A Rememberance Service for Neuve Chapelle was held at Glasgow Cathedral on 6th March.
The event was well attended and included the Parade and Wreath Laying at Cameronian Corner.
(Left to Right):Mr P.I. Bilboe, Mr J.D. Torrance, Mr R Gilmour (Parade Commander),
Mr J Ingham, Mr J McDonald, Mr T Brydson (Standard Bearer), Mr T McLeish,
Mr J Poulton, Mr B McNeill (Reserve Standard Bearer)
Present, but not in Parade photo: Ms Gallagher, Ms A.Scott
“THE BLACK HACKLE” NEWSLETTER OF THE
WITWATERSRAND RIFLES REGIMENTAL AND FAMILY ASSOCIATION
First Quarter 2016
Greetings to our members, their families and the friends of the Association. We trust that all had an enjoyable festive season and we wish everyone a prosperous, happy and healthy 2016.
The peacekeeping force in Sudan is due to return during early April and will be welcomed back at the Medal Parade to be held on 15th April.
Recently a WR patrol was ambushed and one of our members was wounded in the attack. Fortunately the patrol followed their drills and no further casualties were experienced. The member concerned was wearing a bullet proof vest which provided sufficient protection for the injury not to be too serious and he was transported back to SA for further treatment.
The Regiment participated in a number of high profile parades, in particular the Infantry Parade at the Infantry School in Oudtshoorn and the Johannesburg Freedom Regiments parade.
Membership continues to grow and family members are welcome to join.
Membership is not restricted to WR types but is open to anyone who has the interest of the Regiment and the Association at heart.
Annual subs are R50-00 per annum. Please make your cheques payable to Witwatersrand Rifles Regimental Association and forward them to Roy Brown at our postal address which is reflected above or EFT into the Association Account, details which are reflected under “Fund Raising”.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
March 7th - Combined Regimental Birthday (112th) and Cameronian Day Function - 19h00
March 14th - Cameronian Day
Best wishes to all,
Kevin Townsend (Lt Col ret), Editor
THE CAMERONIANS (SR) & FAMILY MEMBERS ORGANISATION
PARADES AND EVENTS FOR 2016.
March 6th 2016. GLASGOW CATHEDRAL
Commemorative Service Neuve Chapelle, members meet 10.45 for 11.00 hrs service.
May 15th 2016. ANNUAL COMMEMORATION IN DOUGLAS
09.30 hrs raise the Regimental Flag at Douglas Victoria Bowling Club.
10.00 service in St Brides Church.
14 00 hrs Conventicle at the Disbandment Cairn beside Castle Dangerous.
15 30 hrs Buffet and social afternoon in Douglas Victoria Bowling Club
Admission by ticket priced £5 at door.
June 9th 2016. LANIMER DAY PARADE IN LANARK.
Meet at the corner of St Leonard Road and St Leonard Street
form up at 09.30 hrs for a prompt move of at 10.00 hrs.
June 2016. ARMED FORCES DAY GLASGOW.
The parade will form up at Holland St and then head north up Holland St.
East onto West Regent St to West George St marches around George Square
with eyes right at the Cenotaph on to South George Square and fall out.
Note that the route may have an alternative for veterans.
1. 11.30 hrs form up.
2. 12.00 hrs step of for George Square.
3. 12.15 hrs all detachments in position in George Square.
July 9th 2016 COVENANTERS PRISON EDINBURGH.
Service will be held in the grounds of Greyfriars Church Edinburgh
Members meet 12.30 hrs for 13.00 hrs service.
PARADES AND EVENTS OF OTHER REGIMENTS, UNITS, & CORPS.
May 7th VE Day 2016 and August 13th VJ Day 2016 Parades
The 70th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day, both these events start at 10.00 hrs with the church hall opening for tea and coffee, followed by a service in Knightswood Parish Church at 11.00 hrs. Then the laying of wreaths at the veterans monument, band and veterans form up including standards, march off and arrive at our destination, fall out and proceed to the Lincoln Lounge for buffet and social afternoon.
NOTE: All the above parades and events will be updated if they are any change of date, time, and more information when known.
A Commemorative visit to the site of the Battle of Gully Ravine - 28 June 1915
It was Sir Stephen Young who first suggested a tour to Gallipoli for the anniversary of the Battle of Gully Ravine where his great uncle had fallen whilst serving with the 8th Battalion. It is interesting to note that the losses in that battle were substantial and led to both battalions being amalgamated after the withdrawal albeit not long after reconstituted into their original form as the 7th and 8th Battalions. Following the battle the final roll call was -
The account of the battle recorded in Volume 1 of the Regimental History begins:-
The 7th Battalion and 8th Battalion the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) had been embodied and were in camp when war was declared. In May 2015 now part of the 156th Infantry Brigade, 52 Division, they embarked for an unknown destination. As the transport ships made their way out through the Mediterranean, it seemed obvious that the destination was Gallipoli…
Response to the possibility of an anniversary visit, promoted on the Regimental Blog was minimal but Sir Stephen persevered and together with some other family members decide to proceed with the expedition supported now by David Thompson who too had lost a great uncle in that very battle together with Douglas Workman and Tom Beatty, the first of these two, a great uncle and the second a great-great uncle and then they later met up with the Cuthbert brothers who had similarly come to the battlefield on 28 June to remember their great uncle,
Unfortunately Sir Stephen was unable to complete the tour but here follows the excellent report by David Thompson:-.
