The Fife Mounted Rifles / Fife Light Horse

Photograph believed to be of Captain James Townsend Oswald c1860

Fife-Mounted-Rifle-OfficerThe Fife Mounted Rifle Volunteer Corps was proposed by James Earl of Rosslyn in March 1860 and after some months of organisation by Captain Anstruther Thomson was officially recognised on the 7th June. The Corps was made up of 4 troops with headquarters of the Brigade at Cupar.

  1. Cupar - Captain John Anstruther Thomson
  2. St. Andrews - Captain John Whyte-Melville
  3. Kirkcaldy - Captain James Townsend Oswald
  4. Dunfermline - Captain Sir Peter Arthur Halkett
  5. In 1870 the designation of the regiment was changed to the Fife Light Horse. Colonel Thomson in the history of the Fife Light Horse says:-

    "Having repeatedly applied for carbines without success, and having always received the answer that short Enfields were 'the arms for mounted riflemen,' it occurred to me to apply to have our designation changed to Light Horse. This would have the advantage that we should take rank as cavalry, whereas the artillery take precedence of mounted rifles; and also the minimun establishment for Light Horse is 144 for four troops, instead of 172, and would relieve us of threatening letters from the War Office in consequence of the regiment being under the authorised strength. I therefore ordered a board to assemble, and proposed to them to make the necessary application to that effect."

    In 1876 the 1st Forfar Light Horse, one troop, was attached to the regiment for training and administration although in the beginning they had trouble finding an officer as "farmers don't think they are right without 'a Laird' at their head". A fifth troop was added in 1883 based at Perth.

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    Eighty years' reminiscences - Anstruther-Thomson, John, 1818-1904 vol. 1 & vol. 2