At the start of World War 2, the 1st Battalion, stationed in Aldershot, embarked for France as part of The British Expeditionary Force (BEF). In May 1940 they fought hard and stubbornly throughout the retreat which, for most of the BEF, was to end with evacuation from Dunkirk. However, for the 1st Battalion, forming part of a perimeter defence for the beaches, and after a desperate defence across the Bethune-Merville road, at Le Paradis, where they suffered further heavy losses, the remnants were taken prisoner and very few escaped home. The 1st Battalion was reconstituted immediately after Dunkirk and moved to India in April 1942 from where it took part in the first Arakan campaign in Burma in 1943, the Battle for Kohima in 1944 and then the advance down to Mandalay.
The 2nd Battalion, based in Hong Kong, saw action when the Japanese attacked in December 1941. Here too The Royal Scots fought heroically but the result was inevitable and the whole Battalion had been killed, wounded or were captured by the time the Colony surrendered on Christmas Day. A new 2nd Battalion (originally the 12th) was formed in May 1942 and, after service in the Gibraltar garrison, moved to Italy in July 1944 then to Palestine in January 1945.
The 7th/9th and 8th Battalions fought in North West Europe after D-Day.
Fortunately the numbers killed or who died in World War 2, at a total of 1,241, were a fraction of the 11,213 in World War 1. Of these 243 were from 2RS who died or were killed (murdered) as POWs of the Japanese, or on the Lisbon Maru, after the loss of Hong Kong. There were, of course, only 4 (active) Service Battalions in World War 2 (or 6 if the reconstituted 1 and 2 RS are included) against the 18 in World War 1, and numbers of those who served as Royal Scots were probably around 10,000 compared with over 100,000 in World War 1. The Regiment was awarded 39 Battle Honours in World War 2.
Further World War 2 statistics can be found at http://www.theroyalscots.co.uk/rs-in-ww2/.
When you go home, tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow, we gave our today.