Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons)

The Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons), officially abbreviated "QO HLDRS," was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Scottish Division. It was in existence from 1961 to 1994.

Queen's Own Highlanders
(Seaforth and Camerons)
Cap badge of the Queen's Own Highlanders
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeLine Infantry
RoleArmoured infantry latterly. Originally Light infantry
SizeOne Battalion
Part ofScottish Division
Garrison/HQDreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh originally Fort George
Nickname(s)The Blue Mafia
Motto(s)Cuidich 'n Righ (Help the King)
ColorsBlue and Buff Facings.
MarchQuick: Pibroch o Donal Dubh/March of the Cameron Men/Cabarfeidh (Also a Military Band/Pipes called Queen's Own Highlanders used to march off)
Mascot(s)The informal regimental nickname of the stags head cap badge was "Hector".
Colonel-in-ChiefThe Duke of Edinburgh
Kilt: Mackenzie, (Seaforth), (left)
Trews: Cameron of Erracht, (right)
Reverse: for pipers, drummers and band members
Queen's Own Highlanders on guard at the Seria oilfield, during the Brunei revolt, December 1962
Troops from the Queen's Own Highlanders searching for enemies during a patrol in 1963 during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation

History edit

1961–1970 edit

The regiment was formed on 7 February 1961 at Redford Barracks, Edinburgh, with the amalgamation of 1st Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders and 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders to form the 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Highlanders.[2] This was a part of the defence reforms originally announced in the 1957 Defence White Paper, which saw a reduction in the size of the British Army to reflect the end of National Service.[1]

The battalion was sent to Singapore in April 1961 from where it was deployed to Brunei in December 1962 in order to help suppress the Brunei Revolt at an early stage of the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation.[3] This included a successful air assault on the rebel–held Shell oilfields at Seria, with the airfield quickly recaptured and 48 hostages released. Returning to Singapore in February 1962, the battalion went back to Borneo three months later for a further operational tour, mainly consisting of long patrols and manning outlying garrisons on the border with Indonesia.[4]

On return to Scotland in January 1964, the battalion was based at Milton Bridge Camp, a former facility for German Prisoners of War, located south east of Glencorse Barracks.[3] In June 1964 the battalion moved to Mercer Barracks at Osnabrück Garrison, part of British Army of the Rhine, remaining there until August 1966 when it moved to Wavell Barracks in Berlin.[3] The battalion returned to Redford Barracks in September 1968 from where units were deployed to Sharjah on the Persian Gulf in May 1969,[3] while in July 1970 it undertook ceremonial duties at that year's Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.[4]

1971–1982 edit

In April 1971 the battalion returned to Osnabrück Garrison, from where they were deployed for a total of three separate four–month operational tours at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland: November 1971 – March 1972 (East Belfast); July – October 1972: (Dungannon) and December 1973 – April 1974 (West Belfast).[3] In June 1976 the battalion returned to Scotland, this time to Ritchie Camp, West Lothian, from where parts of the battalion were deployed to Belize, Gibraltar and twice to Northern Ireland, April – August 1978 (North Armagh) and July – December 1979 (South Armagh).[3] During this tour, the battalion's commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel David Blair, was killed by one of two roadside bombs that took the lives of a total of eighteen soldiers at Warrenpoint, County Down.[5] A total of seven Queen's Own Highlanders were killed in Northern Ireland between 1973 and 1990.[6]

In March 1980 the battalion was despatched for a tour at Stanley Fort in Hong Kong before moving to Tidworth in November 1981.[3] In spite of it then being the Army's Spearhead battalion – kept in readiness for rapid deployment worldwide – it did not take part in the fighting that commenced in April 1982. It was, however, stationed in the Falkland Islands, immediately after the ceasefire, from July – December 1982, and led the operation to restore normality on the islands. This work resulted in the award to the regiment of the Wilkinson Sword of Peace, bestowed annually on the unit of the British Armed Forces that has made the greatest contribution to community relations.[1]

1983–1994 edit

In November 1983, the battalion moved to Alexander Barracks, Aldergrove, as the Northern Ireland resident battalion, and on to Fort George in November 1985.[3] In March 1988 the battalion moved to Buller Barracks in Münster, Germany, from where units were again deployed to Northern Ireland for five months from March 1990 (Belfast) and to Saudi Arabia in January 1991, where they took part in the Gulf War.[3] In the Gulf, the battalion was split up to support other units, including attachments to the 1st Royal Scots and 3rd Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (3RRF) to bring these units up to strength. Three Queen's Own Highlanders serving with 3 RRF were among eleven soldiers killed in a friendly fire incident, when two US A-10 aircraft mistakenly bombed a UK armoured column.[1] After the war, the battalion returned to Münster with a further six month deployment to Northern Ireland (Belfast) from November 1992.[3] The battalion returned to Scotland in October 1993 and moved into Dreghorn Barracks, near Edinburgh.[3]

