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"2/73rd Highlanders and 2/30th Cambridgeshire Regiment" Topic

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Tango0129 Jul 2023 5:01 p.m. PST

"The 73rd Highlanders were originally 2nd Battalion 42nd Royal Highlanders but became a separate regiment in their own right in 1786, before being reunited with the 42nd to become The Black Watch under the Childers reforms a century later. It is not perhaps surprising that, in both the Rotunda panorama and Henri Phillipotaeux's famous painting, the 73rd are shown in Highland dress…"





More in Waterloo in 20mm Blog



Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2023 11:54 p.m. PST

The artists of the time favoured the kilted look and almost any painting of the French cavalry assault shows some square in highland dress, even though all three such regiments were way over to the east of the chausse to Brussels.

42flanker30 Jul 2023 1:12 a.m. PST

The important detail omitted here, but noted in the blog, is that at its embodiment in 1786 the 73rd remained a Highland regiment- although Highland dress was effectively laid aside during service in India- but in 1809 along with six other Highland corps, they were converted to standard regiments of foot and surrendered their Highland identity. Hence the point of the comment in the OP.

PaulB30 Jul 2023 4:38 a.m. PST

Were squares side by side like that? Once cavalry got between them and the infantry started to blaze away then " friendly" fire would be a real hazard.

Brechtel19830 Jul 2023 9:36 a.m. PST

At Waterloo the infantry squares were deployed in a checkerboard arrangement.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2023 11:51 a.m. PST

Oh we have been assured that the final model will show then in a chequerboard pattern. This was purely for photography.

Even old Bondarachuk did get that right in the fillum.

Indeed the blog makes it clear that many a "Highland Regt" could appear at Waterloo other than in a kilt and bonnet.

Tango0130 Jul 2023 3:19 p.m. PST



42flanker01 Aug 2023 5:19 a.m. PST

many a "Highland Regt" could appear at Waterloo other than in a kilt and bonnet

@deadhead. Well, actually, not strictly true. Indeed, not at all, really. Not many.

Just the one Highland regiment appeared at Mont St Jean in trousers: The '71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)" who had been permitted to remain 'Highland' by name and to retain certain apurtenances commemorating their former status.

The other Highland regiments at Waterloo, 42nd RH, 79th and 92nd were, and remained kilted corps for the length of their independent existence and well beyond.

Since 1809, the 73rd had been a former Highland regiment.

Trockledockle02 Aug 2023 2:56 a.m. PST

The question of how Scottish the regiments that had lost Highland dress remained is an interesting one. I found information study on the number of Scots in each unit in 1820. Here is a summary in % terms. I've included the 42nd for comparison.

Unit % Scots Officers % Scots All ranks
72nd 33 66
73rd 17 10
74th 41 25
75th 46 52
91st 74 79
42nd 87 93

The population of Scotland was 10% of the UK population in this period.

These may not be accurate for the Peninsular to Waterloo period but I suspect that they are reasonably representative of the earlier period as recruitment was done by each regiment and they had their own preferences. The army had been reduced in size after 1815 so recruitment had probably stopped and ideally there would have been retention of the best soldiers.

Looking at the results, the 73rd looks roughly similar to the overall British population and probably can't be considered to be a Scottish regiment. The numbers of Scots in the 74th are also low but greater than the population. There was a relatively high number of Scots officers although this was true of the army as a whole.

The other three had a majority of Scots in the whole regiment. The 91st is interesting as nearly 80% were Scots- close to the 42nd. The 91st were involved in the Waterloo campaign albeit on the flank at Hal and suffered casualties in the pursuit through France. Although they wore the line uniform, they may have retained the Argyllshire regimental designation. Some sources say that they did while others say that it was restored in 1820. Either way it indicates a strong feeling that they considered themselves to be Scottish.

Calculon02 Aug 2023 5:54 a.m. PST

I remember reading a history of a Scottish regiment many years back, and when the Scots in that regiment became indignant at so many Englishmen joining they made it a requirement that any of the latter had to swallow a thistle, prickles first, and wash it down with plenty of whisky in order for them to be considered a proper member of the regiment. I'm afraid I can't remember the regiment – it may have been the 71st.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2023 9:53 a.m. PST

Good point about FORMER Highland Regts, who had lost their kilts and titles well before 1815

4th Cuirassier03 Aug 2023 2:43 a.m. PST

@ Calculon: there is a laughable inferiority complex built into such a ritual, if true. Imagine an English regiment having an initiation ceremony applicable only to Scotsmen! LOL!

It reminds me of a conversation I once heard at work between two Oxbridge graduates.

