In 1793 George III wrote to John, 5th Duke
of Argyll, asking him to raise a kilted regiment of 1,100 men. The Duke
was unwell at the time and deputed the task to his kinsman, Duncan
Campbell, 8th Lochnell.
On 9 July 1794 they were formally gazetted
into the British Army as the 98th Argyllshire Highlanders, renumbered
later, in October 1798, as the 91st.
On 5 May 1795 the regiment embarked for
South Africa to capture the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch. At this time
15 of the 33 officers were Campbells and 2 of the others had married
Campbells. But the required number of NCOs and rank and file could not be
found in Argyllshire, the rest came largely from Glasgow and Edinburgh,
Renfrew and Paisley, with a small contingent of Irish.
Officers continued to be drawn mainly from
Argyllshire, and there were always enough genuine Highlanders to give the
regiment its characteristic stamp. Irish and Englishmen who only
reluctantly took to wearing the kilt were in the end successfully
absorbed; and the 91st maintained their Highland tradition.
The 91st remained as part of the garrison
in Cape Town, South Africa, for seven years, returning in 1803 to England
to help patrol the southern counties against the event of an invasion by
In 1808 it went to Portugal with Sir John
Moore where it was part of the rearguard action against Napoleon's army
(under Marshall Soult) which ended with the British evacuation at Corunna.
At this time the 91st, together with 5 other Highland Corps, lost the
right to wear Highland Dress, though it was allowed to keep the title The
Argyllshire Regiment. The 91st was back again in 1812 taking part in the
advance which pushed the French out of Spain. Later it was also at St
Helena supervising the exhumation of Napoleon's remains prior to reburial
In 1864, while the regiment was in India,
Queen Victoria approved the 91st reverting to the old title of the 91st
Argyllshire Highlanders. In 1871 the Queen's daughter, HRH Princess
Louise, married the Marquess of Lorne, (later 9th Duke of Argyll) and at
the wedding the 91st provided the Guard of Honour. A year later in 1872
she was appointed Colonel-in-Chief and the 91st became 'Princess Louise's
Argyllshire Highlanders', with her coronet and cipher and the Argyll
Boar's Head and motto of 'Ne Obliviscaris' added to their insignia. Their
depot moved to Stirling, and the Regiment went to Inverness for its first
Scottish tour of duty in eighty years, and thence to South Africa during
the Zulu Wars.
In 1881 it became the 1st
Battalion, Princess Louise's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.