Black Watch
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The Black Watch

The Black Watch regiment is one of the most celebrated in the history of Scotland and has distinguished itself in every military theatre in which it has been involved.

Although several companies of the original Black Watch were formed in 1729, the  services of these companies were not required beyond their own territory.  In 1739 King George II authorized the companies be formed into a regiment.  In October 1739, letters of service were addressed to the Earl of Crawford and Lindsay, who was appointed as the first commander of this new regiment.

The tartan of the Black Watch is pictured at the right.

The first commander of the Black Watch was John Lindsay, 20th Earl of Crawford and 4th Earl of Lindsay.  He was born October 4, 1702.  On March 3, 1744, he married Jane Murray.  The 20th Earl of Crawford died December 24, 1749.  From all records, it appears the 20th Earl of Crawford died without any heirs.

The Black Watch Regiment was to consist of 1000 men.  The Black Watch was initially designated the 43rd regiment.   In 1749 the regiment number of the Black Watch was changed from the 43rd to the 42rd, the number it has ever since retained, still bearing the name of the Black Watch.

Lord Semphill succeeded the Earl of Crawford in the colonelcy of the regiment in 1740.  In April 1745, Lord John Murray, son of the Duke of Athole, succeeded Lord Semphill as colonel of the Highlanders. During the command of each of these successive commanders, the Black Watch was referred to as Lord Crawford's, Lord Semphill's, and Lord John Murray's Highlanders. has provided an excellent detailed documentary of the Black Watch from the days of its earliest formation to the the Egyptian Campaign in 1886.  If you would like to read more about the famed Black Watch visit at


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