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Posted on 17th Dec 2022
Between 1810-1814, New South Wales was garrisoned by the Scottish 73rd Regiment of Foot. It was initially raised in 1780 as the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd Foot or "The Black Watch", but it was made a regiment in its own right in 1786, while in India following service in the Second Mysore War (1780-84). The origin of the regiment dates from 1725 when clans loyal to the British crown (mainly Campbells and Grants) were formed into six independent companies to help restore order after the abortive 1715 uprising. In enforcing the Disarming Act in Scotland they were required to keep a constant watch on rebel clans. Their fearful overshadowing sombre presence, coupled with the black elements of their uniform, gave them the Scots Gaelic appellation of the Freicudan Du (“Black Watch”), a derogative term used by hostile elements of the population but nonetheless liked by the regiment, who officially adopted the name. When the 1745 uprising occurred they found themselves posted amongst British forces in continental Europe fighting as shock troops in the War of the Austrian Succession. Scottish officials warned the government this posting was contrary to a general understanding their service was restricted to Scotland and warned that their absence would be taken advantage of by enemies of the crown - and so it was! During the American Revolutionary War, the regiment was victorious in every battle (the Battle of Long Island, Fort Washington, Piscataway, Brandywine, the siege of Charleston). During the Battle of Alexandria in 1801, a major in the regiment captured a standard from the French. The 73rd went on to besiege Cairo and then Alexandria where the French forces were expelled from Egypt.