|92nd (GORDON) HIGHLANDERS
|Captain Cameron, later Colonel Cameron, was entitled to the medal for
the Indian Mutiny without clasp for services with the 92nd Highlanders.
This was his only medal entitlement.
Hart's Army List 1877
War Services of Colonel Cameron:
“Colonel Cameron commanded the 92nd Highlanders in the Central India
Campaign in 1858, including the actions at Sindwaho (mentioned in
dispatches) and Korai (Medal).”
Rank and Promotions:
- Commissioned Ensign 92nd Foot 6-12-1844
- Lieutenant and Adjutant 17-3-1846
- Captain 28-1-1853
- Major 6-2-1865
- Lt. Colonel Commanding 24-12-1873
- Colonel 28-10-1876 and retired on full-pay 31-10-76.
Lt. Colonel Gardyne, in the Regimental History, The Life of a Regiment, in discussing the 92nd Highlanders’ arduous service
during the Indian Mutiny states:
“It being ascertained that the enemy had crossed the Betwa and were on the right bank of that river, the Major-General
arranged with Brigadier-General Smith, commanding a field force in the Chandaree district, that a combined movement
should take place, and that their forces should be divided into three distinct columns, the right column, under Brigadier
Smith, to move down the left bank of the river, prepared to cross to the right if necessary. The cavalry and horse artillery
of both brigades formed the centre, under the immediate command of Major-General Michel, and were to cross the ford
by which the enemy had retreated; the right, composed of the infantry and field artillery of Lieut.-Colonel Lockhart's
brigade, crossed at Khungia Ghaut: the river was broad, deep, and rapid, but by using the same precautions as on the
former occasion, nothing was lost but a sergeant's kilt ! They proceeded by Balabet, where they encamped under fine
trees in a pretty country, to Narkut, which they reached October 17th, and next day were joined by the General with
the cavalry and horse artillery.
On the morning of the 19th they marched on the village of Sindwaho, twelve miles distant, where the enemy was reported
to be in strength. The infantry, which was in front, halted half a mile from the village; orders had been given that no bugle
should sound, but this was misunderstood by the cavalry, who, on coming up, halted by bugle call. The enemy, thus apprised
of the approach of troops, were soon discovered drawn up in order of battle to the right of the village, and the horse
artillery and cavalry moved forward to the attack; while the remainder, under Lockhart, advanced upon the village, which
was supposed to be still held. The infantry were in line, with skirmishers in front; the 71st, covering Le Marchant's battery,
passed to the right, the 92nd through the village and the thick enclosures on its left; the enemy abandoned the village,
but many were shot by the skirmishers. The nature of the ground now made it necessary to continue the advance in echelon;
the 71st moved to the right, and as the troop of artillery was seriously pressed, the 19th N.I. was sent to their assistance.
The enemy's guns did some damage to our cavalry, against which his fire was principally directed, and his numerous
horsemen held their ground obstinately, and tried to turn the right of our cavalry. The 92nd, now commanded by
Captain A. W. Cameron, advanced in the face of a large body of cavalry posted on a wooded rising ground. They
frequently threatened to charge, coming out into the open, but regained their shelter when our fire told on them.
The 92nd was now quite separated from the rest of the force. Le Marchant's battery was sent to join them, and as the
enemy still threatened to charge, the skirmishers were recalled, and volleys were fired by companies, the artillery
throwing shot and shell into the tope of trees occupied by the enemy, thus causing them to retire. The artillery and 92nd
then joined the rest of the force. The enemy were in full retreat, pursued by our cavalry and infantry, the latter firing
as long as their light-footed foes were within range. The 92nd had suffered much from the great heat, and were glad to
quench their thirst under the shade of an enormous banyan tree. Afterwards they encamped at Bahra, where, on the 20th,
General Michel congratulated the troops on " the signal success of yesterday near Sindwaho, when an army of 10,000
men was defeated with the loss of all their guns." "Lieut.-Colonel Lockhart's ability in handling his brigade elicits his
warmest approbation, nor can he refrain from expressing his admiration of the infantry, whose zeal and gallantry made
them forget entirely distance, heat, and fatigue, when an enemy was in front."
