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2nd Battalion Scots Guards


The 2nd Battalion Scots Guards was a regular army battalion 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 201st Guards Brigade throughout its time in Italy. This brigade operated with 56th Infantry Division from September to December 1943 and subsequently with 5th Infantry Division from January to March 1944.

On 9th September 1943, 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 201st Guards Brigade was transferred to 5th Infantry Division in January 1944.

Lieutenant-Colonel G.A.D. Taylor, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion Scots Guards until November 1943

Together with the rest of the 201st Guards Brigade, the battalion was in reserve when 5th 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bridgehead shortly afterwards and remained there in defensive positions until early March when the entire Brigade was withdrawn.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 201st Guards 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 from Naples on 11th April 1944 and returned to the UK, arriving in Liverpool on 22nd April 1944. The battalion then served as a training battalion in the UK until February 1945 when it once again returned to active service in northwest Europe as part of 32nd Guards Brigade, Guards Armoured Division.

Commanding Officers

The following were the Commanding Officers of 2nd Battalion Scots Guards during its service in Italy from September 1943 to April 1944.

09 September 1943 - 25 October 1943Lieutenant-Colonel G.A.D. Taylor Taken ill.
25 October 1943 - 29 October 1943Major P. Steuart-Fotheringham Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor returned.
29 October 1943 - 5 November 1943Lieutenant-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 1943Major P. Steuart-Fotheringham Lieutenant-Colonel Harris took command.
12 December 1943 - 14 February 1944Lieutenant-Colonel F.H.H.B. Harris Returned to B Echelon for rest.
14 February 1944 - 19 February 1944Major P. Steuart-Fotheringham Lieutenant-Colonel Harris resumed command.
19 February 1944 - 22 February 1944Lieutenant-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 1944Major P. Steuart-Fotheringham


Of the 105 officers that can be identified as serving with 2nd Battalion Scots Guards from September 1943 to April 1944, 15 were killed in action, 25 were wounded, 5 died of wounds and 3 were taken prisoner of war.

These figures have been largely compiled from WE return forms with additional information from the war diaries, WO 417 casualty lists and available published sources.

For details of the officers see The War in Italy 1943 - 1945 - 2nd Battalion Scots Guards - Officers.


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 structure 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 company 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 where they replaced the casualties that the battalion had suffered at Anzio.

Major Steuart-Fothringham, 2/ic 2nd Battalion Scots Guards 


The following table is based on the WE returns in the war diaries.  The war establishment for the Scots Guards at this time (WE II/233/2) comprised of 36 officers and 817 NCOs and ORs, for a total of 853 personnel. The WE included the Regimental Medical Officer and attached personnel such as cooks and mechanics and these 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 returns for September and October 1943. Strength returns for these months mentioned below are from the 201st Guards Brigade daily returns. The figures marked with * are likely to include the 1st Line Reinforcements.

DateOfficersORsOfficer +/-OR +/-
10 Sep 4330700-6-117
17 Sep 4327569-9-238
24 Sep 4334769-2-48
01 Oct 4340944+4+127*
08 Oct 4341888+5+71*
15 Oct 4343907+7+90*
23 Oct 4337813+1-4
29 Oct 4333835-4+18
06 Nov 4331810-5-7
13 Nov 4329730-7-87
20 Nov 4325653-11-164
27 Nov 4332727-4-90
04 Dec 4332739-4-78
11 Dec 4333696-3-21
18 Dec 4340673+4-144
25 Dec 4340790+4-27
01 Jan 4434759-4-58
08 Jan 4438690+2-127
15 Jan 4440733+4-84
22 Jan 4435710-1-107
29 Jan 4435780-1-37
05 Feb 44367540-63
12 Feb 4433759-3-58
19 Feb 4433740-3-77
26 Feb 4435724-1-93
04 Mar 4434695-4-122
11 Mar 44367100-107
18 Mar 4425321-11-496
28 Mar 4424273-12-544

Awards and Decorations

The following were the number of decorations awarded to 2nd Battalion Scots Guards during its service in Italy from September 1943 to April 1944 . This is based on the citations available in the National Archives and potentially the numbers could be higher..

AwardNumber Awarded
Bar to Military Cross1
Distinguished Conduct Medal2
Military Cross6
Military Medal7
NumberNameAwardLG DateDate of Action
2700715L/Sjt. R. BalcombeMilitary Medal 21 Dec 44Periodic
72673T/Capt. A.M. BalfourMilitary Cross24 Feb 4423 Oct 43
2696194Gdsmn. W.L. ChadwickDistinguished Conduct Medal26 Feb 4411 Sep 43
100833W/Capt. R.L. CokeMilitary Cross 23 Mar 4409 Nov 43
2695734Gdsmn. G.H. ConnorMilitary Medal 23 Mar 4410 Nov 43
240639T/Capt. R.S. DollardMilitary Cross25 Feb 4410 Sep 43
2697310Gdsmn. R.S. DougallMilitary Medal 29 Jun 4404 Feb 44
247094WS/Lt. W.A. ElliottMilitary Cross27 Jan 4411 Sep 43
247095Lt. A.R.H. ErskineMilitary Cross 21 Dec 44Periodic
207675WS/Lt. D.J. Fyfe-JamiesonMilitary Cross28 Jan 4410 Sep 43
2695416Gdsmn. J. HutchisonMilitary Medal30 Jan 4411 Sep 43
2694174Sjt. W. LumsdenDistinguished Conduct Medal29 Jan 4410 Sep 43
2694174P/A/W.O.II W. Lumsden Bar to Military Cross23 Mar 4410 Dec 43
2700486P/L/Cpl. J. McIlhargeyMilitary Medal 24 Aug 44Periodic
2700544Gdsmn. R. PerksMilitary Medal 20 Jul 4423 Jan 44
2696495Gdsmn. H.J. SpraggonMilitary Medal 23 Mar 4410 Nov 43

The individual citations for the awards can be read here - 2nd Battalion Scots Guards - Award Citations - The War in Italy 1943 - 1945.

National Archives Files

The following are the files in the UK National Archives that cover the service of 2nd Battalion Scots Guards during its service in Italy from September 1943 to April 1944.

TNA File NameDescriptionDates
WO 169/101702 Scots Guards1943 January - December
WO 170/13532 Scots Guards1944 January - April

The following are the currently transcribed war diaries.

War DiaryTNA File Name
2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary September 1943WO 169/10170
2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary October 1943WO 169/10170
2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary November 1943WO 169/10170
2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary December 1943WO 169/10170
2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary January 1944WO 170/1353
2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary February 1944WO 170/1353
2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary March 1944WO 170/1353
2nd Battalion Scots Guards War Diary April 1944WO 170/1353


The following published literature includes coverage of 2nd Battalion Scots Guards during its service in Italy from September 1943 to April 1944.

Erskine, D. The Scots Guards 1919-1945. London: Wlliam Clownes & Sons Ltd., 1956. 624 pp.