Glad to be firmly back on Scottish soil, soldiers have returned to their Penicuik base after a six-month tour in Iraq.
The Royal Highland Fusiliers (2 Scots), The Royal Regiment of Scotland, paraded through Penicuik to mark their homecoming from six-month operational tours of Iraq, South Sudan and Cyprus.
The parade was accompanied by Cruachan IV, the mascot for the regiment, the pipes and drums of the 2nd Battalion and the band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
In Iraq, 2 SCOTS, bolstered with attached personnel from engineer and medical units, were based in four locations including Erbil and Menila in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and Taji and Besmaya, both on the outskirts of Baghdad.
Troops provided training and mentoring for Kurdish Security Forces including peshmerga and police units, preparing them to lead security operations in defeat of Da’esh (ISIS).
During their six-month tour in Iraq, 2 SCOTS worked alongside a vast range of European forces as well as the US army, living in close proximity with them.
And in South Sudan, the soldiers had a completely different role where they were providing security to a British Army Engineer Battlegroup assisting the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
In Cyprus, the regiment joined UN troops patrolling the green line. Established in 1964 the green line is a demilitarised “buffer” zone patrolled by the UN peacekeeping force set up after clashes between Greek and Turkish Cypriots at the time.
It was expanded greatly in 1974 after further tensions and now stretches for 300 kilometers separating the south, Republic of Cyprus, from the north region “Occupied Cyprus”.
The homecoming parade is part of a series which will see the battalion parading though towns and cities in the 2SCOTS traditional recruiting area – Penicuik, Ayr and Glasgow.
Almost 200 servicemen and women from the battalion, based at Glencorse Barracks, returned from Iraq in June after a similar training mission with Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga troops as part of Operation Shader.
The non-combat role was aimed at strengthening forces as they fight to remove Islamic State.
They provided the latest training in urban combat, marksmanship and countering improvised explosive devices to enable the ISF to counter ISIS threats in the region and any potential attacks from the bordering nations of Syria and Iran.
2 SCOTS lineage goes back to 1678 and the raising of a regiment by the Earl of Marr for service against the Covenanters.
A union of two separate regiments in 1959 – The Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Highland Light Infantry – formed the Royal Highland Fusiliers.
The Royal Regiment of Scotland is the senior line infantry regiment and only Scottish infantry regiment of the British army. It was formed on 28 March 2006, founded on the fighting heritage of historic Scottish infantry regiments.