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 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.
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.
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.