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Kincaid, Captain Sir John continued

After three years of accounts-work, he returned home and, having found himself attracted to the life of a soldier, joined the East Battalion of the Stirlingshire Volunteers (militia) as a junior ensign on a part-time basis.  He wrote that he felt very proud, sitting with his smart new army uniform on, in the gallery of Polmont Kirk, the young girls downstairs ( "the milkmaids") clearly impressed by his dashing good looks.

But the income from a practical career was still necessary to young Kincaid, and he next went to manage the Glasgow - or rather Gorbals - office of a timber-importing business owned by another neighbour from Polmont, name unknown.  After a year or so in Glasgow, his military ambitions were undimmed and having been promoted lieutenant of the Stirlingshire Volunteers, on 1 September, 1807, he found out that a vacancy had arisen for a full-time, permanent post of lieutenant in the North York Militia.  He applied and was accepted.

The Militia were a military body formed during the Napoleonic crisis to defend the United Kingdom, that is to say they did not operate abroad.  In 1809, having done service with the Militia at Chatham and the Medway in Kent, John Kincaid found himself on manoeuvres at Deal on the south coast. There he learned of the formation of a new, experimental

regiment, the 95th Rifles, and he signed up and joined them at Hythe, still in 1809.

The 95th Rifles, subsequently known as the Rifle Regiment, then as the Rifle Brigade, was an experimental unit in several ways.  (A regiment immortalised by 'Sharpe's Rifles' TV and books series.)  It became their boast that they were always the first into action, and the last to leave; and they were trained to new heights of proficiency, fitness, discipline and self-reliance by one of Glasgow's most famous sons, General Sir John Moore.

The Rifle Brigade embarked on its first expedition, to Walcheren Island in the estuary of the Scheldt, Holland ( November, 1809 ).  But having expelled the French and set up a garrison, they were struck down with malaria: 7,000 of the 15,000 troops died of the disease, and Kincaid was lucky to survive, invalided home to recuperate.

The Rifle Brigade was sent to Portugal to assist Sir Arthur Wellesley in the fight against the invincible Napoleonic army in the Iberian Peninsula.  Kincaid's life for the next four years was one of almost ……..