The Fife Local Militias
The Local Militias were an attempt to better regulate the Volunteers by placing them more rigidly under Government control and make them effective military units. The strength of the Local Militia of a County was set at 6 times that of the Regular Militia, as the Fife Militia in 1808 was approximately 500 strong that meant nearly 3,000 Local Militiamen. They formed in 1808 from the Volunteer Corps and existed (at least on paper) until 1816. After the change from Volunteer soldiers to Local Militiamen the men were no longer able to serve short periods or quit when they liked, they signed on for a 4 year period 1808-1812 and some would renew for another 4 years in 1812. Like the Regular Militia men would be balloted to serve if there were any vacancies. However after the first defeat of Napoleon in 1814 the Local Militias were not called out again and only the permanent staff of Serjeants & Drummers continued to draw pay. The units were finally disbanded in 1816.
There were 4 regiments in Fife
- The 1st Fifeshire Local Militia (Cupar) - (1809) Colonel James Balfour Weymss, Lt Colonel George Aitkin - Made up from the Cupar and Newburgh Regiments of Volunteers.
- The 2nd Fifeshire Local Militia (St Andrews) - (1809) Colonel Robert Anstruther, Lt Colonel Thomas Melville - Made up from the St Andrews and East Fife Volunteers. The regimental colours hang in the Holy Trinity Church St Andrews.
- The 3rd Fifeshire Local Militia (Kirkcaldy) - (1809) Colonel Robert Douglas who later commanded the regular Fife Militia, Lt Colonel Richard Oswald - Made up from the Kirkcaldy & Dunfermline Volunteers.
- Queensferry Artillery Local Militia - Captain Munro Ross - Made up from the Queensferry Artillery Volunteers.
It is my long term intention to database those men that served in the Local Militias but such a mammoth task will not be done anytime soon.