The Lovat Scouts

When war broke out on 4th August 1914 the 1st and 2nd Regiments of the Lovat Scouts and their ponies mobilized at Beaufort. They joined the Highland Mounted Brigade at Huntingdon. The brigade commanded by Lord Lovat included the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry and the Inverness Battery, Royal Horse Artillery. In August 1915 it received orders to hand over the ponies to the Second Line and to prepare for service in the Mediterranean.

After a short time in the reserve trenches at Salt Lake, the Lovat Scouts took over a section of the front line trenches. Although trained as mounted yeomanry they proved to be highly effective in the infantry role, their sniping and observation skills being particularly effective. Like other regiments in the Dardanelles they suffered many cases of dysentery. When the decision was taken to evacuate Gallipoli, the Lovat Scouts and the Gurkhas were selected to provide the rearguard to cover the final withdrawal from Sulva Bay. Thanks to their scouting skills, the withdrawal was one of the most successful phases. In February 1916 they deployed into the Western Desert to operate against the Senussi.

The 10th (Lovat Scouts) Battalion landed at Solonika on the 20th October 1916 and joined 82 Brigade in the 27th Division. The battalion’s skill at sniping, observation and fieldcraft, and it’s aptitude for patrolling made it most valuable in the operations in the Struma Valley.

The Lovat Scouts (Sharpshooters) were formed by Lord Lovat in October 1916 with the intention of providing skilled observation on the battlefield, in the same way the Lovat Scouts had been used in the South African war.

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Such was the value of the particular skills of spying and reconnaissance patrolling, in which the Lovat Scouts has no equals on either the allied or the enemy side, that when the war ended in 1918 there were plans to allocate Lovat Scouts observer groups to every British division.

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