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The Jockish Rifles

I think Edinburgh City Council is to be applauded for granting the freedom of the city to the 3rd Battalion of the Rifles. It may seem odd for the Scottish capital to honour an English battalion, but I think it reflects a healthy attitude that if you live in Scotland, you’re a Scot. The 3rd Rifles has been stationed in Edinburgh since 2003 Here in the Edmonton, the men and women of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry is regarded as a local regiment although it has only been based in the city since the mid-1990s. The PPCLI moved to Edmonton to form the core of the 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade when it was decided to concentrate the bulk of the Canadian army at three super bases. Anyway, back to the Rifles and Edinburgh. It’s good to see the city fathers taking an interest and pride in its military connections. The old King’s Own Scottish Borderers started life in 1689 as the Edinburgh Regiment and kept that name until 1782. That was the year that regiment suddenly became the Sussex Regiment. Legend has it that the regiment’s colonel Lord George Lennox, who lived in Sussex, felt a recruiting party sent to Edinburgh had been slighted and insulted by the city fathers and insisted on the name change. The KOSB regained its Scottish status in 1805, as the King’s Border Regiment, but narrowly avoided becoming an English Regiment in 1881 when it was decided to base it in Yorkshire. The regiment’s traditions are continued by the Royal Scots Borderers, otherwise known as the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (RRoS). Or is it the other way around? I’ve heard that many of the regiment’s officers believe the time has come to promote the corporate RRoS identity rather than harp on about the "traditional" regimental identities. Mind you, the Royal Scots Borderers is an amalgamation of the Royal Scots and the KOSB anyway. Only the 3rd Battalion of the RRoS has retained an identity which pre-dates 1959 - the Black Watch. The 5 RRoS is a special case, being reduced to a ceremonial company but retaining the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders moniker.

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