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Unit History: Highland Light Infantry

Highland Light Infantry
The Regiment was officially formed in 1881 when the 71st and 74th Regiments of Foot were amalgamated as part of the Childers Reforms, but the Regiment can trace its history back a further 100 years from this date.
 
The 71st were raised in 1777 by John Mackenzie Lord Macleod, (son of the Earl of Cromarty) as the 73rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot (MacLeod's Highlanders), having been raised and disbanded three times since 1758.  The recently formed Regiment saw its first action in Gambia, West Africa and during the Mysore War in India.  In 1786 the Regiment was re-designated as the 71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot (MacLeod's Highlanders).  The Regiment remained in India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) until 1795 fighting at the Battle of Pondicherry.
 
After 1809 the Regiment was refitted as a Light Infantry unit and renamed as 71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry).  Light Infantry provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry in order to delay the enemy advance. The Regiment was dispatched to South America in 1806 on the disastrous expedition to seize control of Buenos Aires and other Spanish colonies during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).  The city was captured but the inhabitants rose against the small British force and took them prisoner.
 
The Regiment was reformed in 1808 and deployed to Portugal as part of General Moore’s army, acting as a rear guard action against Napoleon’s Army during the evacuation of Corunna which signalled the start of the Peninsular War (1808-1814).  It was then deployed on the unsuccessful Walcheren Campaign before participating in the Battle of Waterloo (1815).  The Regiment went on to serve in Canada, Bermuda, the West Indies and Corfu and during the Crimean War (1853–1856) fighting at the Siege of Sevastopol and the Kerch Expedition to Eastern Crimea.  It also served in India during The Indian Rebellion of 1857 fighting on the North West Frontier at the Battle of Ambela.
 
The 74th was first formed in 1787 by Archibald Campbell in Glasgow and following the tradition of the time, named after its colonel as Campbell's Highlanders.  The Regiment served during the American War of Independence from 1779 defending Fort George at Bagaduce (present-day Castine, Maine) until its withdrawal in 1784.  It was then deployed to India in 1789 and served during the Fourth Mysore War (1799) and later in the Mahratta War of 1802 as well as during The Peninsular campaign 1808-1815 and fought at Busaco, Fuentes d'Onor, both sieges of Badajoz, the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, Vittoria, Nivelles, Tarbes, Orthe, and Toulouse..  From 1818 until 1845 the Regiment saw little major actions and was stationed in Canada and the West Indies.
 
In 1751 the naming tradition of Regiments was simplified each assigned a ranked number of precedence; therefore the Regiment was re-titled as the 74th (Highland) Regiment.  The Regiment took part in two campaigns in South Africa known as the Kaffir Wars (8th Kaffir War 1850-53), protecting Dutch and English settlers from the aggressive native tribes north of Cape Town.  The Regiment also took part in the suppressing the India Rebellion of 1857.  The Regiment gained enduring admiration in 1852, when it, along with the 73rd of Foot, was shipwrecked on board HMS Birkenhead.  The Regiments paraded on deck while the women and children were put into the lifeboats.
 
