6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (6 SCOTS) is the Territorial Army Infantry for the south of Scotland www.army.mod.uk/6SCOTS. C Company is a dismounted rifle company covering the Greater Glasgow area. Its main role is to provide officers and soldiers who are trained and experienced in dismounted close combat to support regular units on operations.
Preparing for the Guard
As a TA battalion, we had very limited time at weekends and evenings to prepare for the Guard, and some individuals only had a few short hours of drill rehearsal before parading on the day. In the end the Jocks did very well (especially considering that several of them had not touched rifle drill before volunteering for the Guard) and the Guard mount and sentry drill was conducted without incident.
We were faced with a slight problem in Pte Mcutcheon from C Coy, who proved to be so thin that his kilt and leg-dress simply could not be tightened enough to prevent them constantly slipping down during final drill practice. Just before we marched on Sgt Lawrie, Guard 2IC, finally managed to rig out a sort of hidden webbing of green string and service dress ties to strap Mcutcheon’s into his kit, which was fortunate as by then he was just beginning to display a not-too-clean white vest in the ever-increasing gap between jacket and kilt!
Unfortunately for all, the pessimistic weather forecast proved accurate and we were subjected to heavy rain throughout the day, meaning the jocks came off after each stag soaked to the skin and spent most of their down time drying off! This however did not put a downer on the enthusiasm of the bus loads of tourists from around the globe who constantly posed for photos beside the Jocks on guard. A Coy PSI CSgt Paterson, bravely assisting us as an extra SNCO, seemed none too bothered by the attention he was getting from the female members of the crowd, but was quick to hide this fact when Mrs Paterson came to visit the guard!
The rain got worse during the afternoon, and the sentries at the top of the war memorial castle soon realised with the ever decreasing visibility that they were actually inside the rain cloud. Long after the 105 Regt had completed their gun salute and they and their guests had retreated from the rain, we continued to man the sentry posts until 1800, by which time even Mcutcheon’s kilt had started to slip down again, and Lt d’Inverno’s white gloves were completely stained red and blue from the rain-drenched silk on his sword hilt.
Despite the weather the Jocks very much enjoyed the opportunity to stand guard on the Castle in their No 1 Dress, an opportunity which does not often come to a TA Bn. As we shared a celebratory drink in East Claremont Street before returning to Coy locations, we were all glad we had volunteered for the guard.