The Raising of the Regiments

A soldier of Hepburn's Regiment 1633

The original 14 Regiments which today form the Royal Regiment of Scotland were raised in Scotland in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The first Regiment to be raised was by Sir John Hepburn in 1633 under a Royal Warrant given by King Charles I to raise a body of men for service in France. By 1635 he commanded a force of over 8,000. It was by virtue of the Royal Warrant that the entire Regiment was considered as British; a regular force in a standing Army which could be recalled to Britain at will. In 1661, the Regiment was summoned to Britain to bridge the gap between the disbandment of the New Model Army and the creation of a Regular Army, organised along the same lines as the British units in foreign service. The Regiment was thus the original model for all others. In 1680 the Regiment was posted to Tangier and won its first battle honour in the campaign. On its return four years later the title Royal Regiment of Foot was conferred by King Charles II. It was given the honour of being numbered the 1st Regiment of Foot in 1751.

A Grenadier of Hepburn's Regiment at Tangier 1680


The Earl of Mar's Regiment was raised in 1678 and became a fusilier regiment before the turn of the century. In memory of this, private soldiers in 2 SCOTS hold the title Fusiliers. The Regiment was granted the royal title in 1712 to commemorate the Regiment's service in the field throughout the entire war of the Spanish Succession (alongside the Royal Regiment of Foot), taking part in all the major actions and most of the minor ones in France, Flanders and Germany. It was numbered the 21st Regiment of Foot in 1751.

In 1689 David Leslie, 3rd Earl of Leven formed, in the space of two hours on 18th March 1689, a Regiment in Edinburgh in support of the Scottish Parliament. In July 1689 at the Battle of Killiecrankie, Leven's Regiment had its baptism of fire and, though on the losing side, stood its ground until ordered to withdraw. The Regiment was numbered the 25th Regiment of Foot in 1751.

In 1725 six independent companies were formed to police the highlands. In 1739 King George II authorised the companies to be formed into a Regiment of Foot under the Earl of Crawford. The Regiment was numbered the 42nd Regiment of Foot in 1749 and received a Royal warrant in 1758. The next 50 years saw the Regiment serving in Europe, North America, the Windward Islands, Martinique, Havannah and Ireland and return to North America for the American War of Independence and the West Indies.

The Royal Highland Regiment at Fontenoy

The War of Austrian Succession. All four of our Scottish Regiments embarked to the Netherlands to fight in the war of Austrian succession. They all played a distinguished part in the battle of Fontenoy in 1745 under the command of the Duke of Cumberland.

The 42nd at Ticonderoga

Ticonderoga. The 42nd served with distinction in the French and Indian War in North America. On 7th July 1758, after a bloody battle against the French in the fort of Ticonderoga 220 miles north of New York, the 42nd lost over half its officers and men killed or wounded. The following year the 42nd returned to the same battlefield at Ticonderoga and victory was won within 30 minutes. Ticonderoga Day is celebrated each year in 3 SCOTS.

The 25th at The Battle of Minden

Minden. One of our proudest battle honours was gained on 1st August 1759 at the Battle of Minden. It was here that the British infantry won immortal glory and world renown. Roses were plucked from the gardens of Minden by the men of the 25th of Foot as they went forward and were then worn in their bonnets throughout the battle. The battle is still celebrated and on Minden Day each year every soldier in 1 SCOTS receives the traditional presentation of a rose to wear in his bonnet.

The threat of invasion by the French, the war in America and the need for additional troops in India and the West Indies saw the ranks of the Army swelled by the raising of many regiments in the late 18th century. Other Regiments raised at this time that make up our ancestors were as follows.

Macleod's Highlanders, the first clan based Highland regiment, was raised in 1777 and a second battalion in 1778. It was numbered the 73rd. The 1st Bn embarked for India in 1779. The Regiment was originally numbered 73rd but was changed to 71st in 1786 when the Army reduced in size.

In 1778 the Earl of Seaforth was authorised to raise a Highland Regiment. It mustered at Elgin on 15 May 1778, was passed as fit for service and designated the 78th Regiment of Foot. It initially served in the Channel Islands and fought the French at the Battle of Jersey in 1781. It then embarked for India where it served with the East India Company until 1798. It was renumbered 72nd Regiment of Foot in 1786.

Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington first commissioned into the 73rd and commanded our troops in India, the Peninsula war and at Waterloo

A second battalion of the 42nd was raised in 1779 which became an independent regiment in 1786 and was numbered the 73rd Regiment of Foot. It served in India and Ceylon until 1806. Arthur  Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, received his first commission into the 73rd in 1787.

Sir Robert Abercromby raised the 75th Highlanders in Stirling in 1787. The same year the 74th Highland Regiment was raised in Argyll and opened its HQ in Glasgow early in 1788. It was a Campbell Regiment, eleven of the original officers being of that name, including the Colonel, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneil. It sailed for India by companies and had its baptism of fire in the Mysore Campaigns.

On 7th March 1793 Lt Col Francis Humberstone Mackenzie was authorised to raise a Highland regiment. It mustered at Fort George on 10 July and was designated 78th Regiment of Foot. A 2nd Battalion was raised in 1794 and was designated the Ross-shire Buffs. The battalions amalgamated in Cape Town in June 1796 and embarked for India later that year.

The Duchess of Gordon helped to raise recruits for the 100th Regiment of Foot

1794 saw the raising of three more of our  Regiments. On 4th January the 79th Regiment of Foot, or Cameronian Volunteers paraded at King’s Park Stirling under command of Alan Cameron of Erracht and passed fit for service. By the turn of the century they had seen service in the West Indies, Netherlands, Spain and Egypt. Later in 1794 the Duke of Argyll was authorised by King George III to raise a Regiment. He entrusted this to Duncan Campbell of Lochnell and the Regiment mustered in Stirling Castle and was numbered the 98th and later renumbered the 91st. The same year the 4th Duke of Gordon raised the 100th Regiment of Foot who first mustered in Aberdeen. They were renumbered the 92nd in 1798.

In 1799 the last of our Regiments was raised by Major General Sir William Wemyss, a cousin of the Countess of Sutherland, and first mustered at Strathnavar. It was numbered the 93rd and known as Wemyss Regiment for many years after his passing.