Scottish regiment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A Scottish regiment is any regiment (or similar military unit) that at some time in its history has or had a name that referred to Scotland or some part, thereof, and adopted items of Scottish dress. These regiments were and are usually a product of the British Empire, either directly serving the United Kingdom, serving as colonial troops, or later as part of Commonwealth country military establishments. Their "Scottishness" is no longer necessarily due to recruitment in Scotland nor any proportion of members of Scottish ancestry. Traditionally, Scottish regiments cultivate a reputation of exceptional fierceness in combat and are often given romantic portrayals in popular media. Within Scotland, itself, regiments of the Scottish Lowlands did not adopt as strong a "Scottish" (specifically Highland Scottish) character until the late Victorian Era.

Lowland Regiments[edit]

These generally predate the more widely known Highland regiments (see below). The senior Lowland regiment was the The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) which dates from 1633. The The Royal Scots Fusiliers and the The King's Own Scottish Borderers were subsequently raised in 1678 and 1689 respectively. Throughout the 17th, 18th and most of the 19th centuries these Scottish regiments served widely and with distinction. They did not however differ significantly in appearance or public perception from the bulk of the line infantry of the British Army. In 1881 the introduction of the Cardwell system of reforms provided the opportunity to adopt a modified form of Scottish dress for the Lowland regiments. Comprising doublets and tartan trews this gave the Lowlanders a distinctive identity, separate from their English, Welsh, Irish and Highland counterparts. The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) was created at the same time from the merging of two existing numbered regiments.[1]

Highland Regiments[edit]

The Eagle of the French 45th Ligne captured by the Royal Scots Greys. Waterloo, 1815

Many of these regiments are also known as "Highland regiments" due to their adopting of Highland dress. The original Highland regiments were raised in the 18th century with the object of recruiting rank and file solely from the Scottish Highlands. However due to the Highlands becoming extensively depopulated through the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Highland regiments of the British Army have witnessed a long-term decline in the proportion of recruits from the Highlands and have long recruited many Lowland Scots and others. The major 20th century exceptions to this rule were the First and Second World Wars, when many Highland men joined up. Around the time that the first Highland regiments were raised the Highlands had recently been a hotbed for several revolts against the establishment, namely the Jacobite Rebellions, so the loyalties of the Highlanders were often deemed suspect in the early history of the Highland regiments.

The first Highland regiment, the Black Watch was originally raised from clans openly loyal to the status quo to police the Highlands, which were deemed to be both rebellious and lawless by the contemporary British establishment. However, due to a pressing need for personnel in North America during the Seven Years' War, William Pitt the elder made the decision to raise new Highland regiments to fight in this imperial war. The war ended in victory and among other things, Canada was secured as a part of the British Empire, while the British East India Company's position in India was consolidated and expanded, both at the expense of the French. These Highland regiments were disbanded after the war, but other Highland regiments were later raised and, like the rest of the British Army, saw service in various wars including in the British colonisation of India and the Peninsular War. By the Victorian era the loyalty of the Highlanders was no longer suspect. Moreover perhaps due to Queen Victoria's well-known love for all things Scottish, in particular things pertaining to the Highlands, as well as the celebrated role of Highland regiments in Victorian conflicts such as the Crimean War and the putting down of the Indian Mutiny, the Highland regiments earned a reputation which influenced the mindset of Scottish regiments which are thoroughly Lowland in origin. Among other things, this resulted in the wearing of tartan by Lowland regiments which previously wore uniforms not clearly distinguishable from their Irish, Welsh and English counterparts. Also the world-wide popularity of the Great Highland Bagpipe owes much to the regimental bagpipe band present all over the world due to the stationing of Highland regiments throughout the British Empire and their role in many wars fought by Britain. Many extant Highland regiments that are not in the armed forces of the United Kingdom have formed formal honorary affiliations with Highland regiments therein.

Scottish Regiments of the British Army[edit]

Current Regiments[edit]

Lowland Line Infantry (Lowland Brigade)[edit]

Highland Line Infantry (Highland Brigade)[edit]

Former Yeomanry of Scotland[edit]

Current Yeomanry of Scotland[edit]

Scottish and Highland Regiments in other countries[edit]

Australia[edit]

Current[edit]

Former[edit]

Canada[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

South Africa[edit]

United States[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Major R.M. Barnes, "The Uniforms and History of the Scottish Regiments", page 282, Sphere Books 1972
  2. ^ a b "Register and Index of Scottish Regiments". Regiments.org (archived). Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 

See also[edit]