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The Cameronians






The Lord Angus Regiment


The Lord Angus regiment, with 1,200 men, was raised on the 14th of May 1689 on the meadow by the river overlooked by St. Brides' church, Douglas, Lanarkshire, under the command of Lieutenant -Colonel William Cleland. Every man carried a bible (a tradition which was continued until their disbandment on the 14th of May 1968, on the same meadow.) The regiment was traditionally a congregation, with an elder in each company forcing strict rules of conduct and religion among the men.

Their first battle after forming took place at the village of Dunkeld on the 19th of august 1689, where they beat off a highland army of some 5,000 men. (Colonel Cleland was killed in that battle.) During the kings' battle in Ireland in 1690, at the Boyne, the regiment was left at home keeping the peace in the Aberdeenshire areas of Scotland.

From 1701 until 1713, the regiment fought in  Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet,  earning all four Battle Honours. in November 1715 the regiment recaptured Preston, England from a Jacobite force. From 1726 until 1738 the regiment fought against the Spanish in Gibraltar. (they were now known as '26th of foot') the 26th sailed to America and Canada in 1767 and returned to England in 1801. In December 1805 the regiment sailed from Ireland to Germany against Napoleon. On the 14th and 16th of December 1805, two of the 'Transporters' sank, drowning fifty-two Women and children, fourteen Officers and four hundred and seventy-four men. The regiment was devastated by this sad loss.

The 26th returned to Gibralter in 1810 and later served in UK, India, Canada, Bombay and China, earning the Battle Honour 'China'. In 1880, the 26th, (now known as Cameronians) returned to the UK and were informed of their Amalgamation with The 90th Perthshire Light Infantry (Under the Cardwell System). In 1882, the Cameronians changed their dress of red coats with yellow facings, for the rifle-green of a Rifle Regiment. Their Regimental Colours (Standards), were later presented to the Glasgow Cathedral, for safekeeping.  


(In 1749, the Unofficial List, published by Millan, describes the Angus Regiment as, "The 26th Cameronians", for the first time.) 


(After 1768, the number '26', appeared on Regimental Buttons.)


(On the 1st of July 1751, while the Regiment was serving in Ireland, a Royal Warrant was issued to regulate the colour and clothing of the Army. The facing of the 26th was fixed as 'Pale Yellow' and the second, or Regimental Colour was also to be Yellow, with the Union in the 'Upper Canton' (Top-right corner of the rectangle). The Regimental Number '26' to be in gold characters in the centre, in a wreath of Roses and Thistles.)


(Dress= Red Coat, with yellow facings, trimmed with white lace, high mitre-shaped cap and yellow cloth in front with the Royal Cypher and Crown embroidered on it - The red flap bears the White Horse of Hanover and the motto "NEC ASPERA TERRENT" on the back of the cap.)


(In 1782, The Colonel-in-Chief nominated Sir William Erskine, as the Regiment's new Colonel. In his letter to Colonel Erskine, he describes the Regiment as "The 26th Cameronians". This was the first occasion in which the Regiment was Officially nominated as such.)


(In 1786, on Colonel Erskine's application, the Adjutant-General ruled that the correct title of the Regiment would be, "The 26th (or Cameronian) Regiment of Foot". During those days the Cameronians wore Black Spatterdashes. (gaiters)



Thomas Graham raised the 90th Perthshire light infantry in 1794, dressed in red jackets with white facing, grey pantaloons, bearskin-crested leather helmets of light cavalry pattern and black gaiters. In 1795,the 90th embarked for the Middle East and served in Minorca, Tetuan bay, Malta, Alexandria and Rosetta while fighting the French. The regiment won its first honours 'Mandora' and 'Egypt with the sphinx' before returning home in 1802.(the 2nd battalion was formed at Dublin in 1804 and again disbanded in 1817). In 1805, the 90th sailed for the West Indies and again fought against the French at St. Vincent, Martinique and Guadeloupe, capturing the French 80th regiment's flying eagle standard. Battle honours were won at Martinique and Guadeloupe. In 1814, the 90th sailed to Canada and now wore the 'light infantry corps' uniform. In 1817, major-general Thomas Graham became Lord Lynedoch.

In 1830, the regiment sailed home until 1835, when it sailed to Colombo, finally returning home in 1848. In 1854, the 90th moved to Kingston against the redan fortifications.  On 7th of September 1855, Private Alexander carried out very brave and courageous actions and was awarded the regiments' first Victoria Cross. (a decoration newly introduced by Queen Victoria.) Sergeant Andrew Moynihan won the second VC of the 90th regiment. The regiment returned home in 1856 and sailed to India the following year, arriving at Cowpore, moving to Lucknow where another five VC’s were won. (Lieutenant W. Rennie VC, Corporal W. Bradshaw VC, Private P. Graham VC, Sergeant S. Hill VC, and Surgeon A. Dixon Home VC.) (Private Alexander VC, was killed during that time.)In 1869, the 90th returned to Gallowgate barracks, Glasgow and in 1878, sailed for South Africa where another two VCs were won, lieutenant Lyson VC, and Private E. Fowler VC. In 1881, the regiment was to learn that it was now the 2nd battalion Scottish Rifles.

