Philip Anstruther Ensn, his signature from a regimental paylist dated Bradford, England, 20 February 1783


Nationality: Scottish
Born: ca.1764
Regimental commission dates:
Ensign, 8 October 1777
Lieutenant, 1 September 1784
Exchanged into another regiment: 6 January 1790 (with Lieutenant James Blackwell, 77th Regiment)
Died: Edinburgh, Scotland, 17 April 1821


Not unexpectedly, Philip John Anstruther was related to the 62nd Regiment's field commander, Lieutenant-Colonel John Anstruther. As a son of John Anstruther's younger brother, Philip Anstruther (born 1737) and his wife Anna Anderson, Philip John Anstruther was well placed in order to enjoy the patronage and influence of his uncle for getting into the army and the 62nd Regiment in particular.

Although commissioned to the rank of ensign on 8 October 1777 following the promotion of Henry Blacker to a lieutenancy, young Philip was not present with the regiment when it surrendered at Saratoga on 17 October 1777. He was the only gentleman of the regiment promoted to the rank of ensign upon the death of another officer during the course of the Northern Campaign of 1777 who was not present with the army.

Upon the repatriation of the 62nd Regiment to England in 1781, Philip Anstruther was returned as the ensign of Lieutenant-Colonel John Anstruther's company. In August 1781, both John and Philip were recorded as “absent Gen. Mathew's leave.” Their status remained unchanged by March 1782. By the end of the year, young Anstruther was "on duty at Windsor," apparently in command of the 62nd Regiment's detachment which was guarding over the royal family there (along with detachments from other repatriated Convention Army regiments). Anstruther later joined his parent regiment for duty, perhaps for the first time.

Philip served with the 62nd Regiment, which performed various recruiting and garrison duties in England, Scotland, and Ireland, throughout most of the 1780s. His service with the regiment came to an end in 1788, however, when he was sentenced to debtor's prison. He remained imprisoned until he was able to attain a release, and a new commission as lieutenant in the 77th Regiment of Foot, in 1790. Although the 77th Regiment was then serving in India, Philip remained in Britain recruiting with an additional company of his new regiment. While doing so, he met Sophia Elizabeth Popkin, whom he married on 10 March 1797 in Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire, Wales. Soon after their marriage, Philip and Sophia made their way to India to join the main body of the 77th Regiment in Cochin (present-day Kochi), India, which they reached by the beginning of 1798. Note that this was the second time Philip gained a commission in a regiment serving overseas and only after many years was able to joined it.

But Philip's service with the 77th was short lived. By June, he was listed as "Sick" and in October, he was returned as "Sick and Absent for the recovery of his health." Early 1799 marked two significant changes for Philip and Sophia: first, their only child, Sophia Mary, was born at Cochin and baptized there (on 15 February 1799), and second, Philip left the army. Unfortunately, the circumstances related to his leaving the service is unknown. However, his wife and daughter returned to Britain where they were placed under the protection of Philip's eldest uncle (and John Anstruther's older brother), Sir Robert Anstruther, 3rd Baronet of Balcaskie. While Philip also returned home, his money troubles continued. Philip John Anstruther died of infirmity while serving as an inmate of the Parish Work House of St Cuthbert's in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 17 April 1821, and was buried three days later at St. Cuthbert's Burial Ground.

Our thanks to Mr. Scott Rutherford McCormick of Australia, a great-great-great-great-great (step) grandson of Philip John Anstruther (through his daughter Sophia), for his generous sharing of Anstruther genealogy and biographical information, without which this biographical sketch would not have been possible.