Alexander Hay


Nationality: Scottish
Born: unknown
Regimental commission dates:
Ensign, 26 october 1775
Lieutenant, 20 September 1777
Location during the Northern Campaign of 1777: probably Canada
Promoted into another regiment: Captain, 94th Regiment, 19 April 1780
Died: unknown


When the 62nd Regiment embarked for Canada in April 1776, every commissioned officer was present (excepting the common exempt, the colonel) barring one; Ensign Alexander Hay of Lieutenant-Colonel John Anstruther's company was nowhere to be found. Commissioned an ensign in 1775, Hay was returned as “Not joined since appointed” in April 1776, and “on his way to join” in February 1777. Ensign Hay eventually made it to Canada, but not in time to participate in the Northern Campaign of 1777.

Hay was promoted to a free lieutenancy on 20 September 1777 following the death of Lieutenant Steven Harvey in the Battle of Freeman's Farm (19 September 1777). This is an example of how one, by simply employing seniority and /or influence, would be able to gain rank during wartime without actively serving. Hay remained in Canada until July 1778 when he, along with Captain William Hall, Lieutenant William Wybrants and the non-commissioned officers and drummers of the remnants of the regiment which remained in Canada, returned to England aboard the sloop HMS Favorite.

It's probably no coincidence that Alexander Hay was the ensign of Lieutenant-Colonel John Anstruther's company, as the two were probably relations: Anstruther was the son of Catherine Anstruther (née Hay, died 11 February 1759), who was, in turn, youngest daughter of Alexander Hay of Spott (1663-1737), a son of John Hay, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale (1626-1697).