Each year, Remembrance Day sees commemoration services at the many war memorials scattered throughout Ayrshire. The men and women whose names are inscribed on them served in a wide variety of units of the Armed Services, but one of those most prominently represented is the county’s regular infantry regiment, the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
The Royal Scots Fusiliers Memorial in Place de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Ayr, beside the County Buildings. The 1960 statue by Pilkington Jackson commemorates those of the regiment who fell in the Second World War.
The regiment was originally raised by the Earl of Mar in 1678. In 1751 it was numbered the 21st Regiment of Foot, and in 1877 it received the official title of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Soon after it was allocated a large part of south west Scotland as its recruiting area, but it was most closely associated with Ayrshire, Ayr Barracks having become the regimental depot and headquarters in 1873.
Uniforms of the regiment at different periods, as depicted in a regimental history published in 1895.
This extract from an 1896 Ordnance Survey map of Ayr shows the regimental depot at the Infantry Barracks near the harbour.
Ayr Barracks was renamed the Churchill Barracks in 1942, at the height of the Second World War, in honour of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. During the First World War he had for a time commanded the regiment’s 6th Battalion on the Western Front.
The 1902 South African War Memorial in Burns Statue Square, with its statue by Thomas Brock. It commemorates men of the Royal Scots Fusiliers who died in late nineteenth-century campaigns in Zululand, Sudan, Burma and India’s North West Frontier, as well as in the Boer War of 1899-1902.
A page from a recruiting brochure for the regiment produced shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. The photograph shows the parade ground at Ayr Barracks, with the headquarters building in the background.
In 1959 the RSF and the Highland Light Infantry were amalgamated to form the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the new regiment having its headquarters in Edinburgh. The Churchill Barracks in Ayr now became surplus to requirements, and the buildings were demolished in 1967. The Citadel Leisure Centre now occupies the site.
Read Full Post »