OXFORD GRADUATE: We call you 'Tabs'. What do you call us?

Calculon03 Aug 2023 5:30 a.m. PST

@4th – yes I think there was some complex psychology going on – apparently the English wanted to join because they though the kilts looked cool!

Trockledockle03 Aug 2023 3:20 p.m. PST

4th Cuirassier

I lived in England for nearly 7 years and was frequently called a manky Scots git.

The Oxford -Cambridge thing is interesting. Oxford can be quite a savage place particularly in student politics. The last Prime Minister educated at Cambridge was Stanley Baldwin. Since then we have had 11 from Oxford by my estimate. Cambridge likes to position itself as above such worldly things.

I'll leave it to others to decide in both cases where the inferiority complex lies.

What had this to do with wargaming? Nothing at all.

dibble03 Aug 2023 5:47 p.m. PST


Though not Kilted, the 90th (Perthshire Volunteers) were a Scottish light-Infantry Regiment, strongly associated with the 92nd (Highland) Regiment, post-1801.

There were other Scottish Regiments too. Some 'Highland' Here's a list. If any are missing all I will say is 'Oops!'

3rd Regiment of Foot Guards
1st (Royal Scots) Regiment of Foot
21st (North British Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot
25th (The King's Own Borderers) Regiment of Foot
26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot
70th (Lowland) Regiment of Foot
78th (Ross-shire buffs) Regiment of Foot
93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot
94th (Scotch Brigade) Regiment of Foot
98th (Argyllshire Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

And a few higher numbered regiments that only lasted a year or two at the end of the 18th century.

Lord Hill06 Aug 2023 4:55 a.m. PST

In terms of the question of "how Scottish" the Scottish regiments at Waterloo were, the answer for the 42nd, 71st, 79th, 92nd and Scots Greys is "extremely".

At least 90%, the few exceptions mostly being Irishmen.

La Fleche10 Aug 2023 12:05 a.m. PST

Another consideration would be how "Highland" were the Highland regiments by the end of the Napoleonic Wars?.

The 79th was the regiment to which my clan (well, more particularly, my branch of my clan) was associated.

In the '45 my clan furnished a company for Lochiel's regiment; being tenants, and sworn to sword service over the course of the previous four centuries to the Camerons of Lochiel. This contingent represented one of the largest in the regiment, despite the clan being split on whether or not to support the Young Pretender.

In 1815 the 79th contained very few of my clan and, indeed, comparatively fewer men from Lochaber as it had done in the past. Much of the regiment comprised men from the towns and much of them East Highlanders and Lowlanders.

Why this change of demographic?

In a word: Clearances.

Greater than the supression of Highland culture, was the destruction of the Clan System. Not so much in terms of the clans themselves but in the way the feudal-like system of clans' fealty to the landholding barons like Cameron of Lochiel. Fêted and seduced by the sumptuousness of English aristocracy the Scottish landholders were persuaded that they too could attain such grandeur if only they were to replace those uneconomic crofters with profitable sheep. Many fell for the play, and Lochiel was no exception.

Faced with eviction the Lochaber branch of my clan almost to a man emigrated to Canada in 1802 where the newly-arrived were granted two-and-a-half towns in Glengarry county Ontario. My direct ancestor remained in Scotland and he and his decendants wandered up and down the western side of the Great Glen until, in 1865, it was deemed that risking a three month voyage to the other side of the world represented a better prospect than remaining.

Such a story is echoed in the histories of almost all clans of the West Highlands and Islands.

So, with all those pesky Highlanders gone there would now be security and prosperity? Well no, not for the Scots at any rate. In the case of Lochiel, the income in 1800, from rents, amounted to 1700 pounds. By contrast the income in 1814, from sheep, amounted to only 1400 pounds.

Therefore, with the barons no longer troop-raising feudalists, and their local manpower gone the Scottish regiments of the "British Army" had lost their regional character. Highland regiments were "Highland" largely in name and dress only.

Lord Hill10 Aug 2023 8:47 a.m. PST

In 1815 the 79th contained very few of my clan and, indeed, comparatively fewer men from Lochaber as it had done in the past. Much of the regiment comprised men from the towns and much of them East Highlanders and Lowlanders.

If the clan you're referring to is the Camerons, well there were 24 men named Cameron in the 79th alone in 1815. All but 4 were casualties – 5 killed or died of wounds, the rest all wounded.

You mention Lochabar – there were numerous men in the 71st, 79th, and 92nd at Waterloo who had enlisted from the Lochabar Fencibles.

dibble10 Aug 2023 3:08 p.m. PST

Lord Hill

In terms of the question of "how Scottish" the Scottish regiments at Waterloo were

We could say that about all the Regular, 'affiliated' British Regiments of course.

