Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders



It was formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 91st (Princess Louise's Argyllshire) Regiment and the 93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment as outlined in the Childers Reforms. The regiment was one of the six Scottish line infantry regiments, and wears a version of the Government Sett (Government No.2A) as its regimental tartan. It also had the largest cap badge in the British Army. The uniform included the Glengarry as its ceremonial headress.

At the Childers reform amalgamation the Argyll and Sutherland Highlander' already had a well-earned reputation for valour in the face of the enemy, most notably the 93rd (later 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) during the Crimean War. Here, the 93rd earned the sobriquet of "The Fighting Highlanders" and carried with it the status of having been the original "Thin Red Line". This title was bestowed following the action of the 93rd at Balaklava on 25 October 1854 in which this single battalion alone stood between the undefended British Army base at Balaklava and four squadrons of charging Russian cavalry. The 93rd, under the command of Sir Colin Campbell, not only held steady, but for the first time in the history of the British Army, broke a large cavalry charge using musket fire alone, without having been formed into a square.

This action was witnessed by The Times correspondent, William Howard Russell, who reported that nothing stood between the Russian cavalry and the defenceless British base but the "thin red streak tipped with a line of steel of the 93rd" a description immediately paraphrased and passed into folklore as "The Thin Red Line".[5] Later referred to by Kipling in his evocative poem "Tommy", the saying came to epitomise everything the British Army stood for. This feat of arms is still recognised by the plain red and white dicing worn on the cap band of the A and SH Glengarry bonnets.[6]

The 1st Battalion arrived in the Cape in November 1899 and formed part of the 3rd or Highland Brigade. The Argylls played leading roles in the Battle of Modder River, the Battle of Magersfontein, the Battle of Paardeberg and in an action at Roodepoort, immediately preceding the Battle of Doornkop. In June 1900, the battalion was transferred to a new brigade under Brigadier General George Cunningham. They operated around Pretoria and from April 1901, in the Eastern Transvaal. Sections of Argylls formed parts of the 2nd and 12th Battalions Mounted Infantry and a detachment, along with the Black Watch, formed an escort for Captain J E Bearcroft's naval guns during the advance to Pretoria.

Photo Ramsay


Scotts Guards