The Gordon Highlanders
Overview
The Gordon Highlanders was a British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 from 1794 until 1994. The regiment took its name from the Clan Gordon
Clan Gordon
Clan Gordon, also known as the House of Gordon, is a Scottish clan. The chief of the clan was the powerful Earl of Huntly, now also Marquess of Huntly.-Origins:...

 and recruited principally from Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

 and the North-East of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

.
The regiment was formed on 1 July 1794 by the amalgamation of the 75th Stirlingshire Regiment
75th Regiment of Foot
Four regiments of the British Army have been numbered the 75th Regiment of Foot:*75th Regiment of Foot , formed 1758 and disbanded 1763*75th Regiment of Foot , renumbered from the 118th in 1763...

 - which became the 1st battalion of the new regiment - and the 92nd Gordon Highlanders
92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot
The 92nd Regiment of Foot was a British Army infantry regiment. It was granted Royal Warrant on 10 February 1794, and first paraded on 24 June 1794, originally being numbered the 100th Regiment of Foot...

, which became the 2nd. The 75th Highlanders were raised in 1787 by Colonel Robert Abercromby
Robert Abercromby
Robert Abercromby , also known under the pseudonyms of Robert Sandiesoun and Sanders Robertson was a Jesuit missionary in Scotland.-Early life:...

 of Tullibody for service in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, where they saw a great deal of action.
Encyclopedia
The Gordon Highlanders was a British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 from 1794 until 1994. The regiment took its name from the Clan Gordon
Clan Gordon
Clan Gordon, also known as the House of Gordon, is a Scottish clan. The chief of the clan was the powerful Earl of Huntly, now also Marquess of Huntly.-Origins:...

 and recruited principally from Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

 and the North-East of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

.

History

The regiment was formed on 1 July 1794 by the amalgamation of the 75th Stirlingshire Regiment
75th Regiment of Foot
Four regiments of the British Army have been numbered the 75th Regiment of Foot:*75th Regiment of Foot , formed 1758 and disbanded 1763*75th Regiment of Foot , renumbered from the 118th in 1763...

 - which became the 1st battalion of the new regiment - and the 92nd Gordon Highlanders
92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot
The 92nd Regiment of Foot was a British Army infantry regiment. It was granted Royal Warrant on 10 February 1794, and first paraded on 24 June 1794, originally being numbered the 100th Regiment of Foot...

, which became the 2nd. The 75th Highlanders were raised in 1787 by Colonel Robert Abercromby
Robert Abercromby
Robert Abercromby , also known under the pseudonyms of Robert Sandiesoun and Sanders Robertson was a Jesuit missionary in Scotland.-Early life:...

 of Tullibody for service in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, where they saw a great deal of action. They went on to serve in South Africa
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

, the Indian Mutiny, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and on the North-West Frontier
North-West Frontier Province
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country...

.

The 92nd were raised as the 100th Highlanders by the Duke of Gordon
Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon
Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon KT , styled Marquess of Huntly until 1752, was a Scottish nobleman, described by Kaimes as the "greatest subject in Britain", and was also known as the Cock o' the North, the traditional epithet attached to the chief of the Gordon clan.-Early life:Alexander...

 in 1794 being renumbered 92nd in 1798. Their early service included the Low Countries and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, followed by Corunna
Battle of Corunna
The Battle of Corunna refers to a battle of the Peninsular War. On January 16, 1809, a French army under Marshal Soult attacked the British under Sir John Moore...

, the Peninsula
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

, Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and South Africa
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

.

First World War

The Gordons raised 21 battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

s in the First World War, serving on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 and in Italy
Italian Campaign (World War I)
The Italian campaign refers to a series of battles fought between the armies of Austria-Hungary and Italy, along with their allies, in northern Italy between 1915 and 1918. Italy hoped that by joining the countries of the Triple Entente against the Central Powers it would gain Cisalpine Tyrol , the...

 and winning 65 battle honour
Battle honour
A battle honour is an award of a right by a government or sovereign to a military unit to emblazon the name of a battle or operation on its flags , uniforms or other accessories where ornamentation is possible....

s. The regiment lost 1,000 officers and 28,000 men during the war. The legendary folk singer and Scottish Traveller
Scottish Travellers
Scottish Travellers, or the people termed loosely Gypsies and Tinkers in Scotland, consist of a number of diverse, unrelated communities, with groups speaking a variety of different languages and holding to distinct customs, histories, and traditions...

