Although the British government was happy to reduce the armed forces stationed in Scotland itself for fear of a future revolt, encouragement was given to the raising of units which could be sent to serve abroad. Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon, initiated a series of levies of regiments in Aberdeenshire and the wider area to provide organised corps for internal defence. In 1759, what became known as the 89th regiment of foot in the British army and which fought in India, was first recruited as Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant Staats Long Morrisí Highland Battalion of Foot. The pay list covering 13th October to 24th December 1759 was for 9 companies totalling 1035 men and costing £3640. The 3rd Duke of Argyll observed Gordonís recruitment methods with contempt, as they were apparently rather harsh, incorporating both intimidation and violence. As a result desertions were not uncommon, and were quite understandable if they were in response to press-ganging. One John Gordon of Belhelvie parish who was described as 'a tailor, about 22 years of age, about 5 ft. 8 in. high, black hair, a genteel thin lad' and wearing 'a dark blue coat with a velvet neck, scarlet belt, black plush breeches, large silver buckles on his shoes', deserted on 1st January 1760. As the uniforms and swords for the regiment did not arrive until January 8th, Gordon probably left while the regiment was on the march into Aberdeen. The 89th regiment was eventually disbanded in 1765.
The 4th Duke of Gordon continued to raise regiments in the Northeast however. In 1778 an equally short-lived force known as the Northern Fencibles was levied for the 'internal protection of North Britain'. This regiment consisted of 8 Battalion companies, 1 company of Grenadiers, and 1 company of Light Infantry, each of 100 privates. One stipulation made when the regiment was formed was that the unit was to serve in Scotland alone, unless England was under attack, and even then the regiment would have to be sent home as a unit and disbanded in Scotland. Recruits were to receive subsistence from the date of entry and 1 guinea each upon actual arrival at the agreed meeting point. There was a Belhelvie man amongst them. George Smith, aged 20 and 6 feet 1 inch tall, worked as square-wright. He enlisted into the unit on 19th June, but was discharged by 16th November although the reason for his leaving is not clear. The Northern Fencibles were disbanded in 1783. The final regiment raised by the 4th Duke of Gordon was the 92nd or the Gordon Highlanders. Once again the regiment was to consist of 10 companies, this time each of 95 privates. Another Belhelvie man was listed among them, a 15 year old called William Annand. This young man had trained as a weaver, but joined the regiment on 4th April 1794 and served until 24th February 1799. He left the army at the age of 20 after five years service.
In addition to these regiments levied by the Duke of Gordon, there were other 'Volunteer' units in operation. These forces created their own rules of service and were funded through private subscriptions. At the time, the quota of militia in Belhelvie parish was six men, while the quota of volunteers was 36. However, the total number of volunteers was 129 in Belhelvie far exceeding the quota. From 1803 until 1808, Belhelvie parish supplied one company of volunteers, under the command of Captain John Scott of Drumside. He was to raise 80 privates on 15th October 1803, although in actuality only 76 engaged. Lieutenant John Lumsden of Eggie and Ensign William Stephen junior, of Millden were two of those who appeared on the lists. The Volunteers disbanded and were reformed as local militia in 1808, and that year all 60 of the Belhelvie Volunteers indeed became the Belhelvie Local Militia. The following year the 5th Regiment was formed consisting of the Aberdeen and Gilcomston Light Infantries, which included men from Belhelvie, Dyce, Newmachar and Fintray. Captain John Scott, presumably the same as in the Volunteers above, also formed a company.
Ever since, Belhelvie has produced her share of soldiers. Many parishioners have served in both regular and territorial army units, in peacetime and during wars. The most poignant reminders of this service are the individuals whose names are carved on the monument to the fallen of the two world wars. It is of note that the Lumsden family, in particular, were still providing soldiers in the last century. It is also interesting that, given Belhelvie's coastal location, only one seaman was listed among the fallen in the First World War.
During World War II, some of the land of Belhelvie parish was given over to the war effort. Shiels moss was illuminated and disguised to imitate Dyce airport. The camouflage was successful as the Moss was bombed once by the enemy.
Even during times of peace for the British Isles, the parish continues to supply military expertise to the army. Most recently, Staff Sergeant Bruce Strachan from Potterton has served with distinction in the Royal Engineers in both Bosnia and Kosovo, being amongst the first wave of British soldiers sent into both situations. At one point during his time in Kosovo Strachan was shot at, and managed to safely disarm and apprehend the culprit. As a member of the United Nations Peacekeeping forces Strachan opted not to shoot back but to end the situation without force.