The Camel Detachment of the 72nd Highlanders, Indian Mutiny
This small, unusual detachment of a Highland Regiment came into existence on the 23rd of November, 1858. On that date
Lieutenant-Colonel William Parke, who was in command of the 72nd, was ordered by Major-General Michel to assume
command of a column of light and irregular cavalry. This little column consisted of two 9-Pounder Guns of the Bombay
Artillery; 50 sabres of the 8th Hussars;50 sabres of the Bombay (2nd) Cavalry; 50 sabres of the Maratha Horse; 125
sabres of the Gujrati Irregular Horse; and 100 of the 72nd (Duke of Albany’s Own) Highlanders mounted on camels.
The column, under Brigadier Parke, was ordered to pursue,with upmost speed, the rebels under Rao Sahib and Tantia Topee.
These mutineers having changed their course, having turned northwest, making for the fords of Nerbudda in the vicinity of
On the First of December 1858, having marched over 241 miles in nine days, the last being through dense jungle, this column
surprised and cut up 3500 of the Sepoy Mutineers of Chota Udaipur (Oodeypore), this having the effect of completely
dispersing the rebels; the loss to the Mutineers being considerable for this day’s work by our small column.
We find our group mentioned again in Colonel John Sym’s SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS “In May of 1859, a detachment
under Lieutenant Vesey, consisting of 100 men of the light and No.4 Companies, who had been mounted on camels, and
attached to a column of Light and Irregular cavalry returned to quarters (at Mhow), having been under canvas in the Field
for almost 17 months, and marched over 3000 miles.”
Here is a link to the page on Thomas Owens, and a page on William Armstrong, both members of the Camel Detachment.
Sources of Information:
History of the Scottish Highlands, Highland Clans, and Highland Regiments, by John S. Keltie, Edinburgh, 1887.
Seaforth Highlanders, by Colonel John Sym, Aldershot, 1952.