The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
The 26th Regiment of Foot
The Cameronian Regiment of Foot formed 1689,
later Angus's Regiment of Foot,
later Brigadier Ferguson's Regiment of Foot,
later Brigadier Sutton's Regiment of Foot,
later The 26th Regiment of Foot,
from 1786 The 26th (The Cameronians) Regiment of Foot,
from 1881 1st Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
The 1st Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), based in India on the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939. It was rapidly deployed to Rangoon in February 1942 to meet the immediate threat of Japanese invasion. The battalion then took part in the long withdrawal to the Indian frontier. When it re-entered India on 26 May 1942, the battalion had been reduced to 14 officers and 120 other ranks. The battalion spent the next year in India regaining full strength and then training for long-range operations as part of the Chindits - the 3rd Indian Division. The battalion, returned to Burma, flying in by gliders in March 1944 in 11th Brigade (or Profound column as it was referred to). For the next four months the battalion operated behind Japanese lines, disrupting lines of communication. The Chindits were supplied by air and often dependent on their own resources to survive while marching hundreds of miles through the jungle and keeping their wounded with them. Operation Thursday ended with the monsoon and the Japanese catching the battalion at Namkin, when it had 50 men on stretchers and 150 walking wounded. It withdrew as last rearguard to the column having lost 247 men but having done some sterling service. It continued to serve in the Far East until the end of the war, pushing most of the Japanese out of Burma. Nevertheless, the battalion managed to MARCH back into India through mountainous jungle terrain. The 1st Battalion left India early August 1945 on the aircraft carrier HMS Colossus, for Singapore, and immediately MARCHED through to Malaya. The signal to move the battalion was the dropping of the first Atomic Bomb on Japan. The 2nd Battalion were sent to India, however, were then diverted to Madagascar. Then to Persia as part of PAI Force and then served mostly in Italy. Moved to Germany in April 1945 and took part in the capture of Lubeck.
In 1947, in common with other infantry regiments, The Cameronians were reduced to a single regular battalion. Between 1946-48 the 1st Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) was reduced to nil strength in Malaya. The remnants (approximately 150 men) amalgamated with the 2nd Battalion who were garrisoned at Gibraltar where on 19 September 1948 it was officially redesignated as the new 1st Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), and the 2nd Battalion ceased to exist.
The new 1st Battalion was sent to Malaya to operate against the ' bandits' (Malay Races Liberation Army).
The Cameronians lost a total of 1,222 men during World War II.
The Cameronians (The Scottish Rifles); the regiment went into suspended animation May 1968.
Faced with the threat of disbandment or merger at a time of reductions in the size of the British Army, the Cameronians considered it beneath their dignity to merge with other infantry regiments, Scottish or otherwise. It was considered impossible for the traditions of The Cameronians to be maintained under such conditions. The regiment chose to go into suspended animation, ready to return should Scotland and its Church ever need them. The final ceremony reflected their formation in defence of the Covenant. They marched to church parade, posted sentries, piled arms, and after a final service, marched off into history. The disbandment parade (or "conventicle" as the Cameronians called their church parade) was held at Castle Dangerous, Douglas on 14 May 1968. The 26th Regiment of Foot had been formed at that place and date in 1689.
Regimental Museum of the Cameronians (The Scottish Rifles), Mote Hill, Muir Street, Hamilton, Lanarkshire ML3 6BY, Scotland. Phone: +44 (0) 1698 428688. Covers the history of the regiment 1689-1968, showing uniforms, medals, banners and campaign relics. The museum recently re-opened and is housed in an old riding school building. (Open Mon - Sat 10:00 to 17:00; Sun 12:00 to 17:00).
Collated from information kindly forwarded by; Malcolm G. Fergusson of Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K., Iain Kerr of Windsor, England, U.K.
And the memories of; L/Cpl James Taylor (Burma Star), 1st Bn., Cameronians.