La Fleche10 Aug 2023 8:33 p.m. PST

If the clan you're referring to is the Camerons, well there were 24 men named Cameron in the 79th alone in 1815. All but 4 were casualties – 5 killed or died of wounds, the rest all wounded.

No. not clan Cameron. Note "tenants" and "sworn to sword service" in my OP.

You mention Lochabar – there were numerous men in the 71st, 79th, and 92nd at Waterloo who had enlisted from the Lochabar Fencibles.

The tenor of my post was not the Waterloo campaign per se, but speaking more towards the change in character, over time, from the original formations to the later "British Army" regiments.
As a general trend, due to the Clearances and the "British Army" need to fill their establishments regardless of origins, regiments were much less regional in character than they were in the previous century.

42flanker13 Aug 2023 7:35 a.m. PST

@ Trockledockle

Re 91st- curiously, in Goff's history of the regiment from 1891 the only mention of the Highland dress being discontinued in 1809 is tucked away in a brief history of the 2nd Battalion. There is no mention of the loss of the 'Argyllshire' territorial title or its resumption in 1820. The move to resume Highland status in 1864 with tartan trews and a cap band of national dicing is discussed in some detail.

The Dunn-Pattinson history of 1910 is clear about the loss of Highland identity in1809 and the interedidary measure of Highland jacket, tartan trews and flat bonnet relinquished finally by 1811. No reference to ‘Argyllshire' remaining in the title or being resumed in 1822 but evidently it was retained on officers shoulder belt plates (p.342)

Officers of the 91st may have determinedly pursued a resumption of the regiment's Highland identity but in 1848 an inspection report noted "Not one man from Argyll and only 70 Scots." As with many other regiments a growing percentage of Irishmen could be found in its ranks.

By mid-century, the 73rd, despite the granting of the title ‘Perthshire' in 1864 and their origin as 2nd Bn. 42nd, regarded themselves pretty much as a standard line regiment and accepted ‘returning to the fold' in 1881 as 2nd Bn. Black Watch with gritted teeth. The 75th Stirlingshire were no more delighted to be combined with the 92nd.

As for popularity of Highland dress, due to the drain on Highland manpower, in the early 1800's it was reportedly increasingly difficult to recruit non-Highlanders to kilted regiments. Hence discontinuing the Highland status of the 71st,72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th, & 91st in1809. By contrast, at the other end of the century the perceived glamour of the Highland regiments post-Crimea meant that cockneys happily joined the colours of the re-booted Highland regiments post-Childers..

@ dibble- I am curious about the relationship of the 90th Perthshire and the 92nd Hhighlanders post-1801. Did that have something to do sharing the honours (along with the 28th) for the action in Egypt at Mandora 13.3.1801?

dibble13 Aug 2023 9:28 a.m. PST

<p>@ dibble- I am curious about the relationship of the 90th Perthshire and the 92nd Hhighlanders post-1801. Did that have something to do sharing the honours (along with the 28th) for the action in Egypt at Mandora 13.3.1801?</p>

Yes it was.

42flanker13 Aug 2023 11:18 a.m. PST

@Dibble. Thanks. An interesting footnote. How was the relationship marked?

PS With reference to "How Scottish" were the 2nd (Royal North British) Regiment of Dragoons, aka the 'Scots Greys,'

Following their return from Germany in 1795, the regiment sat out the wars at home, during which time they spent 18 months in Scotland over 1807-08. Given recruiting practices of the time, it's my understanding that by 1815- all respect to those stalwarts Charles Ewart and John Dickson, there were a considerable number of Englishmen in their ranks.

dibble14 Aug 2023 11:51 a.m. PST

@Dibble. Thanks. An interesting footnote. How was the relationship marked?

This should do. Unless that is, you would like to look into the actions more closely?

"Under Colonel Rowland Hill the regiment served with much distinction in Egypt, particularly signalising itself on 13th March, 1801, near the tower of Mandora, during the advance of Sir Ralph Abercromby's force from Aboukir towards Alexandria, upon which occasion the 90th formed the advance of the first, and the 92nd of the second line of the army. It may be noted that in writing of the affair to Brigadier Graham at Malta, Colonel Rowland Hill specially mentions that on coming into action he "halted the regiment with the bugle-horn."

Aboukir: Sir Ralph Abercromby disembarked 5,000 British troops under heavy fire from the defending French, under General Friant. The British lost 1,100, dead and wounded, and the French only 500, but the French were driven from their positions. Abercromby died of wounds.

