You learn something new every day


Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
I thought that I knew a fair amount about Scotland's senior cavalry regiment the Royal Scots Greys known today as the armoured Royal Scottish Dragoon Guards.
Like most Scots I knew about Ensign Ewart who captued a French regimental flag during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.A standard that now sits in the museum at Edinburgh Castle.I knew about the famous charge by the Greys at Waterloo with Highland infantry holding on to some of their stirrups.
I have passed a zillion times in Princes Street gardens in Edinburgh the equestrian statue of a Boer War vintage mounted Greys member that marks those who gave their lives with the regiment during the Anglo Boer War 1999-02.
But until April 18 2017 I did not know that the last Czar of Russia Nicholas II was made the regiments Colonel -in Chief by Queen Victoria as a wedding present to him in 1898 while visiting Scotland- making him the only Czar to be Colonel-in Chief of a British Army regiment.
This fact was revealed in a documentary about Scots contribution to Russian military history shown on BBC 2 and helmed by Scottish internationally renowned actor, Brian Cox, whose daughter lives in ST Petersburg while Cox has many friends among Russia's acting profession.
Cox also revealed military ties with Russia going back to Aberdonian General Gordon who was one of Tsar Peter the Great's favourite commanders.
Barclay De Tolly who fought Napoleon also had Scots ancesrty while Samuel Greig from just along the road in Fife where I am writng this was a leadng Russian navy Admiral in the 19th century.and Governor of Kronstadt.
Russia uses what we call the Scottish Saltire -a white cross on a blue background because Scotland and Russia's patron Saint is ST Andrew.
Finally, Cox revealed that officers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards still play in their mess events the tune ''God Bless Russia' which figures in the climax of the 1812 overture by Tchaikovsky-to honour thieir historic connection with Czar Nicholas II.
And here is a question for quiz compilers -''Who is the only Czar to be lilnked directly-via a British Army connection- to a number one Top of the Pops hit record in 1972?
Answer?- Nicholas II because in 1972 the pipe band of Czar Nicholas's's former regiment had an international hit with ''AMAZING GRACE''WHICH HIT NUMBER ONE IN BRITAIN.