5th Camerons

The 5nd Battalion Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders

The Regiment was formed during the height of the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) by Sir Alan Cameron of Erracht in 1793. It was named after one of the most powerful Highland Clans at the time as the Cameronian Volunteers, but soon designated as the 79th Regiment of Foot (Cameronian Volunteers). The Regiment was then sent to the West Indies and remained at Martinique for 2 years, where it suffered terribly from disease, to such an extent that fit men were allowed to transfer to other Regiments and only 200 men returned to England in 1797.In 1799 the regiment was part of the Helder Campaign during the War of the Second Coalition (1798-1802) and took part in the battle at Egmont-op-Zee. The campaign had two objectives: to neutralize the Batavian fleet and to promote an uprising against the Batavian government. The Anglo-Russian forces brokered a deal in order to evacuate from the peninsula after defeat at the Battle of Castricum (1799). The 79th were also part of a failed assault on the Spanish coast at Ferrol in 1800.In 1808 the 79th Foot moved to Portugal and then Spain as part of the Peninsular War (1808-1814) fighting at the Battle of Corunna, The Battle of Busaco, The defence of Cadiz, The Battle of Fuentes d'Onor, The Battle of Salamanca, The occupation of Madrid, The siege of Burgos, The Battles of the Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, and The Battle of Toulouse. In 1815 the 79th formed part of the Duke of Wellington's force at the Battle of Waterloo. During the battle the Regiment formed a square to repel the French cavalry and Piper Kenneth MacKay stepped outside the square playing the ancient tune of "Cogadh no Sith" (War or Peace) to rallying effect and by nightfall the Great Army of Napoleon had been destroyed.In 1854 the Regiment served during the Crimean War fighting at the Battles of Alma and Sevastopol. The Regiment then moved to India to assist the Honourable East India Company in crushing The Indian Rebellion of 1857. The 79th took part in the recapture of Lucknow (1858) and then remained in India for 12 years. Upon their return the Regiment were stationed on the Isle of Wight and performed ceremonial duties for Queen Victoria, for which they were awarded the title 'The 79th Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders'.In 1881 the Regiment was one of the few to escape amalgamation during the Childers Reforms, due only having one battalion, while the title 79th was dropped and the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders moved to Egypt as part of the successful Tel-el-Kebir remaining in Egypt until 1886. The Regiment then participated in the Boer War and fought at various battles including the fall of Pretoria, the Battle of Diamond Hill, the capture of Spitzkopf and the Battle of Nooitgedacht and returned to Scotland in 1904. The Regiment went on to serve during both World War One and World War Two.

The 5th Battalion in the Second World War

The 5th Battalion formed part of the reconstituted 152nd Brigade in the 51st (Highland) Division and saw action at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942 and the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943. The battalion took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944 and then fought at the Battle for Caen in July 1944, the Battle of the Falaise Gap in August 1944 and the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and the Rhine Crossing.