Lieutenant Colonel Harry Walker, commader of the 4th (Dundee) Battalion, the Black Watch.

Lt. Col Walker was killed on the 3rd day of the Battle of Loos.


On November 15th 1746 a young piper called James Reid from Angus was executed at York in England, his crime playing the pipes as an “Instrument of war”. 

Now there are versions of this story that say Reid was hung, drawn and quartered but on researching this I could find no proof this was the execution method.
Reid served as a piper in the 1st Battalion, Lord Ogilvy’s Forfarshire Regiment, raised in October 1745 in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion. Was among several men from this regiment left as part of the garrison of the English border city of Carlisle when the Jacobite rebels abandoned their invasion of England. Was captured when the city surrendered to government forces in December 1745. At his treason trial, it was put forward in his defense that as a musician, he did not carry arms and had not struck a blow against King George. The court, however, ruled that “a Highland regiment never marched without a piper, and therefore his bagpipe, in the eyes of the law, is an instrument of war"—a legal distinction unique to the pipes.
Reid was not the only piper captured but seems to be the only one on record as being executed  as records show one was pardoned, perhaps due to the fact he was "a blind Highland Pyper” another was transported and a third “discharged”

Another myth connected with this story is that the pipes were included in the disarming Act of Proscription which came into force on August 1746, this did indeed ban the wearing of the kilt but no mention was made of our national instrument. 

The pipes in the picture will be very similar to those played by the unfortunate Reid and were said to have been found on Culloden Moor, they are on display in the visitors centre there.


Russian pioneers sword and small percussion pistol belonging to Andrew Drummond of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on display at their regimental museum in Stirling Castle

Drummond recovered the sword while serving in the Crimea and unusually for a private in the army he carried this pistol as well as his rifle.

He was awarded a medal for distinguished conduct during the war.

Shit That I, a Social Studies Major, Do in Video Games

Do everything in my power to take Vienna as an Ottoman/Turkish faction, even at the expense of losing territory or spending ass-loads just to make an attempt

Ask “Do you even Vive, bro?” while fighting enemies as a French faction

Play a Scottish faction or Highlander regiment of Britain while listening to the 10-hour compilation of “Scotland the Brave” bagpipe music on playback

Doesn’t want to fuck with Poland, because fucking Winged Hussars

Shout “Filthy colonizers, get off my damn lawn” while playing a Native American, African or Indian faction waging war against the British Empire

Seize all historically-held territory of a faction and copy the historical maps as closely as possible in the game, then stop all the wars and not take any more territory because it’s completely non-canon and historically inaccurate

Visibly sweat and feel chills down my spine each time the city of Paris, the states of the American South and the nation of Serbia revolt or whenever Poland, Russia and France are invaded by a German faction—because those are the precursors to a whole lot of terrible shit in history

Say “Fuck the King/British” each time the British declare war on me

Feel warm fuzzies whenever I can play as Mamelukes or Janissaries

Wish harm upon my enemies whenever I lose by hoping specifically for an event that tears them apart and/or they lose spectacularly against

Mimic the military commands in the faction’s spoken language (albeit, poorly)

Laugh evilly every time the city of Constantinople falls to anybody—and as a bonus: if it falls to Turkey/Ottomans, shout “ISTANBUUUUUUUUL~” like the ending of that song by the same name

Praise the King/Emperor that ruled that specific point in history every time I win and stop to listen and sing to an anthem from that period

Feel incredibly guilty and sad whenever a Native American, African or Indian faction declares war on me whenever I’m playing an imperial European faction

Become proud and teary-eyed when my country’s Cardinal becomes the Pope

Practically shit myself every time the Huns or the Mongols suddenly appear, making every effort to befriend them and pay them to go away

Make the Spongebob “Imagination” rainbow every time I convert the local population, but replace the word “Imagination” with the name of the religion—also proclaiming the 100% conversion rating and any army made/stationed there to be “good, wholesome and orthodox faithful people

Sigh deeply every time a Crusade is called upon Jerusalem, but nearly suffocate in giggling when the Crusade fails or a Muslim faction takes it instead