Major Brian A S Leishman MBE
Monday, 28 June 1914
On 28th June 1915, exactly one year after the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the event which triggered World War 1, two territorial battalions of the Cameronians/ Scottish Rifles went into battle for the first time, at Gallipoli. Although the battle, known today as the Battle of Gully Ravine, resulted in the capture of 5 Turkish trenches on the left of Gully Ravine and the capture of a key redoubt on the right of the ravine and was considered a “magnificent success” by the British, it was a tragedy for the Cameronians and central Scotland.
The 1/7th and the 1/8th battalions, which together with the 1/4th and 1/7th Royal Scots comprised 156th Brigade of the British Army, had landed on the Dardenelles peninsula in mid-June, just two weeks earlier. The 1/8th battalion were placed on the extreme right flank of the attack with 1/7th placed in reserve trenches. The 156th brigade commander’s battle orders reflected the information given to him that the attack would be preceded by a 2 hour artillery bombardment of the Turkish trenches. However, as throughout the Gallipoli campaign, there was a dire shortage of suitable heavy artillery and shells and the generals who planned the attack concentrated their artillery bombardment on the left. Some eye-witness accounts say no shells were fired at the trenches the Cameronians were to attack. Further, no one seems to have been aware that the Turkish defenders had positioned machine guns with a clear line of fire across the 200 hundred yards of open ground over which the 1/8th were to charge. The Turkish defenders, alerted to the coming attack, had commenced their own, more effective, bombardment of 156 Brigade’s trenches at about 10.30am. The troops went over the top at 11am precisely. The men of the 1/8th battalion had no chance and were massacred by the defenders’ rife, machine gun and shell fire as they ran forward. 14 officers and 334 men were killed. 11 officers and 114 men were wounded, many seriously. At the roll call the following day only one combatant officer, the Machine Gun Officer, and 2 non-combatant officers, the Medical Officer and the Quarter Master plus 70 other men (mostly non-combatant support staff) were still fit for duty.
After the failure of this initial attack, a message was received at about 11.45am from the headquarters of Major General Henry De Lisle, the general responsible for the planning and execution of the attack, that the Cameronians’ primary objective, the Turkish trench “H 12 is to be taken at all costs. If necessary you will send forward your reserve battalion.” About one hour later, first D and then B companies of 1/7th battalion went over the top (the battalion’s other 2 companies had earlier been allocated to support the Royal Scots and to other duties) and were duly slaughtered in turn. 1/7th battalion lost 10 officers and 158 other ranks killed on 28th June.
Although they had some slight protection from more favourable terrain, the Royal Scots on the immediate left of the Cameronians (fellow Territorial battalions similarly taking part in their first battle), also suffered huge losses in the attack. One 1/7th Cameronian officer, HC Maclean who was wounded on 28th June, wrote after the war that “The full losses of the brigade during the attack were 72 officers and 1,281 other ranks out of a total strength on 27th June of 102 officers and 2,839 other ranks.” However he went on, excluding non-combatants “the strength of the brigade on the morning of 28th June may be estimated at approximately 90 officers and 2,300 men, so that the percentage of casualties amongst the officers may be taken as 80, and amongst other ranks as slightly over 50. The losses amongst officers included the Brigadier, three commanding officers, three majors, three adjutants and twenty captains” (“losses” means killed and wounded).
Even though similarly awful disasters were suffered by all sides during the first World War, the losses suffered by the 1/8th battalion, in particular, on 28 June stand out as exceptional. “The unit’s losses were greater than those sustained by any of the assault battalions on the first day of the Somme” (Stephen Snelling, VCs of the First World War).
Sunday, 28 June 2015
The Cameronians were Glasgow and Lanarkshire based and the Royal Scots were based in Edinburgh. The tragedy that befell the156th Brigade on 28 June 1915 followed closely on the appalling Quintinshill (Gretna Green) rail crash on 22 May 2015 – the worst rail crash in British history in which 210 men of the 1/7th Royal Scots died and 224 were injured on their way to Liverpool to embark for Gallipoli. The two tragedies had an enormous impact on many families and institutions (23 of the Royal Scots who died on 28 June were former pupils of George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh which is believed to be the highest number of dead suffered by a British school on a single day during World War 1). It was keenly felt across central Scotland at the time and has not been forgotten. There have been several articles published in newspapers and in school and university magazines during 2015, and various posts on the internet commemorating individuals killed that day.
At least 9 of the officers of the 1/8th Cameronians and 1 of the 1/7th who died at Gully Ravine on 28 June 1915 were Glasgow Academy old boys, and 2 were also Scottish rugby internationalists, and a ceremony was held by the Glasgow Accies rugby club at the Glasgow Academy War Memorial on Great Western Road on Sunday 28 June 2015.
