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Above: Lieutenant Colonel Sir Peter Redford Scott Lang, VD of the 1st Fifeshire Royal Garrison Artillery in a cabinet photograph taken around 1900. The photograph was taken at Kirkcaldy Fife, Scotland. The photographer's address of "Kirkcaldy N.B." can be a bit misleading since it seems to imply a location in New Brunswick, Canada but actually stands for "North Britain" a rather archaic phrase mostly used in the 17th and 18th Centuries for Northern Britain and Scotland. By the time this photograph was taken the term was most often used in relation to the North British Railway.

In this photograph, Lang wears the Volunteer Officers' Decoration which was awarded to volunteer officers for 20 years of exemplary service. The award was first established by Royal Warrant in 1892. The recipient was allowed to use the post-nominal letters "VD". He was gazetted the decoration on 11 February 1898 and this photograph may have been taken to commemorate the event.

Cabinet Photograph
Robert Gibson Rettie - Photographer
Kirkcaldy Fife, Scotland
c. 1898

Peter Redford Scott Lang was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1850, the son of Robert Laidlow Lang and Barbara Turnbull Cochrane. A man of letters all of his adult life he was an
avid member of her Majesty's volunteer forces founding the No. 7 Company, 1st Fife Volunteer Artillery (St, Andrews University) of which he was in command from 1888 to 1897. He was first commissioned a Second Lieutenant  (Supernumerary) in the 1st Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Corps on 20 March 1878. He was knighted on 31 December 1920.

Lang's obituary appeared in the Wednesday 7 July 1926 edition of  The Scotsman and gives a complete outline of his life's achievements:


Sir Peter Redford Scott Lang, M.A., B.Sc., LL.D., formerly Regius Professor of Mathematics in the University of St Andrews, died at his residence, Mansefield, St Andrews, on Monday night. For a number of years he had been suffering from heart trouble, and his death was not unexpected. From 1879 till 1921 he held his Chair at St Andrew's with marked distinction, a long train of distinguished students passing through his classroom.

He was born in Edinburgh in 1850 and received his early education at the Edinburgh Institution. He next attended Edinburgh University and graduated M.A. in 1872. He was then appointed assistant to the late Professor P G Tait of the Chair of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh University. For six sessions he acted as Assistant Professor of Natural Philosophy. In 1879 he became Regius Professor of Mathematics at St Andrew's.

Throughout his long career as a Professor at St Andrew's, Sir Peter Scott Lang was unsparing in the work of the Senate and its committees, and he held practically every office which required special knowledge of University affairs. He was on several occasions Dean of the Faculty of Science, and also Dean of the Faculty of Arts. A keen volunteer, he founded the St Andrews University Battery and commanded it for many years. He held the rank of Colonel in the 1st Fifeshire Volunteers and T.F. University athletics had in him a strong supporter, and it was principally through his efforts that the various athletic clubs of the University were combined into an Athletic Union, an organization that has been of the greatest value in encouraging student athletics. The Students' Union, which has now become an important social institution in the life of the students, is in large measure indebted to his efforts for its existence, its embellishment, and its prosperity. A valuable work he performed for the University during the war was the compiling of its Roll of Honour, which was ultimately published in handsome book form.


Sir Peter Scott Lang was a devoted member of the Church of Scotland, and as a member of St Andrews Presbytery, he organized and superintended the carrying through of the scheme of
raising all the smaller livings in the Presbytery to a minimum of £300. The Presbytery honoured him for that work. He was a member of St Andrews Town Council about 40 years ago. An ardent Unionist in politics, he was for many years a leader of the party in the East of Fife and addressed many political meetings. He had been a member of St Andrews Conservative Club since its institution. In 1921 he was honoured with a Knighthood in recognition of his educational, military, and public services, and in 1922 the University of St Andrews conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. He was a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews. He is survived by Lady Scott Lang and a daughter.

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