Concept

Atholl Highlanders

Résumé
The Atholl Highlanders is a Scottish private infantry regiment. A ceremonial unit, it acts as the personal bodyguard to the Duke of Atholl, chieftain of the Clan Murray, a family that has lived in Perthshire for roughly seven centuries. Although it has no official military role, this hand-picked body of local men are armed with Lee–Metford rifles, and the regiment includes a pipe band. Joining the Highlanders is by invitation-only from the Duke, who specially selects men with ties to the estate or the local area. The regiment is not part of the British Armed Forces but under the command of the Duke of Atholl, and based at Blair Castle, Blair Atholl. The regiment was raised in Perthshire by John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl as the 77th Regiment of Foot (or Atholl Highlanders, or Murray's Highlanders) in December 1777. The regiment was formed as a relief for other regiments serving in North America, and spent most of its existence in Ireland. The terms upon which the regiment was raised stated that the men were to be employed for either three years or the duration of the war in America. In 1781, the original three-year term ended, and the men expected the regiment to be disbanded. However, the regiment was transported to England and marched to Portsmouth to be embarked for service in India. Upon learning of this, the men mutinied, and the embarkation orders were countermanded. The regiment was marched to Berwick, where it disbanded in 1783. More than 50 years later, in 1839, George Murray, 6th Duke of Atholl, as Lord Glenlyon, re-formed the regiment as a bodyguard which he took to the Eglinton Tournament at Eglinton Castle, Ayrshire. Three years later, in 1842, the regiment escorted Queen Victoria during her tour of Perthshire and, in 1844, when the Queen stayed as a guest of the Duke at Blair Castle, the regiment mounted the guard for the entire duration of her stay. In recognition of the service that the regiment provided during her two visits, the Queen announced that she would present the Atholl Highlanders with colours, thus giving the regiment official status, in perpetuity.
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