|Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)|
Cap Badge of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
|Active||1 July 1881 - 14 May 1968|
|Size||2 Regular battalions|
2 Militia battalions
2 - 4 Territorial and Volunteer battalions
Up to 12 hostilities-only battalions
|Part of||Lowland Brigade|
|Garrison/HQ||Hamilton Barracks, Hamilton (1881-1947)|
Winston Barracks, Lanark (1947-1968)
|Nickname(s)||(from the 1960s) The Poison Dwarfs. Not a popular nickname as it was derogatory.|
|March||Quick - Within a mile of Edinburgh Toon|
Slow - The Garb of Old Gaul
|Colonel in Chief||HM King Gustaf VI Adolf|
|Major General Henry Templar Alexander, CB CBE DSO|
The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) was a rifle regiment of the British Army, the only regiment of rifles amongst the Scottish regiments of infantry. It was formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 26th Cameronian Regiment and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry. In 1968, when reductions were required, the regiment chose to be disbanded rather than amalgamated with another regiment, one of only two infantry regiments in the British Army to do so, with the other being the York and Lancaster Regiment. It can trace its roots to that of the Cameronians, later the 26th of Foot, who were raised in 1689. The 1881 amalgamation coincided with the Cameronian's selection to become the new Scottish Rifles.
The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) was formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 26th Cameronian Regiment and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry. After the amalgamation, the 1st Battalion preferred to be known as "The Cameronians" while the 2nd preferred to be known as "The Scottish Rifles". The 2nd Battalion saw action at the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900 during the Second Boer War.
Two Militia battalions were formed from the former 2nd Royal Lanark Militia. The 3rd battalion was embodied in May 1900 for service during the Second Boer War. More than 600 men embarked for South Africa in April 1901, and returned in June 1902, following the end of hostilities. The 4th battalion had been embodied already in December 1899, also for service in the same war, and 600 officers and men embarked for South Africa in late February 1900.
In 1908, the Volunteers and Militia were reorganised nationally, with the former becoming the Territorial Force and the latter the Special Reserve; the regiment now had two Reserve and four Territorial battalions.
The 1st Battalion landed at Le Havre as part of the 19th Brigade, which was an independent command at that time, in August 1914 for service on the Western Front. The battalion famously refused to play football or otherwise fraternise with the enemy on Christmas Day 1914. The 2nd Battalion landed in France as part of the 23rd Brigade in the 8th Division in November 1914 for service on the Western Front.
The 1/5th Battalion was one of the first Territorial Force units selected to reinforce the Regulars of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France. It landed at Le Havre on 5 November 1914, joining 19th Brigade on 19 November. At this time 19th Bde also included 1st Bn Cameronians[a] 19th Brigade was attached to the 6th Division; later it moved to 33rd Division, a 'Kitchener's Army' formation. The 1/6th Battalion landed at Le Havre as part of the 23rd Brigade in the 8th Division in March 1915 for service on the Western Front. It later joined 33rd Division and in 1916 it merged with the 1/5th to form 5th/6th Bn. The 1/7th Battalion and the 1/8th Battalion landed in Gallipoli as part of the 156th Brigade in the 52nd (Lowland) Division in June 1915; after evacuation from Gallipoli in January 1916 the battalions moved to Egypt and served in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. They sailed to Marseille in April 1918 and served on the Western Front until the end of the war.
The 9th (Service) Battalion landed at Boulogne-sur-Mer as part of the 27th Brigade in the 9th (Scottish) Division in May 1915 for service on the Western Front. The 10th (Service) Battalion landed at Boulogne-sur-Mer as part of the 46th Brigade in the 15th (Scottish) Division in July 1915 for service on the Western Front. The 11th (Service) Battalion landed at Boulogne-sur-Mer as part of the 77th Brigade in the 26th Division in September 1915 for service on the Western Front but sailed for Salonika in November 1915.
The 1st Battalion was deployed to Ireland in 1919 during the Irish War of Independence and then went to India in 1931 while the 2nd Battalion was deployed to Mesopotamia in 1919 and then went to India in 1922.
The 1st Battalion, which had been in India at the start of the war and was initially commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Galloway, was deployed to Burma as part of the 1st Burma Brigade in the 39th Indian Division in 1942 and saw action in the Burma Campaign.
The 2nd Battalion, initially commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Graham, was deployed to France as part of the 13th Infantry Brigade in the 5th Division within the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in September 1939 and, after taking part in the Dunkirk evacuation in June 1940, saw action in the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943 and the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943 and, after fighting in the Italian Campaign, serving in both the Moro River and Anzio campaigns until July 1944, took part in the North West Europe Campaign in early 1945, ending in May.
The 6th and 7th Battalions, both Territorial Army battalions, were deployed to France as part of the 156th Infantry Brigade in the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division to provide cover for the withdrawal of troops of the British Expeditionary Force; after the Normandy landings in June 1944, the battalion took part in the North West Europe Campaign in late 1944 and in 1945.
The 9th Battalion took part in the Normandy landings as part of the 46th (Highland) Infantry Brigade in the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division in June 1944 and saw action in the North West Europe Campaign in late 1944 and in 1945.
In 1948, along with every other infantry regiment of the British Army, the Cameronians regiment was reduced to a single regular battalion. The 1st Battalion which had been repeatedly decimated in the Burma campaign was placed in suspended animation and the 2nd Battalion was renamed the 1st Battalion while at Gibraltar. It was deployed to Malaya in 1950 during the Malayan Emergency. Under the reforms of the army in the 1967 Defence White Paper, which saw several regiments amalgamated, the Cameronians chose to disband rather than amalgamate with another in the Lowland Brigade.
The 1st Battalion, The Cameronians was disbanded on 14 May 1968 at Douglas Castle, near Douglas, South Lanarkshire in the presence of the Duke of Hamilton, the Earl of Angus. Its recruiting area in Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway was taken over by the King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Regimental Headquarters finally closed down in 1987.
Every new member of the regiment was issued a Bible, as a nod to Richard Cameron, after whom the original 26th Foot was named and the regiment mounted an armed guard at the doors of the Kirk during religious services. Soldiers wore a rifle green doublet with Douglas tartan trews as part of their full dress and No.1 dress uniforms. The regiment was one of only two in Britain to retain the shako as its full-dress headwear after 1878.
The regiment's battle honours included:
Regimental colonels were:
Face 5 of the British memorial on Spion Kop lists the names of the soldiers from the Cameronians who died at the Battle of Spion Kop during the Second Boer War. The Cameronians War Memorial in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow by Philip Lindsey Clark, unveiled on 9 August 1924, depicts men of the regiment manning a Lewis gun. A monument commemorating both the founding of the regiment by the Earl of Angus in 1689 and its disbanding in 1968 can be found at Douglas, South Lanarkshire. Also within the village is a statue of the Earl of Angus to commemorate the bicentenary of the raising of the regiment.