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Shortly after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 the British Government's main agent in the Highlands, Duncan Forbes, calculated the potential fighting strength commanded by the various clan chiefs.
Argyll                                                                               3000
Breadalbane                                                                      1000
Lochnell and other Campbell Chiefs                                      1000
Macleans                                                                             500
Maclachlans                                                                         300
Stewarts of Appin                                                                 300
Macdougalls                                                                         200
Stewarts of Grandtully                                                           300
Clan Gregor                                                                          700
Duke of Atholl                                                                     3000
Farquharsons                                                                       500
Duke of Gordon                                                                   300
Grant of Grant                                                                     850
Macintosh                                                                           800
Macphersons                                                                       400
Frasers                                                                               900

Grant of Glenmoriston                                                          150
Chisholms                                                                           200
Duke of Perth                                                                      300
Seaforth                                                                            1000
Cromarty, Seatwell,Gairloch & other Mackenzies                    1500
Menzies                                                                              300
Munros                                                                               300
Rosses                                                                                500
Sutherland                                                                         2000
Mackays                                                                              800
Sinclairs                                                                             1100
Macdonald of Sleat                                                               700
Macdonald of Clanronald                                                       700
Macdonnell of Glengarry                                                        500
Macdonnell of Keppoch                                                          300
Macdonald of Glencoe                                                            130
Robertsons                                                                           200
Camerons                                                                             800
Mackinnon                                                                            200
Macleod                                                                               700
Duke of Montrose, Earls of Bute & Moray
Macfarlanes, Colquhouns, Lamonts, Macneils
of Barra, Macnabs, Macnaughtons, etc, etc                             5,600
                                                                                      ______
 

                                                                                      31,930

 

Read more: Fighting Men 1746

How did you come to write this book?

I used to be a journalist. I was doing some research for a magazine article about some battles involving Scottish troops and I noticed that the times when things went wrong were often ignored in many mainstream histories or dismissed in a sentence. I found myself wanting to know more and the more I found out the more fascinated I became.

Read more: SCOTTISH MILITARY DISASTERS INTERVIEW


1. Mons Graupius - 84 AD - The first recorded battle in Scottish history. Also the first recorded military disaster.

2. Falkirk - 1298 -William Wallace’s brief day in the sun is ended when he comes up against Edward, the Hammer of the Scots.

Read more: Scottish Military Disasters - Synopsis

Some bonus material for those of you who bought the book: illustrations which were not used. The "Battle Maps" button on the top menu bar gives access to maps specially prepared for the book but ultimately not included.

The Norwegians and Scots get to grips with each other in this perhaps

rather fanciful portrayal of the Battle of Kringen in 1612. Chapter 6.

Doon Hill

The Scots Army left a strong position on Doon Hill to fight and suffered a humiliating defeat at

the hands of the English under Oliver Cromwell in 1650. Chapter 7.

Read more: Scottish Military Disasters Illustrations

I don't know how many memoirs there are from the First World War written by Germans. But I'd be interested to see what they have to say about killing prisoners. I've just finished a book, first published in 1929, in which a variety of British servicemen recounted their experiences during the war. What struck me was that more than half of accounts mentioning the murder of surrendered or surrendering Germans were from former members of Highland regiments.

One account detailed how during the Battle of Loos in 1915 a platoon of Highlanders found about 20 Germans at their mercy in a captured trench. The Germans, who wounded some of the Highlanders as they stormed the trench, begged for mercy. Then one of the Scots shouted “Remember the Lusitania” and the Germans were slaughtered. The deaths of almost 1,200 civilians when a German submarine torpedoed the ocean liner were widely regarded at the time as a war crime. Another member of a Highland regiment told how that no German was left alive after his unit took a German trench at Ypres in 1917. In another book, a private in the one of the Highland regiments also recalled the murder of prisoners at Loos. 
Now, it could be that Scottish soldiers were more honest about whether they killed surrendered Germans. Or it could be that they were more likely to kill prisoners than most other British soldiers? The Canadians and Australians were also notorious for killing Germans who could have been easily captured.
About a year ago, while working on a companion volume to Scottish Military Disasters, I was going through some battalion histories from the First World War. Most did not explicitly mention the killing of surrendering Germans but simply noted with satisfaction that there were no survivors from such-and -such a German machinegun post after had been over-run. But the history of one of the Glasgow battalions was not so coy. The history tells the story of an officer of the Worcestershire Regiment who asked a sergeant from the unit how many German prisoners he’d taken during a recent battle. “Prisoners,” replied the sergeant. “None, my ammunition's no done yet.”
The Scots who fought in the Second World War were just as honest as those from the First when it came to talking about killing prisoners. Seaforth Highlander Sgt. Carnduff said that after the Battle of Alamein a  total of nine Germans found huddled in the bottom of trenches by-passed during the 51st Highland Division’s advance had been killed by dropping anti-tank mines on them. A soldier from the 15th Scottish Division admitted that during the fighting in Normandy after D-Day his unit soon stopped taking prisoners. “Any German who tries to surrender is a brave man; we just shoot them then and there, with their hands up,” he said. “There’s nothing to choose between the British and the Germans as regards atrocities …” The soldier added that shortly after landing in France, his Sergeant Major had been relieving some Germans of their valuables when a Canadian soldier sprayed the prisoners with his sten gun. The Sergeant Major was hit in the stomach.

Read more: Opinion

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