The Regiment was formed by Royal Warrant
at Edinburgh Castle on 18th March 1689 as the Earl of Leven's or
Edinburgh Regiment of Foot.
The Regiment was raised to protect Edinburgh
from the threat of armed resistance by Catholic rebels following
the establishment of the protestant King William III (William of
David, the third Earl of Leven, who commanded
the regiment, was a Scottish expatriate who had landed with William
at Torbay in 1688. His father, the first Earl Leven, Alexander Leslie,
(1580-1660) commanded the Scottish army that fought on the side
of Parliament in the English Civil War and took the surrender of
King Charles I at Newark, Nottinghamshire in May 1646.
After six redesignations but
no amalgamations the Regiment was redesignated
as The King's Own Scottish Borderers on 1st May 1887 and has remained
as such ever since.
After formation the regiment served in Scotland
including fighting at Killiecrankie on 27th July 1689 where the
Regiment and Hasting's Regiment (now the Somerset Light Infantry)
were described as saving the honour of the Army.
In 1691 the Regiment joined the army in Ireland
(siege of Ballymore, assault on Athlone, battle of Aughrim, sieges
of Gallway and Limerick), and later Flanders for the 1692 War of
the League of Augsburg where it participated at Steenkirk, Landen,
and the 1695 Siege of Namur - the Regiment's first
The Regiment returned to Edinburgh following
the Peace of Ryswick and remained there for 13 years during the
reign of Queen Anne.
the rebellion of 1715 the Regiment fought at the indecisive battle
of Sheriffmuir. The Regiment then spent time abroad including:
- Participating in the Vigo expedition of 1719
- Being one of the regiments involved in defeating
Spaniards at the siege of Gibraltar in 1727-8
- Fontenay in May 1745
Later in 1745, for the last time, Stuart factions
in Scotland raised a rebellion, the famous 'Forty-Five' and the
Regiment returned to take part in the battle of Culloden.
The Regiment fought at the glorious battle of
Minden on 1st August 1759 where six Regiments of
British Infantry, some 2,000 men in total, advanced alone against
10,000 crack French Cavalry and defeated them. For their prowess
at Minden, the Regiment (and the 12th, 20th, 23d, 37th, and
51st) were granted leave to carry a laurel wreath on their colours
and equipment. Also on Minden day each year the men wear roses in
their Glengarries from the tradition that at Minden the regiments
marched through flower-gardens, and most of the men wore roses as
they went into action.
Minden they continued at the battles of Warburg, Campen, Fellinghausen
Uncharacteristically, and along with some others
the Regiment served as Marine Infantry for a period commencing 1794.
1st Battalion took part in the South African War, winning the battle
honours of "Paardeberg" and "South Africa 1900-1902".
It also won its first Victoria Cross when Lieutenant Coulson was
awarded it for gallantry at Lambrechtfontein.
At the outbreak of the First World War the 1st
Battalion was in India and the 2nd in Ireland. The 2nd was
among the first units to come to grips with the enemy, playing a
heroic part in the retreat from Mons in 1914 including the desperate
battle of Le Cateau, in the so-called Battle of the Marne, and on
the Aisne. In the hard fighting around La Bassee and Neuve
Chapelle it played a leading part and other Battalions, newly raised
for the war, went to France as 1915 wore on. In September
1915, at the battle of Loos, Piper Daniel Laidlaw of the 7th Battalion
won one of the most famous VC's of all time for playing his pipes
up and down the trench during a critical moment of the fight.
The Regiment was represented at the Somme in 1916, at Arras and
Vimy Ridge in 1917, and in the desperate fighting in the spring
of 1918. Three other VC's were won, one in the 5th Battalion,
and two in the 1st.
The 1st Battalion returned from India in time to land at "Y"
Beach in Gallipoli at dawn on Sunday 24th April 1915. Other
landings met with great success and the "Y" Beach operation
was abandoned after 34 hours ashore during which 296 officers and
men were killed or wounded. The 4th and 5th Battalions also
fought in Gallipoli losing 800 men in one attack, and later in Palestine
before going, like the 1st, to Flanders.
Two notable landmarks in the history of the Regiment occurred before
the Second World War. The first was the appointment
of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester, daughter of the
7th Duke of Buccleugh, as the first Colonel in Chief. The
second was a remarkable parade in Edinburgh in 1939 to commemorate
the 250th anniversary of the Raising of the Regiment. The
2nd Battalion was abroad, but the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th were
all represented. Led by the massed Pipe Bands and exercising
their privilege of marching with bayonets fixed and Colours flying,
they marched from Holyrood house to the Mound where Her Royal Highness,
supported by the 13th Earl of Leven and Melville, took the salute.
Thirty-seven days later Britain was at war again.
The Regiment were involved in campaigns throughout
Burma and in the Battles of Dunkirk, D-Day and Arnhem.
The 1st Battalion was early on the continent
and fought its way stubbornly back to Dunkirk, landing in Normandy
in 1944 and amply revenged itself before reaching Hamburg around
VE Day. The 2nd fought for three years in Burma. The
4th and 5th Battalions were in the 52nd Lowland Division, which
trained as mountain troops. They landed on the Island of Walcheren
and fought in the assault on the island. The 6th Battalion
shared the fortunes of the 15th Scottish Division, fighting across
three countries into Germany. The 7th was dropped at Arnhem
and suffered its full share of the heavy casualties
In April 1951 the 1st Battalion sailed from Hong
Kong for Korea destined for hard fighting against the communist
forces. The month of October showed increased activity, and on 4th
November the enemy launched a ferocious attack heralded by a bombardment
at the rate of 100 shells per minute. The battle went on all night
against an enemy reckoned to outnumber the defenders by 10 to 1.
Our men held the ground and Private William Speakman won the VC.
The Battalion returned to Northern Ireland in December 1952 and
proceeded to Malaya in 1955. There they experienced three years
of jungle operations against Communist terrorists and assisted the
Civil Powers of Singapore. After a brief spell in Edinburgh the
Battalion served in Berlin from 1959 to 1961. A further short period
of duty in Edinburgh was followed by an arduous tour in Aden. The
Battalion had only been home for three months when it was flown
back to Aden amongst the burning rock and dust of the Radfan Mountains
in mid 1964. In 1965 and 1966 it was on operations in the jungles
The Battalion was called upon to serve in the Gulf War of 1991.
More recently the Battalion has done its share of tours in Northern
Ireland serving in South Armagh and Belfast. They have been honoured
with many awards for their service. Currently (Oct 2003) the Regiment
is based in the Maysan Province of Southern Iraq as part of OP TELIC
The Regiment had six intermediate designations
from its formation including an unsuccessful association with Sussex
- William, Earl Panmure's Regt of Foot (1 Dec
1747). Ranked 25th Regt
- 25th (Edinburgh) Regt of Foot (1751)
- 25th (Sussex) Regt of Foot (31 Aug 1782)
- 25th (The King's Own Borderers) Regt of Foot
(7 May 1805)
- 25th (The York) Regt of Foot (the King's Own
- The York Regt (King's Own Borderers) (1 July
- The King's Own Borderers (later in 1881)
veritate religionis confido
in the truth of my belief)
chosen by King George III and conferred on the Regiment when the
title was changed in 1805
vain without the Lord)
motto of the City of Edinburgh
2nd KOSB march to St Giles' Cathedral, Oct 1912 for the ceremony
of Laying-up the Colours.
- The pipers wear
the kilt of Royal Stewart tartan.