Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

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Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Cameronians.gif
Cap Badge of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Active 1 July 1881 – 14 May 1968
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Rifles
Size 2 Regular battalions
2 Militia battalion
2 - 4 Territorial and Volunteer battalions
Up to 12 hostilities-only battalions
Part of Lowland Brigade
Garrison/HQ Hamilton Barracks, Hamilton (1881–1947)
Winston Barracks, Lanark (1947–1968)
Nickname(s) (from the 1960's) The Poison Dwarfs. Not a popular nickname as it was derogatory.
March Quick – Within a mile of Edinburgh Toon
Slow – The Garb of Old Gaul
Commanders
Colonel in Chief HM King Gustaf VI Adolf
Colonel of
the Regiment
Major General Henry Templar Alexander, CB CBE DSO
Insignia
Tartan The Douglas tartan

The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) was a rifle regiment of the British Army, the only regiment of rifles amongst the Scottish regiments of infantry. It was formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 26th Cameronian Regiment and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry. In 1968, when reductions were required, the regiment was the only regiment that decided to disband rather than amalgamate with another regiment. It can trace its roots to that of the Cameronians, later the 26th of Foot, who were raised in 1689. The 1881 amalgamation coincided with the Cameronian's selection to become the new Scottish Rifles.

Memorial on Spion Kop
1st Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) on the Western Front, 1914 - 1915
Cameronians Memorial at Douglas, South Lanarkshire

History[edit]

The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) was formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 26th Cameronian Regiment and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry.[1] After the amalgamation, the 1st Battalion preferred to be known as "The Cameronians" while the 2nd preferred to be known as "The Scottish Rifles". The 2nd Battalion saw action at the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900 during the Second Boer War.[2]

A 3rd, Militia battalion (formerly the 2nd Royal Lanark Militia), was embodied in May 1900 for service during the Second Boer War. More than 600 men embarked for South Africa in April 1901, and returned in June 1902, following the end of hostilities.[3]

First World War[edit]

Regular Army[edit]

The 1st Battalion landed at Le Havre as part of the 19th Brigade, which was an independent command at that time, in August 1914 for service on the Western Front.[4] The battalion famously refused to play football or otherwise fraternise with the enemy on Christmas Day 1914.[5] The 2nd Battalion landed in France as part of the 23rd Brigade in the 8th Division in November 1914 for service on the Western Front.[4]

Territorial Force[edit]

The 1/5th Battalion landed at Le Havre as part of the 19th Brigade in the 6th Division in November 1915 for service on the Western Front.[4] The 1/6th Battalion landed at Le Havre as part of the 23rd Brigade in the 8th Division in March 1915 for service on the Western Front.[4] The 1/7th Battalion and the 1/8th Battalion landed in Gallipoli as part of the 156th Brigade in the 52nd (Lowland) Division in June 1915; after evacuation from Gallipoli in January 1916 the battalions moved to Egypt and then landed at Marseille in April 1918 for service on the Western Front.[4]

New Armies[edit]

The 9th (Service) Battalion landed at Boulogne-sur-Mer as part of the 27th Brigade in the 9th (Scottish) Division in May 1915 for service on the Western Front.[4] The 10th (Service) Battalion landed at Boulogne-sur-Mer as part of the 46th Brigade in the 15th (Scottish) Division in July 1915 for service on the Western Front.[4] The 11th (Service) Battalion landed at Boulogne-sur-Mer as part of the 77th Brigade in the 26th Division in September 1915 for service on the Western Front but sailed for Salonika in November 1915.[4]

Inter-war[edit]

The 1st Battalion was deployed to Ireland in 1919 during the Irish War of Independence and then went to India in 1931 while the 2nd Battalion was deployed to Mesopotamia in 1919 and then went to India in 1922.[6]

Second World War[edit]

The 1st Battalion, which had been in India at the start of the war, was deployed to Burma as part of the 1st Burma Brigade in the 39th Indian Division in 1942 and saw action in the Burma Campaign.[7]

Infantrymen of the 2nd Battalion, Cameronians climbing a track in mountainous terrain, 21 November 1943.

The 2nd Battalion was deployed to France as part of the 13th Infantry Brigade in the 5th Division within the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in September 1939 and, after taking part in the Dunkirk evacuation in June 1940, saw action in the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943 and the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943 and, after fighting in the Italian Campaign, serving in both the Moro River and Anzio campaigns until July 1944, took part in the North West Europe Campaign in early 1945, ending in May.[8]

The 6th and 7th Battalions, both Territorial Army battalions, were deployed to France as part of the 156th Infantry Brigade in the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division to provide cover for the withdrawal of troops of the British Expeditionary Force; after the Normandy landings in June 1944, the battalion took part in the North West Europe Campaign in late 1944 and in 1945.[9][10]

The 9th Battalion took part in the Normandy landings as part of the 46th (Highland) Infantry Brigade in the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division in June 1944 and saw action in the North West Europe Campaign in late 1944 and in 1945.[11]

Post-war[edit]

