Highlands & Islands

Apology sought for 'war crimes' in Culloden's aftermath

An artist's depiction of Charles Edward Stuart leaving for France after Culloden
Image caption Charles Edward Stuart's Jacobite forces were defeated at Culloden 265 years ago

A state apology is being sought for the actions of Hanoverian forces following the Battle of Culloden in April 1746.

Members of A Circle of Gentlemen plan to march from Derby to London to deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street backing their call.

The group has its roots in a secret society which remained loyal to Bonnie Prince Charlie after Culloden.

Following the battle, Jacobite supporters were executed and imprisoned and homes in the Highlands were burned.

The actions resulted in the Duke of Cumberland, who led Hanoverian troops at Culloden, being nicknamed the Butcher.

A campaign was launched in the months following Culloden to suppress further risings, but it was marked by hangings, executions by firing squad and the burning of property.

The 265th anniversary of the battle will take place on 16 April.

Historians and writers have recorded the involvement of Scottish and English senior officers and the Royal Navy of the time.

Circle commodore Matthew Donnachie said war crimes followed Culloden, which saw Jacobite forces defeated in a short battle.

Mr Donnachie, of Nairn, said: "There are too many atrocities to mention individually, indeed today's Highlanders will tell you of the deep hurt and of the betrayal they still feel over the murder of their kin involved in the rising or not."

Following the Jacobite rising of 1745, their forces reached Derby before turning back for Scotland.

Mr Donnachie said: "We intend to muster support from all over the world and re-enact the march that never was - Derby to London - where we will deliver a petition to Downing Street.

"This time there will be no turning back."

In 1746, warships commanded by Scots John Fergussone and Robert Duff launched raids against communities along the west Highland coast.

Vessels, such as the Pamela and Veteran, also sailed from Inverness carrying prisoners to jails in England and to the colonies.

Mr Donnachie said officers such as Gen Henry Hawley, the Earl of Albermarle; Maj William Alexander Lockhart, of Cholmondeley's Regiment; Capt Caroline Frederick Scott, of Guises Regiment; and the Duke of Cumberland would have been accused of war crimes under today's terms.

Last year, the Sunday Times reported a campaign to pardon Jacobite nobles persecuted during and after the '45 rising.

In the 18th Century, certain surnames were declared as having a "corruption of blood" and those bearing them were executed or banished, and their land and titles were confiscated.

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