The Cameronians c1900 by Richard Caton Woodville



The 'cardwell system' ensured the battalion serving at home would recruit for the other battalion of the regiment, which was serving abroad. The 1st battalion moved to Ireland during 1886. (Both Battalions had won many rifle shooting competitions by this time.) In 1894, the 1st battalion embarked for India and by the end of 1909, had moved to Durban, South Africa returning home again in 1912 where it remained until the outbreak of war. 


The 2nd battalion (Scottish Rifles) had remained in Jullulpore, India until 1895 and returned home until 9th October 1899 when the battalion was called to assist in the Relief of Ladysmith, South Africa, from the Boers. Ladysmith was relieved on 28th February 1900 and one Company of Scottish Rifles volunteer’s battalion assisted the battalion in pursuit of Botha, the Boers commander. In 1904, the 2nd Scottish Rifles battalion returned to UK and again set sail in September 1910, for Malta.  


Around 1910, the Haldene report was to affect the T. A, Units of the Cameronians.  3rd and 4th became Special Reserve units. 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Corps became 5th Battalion (SR). 2nd Volunteers became 6th Battalion (SR). 3rd Lanarkshire Volunteer Rifle Corps became 7th Battalion (SR) and 4th Volunteers became 8th Battalion (SR). In July 1914, the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Battalions were formed as Scottish Rifle Infantry Brigade. New Cameronian Battalions were also formed. 2nd/5th and 3rd/5th Battalions, 2nd/6th and 3rd/6th Battalions, 2nd/7th and 3rd/7th Battalions and 2nd/8th and 3rd/8th Battalions, until 1915 when the 2nd/5th and 2nd 8th amalgamated and became the 5th/8th Battalion. The 2nd/6th and 2nd/7th became the 6/7th Battalion. The 9th, 10, and 11th Battalions were yet to be formed. The regiment was now ready for war. !!!!

Cameronians and beyond.

In 1947, the 1st Battalion The Cameronians, was stationed at Gibraltar and the 2nd Battalion Scottish Rifles, at Trieste. In August 1948, the 1st Battalion The Cameronians, was placed into ‘Suspended Animation’ and the 2nd Battalion became the 1st Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), moving to Hong Kong at the end of 1949. The Battalion then moved to Malaya (Malaysia) where it remained until 1953 before returning to UK. In 1954, the Battalion moved to Germany and remained there until 1956. While in Edinburgh, the 1st Cameronians prepared for the Middle East where it stayed until 1960 and again returned to Germany. The Battalion returned home to Edinburgh in 1964 and carried out Public Duties at Balmoral and London. In 1966, the CAMERONIANS embarked in planes for a short tour to Aden and returned home to Edinburgh in 1967 to hear they were to be amalgamated with some other Battalion. The Officers and men of the 1st Battalion CAMERONIANS (Scottish Rifles) decided that disbandment was more noble than amalgamation and in the 14th of May 1968, beside Castle Dangerous, Douglas, where the CAMERONIANS were originally formed as ‘Lord Angus Regiment’, the brave Battalion was disbanded.


T.A. Units

The 6th/7th Battalion was disbanded to Company strength in 1966 and became part of the new T&AVR as 52 Lowland Volunteers.

In 1971, another Battalion (2nd 52nd Lowland Volunteers) was formed and a new Cameronian Company (No 4 Coy) was included with D Company. In 1995, both Companies changed their cap badges and the CAMERONIANS T.A. was no more. In December 1999, the last of those Cameronian-Badge wearers, the Lanarkshire Army Cadet Force, also changed their headdress. The words of command given by the Officer-In-Charge may have been “CAMERONIANS remove headdress”, and at the end of the service, “Kings’ Own Scottish Borderers and Associated Units, Replace Headdress” The CAMERONIANS (Scottish Rifles) were no more. 




There were two platoons of Cameronian cadets in the Glasgow Battalion of the ACF up to and beyond the amalgamation with the lanarkshire Battalion of the ACF.



There is a memorial section in Glasgow Cathedral which includes a plaque commemorating Lt Col Jeffray Douglas and all those of the 5th Battalion who fell in the Great War.  Nearby is an unidentified armorial window.



See also:

  •  Cameronians Roll of Honour
  •  Royal Regiment of Scotland for the future (2005) structure
  •  The Perth Regiment of canada

    The statue of the earl of Angus stands at the edge of the village of Douglas, overlooking the Douglas Water. He is pointing towards the place the regiment was raised. The additional two images are of the Cameronian memorial.  Click images to enlarge.
    Earl of Angus Earl of Angus statue Earl of Angus statue Cameronian memorial
    Earl of Angus statue Earl of Angus statue Cameronian memorial




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