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Unit History: Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
The Cameronians can trace their history back to a unique part of Scottish history during the 1680’s.  They were formed in the South West of Scotland after the Restoration, when King Charles II ejected Presbyterian ministers from their parishes who refused to accept the rule of bishops.  These ministers and many of their followers took to open air services which were banned and as the threat from government forces increased members began to carry weapons.  They took their name from Richard Cameron, a field preacher who declared war on the King in defence of his beliefs and was killed in 1680 with a price of 5,000 merks on his head (approximately £31,000 in today’s money).
 
The Regiment was properly formed on the 14th May 1689, 'without beat of drum' after the ‘Glorious Revolution’ under King William III, who allowed the Presbyterian ministers back into their parishes without the bishops rule.  The Regiment formed under their first Commanding Officer William Cleland and a 19 year old Colonel, The Earl of Angus, son of the Marquis of Douglas.  Shortly after this The Cameronians saw their first action at the Battle of Dunkeld against rebel highland clans, who supported the deposed James II in his unsuccessful attempt to regain his lost crown.
 
They went on to take part in the campaigns under the Duke of Marlborough, and won special renown at the Battle of Blenheim (1704) during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). They then went on serve In the American War of Independence (1775–1783), in Egypt during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) and fought at the Battle of Corunna during the Peninsular War (1808-1814).  It was stationed in India for 12 years (1828–1840) and served in the First Opium War in China in 1840, distinguishing itself particularly in the capture of Amoy.  In 1868 the Regiment took part in the Expedition to Abyssinia against the Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II who had imprisoned several missionaries and two representatives of the British government and the expedition was described as ‘one of the most expensive affairs of honour in history.’
 
In 1750 the Regimental namely system was simplified with each assigned a ranked number therefore the Cameronians became the 26th Regiment of Foot (The Cameronians).  As part of the Childers reforms in 1881 the 26th and the 90th Regiment of Foot (Perthshire Volunteers) were amalgamated to form the Scotch Rifles Cameronians which later became the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).  The 90th was formed in 1794 and served during the French Revolutionary Wars, Napoleonic Wars and in South Africa from 1846-1879 during the Cape Frontier Wars (1811-1858) in South Africa, when the native Xhosa tribes became armed and rebelled against continuing European rule.  The newly formed Regiment went on to serve during the Second Boer War (1899-1902) in South Africa, two World Wars and in Burma.
 
In the 1966 as part of army reforms many Regiments were amalgamated however the Cameronians chose to disband rather than amalgamate with any another Lowland Brigade Regiment and after nearly 300 years of service officially ceased to exist on 14 May 1968.

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) during WW1

Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position. He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy rivalling that of Britain. These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence. Franz Joseph's the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war. Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion). By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.

The Regiment raise a total of 27 battalions during the First World War, received 27 battle honours and was awarded 7 Victoria Crosses during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Glasgow.
15.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre to defend the Lines of Communication.
22.08.1914 Joined the 19th Brigade of the 6th Division.
31.05.1915 The 19th Brigade transferred to the 27th Division.
19.08.1915 The 19th Brigade transferred to the 2nd Division.
25.11.1915 The 19th Brigade transferred to the 33rd Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The attacks on High Wood, The capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches.
During 1917
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The actions on the Hindenburg Line, Operations on the Flanders coast, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood.
During 1918
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bailleul, The defence of Neuve Eglise, The First Battle for Kemmel Ridge, The fighting for and recapture of Ridge Wood, The Battle of the Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line, The Battle of Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle. 11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Sart-Bara near Berlaimont.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed in Malta at the outbreak of war.
15.09.1914 Returned to England arriving at Southampton and then moved to Hursley Park to join the 23rd Brigade of the 8th Division.
05.11.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
Dec 1914 This Battalion took part in the Christmas Truce of 1914.
During 1915
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of Aubers, The action of Bois Grenier.
During 1916
The Battle of Albert.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemarck.
03.02.1918 Transferred to the 59th Brigade of the 20th Division
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Jenlain north of Le Quesnoy.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Hamilton and then moved to Nigg, Cromarty.
1918 Moved to Invergordon, in Cromarty Garrison.

