Look at the Rulebook description of the 'Solemn League and Covenant' card in 6.5. That covers the rules for the Scots.
" If Leven fights a Battle and loses or draws, his Activation is over as normal and he is kept off the map. He may attempt entry again on a later Activation in the same way."
Missed that last sentence. Thanks.
Not sure where the Meldrum RAQ reference is stated.
It must have come out, possibly from Lord Charles, some time ago. I copied the clarifications into my rule book. The 'Sir John Meldrum at Newark' para now reads "This card may be played against a Royalist Local Notable even though no Besieging Army is in place."
Free Bombardment gives a free activation to Bombard, it does not bypass the normal rules unless it says so.
So the card saves you from using an ops card for bombardment, fine. And I guess you still need the right number of brigades. But the 'no besieging army in place' still creates a question as I posed in para 2a of the OP.