On October 21st and 22nd the pursuit was continued. At 1 a.m. on the 23rd the infantry left Lullutpore, followed an hour
later by the cavalry, and reached Maltawa, a distance of thirty miles; in the afternoon; on the 24th to Dugorial, whence
the General, wishing to surprise the rebels, marched at 2 a.m. on the 25th, and at dawn discovered their army, unconscious
of the British approach, crossing his front near Koraie; the cavalry, whose horses, had suffered from fatigue more than
the infantry, had been given an hour's extra rest, and they had just come up when the infantry under Lockhart, having cut
the enemy's line of march, had dispersed them. The cavalry pursued, while the infantry followed, clearing the villages for
five miles. About 350 rebels were killed, and numbers threw down their arms. The 92nd was commanded by Captain
Cameron. In his dispatch to the Commander-in Chief, Major-General Michel says: "The infantry, by 1 o'clock p.m. on the
25th, had traversed sixty-two miles in sixty hours, the last twelve of which was over broken ground, skirmishing with the
enemy. I solicit to bring this fact prominently to his lordship's notice, as a proof of the excellent spirit and devotion of
the troops." During these long marches they forded several rivers, but moonlight and good roads made the men tramp along
cheerily to the sound of the pipes or marching songs, though when the sun was up they welcomed the mid-day halt, dinner,
and grog. Latterly the road was rough and bad, and the soldiers stumbled along, stiff, thirsty, and tired.
The regiment arrived at Bhilsa on the 2nd November, where a much-needed supply of stockings and shoes was received.
While here one of the men was so affected by bad news in a letter from his family in Scotland that he shot himself, the
sad event casting a gloom over his comrades. From the 9th to the 15th they rested at Goolgong, in a shady camp by a lake
where they could bathe at all hours; then to Bhopal, where the Ranee gave a grand entertainment to the officers, and sent
sweetmeats to all the men. At the durbar held by the Ranee was a guard of honour of the 92nd Grenadiers. She remarked
to Colonel Lockhart that if she had such handsome men in her country, they would not have been allowed to leave it. Here
also, among other strange birds and beasts, they saw a white elephant. This part of the country being quiet, they marched
on the 23rd to Sehore, where in the woods were many apes and peacocks, which latter made an agreeable addition to the
Tantia Topee had meanwhile crossed the Nerbudda, but had been repulsed at Candeish. Major Sutherland, with a small
column, including 100 of the 92nd, crossed the Nerbudda, and was joined at Jeelwana by 50 of the 92nd and 50 of the
71st, mounted on camels. On the 24th, Major Sutherland, having ascertained that Tantia Topee was on the road to Rajpore,
pushed forward the Highlanders on camels, but so rapidly were they followed by those on foot (both Europeans and
natives), that they overtook the riders in time to advance with them direct on the strong position which the rebels had
taken up. Two guns commanded the only approach, but the Highlanders, supported by the native troops, at once rushed
up the road under fire of grapeshot. The gunners stuck to their guns till cut down, but the rest, abandoning the position
and their artillery, fled across the Nerbudda, having wounded only a few of their assailants, among them Lieutenant and
Adjutant Humfrey, who had ridden ahead of the regiment and attacked one of the enemy's leaders; missing him with his
revolver, he threw it at him, then turned to draw his claymore, but it had been jerked out of. the scabbard-he was unarmed
I The man slashed him across the arms with his sword, when Humfrey jumped off his horse, ducked under its belly, and
catching hold of his adversary's leg, pulled him off his horse; and when some men ran up to the adjutant's assistance, they
found him sitting on his prostrate foe and hammering his head on the ground, so that he was already dead. The pursuit was
now taken up by a column under Brigadier Parke, and Major Sutherland, after remaining at Cooksee till December 27th,
was ordered to join headquarters at Mhow.
Meanwhile Lockhart's Column had returned to Mhow, December 6th, having detached No. 10 1 and No. 3 Companies, under
Captain Bethune, forming part of a column (17th Lancers and a troop R.H.A.) under Brigadier Somerset, to follow up Tantia
Topee, who had again got together a following, among them a regiment of cavalry of the Gwalior contingent.
