Saturday, 9 March 2013

Private McBain's Bairn

Scotland's regiments have a long and proud history, although actually I should say 'regiment', as we've only got one now, formed from the merger of Scotland's previously remaining six regular and two territorial regiments in 2006 (see footnote).
Edinburgh Castle from the Grassmarket on a braw day. I can see my house from up there you know.
Anyway, one of the many great things about living in Edinburgh (apart from it also being in Scotland) is that there is a lot of military (and other) history to experience, particularly if you make a visit to Edinburgh Castle, which is easy to do on a regular basis if you are member of Historic Scotland (£5 a month for family membership - go to Edinburgh Castle twice in a year and it pays for itself).  
Edinburgh Castle on another braw day.  My house obscured by extinct volcano and castle.
However, the point of all this tourist board stuff is that Edinburgh Castle has some fine regimental museums that are well worth a visit including one for the Royal Scots.  There is a walk-through exhibition there and, currently reading about the War of the Spanish Succession, the following caught my eye (click to enlarge).
Mind you, saves on day-care costs. 
This is a depiction of a private soldier of the Royal Scots, being Orkney's Regiment, standing over a fallen frenchman at the battle of Malpaquet in 1709, all of which you get to see from quite close up.  The quality and arrangement of the uniform and equipment are fascinating (if a bit dusty) and of course I was interested in the uniform details because (should the figures I ordered ever turn up) I will be painting up a couple of regiments of redcoats to start with.  The point being that according to Charles S Grant's book The Armies and Uniforms of Marlborough's Wars (Vol 1) facings for this regiment were originally white but changed to blue at some point, evidently before Malpaquet, as shown here.

But if you look closely there is something else going on here, for this is the eponymous Pvt McBain and just before the battle, McBain's wife, who was with him on campaign, "handed over their three-week old baby son to him saying she would follow the Colours no more.  Having nowhere else to put him, McBain placed the baby in his knapsack where he remained, and survived throughout the battle."

Now that's what you call a braw bairn.

Footnote
Battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland
1 SCOTS The Royal Scots Borderers (itself an amalgamation of the Royal Scots and Kings Own Scottish Borderers)
2 SCOTS The Royal Highland Fusileers
3 SCOTS The Black Watch
4 SCOTS The Highlanders (Seaforths, Gordons and Camerons)
5 SCOTS The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
6 SCOTS 52nd Lowland Regt (TA)
7 SCOTS 51st Highland Volunteers (TA)

3 comments:

scotty said...

look forward to seeing your regiments of redcoats painted. Will also have to get myself back up for a look around the castle again.

Ray Rousell said...

I never noticed the baby until I read the post!!! Looking forward to some of your red coats!

The Wishful Wargamer said...

Could have been a miniature Winston Churchill in there of course. Yes, I'm looking forward to getting painting too! WW