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Hamilton and then moved to Gourock.
April 1916 Moved to Greenock as part of the Edinburgh Special Reserve Brigade.
June 1918 Moved to Edinburgh.

1/5th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed in Glasgow as part of the Scottish Rifle Brigade in the Lowland Division and then moved to Larbert.
Nov 1914 Mobilised for war left the Lowland Division and landed at Havre and joined the 19th Brigade of the 6th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1914
The actions on the Aisne heights,
Dec 1914 This Battalion took part in the Christmas Truce of 1914.
During 1915
The action at Hooge.
31.05.1915 The 19th Brigade transferred to the 27th Division.
19.08.1915 The 19th Brigade transferred to the 2nd Division.
25.11.1915 The 19th Brigade transferred to the 33rd Division.
29.05.1916 Amalgamated with the 1/6th Battalion to form the 5/6th Battalion.
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The attacks on High Wood, The capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches.
During 1917
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The actions on the Hindenburg Line, Operations on the Flanders coast, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood.
During 1918
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bailleul, The defence of Neuve Eglise, The First Battle for Kemmel Ridge, The fighting for and recapture of Ridge Wood, The Battle of the Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line, The Battle of Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Sara-Bara near Berlaimont.

1/6th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed in Hamilton as part of the Scottish Rifle Brigade in the Lowland Division and then moved to Falkirk.
Mar 1915 Mobilised for war left the Lowland Division and landed at Havre and joined the 23rd Brigade of the 8th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of Aubers, The action of Bois Grenier.
02.06.1915 The 154th Brigade transferred to the 51st Division and again engaged in various actions on the Western Front.
12.01.1916 Trained as Pioneers in the Division Troops.
25.02.1916 Transferred to the 100th Brigade of the 33rd Division.
29.05.1916 Amalgamated with the 1/6th Battalion to form the 5/6th Battalion.
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The attacks on High Wood, The capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches.
During 1917
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The actions on the Hindenburg Line, Operations on the Flanders coast, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood.
During 1918
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bailleul, The defence of Neuve Eglise, The First Battle for Kemmel Ridge, The fighting for and recapture of Ridge Wood, The Battle of the Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line, The Battle of Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Sara-Bara near Berlaimont.

1/7th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed in Glasgow as part of the Scottish Rifle Brigade in the Lowland Division and then moved to Grangemouth.
11.05.1915 The formation became the 156th Brigade of the 52nd Division.
May 1915 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Liverpool via Alexandria.
14.06.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army including;
Gully Ravine, Achi Baba Nullah, Krithia Nullahs, The evacuation of Helles.
01.07.1915 Formed a composite battalion with the 1/8th Battalion.
09.01.1916 Evacuated to Mudros due to heavy losses from combat, disease and severe weather and once again engaged in various actions of the Palestine Campaign including;
Dueidar, The Battle of Romani.
During 1917
The First, Second and Third Battles of Gaza, Wadi el Hesi, Burqa, El Maghar, The capture of Junction Station, The Battle of Nabi Samweil, The Battle of Jaffa.
April 1918 Resumed its identity and moved to France landing at Marseilles and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Jurbise north of Mons.

1/8th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed in Glasgow as part of the Scottish Rifle Brigade in the Lowland Division and then moved to Larbert.
11.05.1915 The formation became the 156th Brigade of the 52nd Division.
May 1915 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Devonport via Mudros.
14.06.1915 Landed at Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army including;
Gully Ravine, Achi Baba Nullah, Krithia Nullahs, The evacuation of Helles.
01.07.1915 Formed a composite battalion with the 1/8th Battalion.
09.01.1916 Evacuated to Mudros due to heavy losses from combat, disease and severe weather and once again engaged in various actions of the Palestine Campaign including;
Dueidar, The Battle of Romani.
During 1917
The First, Second and Third Battles of Gaza, Wadi el Hesi, Burqa, El Maghar, The capture of Junction Station, The Battle of Nabi Samweil, The Battle of Jaffa.
28.06.1918 Transferred to 103rd Brigade of the 34th Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of the Soissonais and of the Ourcq, The capture of Baigneux Ridge, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem, The action of Tieghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Halluin.

