Although the oldest regiment in the British Army is the 1st Royal regiment of Foot, usually known as the Royal Scots, it was not until the French and Indian War (known in Europe as the Seven Years War) that Scottish regiments played a significant role in the Army. In fact, between 1756 and 1763, Britain raised 10 regiments of Scots Highlanders to fight in the European and American theaters of that conflict. Many Scottish veterans of this conflict chose to stay in the colonies (sometimes returning to Scotland to bring families and friends back with them). The personal papers of various Scottish combatants, reflecting their nation’s participation in or the perspective on that famous conflict, can be found at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.
For his latest book, historian David Dobson has combed through these papers, as well as extracted data from the contemporary journal, the “Scots Magazine,” and the newspaper, the “Aberdeen Journal.” Dobson’s transcriptions identify many of the Scots who took part in the conflict and portray the Scottish vantage point on the war itself. Arranged in chronological order, the entries vary from the observation that “Clanranald’s sons William and Normand” had joined a new Highland regiment, to news that “34 impressed men from [Aberdeen had joined] Lord Loudon’s Regiment now destined for American service,” to a list of 120 Scots recruited by Major Clephane for Fraser’s Highlanders. In all, the index to this book of genealogical and historical importance refers to about 2,000 Scotsmen who either took part in the conflict or provided commentary about it.