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Updated 02/04/2020


The 71st's Polka

The 71st refers to the 71st Highland Light Infantry (H.L.I.). The regiment was formed as part of the Childers Reforms on 1 July 1881 by the amalgamation of the 71st (Highland) Light Infantry (as the 1st Battalion) and the 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (as the 2nd Battalion) as the city regiment of Glasgow, absorbing local Militia and Rifle Volunteer units.

It took part in the First and Second World Wars, until it was amalgamated with the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1959 to form the Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment) which later merged with the Royal Scots Borderers, the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland, becoming the 2nd Battalion of the new regiment.

The tune is based on a setting preserved in Charles Scott’s manuscript (NLS 22127) compiled between 1845 and 1859. Charles Scott was born in Atholl in 1821, and was personal piper to the Sutherlands. The source of this tune, noted only as “Polka”, was the bandmaster of the 71st H.L.I at Perth on November 15, 1855.