The 2nd Battalion Scots Guards was a regular army battalion which was stationed in Egypt at the outbreak of war in 1939. It served throughout the North African campaign ultimately ending up in Tunisia in May 1943.
The battalion was part of 201 Guards Brigade throughout its time in Italy which in turn operated with 56 Infantry Division from September to December 1943 and subsequently with 5 Infantry Division from January to March 1944. On 9th September the battalion formed the reserve of 201 Guards Brigade when it landed at Salerno as part of the second wave. The battalion was heavily engaged at the Tobacco Factory where it suffered heavy casualties.
It proceeded to take part in the advance to the Volturno and then onto the Gustav Line. It saw action in both of the battles at Monte Camino before 201 Guards Brigade was transferred to 5 Infantry Division in January 1944.
Together with the rest of the 201 Guards Brigade the battalion was in reserve when 5 Infantry Division crossed the River Garigliano on 17th January 1944. It moved into the bridgehead shortly afterwards and remained there in defensive positions until early March when the entire Brigade was withdrawn. The decision had been taken to disband the brigade and use its personnel to reinforce 24 Guards Brigade, which had taken heavy casualties at Anzio.
The majority of 2nd Battalion Scots Guards was transferred to the 1st Battalion Scots Guards but a cadre of long-serving personnel left Italy on 9th April 1944 and returned to the UK. The battalion then served as a training battalion in the UK until February 1945 when it once again returned to active service in North West Europe as part of 32nd Guards Brigade, Guards Armoured Division.
The following were the unit's Commanding Officers during its service in Italy.
|09 September 1943 - 25 October 1943||Lieutenant-Colonel G.A.D. Taylor||Taken ill.|
|25 October 1943 - 29 October 1943||Major P. Steuart-Fotheringham||Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor returned.|
|29 October 1943 - 5 November 1943||Lieutenant-Colonel G.A.D. Taylor||Returned to England. He subsequently took command of 1st Battalion Scots Guards in Italy and was killed on 27th June 1944.|
|05 November 1943 - 12 December 1943||Major P. Steuart-Fotheringham||Lieutenant-Colonel Harris took command.|
|12 December 1943 - 14 February 1944||Lieutenant-Colonel F.H.H.B. Harris||Returned to B Echelon for rest.|
|14 February 1944 - 19 February 1944||Major P. Steuart-Fotheringham||Lieutenant-Colonel Harris resumed command.|
|19 February 1944 - 22 February 1944||Lieutenant-Colonel F.H.H.B. Harris||Battalion HQ shelled and was badly wounded. Subsequently died in hospital on 27th February.|
|22 February 1944 - 9 April 1944||Major P. Steuart-Fotheringham|
At the start of the Italian campaign the battalion was organised as a standard British infantry battalion as per WE II/233/2. Its companies were named Left Flank, F Company, G Company and Right Flank, in keeping with Scots Guards traditions.
Due to heavy casualties the battalion was reduced to a three rifle company organisation on 27th October 1943 when Left Flank was disbanded and its personnel transferred to the three other companies. On 26th January 1944 a company of Welsh Guards was transferred to the battalion, allowing it to return to a four-company organisation. This company was replaced on 10th February by a full company of Scots Guards that had been sent from the 4th Battalion in the UK. This became the new Left Flank.
On 9th March 1944 it was announced that the battalion was to be reduced to cadre. The rest of the personnel were transferred to the 1st Battalion Scots Guards to replace the casualties that battalion had suffered at Anzio.
The following table is based on the WE 3008 returns in the war diaries. The standard WE for an infantry battalion at this time was for 36 officers and 809 NCOs and ORs, for a total of 845 personnel. The WE included the attached Regimental Medical Officer and attached personnel such as cooks and mechanics are included in the figures below. Personnel not part of the WE (i.e. the attached chaplain and his driver) have not been included.
