Cameronians

This was originally posted on the Command Decision mailing list (now defunct).

The Cameronians, aka Poisoned Dwarfs, were an infantry regiment in the British Army from 1689-1968. The 2ic of my UOTC carried the Regimental Colour in their disbandment parade.

Our RQMS used to tell a story of his worst time on duty was when, in the early 1950s, the Cameronians were taking over a barracks from the Highland Light Infantry (HLI) and he was on the rear party for the HLI. He was assigned to guard the armoury and the Cameronian officer told them that on no account were they to open the armoury for anyone, and if they broke in they were to shoot them.

Colonel Duncan Carter-Campbell and HM Queen El...
Colonel Duncan Carter-Campbell and HM Queen Elizabeth II inspecting the guard of honour of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) during the Queen’s visit to Lanark in June 1953 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The officer then proceeded to issue them with several hundred rounds of belted ammo as well as two magazines worth for their sten guns. Our RQMS and his mates thought the officer was a bit touched and stowed the ammo away as soon as he had gone. (NB ammo isn’t usually kept in the armoury with the weapons).

A few hours later, just after midnight and the closure of the pubs/NAAFI, the guard was woken up by someone banging on the door shouting rather vehemently that they wanted to be let in. The Corporal told him to go away. No effect. In fact several more Cameronians turned up and started banging on the door and pleading either to be let in or to have bayonets passed out to them. When this was refused they started to look for other ways in and surrounded the armoury banging on the door and barred windows. The situation was grim and the guard had no way of getting help.

After the banging on the door got a bit more co-ordinated the guard set up a Vickers Medium Machine Gun facing the door and made loud noises about doing this. The Cameronians finally got the hint and left just as the outside component of the guard turned up threatening to shoot them too.

The only Cameronians left now are a TA Company. (No.4 Company 1/52 Lowland Brigade). Rangers is also probably the right name too as they are all very staunch protestants (but not religiously of course). The Cameronians were originally formed to support William of Orange by fighting against the loyal forces of King James VII in Scotland, their first battle was at Dunkeld in 1689.

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About Author:

James has a keen interest in military history, backed with experience as a TA reservist and a 17th century re-enactor. He has designed and run several face to face social games and is the editor of MilMud, the journal of the CLWG game design group. He is currently working on a book on the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution.

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