The Regiments were amalgamated in 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms which restructured the British army into a network of multi-battalion Regiments and became the Highland Light Infantry.  The newly formed Regiment went on to serve during The Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882, Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) and two World Wars.  In 1959 The Highland Light Infantry was merged with the Royal Scots Fusiliers to form the Royal Highland Fusiliers.  In 2006 the Regiment was further merged with The Royal Scots Borderers, The Black Watch, The Highlanders, and The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Highland Light Infantry 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 raised a total of 26 Battalion, these included 3 ‘pals’ battalions formed as part of Lord Darby’s scheme but the Glasgow battalions were never known as such having nicknames each other; The Boozy First (The 15th), The Holy Second (The 16th) and The Featherbeds (The 17th). The Regiment was awarded 65 Battle Honours and 7 Victoria Crosses losing 10,030 men during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Ambala, India as part of the Sirhind Brigade of the 3rd (Lahore) Division.
Sept 1914 Mobilised for war and moved to Egypt to embark for France.
01.12.1914 Landed at Marseilles and engaged in various actions on the Western front including;
In 1914; Battles of La Bassee, 1st Messines and Armentieres. In 1915; Battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Festubert and Loos in 1915
Dec 1915 Moved to Mesopotamia to capture Bagdad and defend British interests in the region against the Turks, the Division engaged in various actions including;
The Action at Fat-ha Gorge on the Little Zab and the Battle of Sharqat.
Jan 1917 Left the 3rd (Lahore) Division and moved to defend Tigris.
Sept 1917 Transferred to the 51st Brigade of the 17th Division.
31.10.1918 Ended the war in Mesopotamia, Huwaish on Tigris north of Sharqat.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Aldershot as part of the 5th Brigade and 2nd Division.
14.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western front including;
During 1914
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, First Battle of Ypres.
During 1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The Battle of Festubert, The Battle of Loos.
During 1916
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of the Ancre, Operations on the Ancre.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First and Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Battle of Cambrai.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Villers Pol.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Station at Hamilton and then moved to Portsmouth.
May 1915 Moved to S.W. of Currie, Scotland and then Edinburgh and joined the Edinburgh S.R. Brigade.
July 1918 moved to Haddington.

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Station at Hamilton and then moved to Plymouth.
May 1915 Moved to Edinburgh and joined the Edinburgh S.R. Brigade.
Early 1917 Moved to Hawick and then to Wormit and Arbroath by Sept 1918.

1/5th (City of Glasgow) Battalion Territorial Force, 1/6th (City of Glasgow) Battalion Territorial Force and 1/7th (Blythswood) Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Glasgow as part of the H.L.I. Brigade of the Lowland Division then moved to Dunfermline.
11.05.1915 Formation became the 157th Brigade of the 52nd Division.
26.05.1915 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Devonport, Plymouth.
03.07.1915 Arrived in Gallipoli and the Division engaged in various actions including;
Gully Ravine, Achi Baba Nullah, Krithia Nullahs.
08.01.1916 Evacuated to Mudros due to serve casualties not only from combat but also from disease and harsh weather.
Feb 1916 Moved to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal and were involved in various action including; Dueidar, The Battle of Romani.
During 1917
The Second and Third Battle of Gaza, The Third Battle of Gaza, Wadi el Hesi, El Maghar, The capture of Junction Station, The Battle of Nabi Samweil, The Battle of Jaffa.
11-17.04.1918 Returned 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 Belgium, Jurbise N.W. Mons.

8th (Lanark) Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 At Lanark as part of the Lothian Infantry Brigade of the Scottish Coast Defences.
Possibly insufficient Volunteers for service overseas and disbanded in May 1916 (inadequate information).

1/9th (Glasgow Highland) Battalion Territorial force.
04.08.1914 Stationed in Glasgow as part of the H.L.I. Brigade of the Lowland Division then move to Dunfermline.
Nov 1914 Mobilised for war and landed in France and transferred to the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The Battle of Festubert, The Battle of Loos.
30.01.1916 Transferred to G.H.Q. Troops.
29.05.1916 Transferred to the 100th Brigade of the 33rd Division and 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 Battle 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 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, Petit Maubeuge.

2/5th (City of Glasgow) Battalion Territorial Force.
Sept 1914 Formed part of the 196th Brigade of the 65th Division then move to Dunfermline.
Jan 1916 Became the 21st Battalion and moved to Essex.
Jan 1917 Moved to Curragh, Ireland and then to Dublin and back to Curragh.
Mar 1918 Division broken up and the Battalion disbanded.

2/6th (City of Glasgow) Battalion Territorial Force.
Sept 1914 Formed part of the 196th Brigade of the 65th Division then move to Dunfermline.
Jan 1916 Became the 22nd Battalion and moved to Maldon.
Jan 1917 Moved to Curragh, Ireland and then to Dublin and back to Curragh.
Mar 1918 Division broken up and the Battalion disbanded.