The battalion war diaries do not have the WE 3008 returns for September and October 1943 but strength returns for these months can be found in 201 Guards Brigade daily returns and also in 56 (London) Infantry Division daily returns.
|6 November 1943||31||120||690||841||-4|
|13 November 1943||29||110||620||759||-86|
|20 November 1943||25||111||542||678||-167|
|27 November 1943||32||114||613||759||-86|
|4 December 1943||32||127||612||771||-74|
|11 December 1943||33||121||575||729||-116|
|18 December 1943||40||114||559||713||-132|
|25 December 1943||40||124||666||830||-15|
|1 January 1944||34||122||637||793||-52|
|8 January 1944||38||98||592||728||-117|
|15 January 1944||40||103||630||773||-72|
|22 January 1944||35||102||608||745||-100|
|29 January 1944||35||112||668||815||-30|
|5 February 1944||36||109||645||790||-55|
|12 February 1944||33||111||648||792||-53|
|19 February 1944||33||118||622||773||-72|
|26 February 1944||35||116||608||759||-86|
|4 March 1944||34||109||586||729||-116|
|11 March 1944||36||120||590||746||-99|
|18 March 1944||25||54||267||346||-499|
|28 March 1944||24||56||217||297||-548|
Awards and Decorations
The following shows the number of awards for the Italian campaign only.
|Bar to Military Cross||1|
|Distinguished Conduct Medal||2|
|Number>||Name||Award||LG Date||Date of Action|
|2700715||L/Sjt. R. Balcombe||Military Medal||21 December 1944||Periodic|
|72673||T/Capt. A.M. Balfour||Military Cross||24 February 1944||23 October 1943|
|2696194||Gdsmn. W.L. Chadwick||Distinguished Conduct Medal||26 February 1944||11 September 1943|
|100833||W/Capt. R.L. Coke||Military Cross||23 March 1944||09 November 1943|
|2695734||Gdsmn. G.H. Connor||Military Medal||23 March 1944||10 November 1943|
|240639||T/Capt. R.S. Dollard||Military Cross||25 February 1944||10 September 1943|
|2697310||Gdsmn. R.S. Dougall||Military Medal||29 June 1944||04 February 1944|
|247094||WS/Lt. W.A. Elliott||Military Cross||27 January 1944||11 September 1943|
|247095||Lt. A.R.H. Erskine||Military Cross||21 December 1944||Periodic|
|207675||WS/Lt. D.J. Fyfe-Jamieson||Military Cross||28 January 1944||10 September 1943|
|2695416||Gdsmn. J. Hutchison||Military Medal||30 January 1944||11 September 1943|
|2694174||Sjt. W. Lumsden||Distinguished Conduct Medal||29 January 1944||10 September 1943|
|2694174||P/A/W.O.II W. Lumsden||Bar to Military Cross||23 March 1944||10 December 1943|
|2700486||P/L/Cpl. J. McIlhargey||Military Medal||24 August 1944||Periodic|
|2700544||Gdsmn. R. Perks||Military Medal||20 July 1944||23 January 1944|
|2696495||Gdsmn. H.J. Spraggon||Military Medal||23 March 1944||10 November 1943|
The following are the files in the National Archives that cover the unit's service in Italy.
|TNA File Name>||Description||Dates|
|WO 169/10170||2 Scots Guards||1943 January - December|
|WO 170/1353||2 Scots Guards||1944 January - April|
The following are the currently transcribed war diaries.
|War Diary>||TNA File Name|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary September 1943||WO 169/10170|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary October 1943||WO 169/10170|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary November 1943||WO 169/10170|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary December 1943||WO 169/10170|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary January 1944||WO 170/1353|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary February 1944||WO 170/1353|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary March 1944||WO 170/1353|
The following are documents of interest for the unit that have been transcribed, mainly from the war diaries but also from other TNA Files.
|Document Name>||TNA File|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards Roll of Honour September 1943||WO 169/10170|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards Roll of Honour October 1943||WO 169/10170|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards F Company Report 6th – 11th November 1943 (1st Battle of Monte Camino)||WO 169/10170|
|2nd Battalion Scots Guards Roll of Honour November 1943||WO 169/10170|
CasualtiesNot yet fully compiled.
The following published literature includes coverage of the units time in Italy.
Erskine, D. The Scots Guards 1919-1945. London: Wlliam Clownes & Sons Ltd., 1956. 624 pp.