The Highland Light Infantry

Popularly known as the HLI, the Highland Light Infantry recruited mainly from Glasgow and the surrounding lowlands, but it more than lived up to its title with a famed Highland lineage and identity.


  • Formed in 1881 when the 71st (Highland) Light Infantry and the 74th Regiment of Foot merged.
  • Its history stretches back to 1771, when the 71st were originally raised by John Mackenzie, Lord MacLeod, as the 73rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot.
  • It was the first clan regiment formed following the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War.
  • The 74th was raised in 1787 by Archibald Campbell, its first colonel, and became known as Campbell's Highlanders.
  • After merging, the regiment's 2nd Battalion was deployed to Egypt and then India for 15 years. The 1st Battalion was posted to Malta and then fought in the Second Boer War, before also serving in India.
  • The regiment was eventually merged with the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1959 to form the Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment).

Highland Light infantry recruitment leaflet

Facts and figures


The regiment was nicknamed 'Hell's Last Issue' (a humorous backronym).

Inherited from its parent regiment the 71st Highlanders during the Peninsular War, they were also known as the 'Glesga Keelies'.


Montis insignia Calpe (Badge of the Rock of Gibraltar)


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

  • The Bugle Horne (quick)





World War I

  • The 2nd Battalion was immediately deployed to the Western Front following the outbreak of World War I, and remained there throughout the conflict.
  • The 1st Battalion arrived in December 1914 and in January 1916 was dispatched to Mesopotamia (Iraq).
  • An additional 14 territorial battalions were raised over the course of the war, three of which served at Gallipoli 1915, alongside 11 reserve and service battalions.
  • Several officers were awarded the Victoria Cross.

Find out more at the Regimental Museum.