2/7th (Blythswood) Battalion Territorial Force.
Sept 1914 Formed part of the 196th Brigade of the 65th Division then move to Dunfermline.
Jan 1916 Became the 23rd Battalion and moved to Danbury.
Jan 1917 Moved to Galway, Ireland and then to Naas and then Dublin.
Aug 1917 Division broken up and the Battalion disbanded.

2/9th (Glasgow Highland) Battalion Territorial Force.
Sept 1914 Formed part of the 196th Brigade of the 65th Division then move to Dunfermline.
Jan 1916 Became the 24th Battalion and moved to Maldon.
Jan 1917 Moved to Curragh, Ireland and then Dublin.
May 1918 Division broken up and the Battalion disbanded.

3/5th and 3/7th Battalions Territorial Force
Mar 1915 Formed.
08.04.1916 Became the 5th and 7th Reserve Battalions and moved to Ripon.
01.09.1916 The 5th moved to Catterick and absorbed the 7th as part of the Lowland Reserve Brigade.
July 1917 Absorbed the 6th Reserve Battalion and moved to Edinburgh and then Stirling.

3/6th and 3/9th Battalions Territorial Force
Mar 1915 Formed.
08.04.1916 Became the 6th and 9th Reserve Battalions and moved to Ripon.
01.09.1916 The 6th moved to Catterick and absorbed the 9th as part of the Lowland Reserve Brigade.
July 1917 Absorbed by the 5th Reserve Battalion.

10th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Hamilton as part of the First New Army (K1) and moved to Bordon to join the 28th Brigade part of the 9th Division.
Mar 1915 Moved to Bramshott.
May 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The Battle of Loos
14.05.1916 Transferred to the 46th Brigade of the 15th Division and amalgamated with the 11th Battalion.
During 1916
The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Le Transloy, Attacks on the Butte de Warlencourt.
During 1917
The First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Pilckem, The Battle of Langemark.
01.02.1918 Transferred to the119th brigade of the 40th Division and once again engaged in actions on the Western Front including;
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck.
06.05.1918 Reduced to training cadre due to heavy losses.
03.06.1918 Transferred to the 34th Division and then the 14th Division.
16.06.1918 Embarked for England from Boulogne and then moved to Aldershot.
21.06.1918 Absorbed the 22nd Battalion.
05.17.1918 Returned to France landing at Boulogne and once again engaged in actions on the Western Front including; The Battle of Ypres 1918 and the final advance in Flanders.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, N.W. of Helchin east of Tourcoing.

11th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Hamilton as part of the First New Army (K1) and moved to Bordon to join the 28th Brigade part of the 9th Division.
Mar 1915 Moved to Bramshott.
May 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The Battle of Loos
14.05.1916 Transferred to the 46th Brigade of the 15th Division and amalgamated with the 11th Battalion.

12th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Hamilton as part of the Second New Army (K2) and moved to Bordon to join the 46th Brigade part of the 15th Division.
Mar 1915 Moved to Romsey and then Chisledon.
May 1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1915
The Battle of Loos
During 1916
The Actions of Spring, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Le Transloy, Attacks on the Butte de Warlencourt.
During 1917
The First and Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Pilckem, The Battle of Langemark.
03.02.1918 Transferred to 106th Brigade of the 35th Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1918
The First Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Tieghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium near ten Berg, west of Grammont.

13th (Reserve) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Gosport as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) as part of the 97th Brigade part of the 32nd Division. Then became the 2nd Reserve battalion and moved to Roxburgh.
Oct 1915 Moved to Catterick as part of the 12th Reserve Brigade then moved to Fife.
01.09.1916 Became the 52nd Training Reserve Battalion at Leven in the 12th Reserve Brigade.

