The Seaforth Highlanders

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  • Courtesy of The Highlanders Museum
    A collection of artefacts from the First World War inside The Highlanders Museum
  • Courtesy of The Highlanders Museum
    Soldiers in action in the trenches during the First World War

One of four world-renowned Scottish regiments which had its roots in the regiments originally raised from the clans and communities of the Highlands and islands in the late 17th century, the Seaforth Highlanders served in a number of major campaigns overseas and in almost all theatres of operations during the First World War.

Active:

1 July 1881 - 7 February 1961

Type:

Line Infantry

Regimental Depot:

Fort George, Ardersier

Nicknames:

The regiment was nicknamed ‘The Mackenzies’ after Kenneth Mackenzie, the man responsible for raising the 78th Highlanders in 1778 as an act of gratitude to King George III for restoring his family title of the Earl of Seaforth which had been lost in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. It members were as referred to as ‘The Macraes’, a nod to the fact that so much of the regiment was made up of members of Clan Macrae. The regiment was also known as the Caber Feidhs, the Gaelic word for the stag’s antlers which form its arms.

Motto:

Cuidich ‘n Righ (Aid the King)

March:

Pibroch O’ Donuil Dubh

Tartan:

Seaforth MacKenzie

Mascot:

Stag’s head

Origins:

The Seaforth Highlanders came into being following the amalgamation of the 72nd Highlanders (Duke of Albany’s Own) with the 78th Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs) as part of Childers Reforms in 1881, becoming the county regiment for several northern Scottish counties, including the Orkney Isles. The newly formed regiment served in various foreign campaigns including the Anglo-Egyptian War, Chitral Expedition, Second Sudan War and Second Boer War.

In 1961 the regiment joined forces with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders to form the Queen’s Own Highlanders which then merged with the Gordon Highlanders forming the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons). 

First World War:

At the outbreak of the war the 1st Battalion was serving in India. The 2nd Battalion, which had been stationed in Britain since 1903, was sent immediately to the Western Front as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Forming part of the 10th Brigade, 4th Division, it took part in the Retreat from Le Cateau, the Battle of the Marne and the pursuit of the German forces to the River Aisne. It was heavily involved in the Battle of Aisne, sustaining major casualties as a result. After returning from India, the 1st Battalion arrived in France in late 1914 and later participated in the Battle of Givenchy. It was then transferred to Mesopotamia (Iraq) in 1916 and Palestine in 1918.

Over the course of the war the regiment raised a total of 17 battalions. It lost an estimated 8,830 men and received 60 battle honours for it service during the conflict with several of its member receiving the Victoria Cross.

Did you know?

One of the finest poets of the First World War, Ewart Alan Mackintosh, served with the Seaforth Highlanders as a Second Lieutenant. He was killed at the second Battle of Cambrai on 21 November 1917.

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