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* The Highland Light Infantry were told during the Second World War to expect a draft of 200 men draft from the Royal Irish Fusiliers, a regiment based in Northern Ireland: The entire draft was made up of men from Yorkshire. During the First World War The Territorial Force's 5th Seaforth Highlanders, in peacetime recruited in Caithness and Sutherland, was brought up to combat strength with a very large contingent of men men recruited in Manchester.
* Donald MacLeod from Skye claimed in a ghost-written book to have joined the Royal Scots around 1701 and retired from the army in 1776 at the age of 88 following a career which also saw him serve in the Black Watch and the Fraser Highlanders.
* The only ostensibly Scottish Catholic regiment I can think of would be the Glengarry Fencibles (1795-1802) which was raised from the mainly Catholic Macdonnells of western Inverness-shire and their neighbours for home defence duties. Many of its members went to Canada en masse after the regiment was disbanded and established Glengarry County in what is now Ontario.
* The grouping of buttons in threes on a scarlet tunic suggest it belonged to a soldier from the Scots Guards.
The counties assigned to the various Scottish regiments as recruiting areas by the time of the First World War were as follows –
Royal Scots – City of Edinburgh, County of Edinburgh (Mid Lothian), Haddingtonshire (East Lothian) and Linlithgowshire (West Lothian)and Peeblesshire.
Royal Scots Fusiliers – Ayrshire
King’s Own Scottish Borderers – Berwickshire, Drumfrieshire, Roxburghshire, Kirkcubrightshire, and Selkirkshire.
Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) – Lanarkshire and Parts of Glasgow
Black Watch – Fife, Forfarshire and Perthshire.
Highland Light Infantry – Glasgow.
Seaforth Highlanders – Caithness, Cromarty, Elginshire, Nairnshire, Orkney, Ross-shire, Sutherland.
Gordon Highlanders – Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, Shetland and Kincardineshire.
Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders - Inverness-shire.
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – Argyllshire, Bute-shire, Clackmananshire, Dumbartonshire, Kinross-shire, Renfrewshire and Stirlingshire.
The Royal Scots Greys and the Scots Guards recruited from across Scotland.
"Cowan's retelling of the Scottish experience in Canada does an excellent job of giving an overview of the complex and compelling history of the country. Anyone who still clings to the old notion that Canada's history is boring (particularly in comparison to the Revolutionary beginnings and Wild West mythology of our southern neighbour) would have their eyes opened by reading Cowan's book." - Suite 101.
“entertaining and playful” - Celtic Connection magazine.
“Paul Cowan provides wonderful accounts of the explorers, settlers, rogues, politicians and charlatans who were Canada’s Scots.” - The Daily Gleaner.
“well written and informative” - Andrew Hinson, University of Guelph.
“This journalistic venture into Canadian history is a great success. Well written and humorous, it introduces the reader to well known and lesser known figures who, indeed, were the makers of Canada. Sir John A MacDonald, Colonel James F Macleod, Alexander MacKenzie and many more are well depicted in this fine book” - Alberta History
Who out there knows which war the 78th Fraser Highlanders fought in? Or where Keith’s Highlanders fought their battles? Whatever happened to the 70th Glasgow Lowland Regiment?
I’m guessing that some of you do – but my point is that history is not only written by the winners, it’s written by the survivors. The exploits of the Black Watch, Royal Scots, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Cameronians are all reasonably well known. But what about the regiments that were raised and disbanded in the space of a couple of years? Or the Scottish regiments which morphed into Irish or English regiments? Some of these Scottish regiments had fighting records which equalled the Black Watch or the Camerons, but they have been consigned to the dustbin of history.
The British Government has always tried to keep the Army as small as possible – often in reality too small to do all the jobs required of it. The “can-do” attitude and making do with inferior equipment that has characterised the British Army has often meant men, and these days women, have died unnecessarily – a look at Iraq and Afghanistan shows nothing has changed.
That desire to keep the Army small – also a legacy of a fear of military coup which dates back to the days of Cromwell – meant that many regiments were formed in wartime and quickly disbanded when peace was restored. The British Army is usually regarded as being established in the reign of Charles II. One of the first Scottish regiments to be raised, Lockhart's, only existed from 1672 until 1674. Charles wanted it to fight against the Dutch and to be trained as marine battalion. The number of Gaelic-speaking Highlanders in its ranks made it difficult for the regiment to work with English speaking sailors. Most of the regiment was captured by the Dutch and while many of officers were taken to the Netherlands as prisoners, most of the rank-and-file were dumped back on the south coast of England. The regiment was re-raised but disbanded about three months later when war against the Dutch ended in February 1674.
King William III had 15 Scottish regiments fighting for him in Europe between 1694 and 1697. Earlier, in 1692, no fewer than 11 of the 25 British regiments King William sent to Europe were Scots.