The Highlanders were mounted on riding camels, two on each ; some of them were smooth-paced, and the men soon got used
to their action, but others were so rough that some men preferred jogging alongside, saying, "I didna 'list for a horse
sodger," or "I wad rather march five-and-twenty miles than ride that muckle brute ten minutes." They underwent great
privations and fatigues in the rapid pursuit. On the last night of 1858, they managed to get some arrack to drink a good
New Year, and on New Year's Day, 1859, they came up with the rebels at Burrode, but were scarcely dismounted to attack
when the enemy beat a rapid retreat, being, however, considerably cut up by the pursuers. These companies did not rejoin
headquarters till May 24th.
On March 2nd, headquarters marched from Mhow for Jhansi, but at Bursud they were directed by Sir R. Napier to leave
the heavy baggage in charge of a company, and proceed in light order to assist in clearing out the rebels located In the
jungles of that neighbourhood; when they had performed this duty they resumed their march, and arrived at Jhansi on 7th
April, leaving two companies at Lullutpore under Major Sutherland, where they were actively employed for some time.
On June 10th, No.7 Company was detached to Seepree, and on the evening of the 30th, forty men under Ensign Emmet,
mounted on elephants, went with a mixed force under Major Meade, senior officer at the station, to surprise a numerous
party of rebels in a village twenty-eight miles distant, situated on a height and surrounded by jungle. They reached it at
5.30 the following morning, and at once attacked the rebels, who kept up a fire of musketry from the loopholed walls of a
large stone-built house, and were not finally subdued till the house caught fire. In this affair four men of the 92nd were
wounded. Major Meade, in reporting the circumstance to the officer commanding the 92nd, says, “I cannot speak too highly
of Ensign Emmet and your men. Their coolness and steadiness were most conspicuous."
October 14th.-Two companies on camels, part of a small force under Lieut.-Colonel Lockhart, left Jhansi to clear the
district of Bundelkhand of rebels, acting in conjunction with six other columns-. Some difficult and harassing marches
were made, and the rebels were scattered, but could not be brought to action.
In the course of these various expeditions in pursuit of a fugitive foe the regiment lost several men from sunstroke, but
none by the sword, though a few officers and men were wounded. Their life was one of constant change and adventure,
visiting a vast number of towns between the Nerbudda and Jeypore, generally well supplied with sheep, bread, and fruit,
sometimes depending on the peafowl they shot, and on flour porridge and buffalo milk. Once they were a long time without
tobacco, till an officer earned the thanks of the smokers by bringing a large supply from Nusserabad. Often tired and
weary from hard marching they sometimes rested for days, on which occasions pony races, shooting alligators, and bathing
amused and refreshed officers and soldiers. Nor did they lack vocal and instrumental music to cheer them in march,
combat, or bivouac; Surgeon-General Landale testifies to the inspiriting effect on the men, and the warlike feeling
engendered by the sound of the bagpipes.
Tantia Topee was at length betrayed by a friend while hiding in the jungles of Seronje, was tried for complicity in the
Cawnpore massacres and hanged, and the last embers of the fire of revolt were stamped out. Tantia Topee was
undoubtedly a marvelous guerilla leader, and as Pipe-major Duncan MacPhail aptly described him, "a maist ubeequitous
In discussing Colonel Cameron’s retirement in 1876 as the Colonel Commanding
the 92nd Highlanders, Colonel Gardyne goes on to state:
The following farewell order by Lieut. Colonel A. W. Cameron, dated 5th September 1876, was published :
I cannot leave the Gordon Highlanders without expressing how high an honour I shall always esteem it to have been
privileged for nearly thirty-two years to serve in its ranks, and, above all, that I was entrusted with the command of it.
Circumstances compel me now to resign the charge which it was the ambition of my life to obtain, but wherever the regiment
goes, there will my best hopes and wishes accompany it. It will always afford me the greatest pleasure to learn that mutual
goodwill, ready and willing obedience to authority, and zealous and fearless discharge by all, of the duties of their several
stations, continue, as heretofore, to mark the character of the regiment. Comrades, there are now a great many young
soldiers in your ranks, and not so many “old hands” with whom in former times it rested in a measure to hand down the
traditions of the regiment. I would therefore recommend you, as a last parting word of advice, to make yourselves
intimately acquainted with the history of your regiment, to take well to heart the great name (second to none in the
British Army) which our forefathers earned for it, and always to remember that you have that name in your safe
keeping. I need hardly say that to add to that name should be the ambition of every individual in the corps, no matter
what his standing is, etc.
