In the present investigation, the newly developed Higher Order Semi-Compact (HOSC) finite difference scheme has been tested for its capability in capturing the very complex flow phenomenon of unsteady flow past a rotating and translating circular cylinder. The physical problem has been modeled in stream function and vorticity formulation and the obtained governing equations are transformed into curvilinear coordinates using body fitted coordinate system to enable the developed scheme to handle the non-rectangular geometry of the problem. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons have been done at low-rotation parameters and found that the results obtained are in excellent agreement with the existing literature. Then simulations have been carried out at high-rotation parameters and noticed that the HOSC scheme is able to simulate some of the flow features known experimentally but not simulated numerically to the present date. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007.