14th (Service) Battalion
July 1915 Formed at Hamilton as a bantam Battalion then moved to Ayrshire and on to Blackdown to join the 120th Brigade part of the 40th Division.
02.03.1916 Absorbed the 13th Scottish Rifles
June 1916 mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beaucamp and La Vacquerie, The Cambrai Operations.
06.05.1918 Reduced to training cadre
03-17.06.1918 Transferred to 34th Division and then the 39th Division.
16.08.1918 Transferred to the 197th Brigade of the 66th Division to defend the Lines of Communication near Aumale.

15th (Service) Battalion (1st Glasgow)
02.09.1914 Formed by Lord Provost and the City at Glasgow the moved to Galies, Ayrshire and then Prees Heath to join the 97th Brigade of the 32nd Division.
June 1915 Moved to Wensleydale and taken over by the war office, then moved to Salisbury Plain by Aug.
Nov 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne, transferred to the 14th Brigade of the same Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
Operations on the Ancre.
During 1918
The First Battle of Arras, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Francs, east of Avesnes.

16th (Service) Battalion (2nd Glasgow) and 17th (Service) Battalion (3rd Glasgow)
02.09.1914 The 16th formed by Lord Provost and the City at Glasgow the moved to Galies and then Prees Heath to join the 97th Brigade of the 32nd Division.
10.09.1914 The 17th formed by the Chamber of Commerce in Glasgow and then moved to Troon.
June 1915 Both moved to Wensleydale and taken over by the war office, then moved to Codford by Aug.
23.11.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
Operations on the Ancre.
11.02.1918 the 17th Disbanded in France.
22.02.1918 The 16th became a Pioneer Battalion of the 32nd Division which continued to engage in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1918
The First Battle of Arras, The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, east of Avesnes.

18th (Service) Battalion (4th Glasgow)
26.02.1915 Formed by Lord Provost and the City at Glasgow as a bantam battalion then moved to Ayrshire and Galies and then to Masham, Yorkshire to join the 106th Brigade of the 35nd Division.
July 1915 Taken over by the war office, then moved to Salisbury Plain by Aug.
01.02.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The fighting for Arrow Head Copse and Maltz Horn Farm and Falfemont Farm.
1917 Ceased to be a bantam Battalion after medical inspection.
23.09.1917 Absorbed the Glasgow Yeomanry (4 Officers and 146 men) and became the 18th (Royal Glasgow Yeomanry) Battalion.
During 1917
The pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The fighting in Houthulst Forest, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
During 1918
The First Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Tieghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, west of Grammont.

19th (Reserve) Battalion
July 1915 Formed at Gailes from the depot companies of the 15th 16th and 17th Battalions as a local reserve Battalion.
Oct 1915 Moved to Ripon and joined the 18th Reserve Brigade and then moved to Montrose.
01.09.1916 Became the 78th Training Reserve Battalion.

20th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1915 Formed at Ripon from the depot companies of the 18th Battalion as a local reserve Battalion as part of the 18th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 79th Training Reserve Battalion at Montrose.

21st Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed at Deal from the 9th Provisional Battalion as part of the 221st Brigade, then moved to Sandwich then back to Deal and finally at Ramsgate by May 1918.

1st (Reserve) Garrison Battalion
May 1916 Formed at Fort George and remained there until Jan 1918 when it moved to Maryhill, Glasgow.

51st (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed form the 201st Graduated Battalion (previously the; 54th Training Reserve Battalion and the 14th Royal Scots Battalion) and moved to Cromer as part of the 191st Brigade of the 64th Division.
Nov 1917 Moved to Holt and then Thetford and Fakenham.

52nd (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed form the 205th Graduated Battalion (previously the; 56th Training Reserve Battalion and the 12th Cameron Highlanders Battalion) and moved to Norwich as part of the 192nd Brigade of the 64th Division.
Nov 1917 Moved to Kelling and then Sheringham.

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed from the 53rd Young Soldiers Battalion (previously the 9th K.O.S.B) and moved to Kirkcaldy, Fife as part of the Lowland Reserves Brigade.
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Active From: 1881 - 1959

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