Mutiny of 1743

Tower of London Beheading Memorial
Memorial to the executed at the Tower

Following an order to march to London, the men of the Black Watch were uneasy. However, unrest ws calmed by explaining that the King merely wishes to see a Highland regiment, which he has never seen. Upon arriving in England, however, the men of Black Watch discovered that the King was on the continent and not present to review the regiment. Rumors spread that the regiment was to be sent to the West Indies - not the duties of the Highland Watch for which the men had signed up.

General George Wade
Johan van Diest, 1731

On May 17, 1743, approximately 100 men deserted, and set off to return to Scotland. They were intercepted by General Wade's regiment of horse, and after some negotiations, reached a surrender. All the deserters were tried by court martial, and sentenced to death. The capital sentence was commuted for all men except for Corporals Malcolm and Samuel McPherson, and private Farqhuar Shaw. The "pardoned" men were drafted into service with regiments in Minorca, Gibraltar, Georgia, and the West Indies, and the rest of the Highland Regiment left for Flanders.

Today, Shaw and the McPhersons are remembered at the Memorial of the executed at the Tower, along with seven others.

To learn more about the mutiny of 1743 - consult General Stewart of Garth's Sketches of the character, manners, and present state of the Highlanders of Scotland, and The official records of the mutiny in the Black Watch : a London incident of the year 1743 . Electric Scotland also provides a good overview of the history of the mutiny.

Following is a list of the men found guilty in the mutiny, and their sentence.

Farqhuar Shaw


  • Private Farqhuar Shaw
  • Corporal Samuel McPherson
  • Corporal Malcolm McPherson

Corporal Punishment

  • Peter Campbell alias McGrigor


George Read's Regiment

  • James McGrigor
  • Neil McGriger

Malcolm McPherson

John Wynyard's Regiment (4th Marines)

  • John Steuart
  • Duncan Grant (senr)
  • Alan Camron

Offarrell's Regiment (later 21st - North British Fusiliers)

  • James McDonald
  • John McGrigor
  • Patrick McGrigor

Anstruther's Regiment (later 26th - Cameronians)

  • Alexander Camron jr
  • Patrick Frazer (senr)

William Graham's Regiment (54th)

  • William McLeod
  • John Smith
  • Angus McDonald

Samuel McPherson


Queen's Regiment (2nd)

  • Patrick McDermite
  • Peter Grant jr

Royal Regiment of Fusilers (7th)

  • William McEan
  • James Grant
  • William Smith

Columbine's Regiment (6th?)

  • Alexander McGrigor
  • James McFarland
  • Alexander McPherson jr

Execution of Shaw and McPhersons at the Tower

Fuller's Regiment (29th)

  • Donald Stuart
  • Dougal McCallum

Houghton's Regiment ( 45th)

  • Duncan Grant
  • David Grant
  • Patrick Mildrum


Oglethorpe's Regiment (42nd)

  • William Gordon
  • Donald McAlpen
  • Alexander Murray

  • Mutineers Marching into the Tower

  • John Noble
  • James McPherson
  • John Grant
  • Angus Mclntosh
  • John McMillan
  • Alexander Frazer of Ballagon
  • Donald Kennedy
  • Duncan Kennedy
  • Angus Robertson
  • William Forsyth
  • John McDonald
  • James McLean
  • James Frazer
  • John McGregor, sen r
  • John McGregor, jun r
  • John McTaish
  • Donald Cameron
  • John Campbell
  • Archibald McCullum
  • Donald Forbes
  • William Kennedy
  • Alexander McPherson, sen r

  • Piper Donal McDonnell

  • Angus McPherson, jun r
  • John Campbell, sen r
  • Angus Camron, jun r
  • Duncan Camron
  • Duncan Mclntire, sen r
  • John Morrison
  • Nicol McNicol
  • Donald Camron
  • Paul McPherson
  • John McPherson
  • William Frazer
  • John Camron, jun r
  • Hugh McAllan

Leeward Islands

Dalzell's Regiment (38th)

  • Evan McPherson
  • Jn Camron
  • Jn Farquarson
  • Jn Mclntosh
  • Gregor McAlpen
  • Pat: McCalman
  • Jas Panton
  • Paul McPherson
  • Thos Steuart
  • Don : McPherson
  • Lewis McFarland
  • Don : Mclntyre
  • Angus McPherson, sen r
  • Jn McGregor
  • Alexr Grant
  • James Forbes
  • Hector McLean
  • Alexr McDonald
  • Alexr Frazer
  • Evan McGrigor
  • Jas Mclntosh
  • Don : McPherson
  • Jn McPherson
  • John Steuart
  • Duncan Grant, jun r
  • Keneth McPherson
  • Gregor Grant
  • Evan Frazer
  • Alexr Frazer
  • Don : McDonald
  • Jn Camron
  • Angus McPherson of Loggan
  • Pat: McNicol
  • Don : [Dun :] Mclntyre
  • Alexr McDonald
  • Walter McFarland
  • Don : McPherson
  • Don: McGrigor
Last modified: April 12, 2021
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Preston M. Smith and the 42nd Royal Highlanders, Inc.
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