Glasgow Highlanders

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Glasgow Highlanders
Cap Badge of the Glasgow Highlanders
Active 1868–1973
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Infantry
Role Line infantry
Part of Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers 1868–1881
Highland Light Infantry 1881–1959
Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment) 1959–1967
52nd Lowland Volunteers 1967–1973
Garrison/HQ Glasgow
Motto(s) Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No One Assails Me With Impunity) (Latin)
March Quick - Highland Laddie
Engagements Battle of Modder River
Battle of Festubert
Battle of Loos
Battle of the Somme
Battle of Arras
Battle of Passchendaele
Battle of Normandy
Battle of the Scheldt
Operation Plunder
Tartan MacKenzie Tartan

The Glasgow Highlanders was a former infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Territorial Force, later renamed the Territorial Army. The regiment eventually became a Volunteer Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment) in 1881. The regiment saw active service in both World War I and World War II. In 1959 the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment) was amalgamated with the Royal Scots Fusiliers to form the Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment). The Glasgow Highlanders was later amalgamated into the 52nd Lowland Volunteers in 1967.


The regiment was originally formed as the 105th Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, also known as the Glasgow Highland Regiment, which was formed in 1868 by a group of Highland migrants to Glasgow as part of the civilian Volunteer Force and initially wore the uniform and based its cap badge upon that of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment). It consisted of 12 companies. The various battalions of the Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers eventually became volunteer battalions of either the Highland Light Infantry or the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) after the Childers Reforms of 1881, with the 105th becoming part of the former, and renumbered as the '10th Lanarkshire Volunteer Rifles', which was changed to the '5th (Glasgow Highland) Volunteer Battalion' in 1887. The personnel were based at Greendyke Street drill hall near Glasgow Green and were distinctive because they continued to wear their kilts in contrast to the rest of the HLI, who wore trews. The 5th Battalio, later the 9th Battalion, Glasgow Highlanders, always wore the Government (Black Watch) tartan and their own cap badge, and never wore the Mackenzie tartan as the rest of the HLI.

Detachments were sent to South Africa during the Second Boer War and earned the battalion its first battle honour, for service on the Modder River.

Territorial Force and the Great War[edit]

In 1908 the unit became the 9th (Glasgow Highland) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, when they became part of the Highland Light Infantry Brigade, attached to the Lowland Division, in the new Territorial Force. In 1915, the division would become the 52nd (Lowland) Division and the brigade the 157th (Highland Light Infantry) Brigade respectively.

During the Great War of 1914-18 another two home-based battalions were recruited, one of which was a Bantam battalion,[citation needed] which were used to supply manpower to the 1st Battalion in France, who served with distinction with the Highland Light Infantry under the 2nd Division at the battles of Festubert and Loos. In May 1916 the battalion was transferred to the 33rd Division and fought at the Somme (at High Wood), Arras and the Third Battle of Ypres. After the end of the war, the Glasgow Highlanders were disbanded along with the rest of the Territorial Force. The story of the battalion in the Great War would later be dramatised in the 1995 Bill Bryden play, The Big Picnic, starring Jimmy Logan.

Glasgow Highlanders training in trench warfare A striking photograph giving an excellent Idea of the lay of a line of trenches. It will be seen that trenches can only be taken Insections It is not a question of wresting a trench from the enemy and enfilading hundreds of yards of front with machine-guns. The zigzag construction necessitates the use of hand-grenades to dislodge occupants from each section In turn .

Territorial Army and the Second World War[edit]

In 1920, the Territorial Force was re-established as the Territorial Army, and the Glasgow Highlanders re-raised a single battalion. It later moved to a new Headquarters, (in what became known as Walcheren Barracks) in Maryhill in 1935.

Still part of the 157th Infantry Brigade of 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division, the 1st Battalion was sent overseas to France in 1940 as part of the Second British Expeditionary Force (see Operation Ariel) to cover the withdrawal of the BEF being evacuated from Dunkirk. With the rest of the division, the 1st Battalion spent the next four years training in the United Kingdom and, from May 1942 until June 1944, was trained in mountain warfare and later in airlanding operations. In early October 1944 the 52nd Division was sent to Belgium, coming under command of the First Canadian Army, and saw service most notably during the capture of Walcheren Island during the Battle of the Scheldt.

Infantrymen of the 2nd Battalion, Glasgow Highlanders, 15th (Scottish) Division, with Churchill tanks of the 6th Guards Tank Brigade, near Moergestel, 26 October 1944.

In the spring and summer of 1939, the Territorial Army was ordered to be doubled in size, in order to meet the threat of Nazi Germany. As a result, the 1st Battalion raised a duplicate unit, the 2nd Battalion which was assigned to the 46th (Highland) Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division. With the division, the 2nd Battalion remained in the United Kingdom until it was sent overseas, to France, in June 1944. The battalion fought in the Battle of Normandy in Operation Epsom and the Second Battle of the Odon, followed by Operation Bluecoat and the subsequent Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine. The battalion later played a small part in Operation Market Garden, later taking part in Operation Veritable and crossing the Rhine in Operation Plunder, finally advancing into Germany in the Western Allied invasion of Germany. During Operation Epsom in late June 1944 the battalion sustained over 200 casualties in a single day.


In 1949 the unit was redesignated the '1st Battalion, The Glasgow Highlanders, The Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment)' and in 1959 transferred from the Highland Light Infantry to the new Royal Highland Fusiliers Regiment without a change of title. In 1967, with the formation of the Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve (TAVR), the battalion laid up its colours and was amalgamated with the other TA battalions of Regiments in the Lowland Brigade, which were reformed as companies in three new TAVR battalions.

The name of the Glasgow Highlanders was initially carried on through 'HQ (Glasgow Highlanders) Company' of the 52nd Lowland Volunteers and 'C (Glasgow Highlanders) Company' of the 3rd (Territorial) Battalion, The Royal Highland Fusiliers. With the disbandment of the latter in 1969, it was only carried on by 'HQ (Glasgow Highlanders) Company' of the 1st Battalion, 52nd Lowland Volunteers. It later changed its affiliation to The 'Royal Highland Fusiliers' in 1973, thus formally ending the existence of a Glasgow Highlanders unit within the Territorial Army. The Glasgow Highlanders' name was continued by a platoon of the Army Cadet Force, attached to 52nd Lowland Regiment. However in 2007, this ACF unit changed its affiliation to 52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and became F Platoon RHF (Maryhill). In May 2014, following a request by the Detachment Commander, the unit title was amended to F Platoon RHF (Glasgow Highlanders) to maintain historic links. Members of Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities Officer Training Corps also maintain its traditional links to the Glasgow Highlanders through the continued use of the dark green glengarry with appropriate orders of dress.

See also[edit]



  • Weir, Alec (2005). Come on Highlanders!: The Glasgow Territorials in the Great War. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-4230-4. 

External links[edit]