In 1948, along with every other infantry regiment of the British Army, the Cameronians was reduced to a single regular battalion. The 1st Battalion which had been repeatedly decimated in the Burma campaign was placed in suspended animation and the 2nd Battalion was renamed the 1st. It was deployed to Malaya in 1950 during the Malayan Emergency.[12] Under the reforms of the army in the 1967 Defence White Paper, which saw several regiments amalgamated, the Cameronians chose to disband rather than amalgamate with another in the Lowland Brigade. The 1st Battalion, The Cameronians was disbanded on 14 May 1968 at Douglas Castle, near Douglas, South Lanarkshire in the presence of the Duke of Hamilton, the Earl of Angus. Its recruiting area in Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway taken over by the King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Regimental Headquarters finally closed in 1987.[1]

Traditions[edit]

Every new member of the regiment was issued a Bible, as a nod to Richard Cameron, after whom the original 26th Foot was named and the regiment mounted an armed guard at the doors of the Kirk during religious services.[13] Soldiers wore a rifle green doublet with Douglas tartan trews as part of their full dress and No.1 dress uniforms.[14]

Battle honours[edit]

The regiment's battle honours included:[1]

  • Early wars: Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet, South Africa 1846-72, South Africa 1877-8-92, Relief of Ladysmith, South Africa 1899-1902
  • The Great War: Mons, Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914 '18, Aisne 1914, La Bassée 1914, Messines 1914, Armentières 1914, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Loos, Somme 1916 '18, Albert 1916, Bazentin, Pozières, Flers-Courcelette, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Arras 1917 '18, Scarpe 1917 '18, Arleux, Ypres 1917 '18, Pilckem, Langemarck 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Passchendaele, St Quentin, Rosières, Avre, Lys, Hazebrouck, Bailleul, Kemmel, Scherpenberg, Soissonnais-Ourcq, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenberg Line, Épéhy, Canal du Nord, St Quentin Canal, Cambrai 1918, Courtrai, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914-18, Doiran 1917 '18, Macedonia 1915-18, Gallipoli 1915-16, Rumani, Egypt 1916-17, Gaza, El Mughar, Nebi Samwil, Jaffa, Palestine 1917-18
  • Second World War: Ypres-Comines Canal, Odon, Cheux, Caen, Mont Pincon, Estry, Nederrijn, Best, Scheldt, South Beveland, Walcheren Causeway, Asten, Roer, Rhineland, Reichswald, Moyland, Rhine, Dreirwalde, Bremen, Artlenberg, North-West Europe 1940, '44-45, Landing in Sicily, Simeto Bridgehead, Sicily 1943, Garigliano Crossing, Anzio, Advance to Tiber, Italy 1943-44, Pegu 1942, Paungde, Yenagyaung 1942, Chindits 1944, Burma 1942 '44

Affiliations[edit]

Affiliations included:

Notable former members of the regiment[edit]

Also His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the ruler of the Sultantate of Oman, served with the Cameronians as a junior officer.[18]

The Cameronians Museum[edit]

The Cameronians Museum is located within the Low Parks Museum, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire.[19]

Memorials[edit]

Face 5 of the British memorial on Spion Kop lists the names of the soldiers from the Cameronians who died at the Battle of Spion Kop during the Second Boer War.[20] The Cameronians War Memorial in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow by Philip Lindsey Clark, unveiled on 9 August 1924, depicts men of the regiment manning a Lewis gun.[21] A monument commemorating both the founding of the regiment by the Earl of Angus in 1689 and its disbanding in 1968 can be found at Douglas, South Lanarkshire.[22] Also within the village is a statue of the Earl of Angus to commemorate the bicentenary of the raising of the regiment.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)". Regiments.org. Archived from the original on December 30, 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)". Anglo-Boer War. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "The Army in South Africa - The return of the Troops" The Times (London). Wednesday, 2 July 1902. (36809), p. 11.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  5. ^ "Scottish Rifles - the soldiers who refused to play ball at Christmas during First World War". The Telegraph. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  6. ^ "Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)". National Army Museum. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  7. ^ "1st Burma Division". Burma Star Association. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "2nd Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)". Wartime Memories Project. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "6th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)". Wartime Memories Project. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  10. ^ "7th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)". Wartime Memories Project. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  11. ^ "9th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)". Wartime Memories Project. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  12. ^ "Malayan Emergency 1948-1960". Cameronians. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  13. ^ "Lanarkshire connections". Cameronians. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  14. ^ "Doublet". Cameronians. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  15. ^ "Invitation to Major-General Haugh". South Lanarkshire Museum. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  16. ^ "World War 1 Photographs". History Links Museum. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37598. p. 2768. 13 June 1946. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  18. ^ Allen, p. 28–29, 34
  19. ^ "The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Collection - Low Parks Museum, Hamilton, Lanarkshire". Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  20. ^ "The British War Memorial and graveyard at the Battle of Spion Kop". Getty images. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  21. ^ "Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) War Memorial". Scottish Sculpture. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  22. ^ "Cameronians's Regimental Memorial". Visit Scotland. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  23. ^ "Cameronian Scottish Rifles 1689 - 1968, Presentation to Douglas Heritage Museum, June 2006". Douglas Community Council. Archived from the original on September 12, 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]