 Jimmy MacBeath
Jimmy MacBeath
Jimmy MacBeath was an itinerant worker and singer of Bothy Ballads from the north east of Scotland. He was a source of traditional songs for singers of the mid 20th century Folk Revival in Great Britain.-Life:...

 served with the regiment during this era.

Second World War

A further 27 honours were added in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 when the regiment served in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1940, in Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and north-west Europe.

The 1st Battalion was with the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division during the Battle for France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 in 1940 when that Division was forced to surrender at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux
Saint-Valery-en-Caux
Saint-Valery-en-Caux is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France.-Geography:A small fishing port and light industrial town situated in the Pays de Caux, some west of Dieppe at the junction of the D53, D20, D79 and the D925 roads...

. The 5th (Buchan and Formartine) Battalion also surrendered with the same Division. The 1st Battalion was reformed in August 1940 and went on to serve with the second formation of the 51st Highland Division throughout the rest of the Second World War.

The 2nd Battalion was based in Malaya as part of the Singapore garrison
Malaya Command
The Malaya Command was a command of British Commonwealth forces formed in the 1920s for the coordination of the defences of Malaya and Singapore.-History:...

 and fought in the battle for Singapore
Battle of Singapore
The Battle of Singapore was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of the Second World War when the Empire of Japan invaded the Allied stronghold of Singapore. Singapore was the major British military base in Southeast Asia and nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East"...

 in February 1942, surrendering along with 130,000 other British Commonwealth soldiers on 15 February. The men of this battalion suffered more casualties as Prisoners of War in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese captivity than they did during the fighting on Singapore Island and mainland Malaysia. The 2nd Battalion was reformed in May 1942 from personnel of the 11th Battalion and fought with the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division.

The 4th (City of Aberdeen) Battalion was converted to an artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 regiment on 1 November 1941, becoming the 92nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

, as part of the 9th Armoured Division
British 9th Armoured Division
The 9th Armoured Division was a Second World War British Army formation. The 9th Armoured was created on 1 December 1940 and dispersed and disbanded on 31 July 1944. The division never saw active service during the war...

, but saw no active service during the war.

The 6th (Banffshire) Battalion was transferred from the 51st Highland Division before it surrendered in 1940 and joined the 2nd Infantry Brigade
British 2nd Infantry Brigade
The 2nd Infantry Brigade is a British Army Regional Brigade, active since the First World War.- History :...

 of the 1st Infantry Division
British 1st Infantry Division
The 1st Infantry Division was a regular British Army division with a long history having been present at the Peninsula War, the Crimean War, the First World War, and during the Second World War.-Napoleonic Wars:...

. The 6th Battalion fought through the North African
North African campaign
During the Second World War, the North African Campaign took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia .The campaign was fought between the Allies and Axis powers, many of whom had...

 and Italian Campaign
Italian Campaign (World War II)
The Italian Campaign of World War II was the name of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to the end of the war in Europe. Joint Allied Forces Headquarters AFHQ was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre, and it planned and commanded the...

s before ending the war on garrison duty in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

.

The 7th (Mar and Mearns) Battalion served with the second formation of the 51st Highland Division throughout the war.

The 8th (City of Aberdeen) Battalion was also converted to artillery, becoming the 100th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. This battalion served with the 2nd Infantry Division
British 2nd Infantry Division
The 2nd Division is a regular division of the British army, with a long history. It dates its existence as a permanently embodied formation from 1809, when it was established by Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley , as part of the Anglo-Portuguese Army, for service in the Peninsular War...

 in the Burma Campaign
Burma Campaign
The Burma Campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was fought primarily between British Commonwealth, Chinese and United States forces against the forces of the Empire of Japan, Thailand, and the Indian National Army. British Commonwealth land forces were drawn primarily from...

.

The 9th (Donside) Battalion (originally part of the 9th (Highland) Infantry Division
British 9th (Highland) Infantry Division
The 9th Infantry Division was a second line Territorial Army formation at the beginning of the Second World War. After the surrender of the 51st Highland Division in 1940, the 9th Division, a replica of the 51st Division, was reorganised as the new 51st Infantry Division...

 along with the 11th Battalion) were initially posted to the Shetland islands. Later they were amalgamated with the 5th Battalion and sent to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 for training. Converted to an armoured regiment, as the 116th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps
Royal Armoured Corps
The Royal Armoured Corps is currently a collection of ten regular regiments, mostly converted from old horse cavalry regiments, and four Yeomanry regiments of the Territorial Army...

