The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders boasts a long and distinguished history dating back to the late 18th century. It was the original 'Thin Red Line' - the name given after its decisive action in the Crimean War which saw the soldiers hailed as the essence of British heroism.

Origins

  • It was one of six Scottish line infantry regiments and formed when the 91st and 93rd Regiments of Foot were merged. It served in South Africa, Ceylon and Hong Kong.
  • The 91st Regiment of Foot was raised in 1793 by John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll. Later based in South Africa after capturing the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch, it also served in the Zulu and Peninsular wars.
  •  In 1871 it served as Guard of Honour at the wedding of Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, to John Campbell, Marques of Lorne and the Duke of Argyll's heir. The regiment was renamed Princess Louise's Argyllshire Highlanders.
  • The 93rd Regiment of Foot was raised in 1799 by Major-General William Wemyss for the Countess of Sutherland, and served in North America in a failed attempt to capture New Orleans.
  • In 1854 at the Battle of Balaklava during the Crimean War, the battalion single-handedly defended the British Army base and four squadrons from charging Russian cavalry. The battalion held steady and broke the charge using only musket fire. A correspondent for The Times reported that nothing stood between the British forces and defeat but a 'thin red streak tipped with a line of steel of the 93rd'. The nickname the 'Thin Red Line' was confirmed.

Facts and figures

Nicknames

Thanks to their extraordinary courage, the battalions became known as the 'Fighting Highlanders' and the 'Thin Red Line'.

Motto

Ne Obliviscaris, Sans Peur (Do Not Forget, Without Fear)

Marches

Many regiments have their own marches which were traditionally used to rally the troops and boost morale before battle.

  • Heilan' Laddie (quick)
  • Monoymusk (charge)
  • Lochaber No More (funerals)

Tartan

The Black Watch tartan (Government sett)

Grant Hunting tartan

World War I

  • At the outbreak of the war, the regiment had two regular (1st and 2nd), two militia (3rd and 4th) and five territorial battalions (5th - 9th), with several more raised for Kitchener's Army.
  • 10 battalions served in France and Flanders while four were dispatched to southern Europe.
  • The regiment was awarded 13 battle honours and six Victoria Crosses.
  • 6,900 men lost their lives.

Find out more at at the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Museum.

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