His­toric sword gifted to High­landers Mu­seum

Weapon be­longed to Napoleonic Wars veteran from Glen­tur­ret

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - NEWS - BY RITA CAMP­BELL

A his­toric sword which was owned by a Napoleonic Wars veteran has been gifted to the High­lander’s Mu­seum (Queen’s Own High­lander’s Col­lec­tion) at Fort Ge­orge.

The sword was pre­sented to Lieu­tenant Colonel Al­lan MacDon­nell, late of the 79th Cameron High­landers in 1838.

And now his de­scen­dant Lady Car­olyn Gra­ham has do­nated it so that vis­i­tors to the In­ver­ness mu­seum can ap­pre­ci­ate it.

Lady Car­olyn Gra­ham “We are de­lighted to add this sword to our col­lec­tion” is the wife of a for­mer lord mayor of Lon­don, Sir Alexan­der Gra­ham, and a de­scen­dant of Al­lan MacDon­nell.

MacDon­nell was born in 1794 in Glen­tur­ret, In­ver­ness-shire and was granted a com­mis­sion as an en­sign in the Cameron High­landers in 1812, at the height of the Napoleonic Wars.

He joined the 79th in the lat­ter stages of the Penin­su­lar Cam­paign as Welling­ton’s army drove the French out of Spain into France.

The gal­lant of­fi­cer fought in the bat­tles of the Pyre­nees, Niv­elle and Nive, and was wounded at Toulouse on April 10, 1814.

Hav­ing re­cov­ered from his wounds he re­joined the 79th in July 1815 shortly af­ter the bat­tle of Waterloo, when the reg­i­ment formed part of the Al­lied oc­cu­pa­tion force in Paris. In 1834, af­ter 22 years of ser­vice, Al­lan MacDon­nell re­tired as a cap­tain and set­tled in Canada, in the Gore dis­trict of On­tario.

How­ever his days as a sol­dier were not fin­ished. Dur­ing the re­bel­lions in Up­per and Lower Canada of 1837-38, Al­lan MacDon­nell was ap­pointed Lieu­tenant Colonel of the 4th Reg­i­ment of the Gore Mili­tia sta­tioned in the town­ship of Dum­fries, Canada.

In recog­ni­tion of his ser­vice he was pre­sented with a sword by the “Men of Gore”. It was this sword which yes­ter­day the mu­seum was hon­oured to ac­cept as a link with the of­fi­cer who served in the 79th in its early days.

Mu­seum di­rec­tor, John Bai­ley, said: “We are ab­so­lutely de­lighted to add this fine nine­teenth cen­tury sword to the mu­seum’s col­lec­tion in recog­ni­tion of the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of the 79th Cameron High­landers through­out the world.

“The High­landers Mu­seum (Queen’s Own High­landers Col­lec­tion) would like to thank Lady Gra­ham most sin­cerely for her gen­er­ous gift.”

The mu­seum tells the sto­ries of the High­land sol­diers.

Pho­to­graph by Sandy McCook

SHARPER IM­AGE: Lady Car­olyn Gra­ham presents the sword to Ma­jor John Bai­ley, di­rec­tor of the mu­seum.

The Men of Gore pre­sented the sword to MacDon­nell

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