The Black Watch Mutiny

On 18 June 1743, Malcolm MacPherson of Druim an Aird was shot at the Tower of London. A corporal in His Majesty's service, the courts found Malcolm guilty of playing a part in the infamous Mutiny of the Black Watch.

The Black Watch was the Highland Regiment of the British army. Originally created in 1725 by King George I to maintain order in the Highlands, it still exists today as part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

In 1743, the Highland Regiment marched to London, where their orders were to go to France to fight.

"The day before their departure a report circulated amongst the men that their real destination was the West Indies, at the time considered the grave of Europeans," Duke of Athole (1893) in Narrative of the Mutiny in the Black Watch in 1743.

Day of the rebellion

On 17 of May, more than 100 Highland soldiers gathered on Finchley Common in London. They decided to abandon their posts and return to the Highlands.

The army chased and captured them at Lady Wood, near Northampton. The full weight of military justice fell upon them. All the Highlanders were put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to death.

Malcolm Macpherson was a well respected officer and one of only three whose sentence was carried out. The court identified them as the ringleaders; an accusation Malcolm denied to the end.

"To the last declared that he never advised any person to go away," MacWilliam (1901) in The official Records of The Mutiny in the Black Watch.

Many soldiers in the regiment felt that they should only serve in Scotland. The Black Watch has since served all over the world.