The Thin Red Line was a military action by the British Sutherland Highlanders 93rd (Highland) Regiment at the Battle of Balaklava on 25 October 1854, during the Crimean War. In this incident, the 93rd, aided by a small force of Royal Marines and some Turkish infantrymen, led by Sir Colin Campbell, routed a Russian cavalry charge. Previously, Campbell’s Highland Brigade had taken part in actions at the Battle of Alma and the Siege of Sevastopol. There were more Victoria Crosses presented to the Highland soldiers at that time than at any other. The event was galvanized in the British press and became an icon of the qualities of the British soldier in a war that was poorly managed and increasingly unpopular.

Drummer John Rennie (Regt. Nº 2125) 72nd (Duke of Albany’s Own Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, Aldershot Garrison 1856 (aged 25)
He is shown wearing the Bandsman’s distinctive white doublet with shoulder “wings” and armed with the brass basket-hilted sword unique at the time to bandsmen of Highland regiments.

John Rennie was born in the Parish of Everton and attested for the 72nd Regiment at Glasgow in the County of Lanark on the 25th November 1846 at the age of 15. He was appointed Drummer on 24 October 1847, awarded the Crimea War Medal with the Sebastopol clasp in 1855, and as a Drum Major during 1857/59, he was awarded the Indian Mutiny Medal.


On this day 26 February in 1852, the Wreck of HMS Birkenhead, one of the most famous disasters in British naval history occurred. It is remembered as a classic example of the British characteristics of steadfastness, discipline and self-sacrifice.

She had sailed from Simon’s Bay, South Africa on 25 February 1852 with between 630 and 643 British soldiers, from regiments throughout the UK, and women and children. They were heading to Algoa Bay to take the soldiers to fight in the 8th Xhosa War.

In the early hours of the 26 February, she struck an uncharted rock. 100 soldiers drowned immediately in their berths. Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Seton, of the 74th Highland Regiment of Foot, commanded the troops aboard HMS Birkenhead. Seton was from Mounie in Aberdeenshire.

Before she sank, the captain of the ship called out that “all those who can swim jump overboard, and make for the boats”.

Seton, however, recognising that rushing the lifeboats would risk swamping them and endangering the women and children, ordered the men to stand to attention and wait.

Hence was born the first documented application of the phrase “women and children first” which became known as “the Birkenhead Drill” after it was further popularised in Rudyard Kipling’s 1893 poem “Soldier an’ Sailor Too”.

Tragically, only 193 people were to survive the incident. A memorial in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, today bears the following inscription:

“In memory of Lieut.-Colonel Alexander Seton, Ensign Alex. C. Russell, and forty-eight N.C.O.s and men of the 74th Highlanders who were drowned at the wreck of H.M.S. ‘Birkenhead’ on the 26th February 1852, off Point Danger, Cape of Good Hope, after all the women and children on board had been safely landed in the ship’s boats.”

Other places bear witness to the loss including a plaque on the wall of St Mary’s Church in Bury St Edmunds, which remembers the men of the Suffolk Regiment who were lost in the disaster.

The painting with the Bugle Boy is entitled “The Wreck of the Birkenhead” (1899) by Lance Calkin. The other is “The Wreck of the Birkenhead” (ca 1892) by Thomas M Hemy.

Today in 1746 James Reid was hanged, drawn, and quartered at York. He had served as a piper in the 1st Battalion, Lord Ogilvy’s (Forfarshire) Regiment, raised in October 1745 in support of the Young Pretender, Prince Charles Edward Stewart. He was among several men from this regiment left as part of the garrison of the English border city of Carlisle when the Jacobites  abandoned their invasion of England, and was captured when the city surrendered to government forces in December 1745. At his treason trial  it was put forward in his defence that, as a musician, he did not carry arms and had not struck a blow against the Government. However the court ruled that “...a Highland regiment never marched without a piper, and therefore his bagpipe, in the eyes of the law, was an instrument of war.”.   The pipes in the picture were played at Culloden in 1746 and are on display at the National Museum of Scotland