78th Regiment of Foot

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  • 1793 raised by Francis Humberstone MacKenzie as the 78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot
  • 1795 renamed the 78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot, or The Ross-shire Buffs
  • 1881 amalgamated with 72nd Highlanders forming the 2nd Battalion of The Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs)
  • 1961 combined with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders to form the Queen's Own Highlanders
  • 1994 amalgamated with the Gordon Highlanders to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)
  • 2006 amalgamated with the other Scottish infantry regiments into the single large Royal Regiment of Scotland becoming The Highlanders, 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS)

Service in British India

1803 The 78th Regiment of Foot was a participant in the famous Battle of Assaye, which resulted in a decisive victory for British forces led by Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington. It was also in the Battle of Argaum and in action at Poona and Gwalior. In the same year, the 78th were stationed at Fort William.

1804-1807 The regiment was stationed at Bombay during this period, and at Baroda and Fort St George in 1805.

1807-1811 The regiment was at Goa.

1816 The regiment was stationed in Calcutta.

1817 The regiment was stationed in Portsmouth, England so it presumably went to England in that year.

1817-1826 The regiment was in Ireland.

1838 & 1841 It was also shown as being in Ireland, with no specific location listed.

1841 The regiment was stationed both in Burnley, England and Bombay, India in this year, so one would have to assume that it returned to India around 1841. It is shown in the Monthly Returns as being in Dublin, Ireland in 1842, so this was presumably its depot. Private David Greenhill wrote a letter home to his family in Scotland, whilst stationed in Dublin in 1841. A descendant of his sister has prepared a transcription of the letter.

1842 After the disastrous 1st Afghan War in which British troops had suffered extremely heavy losses during the retreat from Kabul in 1842, reinforcements were rushed to India, and these included the 78th Highlanders, who landed, 1000 strong, in Bombay in late 1842. They were initially stationed in Poona, from where David Greenhill wrote another letter to his family.

1843 The 78th were transferred to Karachi, probably at the end of the Scinde War, which was over by March of that year, and in which they apparently took no part.

Early in 1844 they were posted to Sukkur, some 350 miles up the Indus, and north of the scene of the main battles of the recent war. Shortly after arrival there they were struck by an appalling outbreak of cholera in which 543 all ranks, and over a hundred wives and children perished. There is a memorial to those who died in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. The regiment is not shown as having taken part in the 1st Sikh War which broke out the following year and was fought over territory not far from Sukkur, but the survivors may have been employed as reinforcements during that campaign.

Sukkur is the site of an immense barrage, finished during the 1920s, which completed the irrigation works which so benefitted the Punjab and Sind.

1844-1845 The regiment was stationed at Kirkee and Poona.

1847-1849 The Ross-shire Buffs were at Belgaum.

1853 The regiment was stationed at Poona.

1856-57 Took part in the Persian War at the Battle of Khoosh-ab

1857 The 78th Regiment relieved Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny.


The above information was extracted from a number of sources including :

The Queen's Own Highlanders History published by the 78th Regiment

In Search of the Forlorn Hope : A Comprehensive Guide to Locating British Regiments and their Records by John Kitzmiller ISBN 0961926031

The Colonial Wars Source Book by Philip Haythornthwaite ISBN 1854091964

British Army Pensioners Abroad by Norman K. Crowder ISBN 0806314605


The Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research Volume 75, Spring 1997 has an article about the graves of officers, who were killed in May 1813 at Probolinggo, Java trying to enforce a new 'land distribution scheme' with which many of the locals did not agree.

External Links

78th Regiment of Foot Wikipedia
Seaforth Highlanders Wikipedia
Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) Wikipedia
78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot (or The Ross-shire Buffs) including deployments Regiments.org, an archived site.
Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's) including deployments Regiments.org, an archived site.
The Highlanders Museum Covers the 72nd (Seaforth Highlanders), 78th and the 79th (Cameron Highlanders) Regiments of Foot

Historical books online