battle of Paardeberg or Perdeberg. Fought on the banks of the Modder River in the Orange Free State, it was a major defeat for the Boer forces. The Battle of Paardeberg led to the 124-day Boer siege of Kimberley being lifted on 15 February 1900. On 11th/12th June the Scots Greys saw action at the Battle of Diamond Hill as British forces advanced towards Bloemfontein and later Pretoria. Following its involvement in these conclusive battles with Boer forces, the Greys fought in the anti-guerrilla campaign of 1901-02. An Equestrian Scots Greys Boer War Memorial to the men who fell during the 2nd, Boer War, is located in West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland.