10 August 2012

Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard

Formed by Charles I [in 1633] to fight for France in the Thirty Years' War, the Royal Scots are the oldest regiment in the Regular Army. During a good-natured argument over seniority with the French Picardie regiment in the seventeenth century, the Scots claimed to be descended from the Roman unit that guarded Jesus' tomb. Not to be bettered, the French replied that had they been on guard duty instead, Jesus' body would not have gone missing. Thus [the Scots] gained the nickname 'Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard'.

- Nicholas Hobbes, Essential Militaria, London, 2003, p.146.

[Note that since this text was published the Royal Scots have been merged into the Royal Regiment of Scotland, which occurred in 2006 on the 373rd anniversary of its formation. The oldest regiment in continuous service in the Regular Army is now the Coldstream Guards, which was formed as George Monck's Regiment in 1650]
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