The Fife Napoleonic Volunteers

In response to a Speech made by the Prime Minister William Pitt the country was swept by Volunteer fever. Because of threatened invasion by France local men up and down the country formed part time volunteer regiments in order to defend their homes and counties. Fife formed several different regiments of Volunteers each between 150 & 1000 men, there can be very few men in the county not wearing uniform.

Most of these disbanded in 1802 but the main towns of Fife kept Volunteers until 1808. There is a uniform for the Markinch Loyal Volunteers in the collection at Glasgow Art Museum (alas not on display) but as volunteers could clothe themselves in any fashion they liked their uniform is not necessarily a guide to the other regiment's uniforms.

In the Royal St Andrews Volunteers it is interesting to spot a few historical figures Charles and Cathcart Dempster, who have been painted as golfing villains after they purchased the St Andrews Links from the Cheape Family of Strathtyrum and used the land to breed rabbits culminating in a lengthy legal dispute nicknamed "The Rabbit Wars". The Dempsters served as officers alongside James Cheape, and other prominent local men.

The first Volunteer regiments in Fife, raised during the Revolutionary War (1793-1802)

The second Volunteers raised in the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815)

The Volunteers (with the exception of the Yeomanry Cavalry) were reorganised in 1808/9 to form the Local Militia

more details coming soon....