Colonel Cameron was a son of Sir Alexander Cameron of Inverailort, who was wounded at the battle of Alexandria in the
92nd, and Colonel Cameron, like his Peninsular namesake of Fassiefern, was a true Highlander, understanding the feelings
and speaking the language of his countrymen. Like him, too, he had a foster-brother named M’Lean, a soldier in the regiment.
Unfortunately he died at Kilkenny, and Cameron never could speak of him without showing the distress he felt at his
untimely end, and he supported the mother till her death. Colonel Cameron died in Inverness-shire, July 1888 and was
buried among many of his name and of his regiment at Kilmallie.
A characteristic story of Colonel Cameron was told me by Lieutenant (afterwards Major General Sir Hector) MacDonald.
When a corporal he was sent for by the colonel, who said, “Corporal MacDonald, there is a vacancy for a sergeant, and
though you are a young soldier 1 intend to make you, but I would have you remember that a sergeant in the Gordon
Highlanders is at least equal to a member of Parliament, and I expect you to behave accordingly!” Corporal MacDonald
mentioned the circumstance to the sergeant-major, and asked what the colonel meant by his being equal to an M.P.
“Oh, my lad," said the sergeant-major, “he only means that he respects us, and he wants us to respect ourselves."
Colonel Cameron died in 1888. His obituary in The Scotsman of 28 July 1888 stated:
The Late Colonel Cameron of Inverailort.
Yesterday Colonel Arthur Wellington Cameron, son of the late Sir Alexander Cameron, K.C.B., of Inverailort,
Invernesshire, died suddenly at Dunain House, near Inverness. The deceased was in his usual health up till yesterday,
and death is believed to have been due to heart disease. He was an able and distinguished officer, and for many years
commanded the 92nd Gordon Highlanders. A niece of the deceased, Miss Christian Cameron, of Inverailort, was to have
been married to Mr. James Head, of Newberries, Herts, but owing to the sudden death of Colonel Cameron, the marriage
has been postponed.
|In a photograph of the |
Officers of the 92nd, taken
in Jullunder in 1870,shown
above, Cameron is the officer
standing in the center on the
Photo by Brian D. Osborne.
Used with permission of Secret Scotland.
Upon the death of Colonel Cameron, Inverailort Castle passed to his son, Captain Duncan Cameron. When Duncan Cameron
died in 1875, the estate passed to his then 15 year old daughter, Christian Cameron. During the Second World War, due
to its remote and practically inaccessible location, in 1940 the British government requisitioned the house. Commando
Country, by Stuart Allan, discusses the origins of forces like the Commandos and Special Operations Executive, and in
describing the requisitioning of Inverailort Castle, and its operation by Military Intelligence (Research) states:
This (Inverailort Castle) was requisitioned by the War Office at the end of May 1940 for use in the training of
irregular forces as the Special Training Centre. Initially this was operated by MI(R) but became part of Combined
Operations. Many techniques of guerilla and irregular warfare were developed there and training techniques which
were adopted for Commando training. SOE training was centred on nearby Arisaig House. The army moved out of the
house on 20th August 1942 and it was then taken over by the Royal Navy when it became HMS Lochailort and used
for the training of naval cadet ratings to be officers on small craft used by Combined Operations. The Royal Navy
moved out in January 1945.- Commando Country, Stuart Allan, National Museums Scotland.
Those attending courses at Inverailort Castle would have received training to work behind enemy lines, in hand-to-hand
combat, sabotage, the use of explosives, survival techniques and the like. Once the house was taken over by the Royal
Navy, becoming HMS Lochailort, the officer training program consisted of a six weeks intensive course that included,
among other skills, navigation, signals, pilotage, and boat landing. It also appears that at one point, the house was also
used to train British resistance fighters in preparation for a possible Axis invasion of England and Scotland.
The house has now fallen into disrepair and due to its history, including the important part it played during WWII,
efforts are underway to raise funding to restore the home to its former glory. Unfortunately, the most of the antique
furniture from the house was lost in 1940 when the military lorry drivers abandoned it on the roadside when weather
and road conditions made transporting it difficult. It is said by some that Christian Cameron, by then an octogenarian,
never returned to her home after it had been requisitioned, dying the following year of a broken heart over the loss of
her home and its contents.
Source: Secret Scotland History at: http://www.secretscotland.org.uk/index.php/Secrets/InverailortCastle