United Kingdom

Image shows Edinburgh Police during World War- I

Published by
Jason Miller

An old photograph in a heavy wooden frame shows 24 young men in uniform. At the bottom of the picture is written “Edinburgh City Police”. But these are not the uniforms of law officers; these were Lovat Scouts.

The regiment became renowned for excellent marksmanship and command of rugged terrain.

In the photograph, the men with the diced bonnets were in the front line regiment, i.e. the 1st/1st and 1st/2nd Lovat Scouts.

The rest are all Lovat Scouts too. If one has a look closely at the collar badges, one can see they are the same as the men at the back. These men were in the 2nd or 3rd Reserve Battalion.

“Both the 1st and 2nd Regiment of the Lovat Scouts were mobilised in August 1914 and proceeded to Huntingdon still as the Highland Mounted Brigade, where they undertook training and were part of the Home Defences at Skegness and Hunstanton.

“The 2/1st and 2/2nd were formed in 1914 to provide reinforcements for the First Line Regiments. These were mainly the men who had not chosen to volunteer for Overseas Service (Imperial Service).

They were eventually changed into a Cyclist Battalion in 1916 and based in the UK. However, they still provided drafts for the First Line Regiments and the Lovat Scouts Sharpshooters who served on the Western Front and Italy.

“The 3/1st and 3/2nd were raised in 1915 at Beauly as Reserves for the First and Second Line Regiments and were based at Aldershot. They were disbanded in 1917 and dispersed to the Second Line Regiments or the Third Reserve Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders.”

Although we know that Henry MacBeath joined Edinburgh City Police, he joined the Scottish Horse in WWI, not the Scouts. We also know of 11 local men who signed on with the Lovat Scouts in WWI.

Jason Miller

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