 (Gordons) they were sent to Burma. As part of 255th Indian Tank Brigade
255th Indian Tank Brigade
The 255th Indian Tank Brigade was an armoured brigade of the Indian Army during World War II. It was part of the Fourteenth Army and saw action in the Burma Campaign...

, they were involved in the dash for Rangoon and were heavily involved in the battle of Meiktila
Meiktila
Meiktila is a city in central Myanmar, located on the banks of Lake Meiktila in Mandalay Division, at the junctions of the Bagan-Taunggyi, Yangon-Mandalay and Meiktila-Myingyan highways. Because of its strategic position, Meiktila is home to Myanmar Air Force's central command and Meiktila Air...

, signalling the end of Japanese hopes in Burma.

The London Scottish battalions were part of the Gordon Highlanders although they were a London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 recruited regiment.

After the war the Gordons saw active service in the Malayan Emergency
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

 and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

.

The regiment was amalgamated with The Queens' Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) on September 17, 1994 to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)
The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)
The Highlanders, 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland is an infantry battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.Prior to 28 March 2006, the Highlanders was an infantry regiment in its own right; The Highlanders , part of the Scottish Division...

.

Popular culture references

James Kennaway
James Kennaway
James Kennaway was a Scottish writer. He was born in Auchterarder in Perthshire and attended Glenalmond College.-Career:...

 based the script for the movie Tunes of Glory
Tunes of Glory
Tunes of Glory is a 1960 British film directed by Ronald Neame, based on the novel and screenplay by James Kennaway. The film is a "dark psychological drama" centring on events in a Scottish Highland regimental barracks in the period following World War II...

 on his experiences in the Highlanders.

The novelist George MacDonald Fraser
George MacDonald Fraser
George MacDonald Fraser, OBE was an English-born author of Scottish descent, who wrote both historical novels and non-fiction books, as well as several screenplays.-Early life and military career:...

 was posted as a lieutenant to the 2nd Battalion in the immediate post-war period, and wrote three volumes of short stories (the "McAuslan" books), which were lightly fictionalised recollections of his time with the regiment.

Symbols

The original tartan of the 75th is not certain but it may have been akin to what is now known as Campbell of Breadalbane. The 92nd has always worn the Government sett with a yellow stripe, which is worn as a clan tartan by those of the name Gordon.

The regimental marches were Cock o' the North
Cock o' the North (music)
Cock o'the North is a 6/8 march bagpipe tune, for the Great Highland Bagpipe. It is named after Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon, who in 1794 raised the Gordon Highlanders, the 92nd Regiment. It is a development of the 17th century English tune Sir Roger de Coverley, found in Playford's...

, St Andrew's Cross and The Garb of Old Gaul. HRH The Prince of Wales
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

 was Colonel in Chief.

Alliances

- The 48th Highlanders of Canada
48th Highlanders of Canada
The 48th Highlanders of Canada is a Canadian Forces Primary Reserve infantry regiment based in Toronto, parading out of Moss Park Armoury. The regiment is part of Land Force Central Area's 32 Canadian Brigade Group....

 - The Toronto Scottish Regiment (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's Own)
The Toronto Scottish Regiment (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's Own)
The Toronto Scottish Regiment is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces. It is part of Land Force Central Area's 32 Canadian Brigade Group.-History:...

 - 5th Battalion, The Victorian Scottish Regiment - 5th and 6th Battalions, The Royal Victoria Regiment
Royal Victoria Regiment
The Royal Victoria Regiment is an Infantry Regiment of the Australian Army, consisting of two battalions, the 5th/6th Battalion and the 8th/7th Battalion.-History:...

 - 5th/7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
The 5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment was a mechanised infantry battalion of the Australian Army. The battalion was based at Robertson Barracks in Palmerston, Northern Territory and formed part of the 1st Brigade. It was formed in 1973 by linking both the 5th and 7th Battalions of the...

 - The Cape Town Highlanders
Cape Town Highlanders Regiment
The Cape Town Highlanders Regiment is a mechanised infantry regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Territorial Army or United States Army National Guard unit.-History:...


External links

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