The March talk to the Salisbury Branch of the English-Speaking Union which was held at the Rose & Crown, Harnham on Wednesday 22nd March. The speaker was a local military historian Colonel Roger Stockton OBE, who after a successful military career worked for Pilkington's in the Far East before settling in Bishopstone. His subject was The Battle of Culloden 1746.
Colonel Stockton's talk covered the background to the Jacobite Rebellion and the events which led up to Culloden; the differences between the two opposing armies; the battle itself and the aftermath. The Jacobite army consisted mainly of irregular highlanders raised in the feudal manner and poorly equipped, they did however, have one tactic known as the Highland Charge which consisted of a screaming, claymore wielding mob and which was used to great effect when the Jacobites won the Battle of Prestonpans.
The Duke of Cumberland's army on the other hand, was made up primarily of regular soldiers, who were better equipped with more artillery and cavalry than the Jacobites. Although caught out by the infamous Highland Charge at Prestonpans, following that battle Cumberland trained his men to expect the tactic when they next met the Highlanders and more importantly he devised a method to defeat it. The story of the battle itself was one of a poor choice of ground by the Jacobite rebels; poor leadership in the rebel army; foul weather; exhausted highlanders facing a rested, well trained and better equipped government force which won the day. The battle put an end to the Jacobite Rebellion and Bonnie Prince Charlie had failed in his quest to seize the British Throne. Colonel Stockton also mentioned the horrific and shameful events which took place after the battle when hundreds upon hundreds of highlanders and their kin were slaughtered in what today would have been called ethnic cleansing. Thus, the last battle to be fought on British soil was not the most glorious moment in our Island's story.
This story was submitted by the ESU Salisbury & Wiltshire branch. Please click here for information on this branch and its upcoming events.