Due to the Options for Change defence review the battalion was amalgamated with 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders on 17 September 1994 to form 1st Battalion, Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons).[7] There was a high–profile, although ultimately unsuccessful, campaign to stop the proposed amalgamation.[8]

Territorial Army and Cadet Force edit

After the formation of the Queen's Own Highlanders in February 1961, the part–time Territorial Army units of the pre-amalgamation regiments continued unchanged, with the 11th battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (TA) and the 4/5 battalion Cameron Highlanders (TA). In April 1967 both were disbanded on the formation of the 3rd (Territorial) battalion, Queen's Own Highlanders, which was itself disbanded in March 1969. From then on, the part–time element of all Highland regiments were included within the 51st Highland Volunteers.[9]

The Army Cadet Force (ACF) units in the northern counties of Scotland retained the designation and cap badges of the Seaforth and Cameron Highlanders until 1968, when they became the North Highland ACF and adopted the Queen's Own Highlanders badge.[10] In 1975 they became the 1st Cadet Battalion Queen's Own Highlanders ACF and, in April 1982, the Queen's Own Highlanders Battalion ACF. In September 1999 the battalion was re-badged under the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) and renamed to 1st Battalion The Highlanders, Army Cadet Force.[11]

Regimental museum edit

The Highlanders' Museum (Queen's Own Highlanders Collection) is based at Fort George, near Inverness, Scotland.[12]

Tartans edit

The regiment wore the Mackenzie tartan kilt (as worn by the former Seaforth Highlanders) and Cameron of Erracht tartan trews, with the reverse for pipers, drummers and band members.[13][14]

Colonel-in-Chief edit

Regimental Colonels edit

Colonels of the regiment were:[15]

Allied regiments edit

The regiment had the following alliances:[2]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d Trevor Royle. Queen's Own Highlanders: A Concise History. pp. 204–207. Mainstream Publishing Ltd. Edinburgh. 2007. ISBN 9781845960926.
  2. ^ a b "Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons)". Regiments.org. Archived from the original on 30 December 2005. Retrieved 15 May 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Queen's Own Highlanders". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b Queen's Own Highlanders: A Short History. pp. 55–57. Regimental H.Q., QO Hldrs.
  5. ^ Barzilay, David: British Army in Ulster, volume 4. p. 94. Century Books, 1981. ISBN 0-903152-16-9.
  6. ^ "Roll of Honour, Palace Barracks Memorial Garden". Archived from the original on 31 May 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019. Also Pte Mark Carnie, attached from the Black Watch, Highlander Regimental Journal, Summer 2003, p 21.
  7. ^ "Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  8. ^ Trevor Royle. Queen's Own Highlanders: A Concise History. p. 208. Mainstream Publishing Ltd. Edinburgh. ISBN 9781845960926.
  9. ^ Queen's Own Highlanders: A Short History. p. 59. Regimental H.Q., QO Hldrs.
  10. ^ Queen's Own Highlanders: A Short History. pp. 61–62. Regimental H.Q., QO Hldrs.
  11. ^ "Our history". Army Cadet Force website. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Welcome". The Highlanders' Museum. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Regimental tartans". Tartans Authority. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  14. ^ Liet Col Angus Fairrie. "Cuidich 'N Righ" A History of the Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Cameron). p. 149. Regimental H.Q., QO Hldrs. 1983. ISBN 0-9508986-0-0.
  15. ^ "Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons)". regiments.org. Archived from the original on 30 December 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

Further reading edit

  • Regimental H.Q., Queen's Own Highlanders. Queen's Own Highlanders: A Short History. Inverness: Highland Printers, 1961.
  • Regimental H.Q., Queen's Own Highlanders. Queen's Own Highlanders 1961–1971. Inverness: A. Learmonth & Son, 1971.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Fairrie, Angus. "Cuidich'n Righ": A History of the Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons). Inverness: Regimental H.Q., Queen's Own Highlanders, 1983.
  • Trevor Royle. Queen's Own Highlanders: A Concise History. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 2007. (ISBN 9781845960926).

External links edit