Raised from the Six Independent Companies (Highland Watch) that made up the "police force" of the unruly and troublesome Highlands. The 43rd Regiment of Foot was created. A group intended to become a fully-fledged Regiment of the British army. However, this Regiment was made up of the gentlemen of the Highlands - chief’s sons and other relatives - who were used to somewhat cushy lives, even as Highland Watch men who's hardest task was to be simply be seen.
"...it was no uncommon thing to see private soldiers riding to the exercising ground followed by servants carrying their firelocks and uniforms"
These gentlemen soon realised, though, that there officers and drill-masters were to make real soldiers out of them. They too were told they may be being shipped to the West Indies. Mutiny ensued. This mutiny was soon put aside, whose core was made up of the Highland gentry themselves. The Regiment soon found themselves at the Battle of Fontenoy were they lost huge numbers of men but showed great prowess in battle. During these events, though, the Jacobite Rising occurred and the 43rd Regiment of Foot was shipped to Ireland were they were renumbered the 42nd Regiment of Foot.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the 42nd Regiment of Foot fought from Egypt to Spain and through to Waterloo. In Egypt the 42nd captured an Imperial Eagle, in Spain the 1st Battalion's stalwart defence saved the lives of other Regiment's and that of the military theorist and Scottish general John Moore. In Belgium the 42nd gained huge fame and love from Wellington himself at the Battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo. The 42nd was at the chaotic Battle of Quatre Bras on 16 June 1815 and was one of four battalions mentioned in dispatches by Wellington. Two days later at the Battle of Waterloo, the 42nd and also the 2nd/73rd Highlanders, which was to become the 2nd Battalion, Black Watch, were both in some of the most intense fighting in the battle and lost 289 men. It is said that without Quatre Bras there would never have been a Battle of Waterloo.
During its life and to this day, the 42nd has carried - with pride - the epithet "Am Freiceadan Dubh " [Pro;Am RAYCH-kiten Doo] "The Black Watch". This name comes from the Regiment's Independent Companies (Highland Watch) forebears. The etymology and history of this nickname may not have come from its dark tartan - considering that the scarlet jacket they wore was bright. But, comes from "black", or "dubh" being a character description and that in Highland culture "black" also means "dour".
The Black Watch has had a long tradition of loyalty to the Church. It's first Chaplain, Dr Adam Ferguson, accompanied it in every battle and led it in worship, daily, both in peace and war:
O God, whose strength setteth fast the mountains,
Lord of the hills to whom we lift our eyes:
Grant us grace that we, of The Black Watch,
Once chosen to watch the mountains of an earthly
kingdom, may stand fast in the faith and be strong,
until we come to the heavenly Kingdom of him,
who had bidden us to watch and pary.
Thy Son, our Saviour and Lord.
'In a Highland Regiment every individual feels that his conduct is the subject of observation and that, independently of his duty, as one member of a systematic whole he has a separate and individual reputation to sustain, which will be reflected on his family and district or glen.'
- A 19th Century Black Watch historian
*Further reading can be provided upon joining the Regiment*
or at request