2/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed in Glasgow.
Jan 1915 Joined the 195th Brigade of the 65th Division and then moved to Cambusbarron, near Stirling.
Nov 1915 Amalgamated with the 2/8th Battalion to form the 17th Battalion.
Jan 1916 Resumed its identity absorbing the 2/8th.
Mar 1916 Moved to Billericay and then Terling, Essex.
Jan 1917 Moved to Ireland, near Fermoy.
Jan 1918 Disbanded at Tralee.

2/6th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed in Hamilton.
Jan 1915 Joined the 195th Brigade of the 65th Division and then moved to Cambusbarron, near Stirling.
Nov 1915 Amalgamated with the 2/7th Battalion to form the 18th Battalion.
Jan 1916 Resumed its identity absorbing the 2/7th.
Mar 1916 Moved to Billericay and then Terling, Essex.
Jan 1917 Moved to Ireland, Kilworth.
Jan 1918 Disbanded at Galway.

2/7th and 2/8th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed in Glasgow subsequent record the same as the 2/5th and 2/6th.

3/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Nov 1914 Formed at Glasgow and then moved to Ripon.
08.04.1916 Became the 5th (Reserve) Battalion and moved to Catterick.
01.09.1916 Absorbed the 6th 7th and 8th (Reserve) Battalions in the Lowland Reserve Brigade.
Autumn 1917 Moved to Galashield and Hawick.
Dec 1917 Moved to Leven where it remained.

3/6th 3/7th and 3/8th Battalions Territorial Force
April 1915 The 3/6th formed at Hamilton and the 3/7th and 3/8th formed at Glasgow and then all moved to Ripon.
08.04.1916 Became the 6th 7th and 8th (Reserve) Battalion and then moved to Catterick.
01.09.1916 Absorbed by the 5th Battalion.

9th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Hamilton as part of the First New Army (K1) and joined the 28th Brigade of the 9th Division and then moved to Bordon.
12.05.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western front including;
During 1915
The Second Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Loos.
06.05.1916 Transferred to the 27th Brigade of the 9th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The First Battle of Passchendaele, The action of Welsh Ridge.
05.02.1918 Transferred to the 43rd Brigade of the 14th Division.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of the Avre.
21.04.1918 Transferred to the South African Brigade of the 9th Division.
12.09.1918 Transferred to 28th Brigade of the 9th Division and continued to engage in various actions on the Western Front including;
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel, The Second Battle of Kemmel.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Cuerne N.E. of Courtrai.

10th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Hamilton as part of the Second New Army (K2) as part of the 46th Brigade of the 15th Division and then moved to Bordon.
Feb 1915 Moved to Winchester and then to Salisbury Plain and Chisledon.
10.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The Battle of Loos
During 1916
Defence during Actions of Spring, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette,
The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Pilckem, The Battle of Langemark.
During 1918
The First Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras, The Battle of the Soissonnais, The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Tongres-Notre-Dame south of Ath.

11th (Service) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Hamilton as part of the Third New Army (K3) as part of the 77th Brigade of the 26th Division and then moved to Codford St. Mary, Salisbury Plain and then on to Bristol.
Feb 1915 Moved to Warminster and then Sutton Veny.
20.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
Nov 1915 Moved to Salonika and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including;
During 1916
The Battle of Horseshoe Hill
During 1917
The Battles of Doiran
During 1918
The Battle of Doiran, The Pursuit to the Strumica Valley.
30.09.1918 Ended the war in Macedonia, Strumica N.W. of Lake Dorian.

12th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Nigg as a service Battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) as part of the 101st Brigade of the 34th Division.
Feb 1915 Moved to Tain
10.04.1915 Became a Reserve Battalion and then moved to Stobs.
Dec 1915 Moved to Catterick as part of the 12th Reserve Brigade and then moved to Kinghorn.
01.09.1916 Became the 56th Training Reserve Battalion.

