Regiments and Corps

Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment)

1st Battalion The Highland Light Infantry marching down Military Hill, Dover, c1931

Origins

The Highland Light Infantry (HLI) was formed in the 1881 Army reforms by merging the 71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry) and the 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot, which became its 1st and 2nd Battalions respectively.

Both these regiments were highland units, but the new unit recruited in Glasgow, so it became the only highland regiment given the lowland uniform of trews (trousers) not kilts, a decision not reversed until 1947.

Early deployments

During the 1880s and 1890s the regiment undertook garrison duties across the British Empire, but 1st Battalion was sent to South Africa on the outbreak of the Boer War (1899-1902), fighting throughout the conflict.

Other ranks’ glengarry badge, The Highland Light Infantry, c1900

Lieutenant Walter Brodie VC, 2nd Battalion The Highland Light Infantry, c1915

First World War

Both regular battalions served on the Western Front during the First World War (1914-18), although 1st Battalion also fought in Mesopotamia from 1916 onwards. The regiment also raised 14 Territorial battalions and 11 Reserve and Service battalions. Three of the Territorial battalions were sent to Gallipoli in 1915. In 1919 2nd Battalion joined the British force fighting the Bolsheviks in Northern Russia.

Following inter-war service in Palestine, Turkey, India, Ireland and Malta, both battalions fought in the Second World War (1939-45).

Men of 2nd Battalion The Highland Light Infantry fighting on the North West Frontier, 1935

Second World War

1st Battalion served in France and had to be evacuated from Cherbourg in June 1940. It then remained in Britain until October 1944 when it took part in the capture of the Dutch island of Walcheren. It went on to serve throughout the remainder of the North-West Europe campaign. Earlier, the Territorials of 10th Battalion had landed in Normandy, going on to fight at Caen and Falaise (1944).

2nd Battalion had been in Egypt on the outbreak of war, fighting in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Syria and the Balkans and serving as peacekeepers in Greece in late 1944.

Legacy

In 1948 the regiment was reduced to a single regular battalion, deploying to Malta, Libya, Suez and Cyprus over the following decade.

In January 1959 the HLI was amalgamated with The Royal Scots Fusiliers to form The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret’s Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment).

The Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum

The National Army Museum works together with Regimental and Corps Museums across the country to help provide a network of military museums for everyone to visit and enjoy.

Explore the history and collections of Highland Light Infantry by visiting the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum.

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