The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)

'Sans Peur'       Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders red and white dicing       'Ne Obliviscaris'

Battle Honours 1806 - 1902

"The Thin Red Line"
Crimean War
25th October 1854

In the Crimean War, the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders formed part of the Highland Brigade which distinguished itself at Alma, Balaklava and Sevastopol.

At Balaklava the regiment won immortal fame when, under the command of Sir Colin Campbell, it formed line in two ranks and repelled a charge of Russian cavalry, gaining the title of "The Thin Red Line".

Campbell told his men, "There is no retreat from here, men. You must die where you stand." Steadfast and true to their motto, 'Sans Peur', the men stood firm against overwhelming odds and fought-off the advancing horsemen.

  The London Times correspondent, William H. Russell wrote that he could see nothing between the charging Russians and the British except "the thin red streak, tipped with a line of steel" of the 93rd.

This was interpreted as "the thin red line". From that day the name has stuck and the Argylls have become synonymous with all of the attributes which were displayed by these courageous men on that day.

The Argylls have the distinction of being the only infantry regiment in the British Army to have "Balaklava" in their list of battle honours.

The Thin Red Line - at the Battle of Balaklava
© Robert Gibb
The 93rd (Highland) Regiment forming "The Thin Red Line"
at the Battle of Balaklava, Crimean War, 25th October 1854

Charles Ellingworth

Charles Ellingworth was born in 1833. He served with the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders and during the years 1854 to 1855 he saw action in the Crimea, including the glorious 'Thin Red Line' of Balaklava, of which he was known to be the last survivor.

In the famous painting of 'The Thin Red Line' Charles Ellingworth's position is shown clearly. He was the right hand man on the right flank of the line in the rear Rank.

This particular Company was called the Grenadier Company. It was commanded by Captain Cornwall and he can be seen in the picture with drawn claymore on the extreme right of the front rank.

He later saw service in India during the Mutiny period of 1857 to 1858. In all, he fought in 25 actions, including such famous battles as, Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman and Sevastopol in the Crimea, and in Indian, Lucknow, Cawnpore, Shahjahampore and Fort Methioulie, finally quelling the Mutiny.


After his Military Service he lived for many years in Canada, where he served as a Sergeant in the Queen's Own Canadian Rifles.

Upon returning to this Country and settling in London, he became a Member of the London Branch of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Association which had been formed in 1923.

He died, aged 94, on the 9th January, 1927 at St. Lukes Hospital, Chelsea. In accordance with his last request, he was buried with Military Honours in the Soldiers Corner of the Brompton Road Cemetery on Friday 14th January, 1927.

The 93rd Sutherland Highlanders amalgamated with the 91st Argyll Highlanders in 1881 and have since fought many actions as The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

Principal Engagements in which Charles Ellingworth served


  • 19 September 1851, Heights of Bulgnak
  • 20 September 1851, Alma (wounded)
  • 25 October 1854, Balaklava (The Thin Red Line)
  • 5 November 1854, Inkerman (The Soldier's Battle)
  • May 1855, Kertch and Yeenckale
  • 18 June 1855, Forts of Sevastopol
  • 8 September 1855, Fall of Sevastopol


  • 1 November 1857, Kudjwar (wounded)
  • 14 November 1857, Storming of the Martiners
  • 14 to 24 November 1857, Relief of Lucknow
  • 17 November 1857,
    Storming of Forts Secunderabad and the Shainnjeev
  • 30 November 1857, Retaking of Cawnpore
  • 8 December 1857,
    Pursuit of Gwalior Contingent and Battle of Cawnpore
  • 2 January 1858, Khodagunge
  • 11 March 1858, Storming of the Begum Kole
  • 24 April 1858, Attack on Fort Nugra
  • 18 May 1858, Allygunge
  • 19 May 1858, Barielly
  • November 1858, Shahjahampore
  • December 1858, Posgaon
  • December 1858, Raaselpore
  • December 1858,
    Fort Methioulie (last fight of Indian Mutiny)

As the last survivor of 'The Thin Red Line', Charles retained a clear memory of these events right up to his nineties. When he was interviewed by a London reporter who told him that it had been suggested he become a Chelsea Pensioner, he replied,

"There would be too many rules and regulations for me; you have to be in by 10 o'clock at night!"

In his later years Charles lived alone in a single room in Chelsea. He refused to give up any of his independence by entering a pensioner's Home or old people's Institution.

His funeral arrangements were made by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Help Society. The coffin, covered with the Union Jack, was conveyed on a gun carriage provided by the Royal Artillery, to St Columba's Presbyterian church, Pont Street, London, where a Service was conducted by Dr A Fleming.

Wreaths were received from:-
  • the Soldiers' and Sailors' Help Society;

  • all Ranks of the Regiment;

  • the Sergeants' Mess,
    2nd Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders;

  • the London Branch of the Regimental Association.

Those in attendance at his funeral were:

  • Colonel McMahon,
    who represented Princess Louise, the Duchess of Argyll,
    Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment;

  • Colonel V. Chater, MVO;

  • Major A. Sutherland,
    representing the Old Officers of the Regiment;

  • Captain R.C.B. Anderson, MC;

The coffin was then removed to the cemetery for interment in the Cavalry Ground, the Soldiers' Corner.
  Charles Ellingworth

1924, Charles Ellingworth, aged 91
from a photo by W. Fleld

Rededication Service for Charles Ellingworth
by The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
24 September 1989

Charles Ellingworth's Dedication Service   Charles Ellingworth's Order of Service

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