13th (Service) Battalion
July 1915 Formed at Hamilton as a bantam battalion and moved to Aldershot to join the 120th Brigade of the 40th Division.
Feb 1916 Absorbed by the 14th Highland Light Iinfantry.

14th (Labour) Battalion
June 1916 Formed and moved to France to work on the Lines of Communication.
April 1917 Became No. 3 and No. 4 Company of the Labour Corps.

15th Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed at Deal from the 10th Provisional Battalion (previously Home Service personnel) as part of the 221st Brigade.
Early 1918 Moved to Walmer and then back to Deal where it remained.

16th and 17th (Transport Workers) Battalions
Dec 1916 The 16th formed at Paisley where it remained and the 17th formed at Hamilton.
Feb 1917 Duty at ports and the 17th moved to Motherwell.

18th (Service) Battalion
01.06.1918 Formed at Aldershot and then moved to Deal.
20.06.1918 Absorbed the cadre of the 6/7th Royal Scots Fusiliers.
02.07.1918 Moved to Aldershot and joined the 48th Brigade of the 16th Division.
31.07.1918 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, south of Tournai.

1st Garrison Battalion
Feb 1916 Formed at Hamilton and then moved to India where it remained.

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) during WW2

WW2 Battalions of The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

1st Battalion:
The Battalion spent the entire time in the Far East in the defence of India/Burma.
1942: It was involved heavy fighting in the Burma retreat.
September 1943: Became part of 36 Infantry Division.
March 1944: Battalion was involved in the 2nd “Chindit” campaign, known as "Operation Thursday". It was attached to the 111th Indian Infantry Brigade, Special Force, 3rd Indian Infantry Division.

2nd Battalion:
On the outbreak of war the Battalion was based at Catterick, as part of the 13th Brigade.
September 1939: It was soon deployed to France& Belgium as part of the BEF attached to 5th Infantry Division.
1940: After heavy fighting in Belgium it was evacuated at Dunkirk
June 1940: Returned to the UK.
May 1942: It moved to Madagascar.
June 1942: Then moved on to Persia and Iraq.
July 1943: It became part of Montgomery's Eighth Army for the invasion of Sicily and the battle for Italy.
February 1945: Went on to North Western Europe.

6th (Lanarkshire) Battalion:
1939: The Battalion was formed in Hamilton and attached to 5th (Western Lowland) Infantry Brigade.
1940: took part in some of the heaviest fighting in the Dunkirk campaign.
June 1940: Evacuated from beaches of Dunkirk and returned to the UK.
September 1944: Became part of the 52nd Lowland Division.
October 1944: Landed at the Belgian port of Ostend.
1945: North-West Europe with the British Liberating armies.

7th Battalion:
The Battalion was attached to 5th (Western Lowland) Infantry Brigade in Victoria Road, Glasgow.
1940: took part in some of the heaviest fighting in the Dunkirk campaign.
June 1940: Evacuated from beaches of Dunkirk and returned to the UK.
September 1944: Became part of the 52nd Lowland Division.
October 1944: Landed at the Belgian port of Ostend.
1945: In North-West Europe with the British Liberating armies.

9th Battalion:
1939: The Battalion was raised. It formed part of the UK defensive force.
28 December 1942: It became attached to the 46th (Highland) Infantry Brigade and began training.
17 June 1944: It set sail for Normandy, France.
23 June 1944: Disembarked at the British Mulberries at Arromanches.
26 June1944: Its first objective, the village of Haut Du Bosq was a success and captured.

11th, 12th, 13th and 30th Battalions:
The Battalions were later formed and were employed on Home Defence duties.

Memories of Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), Bahrain in 1957

Written by Bryan Mead

Sitting on roof of Basha watching electric storm over the sea Storm comes inland quite quick Heavens open wind howls sheets of tin off the toilet roof skimming across the camp Lucky no one was decappitated Order of the night Boots Shorts and Steel Toppie We did get Rum Ration First ever
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Active From: 1750 - 1968

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