IN the centre of the city an unassuming museum honours an ancient regiment and its heroes - with tales of Sir Winston Churchill and Holywood superstar David Niven.

Since 1959, the Royal Highland Fusiliers has had its headquarters in a building on Sauchiehall Street near Charing Cross.

A museum opened in the building in the 1980s and includes a wealth of information and artefacts about a regiment which has undergone a series of name changes since it came into existence in 1678 as the 21st (Mar Regiment).

Its present name came about in 1957 when the Defence Review resulted in 30 regiments amalgamating to form half that number.

The Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Highland Light Infantry came together and were renamed the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

The museum tells the stories of the officers and men who served in the regiment over three centuries.

It follows them around the world and in their own words tells of their deeds of long ago and of their adventures in the great wars of the 20th century.

The museum holds a unique collection of uniforms, paintings, medals, a library and an archive which portrays the life of the regiment from 1678 to the present day.

The regiment has been awarded over 200 battle honours, from Blenheim to the Gulf War, gained in every major and many minor conflicts, campaigns and theatres of war since its first engagement at the Battle of Walcourt in 1689 - a number unsurpassed by any other unit in the British Army.

Over the years, the heroes of the regiment have been awarded an astonishing 20 Victoria Crosses.

Recently one of those heroes had his bravery honoured with the placing of commemorative paving stones in Dumbarton where he was born and Cambuslang where he was a player with Cambuslang Rangers Football Club.

As an acting Lance Corporal with the Glasgow Highlanders, John Hamilton's battalion was under intense fire near the Ypres Road in Belgium causing difficulties keeping the front line supplied with ammunition.

On several occasions John carried and distributed ammunition ignoring the heavy fire from a multitude of snipers and machine guns.

He survived and after the war remained in the army reserve rising through the ranks. He ended WWII as a colonel in charge of an Italian prisoner of war camp in England.

John was made a Freeman of Dumbarton shortly after the war and it was agreed a commemorative stone should be laid in the town.

But as he spent most of his life in Cambuslang, the town successfully lobbied the UK government for a second commemorative stone making him probably the only serviceman to be honoured in two towns.

The Royal Highland Fusiliers is a proud regiment whose battle honours include the 1704 war of the Spanish Succession, Waterloo in 1815, the Crimean War in 1854 and both World War I and World War II.

The Royal Highland Fusiliers have also served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 1915 Sir Winston Churchill commanded the battalion and years later, a reluctant David Niven found himself in its ranks.

On graduating from Sandhurst in 1930 he requested assignment to the Argyll and Southern Highlanders or the Black Watch.

As his third choice he wrote "anything but the Highland Light Infantry" as they wore tartan trews rather than kilts.

Against his wishes, film star Niven was assigned to the Highland Light Infantry where he remained for two years although it is said he did not enjoy his time as his comrades had been alerted to his comment.

The Royal Highland Fusiliers has historical connections with much of Scotland but over the years its territorial allegiance moved westwards to Glasgow and Ayrshire reflecting the shift of Scotland's population.

In a couple of years the batallion's museum will move from its present base on Sauchiehall Street to new premises in phase two of the redevelopment of Kelvin Hall.

It is hoped many more people will take the opportunity to visit and enjoy everything the historical attraction has to offer.

Curator Joyce Steele said: "We cover the whole history of the regiment and have a lot of interesting exhibits including a display of silver and historical artefacts. There are also a lot of things from World War I and World War II.

"It is one of those places I like to call cluttered because there is so much to see you have to keep coming back for more."

The collection includes firearms, knives and swords, colours and flags, dress and insignia, decorations and medals, paintings, prints and drawings.

There are also sporting trophies, musical instruments, service records as well as memorabilia and souvenirs of service at home and abroad and a library and photographic collection of historic importance