Nights out of bed (on operational deployments away from home barracks) Post-1945

Although the British Army, in the post-1945 period, has been engaged, almost constantly, on many operations, only three ‘wars’, Korea 1951-53, the Falklands Islands in 1982 and the Gulf War of 1991 have been recognised with the award of Battle Honours. While the 1st Battalion had arrived in Korea before the ceasefire was declared, it was not deployed on full operations, and, as such, did not earn the campaign or any individual Battle Honour. Those serving in the 1st Battalion at that time did, however, receive both the British and UN Korean War medals. The only Honours therefore earned since 1945 are from the Gulf War in 1991. These are Wadi El Batin and GULF 1991. The latter has been added to the Regimental Colour.

Apart from those wars for which Battle Honours have been awarded, there have been many campaigns or operational situations in which the Regiment has been involved since 1945 and for which, in some cases, a General Service Medal with one or more bars has been awarded. These have included Palestine (2RS 1945-46), the Canal Zone (1954-55), Cyprus (1955), Suez (1956), Radfan and South Arabia (1964-65) and, of course, Northern Ireland.

The 1st Battalion served on thirteen operational tours in Northern Ireland of which two were resident. These are listed below:

Belfast Mar-Jul 1970

Londonderry May-Jul 1971

Belfast Oct-Dec 1971

Belfast/Londonderry Jun-Aug 1972

South Armagh Dec 1975-Apr 1976

Belfast Feb-May 1980

Ballykinler (Resident) Mar 1981-Mar 1983

Belfast Dec 1987-Mar 1988

South Armagh Sep 1992-Mar 1993

South Armagh Nov 1995-Apr 1996

Fermanagh(part deployment) Jun-Dec 1997

South Armagh Mar-Aug 1999

Ballykelly (Resident) Aug 2000-Apr 2002

With the unaccompanied tours in Cyprus, after the Turkish invasion, from August 1974 – February 1975 and the Falkland Islands from March – July 1984, plus, of course the Gulf War from January – April 1991, a total of well over eight years, or 25%, were spent on operational deployment in the thirty – two years of ‘peace’ between 1970 and 2002. That figure does not include deployments away from Barracks on major exercises. In the years 1971-74 when the 1st Battalion was the British battalion in the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force(Land)(AMF(L)), the Battalion trained every winter in Norway and took part in a major NATO Exercise in Greece, Denmark or Norway every autumn, leading to a further 6-8 weeks away from barracks every year. In the years 1970-74 the Battalion had the dubious distinction of having the most separation of any battalion in the British Army. (Known, following studies into this and the resulting effect on enlistment, re-engagement and general morale, as ‘Nights out of Bed’).

The pace continued after the 1st Battalion’s return to Edinburgh in April 2002 with a deployment to Bosnia from September 2002-April 2003. This was followed by Iraq from November 2003-April 2004 and again from January-May 2006 where they were serving at the time of the merger into The Royal Regiment of Scotland on 28 March 2006.

In 1994 the Accumulated Service Medal was introduced to recognise the fact that many individuals had served for many tours in Northern Ireland or other theatres for which the General Service Medal 1962 with a clasp had been awarded. The qualifying period is thirty-six months of such service since 14 August 1969 – the start date for the award of the clasp ‘Northern Ireland’.