The Gordon Highlanders

The Gordon Highlanders

BMHOF Class of 2004

"D" Company - Buffalo City Guard, was organized in December 1837, at the time of the Caroline incident. The Caroline, a vessel in the Buffalo harbor, was set afire and sunk with the loss of one life. A leading citizen of the time, James MacKay, issued a call to arms and within 24 hours a unit consisting of 5 companies of 20 men each was formed and their services offered to the City of Buffalo. 

On December 30, 1837, Mayor Barker issued a proclamation accepting the unit. Thus was born Buffalo City Guard. 

With the cessation of hostilities and the passing oftime, the ranks dwindled until only "D" Company remained as an active military force. When the state militia laws were changed in the 1870's, "D" Company, rather than be incorporated in the state guard, became a military society. 

In the 1890's the Buffalo St. Andrews Society Pipes & Drums consisting of several immigrants from Scotland who had served with the 92nd Regiment of Foot, The Gordon Highlanders of the British Army combined with "D" Company to form "D" Company - Buffalo City Guard - Gordon Highlanders. 

"D" Company - Buffalo City Guard - Gordon Highlanders has been well represented in all major U.S. conflicts since 1837. Many members of the unit participated in the Mexican Campaign, World Wars I and II, Korea and the Vietnam conflicts. Even today, a number of members are on active duty with several branches of the United States Military. 

Today's Company, though ready to serve God and Country, are not a combat organization but rather a parade organization. An organization however, steeped in tradition, with a very proud heritage passed down from those that served before us and in their honor, in parade after parade, "D" Company Buffalo City Guard - Gordon Highlanders command the greatest respect and repeatedly gain the honor of being judged and awarded "First Place" in competition, adding still more glory to the illustrious history of "D" Company - Buffalo City Guard - Gordon Highlanders. 

Once formed as a military organization charged with defending the city of Buffalo, the Gordon Highlanders today primarily provide recreation for their members and entertainment and education for their audiences. Membership in the organization is open to anyone interested in carrying on the Scottish traditions and serving the community. The Gordons offer free musical instruction to those interested in playing an instrument. Student musicians and those who enjoy the music but do not wish to play an instrument themselves often participate as members of the color guard. Others offer their skills and talents in ways that do not involve performing with the organization. 

The Gordon Highlanders can be seen on parade nearly every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They generally open the parade season by leading the Buffalo St. Patrick's Day parade. Parades throughout the season take them to nearly every community in western New York. Near the end of the season, the group performs at the Buffalo Niagara Hertiage Village's (Amherst Museum's) Annual Scottish Festival. The organization has received numerous honors and awards for their performances during parades. 

The Gordons stay busy at other times of the year as well. They hold an annual Highland Ball each fall that offers music and entertainment as well as information about Scottish traditions to participants. The Gordons have also been on hand for many events that are significant in local history including Buffalo's

Sesquicentennial Celebration in April 1982, the grand opening of HSBC Arena, and more recently the September 11th Memorial Service. 

The music is popular at all kinds of special events including retirements, graduations, weddings, birthday parties, and funerals. Performances for this type of event are carefully planned and adapted to best suit the needs and desires of the coordinators and honorees. The group also performs for various churches, seniors groups, youth groups and community organizations. The Gordons have even made appearances at a variety of sporting events including University of Buffalo football and basketball games, a Buffalo Sabres hockey game, Skylon Marathon and the Empire State Games. 

For more information on the Gordon Highlanders, visit their website:

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