Message from Brigadier R.L. Scott-Bowden 29 March 2012
On behalf of the Regiment-The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment), known as the Royals in 1782, I write to wish you and all those meeting at St. Kitts our very best wishes.
Our 1st Battalion, an infantry battalion of 640 all ranks with some 58 listed as sick, was based in St. Kitts from June 1781. On 10 January 1782 a French naval force with a fleet of transports appeared off the island. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Fraser, the Commanding Officer, realizing that his force was hopelessly outnumbered, retired to Brimstone Hill, where he was joined by the Governor and some militia. There they took up a position, about 200 yards in diameter, making best use of some old fortifications. The French landed some 8000 troops supported by artillery. On the 19 January the French laid siege to Brimstone Hill, bombarding the position with artillery. Fraser’s battalion was reduced to less than 500 due to wounds and disease. Three officers and 27 soldiers had been killed and 3 officers and 94 soldiers had been wounded. By mid February his position was impossible and he decided to surrender. The French allowed the Battalion, having laid down its arms to march off the Hill with drums beating and Colours flying. The Battalion was then shipped back to England on the agreement that they should be considered Prisoners of War.
Although the Battalion was forced to surrender the Regiment takes pride in the fortitude, courage and character that all ranks displayed during the Battle of Brimstone Hill. In 1982 we were represented at the 200th anniversary of the battle by Pipe Major Clarke.
Brigadier R.L. Scott-Bowden
Colonel of the Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) 2005-28 March 2006
2012 Re-enactment of 1782 Siege of Brimstone Hill