The 79th Cameron Highlanders fighting at the battle of Waterloo
|The regiment was formed at the height of the French Revolutionary Wars, and moved to the Netherlands in 1794 where it took part in an unsuccessful campaign, before being evacuated back to Great Britain. On its return the 79th Foot was listed for disbandment, with the men being drafted into other units. In the end the regiment was reprieved, being instead posted to the West Indies in 1795. After a two-year tour the 79th were on garrison duties in England and Guernsey until 1799.|
In 1799 the regiment was again in action against the French in Holland, as part of the Helder Campaign. On October 2, 1799 it took part in its first major battle at Egmont-op-Zee. At the end of the campaign the 79th returned to England. In 1800 the 79th was part of a force that took part in a failed assault on the Spanish coast at Ferrol.
In March 1801 the 79th Foot landed at Aboukir Bay, Egypt as part of an expeditionary force to prevent French control of the land route to India. After victories at Mandora and Alexandria, the British forces forced the surrender of the French forces at Cairo. Along with other regiments that took part in the Egyptian campaign the 79th Foot were henceforth permitted to bear a sphinx superscribed EGYPT on its colours and badges.
The 79th spent the next few years in Minorca and the United Kingdom without coming under fire. A second battalion was formed in 1804, as a draft-finding unit. The 1st Battalion took part in an engagement at Copenhagen, Denmark in 1807, before returning to England.
In 1808 the 79th Foot moved to Portugal, moving to Spain in the following year and participating in several major battles of the Peninsular War:
Corunna in 1809,
Busaco and the defence of Cadiz in 1810,
Fuentes d'Onor in 1811,
The Battle of Salamanca, the occupation of Madrid and the siege of Burgos in 1812,
the Battles of the Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive in 1813
The Battle of Toulouse in 1814
Following the abdication of Napoleon in 1814, the regiment moved to Cork, Ireland. However, with the return of Napoleon from exile, the 79th Foot travelled to Belgium in May, 1815. The regiment took part in the final battles of the Napoleonic Wars at Quatre Bras and Waterloo in June.
|The next forty years were quiet for the regiment. The 79th Foot remained in France as part of the army of occupation until 1818. The 2nd Battalion was disbanded in 1815. Over the next few decades the 79th provided garrisons in the UK, Canada and Gibraltar.War with Russia broke out in 1854, and the 79th sailed from Portsmouth to Scutari where they became part of the Highland Brigade. The regiment fought at the Battles of Alma, Balaclava and Sevastopol.|
A memorial to their losses is erected in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh.After briefly returning to the UK, the 79th sailed to India to take part in the suppression of the Sepoy Rebellion. The regiment took part in the Capture of Lucknow in 1858. In the following year, as part of the Rohilkand Field Force, the 79th fought at the Battle of Bareilly. The regiment stayed in India until 1871.The regiment returned to the UK in 1871. On April 17, 1873 Queen Victoria presented the regiment with new colours at Parkhurst, Isle of Wight, and directed they should in future be known as the "Queen's Own". Consequently they became the 79th Regiment, The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. The regiment's dark green facings, worn since 1793, were replaced with royal blue. The regiment moved to Gibraltar in 1879.On July 1, 1881 the 79th foot was redesignated as 1st Battalion The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, the county regiment of Inverness-shire. The Camerons were the only infantry regiment to have a single regular battalion. The 1881 reforms also combined the militia and rifle volunteers of the county with the 79th Foot, becoming the 2nd (Militia) Battalion and the 1st (1st Inverness-shire Highland) Volunteer Battalion. In 1897 a 2nd regular battalion was raised, and the Militia battalion was renumbered to 3rd. In 1886, the new depot for the regiment, Cameron Barracks, was completed in Inverness by the Royal Engineers.
Sergeant of the 79th Cameron Highlanders during this time period of the regiment