The regiment was in the actions before Alexandria ; with Brevet Colonel Spencer at Rosetta; in the advance on Cairo; and afterwards in the return march to and the siege of Alexandria. On the evacuation of Egypt it proceeded to Malta and thence returned home.

In common with all other corps taking part in the Egyptian Campaign, the 90th received permission to bear the badge of the Sphinx over EGYPT, within two laurel branches, upon its colours and appointments; but in the case of the 90th, this badge was at first displayed in all four corners of both the "King's" and the "Regimental" colours, the badge in the first corner of the latter being placed on the Union canton. From Mr. Ross's splendid work on Old Scottish Regimental Colours it appears that a like arrangement was at one time adopted with the "Regimental" colour of at least one of the battalions of the 92nd Possibly the arrangement may have been intended to convey some allusion to the action at Mandora, which since has been inscribed on the colours of these two corps alone."

The above is from here: link

Trockledockle16 Aug 2023 6:19 a.m. PST


It is worth noting that the 91st were brigaded with the 42nd and 79th in the Peninsula. I assume that this wasn't done by accident but may be an indication of the ongoing officers' campaign to become Highland again.

The 94th were also told to lose Highland dress in 1809. A number of sources say that they never wore any as they were descended from The Scotch Brigade in Dutch service. The regimental history of The Connaught Rangers (the 94th transformed into an Irish regiment in the 1870s and became the 2nd battalion of The Connaught Rangers) states that there are no definitive orders showing that they took up Highland dress in 1808 after returning from India but gives the impression that they did and other sources state that they wore Royal Stuart tartan. Here's a link.


dibble16 Aug 2023 5:04 p.m. PST

Re: The 94th (Scotch Brigade). They did reform in Scotland and also recruited and got their Colours presented to them there too So they were, at this time, a Scottish Regiment.

In your link, the text in the PDF refers to Highland dress (Bonnet and plaid) on pages 106/107 (Chapter XLII) being swapped for the India Service dress for the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Station) due to the kilt and bonnet being deemed unhealthy in those conditions.

Whether they wore highland dress 1793-1796? I'm open minded. I'll ferret around to see if I have any contemporary pictures or information of them in such a dress. But what I have and have shown here in a previous post, there seems no sign of it. The later Drum-Major Godger Picture shows nothing on his uniform that shows anything that would denote a nod to Highland dress. Apart from the Regiment's name and the thistle. Nothing really denotes other than a 'normal' Line Regiment but hailing out of Scotland.

The officers are not portrayed with their sash over the left shoulder, as is seen with other Scottish regiments either.

4th Cuirassier17 Aug 2023 1:52 a.m. PST

Do anybody's rules rate Highlanders better than normal line? I can see a morale bonus but otherwise I'd rate them much the same.

Trockledockle17 Aug 2023 11:29 a.m. PST


I don't think we will ever know if the 94th wore Highland dress after returning from India in 1808 until the order to change was received in 1809. The author of the regimental history also seems to have an open mind about and puts out the evidence for and against (pages 156 and 157 on the link).

Against: He could not find any order requiring the regiment to resume Highland dress in 1808.

For: There is an order to relinquish Highland dress and an authenticated reference to their tartan being Royal Stuart.

The Osprey "Wellington's Highlanders" takes the view that the inclusion of the 94th in the order to remove Highland dress was an administrative error.

Personally I feel that there is a reasonable probability, but not a certainty, that they did wear Highland dress in 1793-6 and in 1808-9. The author of the regimental history was the last commander of the 2nd battalion of the Connaught Rangers as well as a distinguished historian and would presumably have had access to regimental records. I think it is too easy to dismiss the order as an administrative error. However, this doesn't really make any difference to wargamers as the 94th never wore Highland dress in the field. My unit is dressed in line uniform.

Trockledockle17 Aug 2023 12:03 p.m. PST

@ Dibble

I found a bit more information in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research Volume 14 No 56 Winter 1935 pages 237-238. Unfortunately I can't copy it for inclusion here.

Lieutenant Colonel Jourdain states that many years before he had been in touch with the sons of two officers who had served in the 94th in 1809. These men had informed him that the regiment had worn Highland dress at that time and they had pieces of equipment that confirmed this. On balance, it looks like they were dressed as Highlanders before 1809.

dibble17 Aug 2023 2:24 p.m. PST

I have just read Journal. It mentions the miniature portrait of Lt-Colonel Ferrier. The one below seems to be an unfinished version. I would love to see the one described in the journal.

These are those later 'meaning post 1796' pictures I mentioned above, about 1801 onwards.

The John Godger picture is said to be c.1815…

PS. I still haven't had time to look into it myself.

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