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.
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.
George Read's Regiment
John Wynyard's Regiment (4th Marines)
Offarrell's Regiment (later 21st - North British Fusiliers)
Anstruther's Regiment (later 26th - Cameronians)
William Graham's Regiment (54th)
Queen's Regiment (2nd)
Royal Regiment of Fusilers (7th)
Columbine's Regiment (6th?)
Fuller's Regiment (29th)
Houghton's Regiment ( 45th)
Oglethorpe's Regiment (42nd)
Dalzell's Regiment (38th)
Last modified: April 12, 2021
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Preston M. Smith and the 42nd Royal Highlanders, Inc.
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