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Cameron Highlanders Uniform Prints
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Military uniform prints of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders by military artists Haswell Miller, Harry Payne, Richard Simkin and Douglas Anderson. Uniform prints and original chromolithographs available from Cranston Fine Arts
THE QUEEN'S OWN CAMERON HIGHLANDERS The Regiment was raised in 1793 as the 79th of foot, (Cameronian volunteers) they became the 1806 they became the 79th The Cameron highlanders, and in 1897 a second Battalion was formed.
Mr A Cameron, of Erracht, raised this regiment in 1793, and one peculiarity of its origin is that, from some pledge stated to have bee given by the sovereign at the time, it could not "be drafted or disbanded". A legend emphasises this; for it is said that when some royal duke proposed drafting them, Colonel Cameron replied, "You may tell the king, your father, from me that he may send us to -- (a hotter climate than the West Indies) if he likes, and I'll go at the head of them, but he daurna draft us". A 2nd battalion existed from 1804 to 1815, but saw no foreign service.
The regimental list of battles is extensive, and its services in the early years of its formation considerable, but there is little publicly recorded beyond the mere statement of these services.
It served at Egmont-op-Zee in 1799; in Egypt in 1801 in lord Cavan's Brigade, when it was present at Alexandria, bearing therefore "Egypt", with the Sphinx, on its colours; and at Copenhagen in 1807, Colonel Cameron commanding the force that stormed the citadel.
After this the regiment's foreign service was for many years passed in the Peninsula, where either the whole regiment or detachments were present, from the victory of Corunna to the fall of Toulouse. It took part, therefore, in the battles of Talavera, Sancti Petri, Busaco, Foz d'Aronce, Fuentes d'Onoro (forming one of the brigades whose gallant charge cleared the village of Onoro, and won the special praise of Wellington, also losing their colonel, Cameron), Burgos (where they led one of the storming columns), Salamanca, Pyrenees, nive, Nivelle, and Toulouse; and for its continuous good service was granted permission to bear the last six names and "Peninsula" on its appointments.
In the campaign of 1815 the Camerons were in Sir James Kemp's brigade, both at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. They lost heavily at both battles, in the latter leaving 479 out of a total of 776 officers and men on the field, and they took a leading part in the advance of Picton's weak division, formed in two ranks, against the numerically superior French column, which had driven back and broken the Belgian and Dutch-Belgian brigades in first line. It was in this very charge that Picton fell, and the regiment was taken out of action by Lieutenant Cameron; all his seniors were down.
The names of Alma and Sebastopol, which follow next on their battle roll, show that they shared in the Crimean campaign 1854 to the 15th June 1856. At the Alma they were brigaded with the 42nd and 93rd Highlanders, and at the first battle charged as effectively the right of the Russian Sousdal column as the 93rd did the left. They had their full share of the arduous work in the trenches, and after the Kertch expedition helped to garrison the Redan until peace was concluded.
Their stay in England was brief. In 1857 the Mutiny broke out, and the 79th was early drafted to India, where it served under Sir Colin Campbell and Sir James Outram. It only bears "Lucknow" on its colours for these services, but it saw much hard work and severe fighting in addition, for it took part in the affairs of Secundragunge, Bunterah, Rooyah, Shahjehanpore, Mahoomdeem Rampoor Kussia, Muchligan, and Bunwa Kote.
It afterwards accompanied Sir Neville Chamberlain's expedition against the Sitanas in 1863, and sent a body of volunteers for the Ashanti expedition; but the next important service was in the Egyptian campaign of 1882. In this campaign the regiment accompanied the army in its change of base from Alexandria to Ismailia, and in the storm of the lines of Tel-el-Kebir it suffered a loss of sixty officers and men, killed and wounded. Private Donald Cameron of the regiment was the first "to mount the parapet, and the second to fall". The men marched from the field of battle to Zagazig, and so by Benha to Cairo. During the Nile campaign th 79th assisted to guard the lines of communication at Korosko, etc, and was present with the Soudan Frontier Field Force in 1885, taking part in the defense of Kosheh, where four officers and twenty two men were killed and wounded, and the battle of Ginniss. Though no Victoria Crosses were won in these campaigns, three of the officers received the D.S.O. for their gallantry in the Soudan.
Of regimental pets the only record is the monumental stone in Edinburgh Castle in memory of "Flora, the band pet, 79th Q.O.C. Highlanders, 1.10.76." The regiment's pet name is the "Cia mar tha's", pronounced "Kamarha", the Gaelic for "How do you do?" the usual salutation given by that Sir Allan Cameron who raised the regiment, largely from his own personal retainers and friends.
The scarlet uniform has royal blue facings, changed from green to this colour in 1873, when the present title and badge, the crowned thistle - "the badge of Scotland as sanctioned by Queen Anne in 1707 in the confirmation of the Act of Union of the kingdoms" - were granted, with the kilt of Cameron tartan. But it differs from the true Cameron tartan, because the first colonel thought the colour did not go swell with the red doublet, and so got from his mother a more suitable tint - the "Cameron Erracht" tartan - which is now worn. On the button, within the regimental name is the thistle crowned; the tunic collar bears the same badge as the head dress and waist belt, a thistle wreath surrounding St Andrew's Cross.
Its only Militia battalion is the "Highland Light Infantry Militia", raised in 1803 in the districts of Inverness, Banff, Moraqy, and Nairn. The single Volunteer battalion attached is the 1st Inverness, with scarlet uniform and buff facings. The regimental depot is at Inverness.
Extract from "The British Army and Auxiliary Forces" Colonel C. Cooper King, R.M.A. , 1894
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