Reviewing the experience of Scottish soldiers in the Second Boer War (1899-1902) facilitates the testing of three hypotheses about their military activity in the late nineteenth century. First, as Professor John M. MacKenzie argues, Scottish regiments, particularly the kilted regiments, had by virtue of their conspicuous prominence in so many imperial campaigns 'become one of the principal icons of the imperial enterprise'. Scots, though constituting a smaller proportion of the British army than their population warranted, 'are everywhere in the visual record. Their otherness somehow matches the exotic otherness of the indigenous enemies of empire.'! Was this a war in which the image and the imperial commitment of the Scottish soldier coincided? Secondly, as Dr Louise Yeoman claims, Highland soldiers, armed with the bayonet, had gained a legendary reputation as offensive forces in colonial contlicts.2 How would these soldiers, whose predecessors had stormed the parapets of Tel-el-Kebir (1882), adapt to battlefields swept by long-range fire from smokeless, magazine rifles? Thirdly, MacKenzie has argued that imperial service, though supposedly central to the forging of a British national identity, may have been just as important in preserving and strengthening 'the distinctive identities of the Scots and other ethnicities of Greater Britain'. By virtue of recruiting which, in spite of local and district affiliations, was most successful among the urban population of central Scotland, the evolution of regimental dress that increasingly involved forms of Highland impedimenta (with many Lowland regiments adopting tartan trews, Highland doublets and basket-hilted claymores), and the iconographic status of the Scottish soldier in popular imperial art, the illustrated press, and popular books of heroes and school texts - all this 'contributed to a sense of an integrated Scottish culture'. 3 How did this identity fare in the wake of the most severe imperial test of the late nineteenth century?