Also that morning, family members remembering three Cameronian relatives who had died there 100 years before were at the Gully Ravine battlefield itself. David Thompson, remembering his great uncle 2nd Lieutenant Robert Macfie Pattison*, and Douglas Workman and Tom Beaty, remembering Douglas’s great uncle (and Tom’s great-great uncle) Captain Eric Templeton Young, both of 1/8th battalion, had teamed up to visit Gully Ravine as a result of a message placed on the Cameronians website last year. At 11am, they were near the position known in 1915 as the Kink and observed one minute’s silence in memory of all those who lost their lives in the battle there one hundred years before. Shortly afterwards, in the nearby Twelve Tree Copse cemetery, they met the two Cuthbert brothers who had similarly come to the battlefield on 28 June to remember their great uncle, 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Martin Taylor, of 1/7th battalion. Daniel Taylor has a memorial stone in the Twelve Tree Copse cemetery. Robert Pattison and Eric Young’s names are recorded at the Cape Helles memorial, together with the more than 20,000 other British and Commonwealth servicemen who died in the Dardenelles campaign and have no known grave.
* Illustrating the many close family, school and other relationships between men in these territorial battalions, several other members of my family also took part in the battle. My maternal grandmother’s other brother, Captain James William Henry Pattison, had transferred from the 1/8th to be the 156th Brigade’s Machine Gun officer in May and was at the Kink, and three of my maternal grandfather’s first cousins were officers in the 1/8th: 2nd Lieutenant Oswald Tennant Sloan and Lieutenant William Newlands Sloan (who were both wounded on the 28th), and Captain Alexander Bankier Sloan, the Medical Officer. All 5 had attended The Glasgow Academy.
Major Philip Grant The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)) is writing a new biography of Thomas Graham, later General Sir Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch. Here follows his Report on a Visit to the Battlefield of Barrosa
The scene of General Thomas Graham’s great victory
over the French in the Peninsular War – 5 March 1811
This is an account of a visit (November 2015) to the site of the battle and a quest to find the memorial battlefield monument. It should be said at the outset that this is by no means a simple task and requires persistence. The location is not signed any more than most of the surrounding roads which are neither named not numbered. The entire area has been developed, by-and-large tastefully and sympathetically, but the topography has been altered out of all recognition.
The Battle of Barrosa took place midway through the Peninsular War (1807 – 1814). French troops occupied much of the Iberian Peninsula (hence the name of this particular phase of the Napoleonic Wars). Wellington had withdrawn many of his meagre forces to winter camps. The Allies (mainly Spanish, British and Portuguese) occupied the main Spanish port of Cadiz which was besieged by the French. Stalemate had been reached: neither side could use the port to any advantage. Nor could any of the troops engaged there be used for any other purpose.
By the beginning of 1811 Napoleon had withdrawn some of his troops from the region to fight in Russia. Here was an opportunity for the Allies to inflict a blow against the French. The main action took place on the hill of Barrosa and between it and the Torre del Puerco signal tower. They lie some 6 miles / 10 kilometres south west of the town of Chiclana which itself is a similar distance east of Cadiz.
Now is not the time or the place to give another account of the battle: the aim is to aid those who would like to visit the scene and study the battlefield. And here is the first health warning: the battle is known locally as the Battle of Chiclana and the hill is known as the Loma (hill) del Puerco. La Barrosa now describes the whole area and the beaches which are now such a popular holiday resort. The Torre (tower) del Puerco stands on the seashore about midway along the magnificent sandy beaches which stretch for about 6 miles / 10 kilometres south from the Sancti Petri river. The river mouth at the north end is marked by another of these signal towers, the Torre Bermeja.
Inland there are few natural features. In 1811 there would have been some farms and maybe the odd hamlet but nothing more. For the most part the land is scrubby heath dotted with many of the typical pines trees which in places form large clumps and shady woods The hill of Barrosa (Loma del Puerco) is the highest of a few modest folds but is significant because it is the highest of these.
Graham’s forces – about a division in strength – wrested its commanding heights by defeating a French force roughly twice as strong. The top of the hill, today marked as a View Point (Belvedere Loma del Puerco – Punto Mágico Loma del Puerco in Spanish) is marked with the symbol of a camera on some tourist maps. Here on the ‘magic point’ stands the fine monument which is pictured here. And below the stone there is an account in four languages. It is well worth the journey.
To find the spot it is probably as well to visit first the tourist office and / or local museum in Chiclana. The staff at both are most helpful, though it is probably the case that few have actually made the journey to the site themselves. But beware (second health warning) their maps tend to be schematic and are far from the standard of Ordinance Survey. (They do not, for instance, have a scale.) The downside of visiting Chiclana first is that it makes finding the battlefield marker more difficult and Chiclana itself is a nightmare of one way narrow streets with few helpful signs.
I’m sure all Cameronians will be pleased to learn that the Westminster Abbey Remembrance Day was a huge success, especially the turnout at our Cameronian plot.
This year, however, I had to step down from representing our Regiment due to the state of my health. Then, by a vast majority, members of our Regiment allowed me to nominate a true daughter of the regiment, my daughter Helen. On the great day she was a credit, her turnout was immaculate and she wore my medals with great pride. To round off a great morning Prince Philip and Prince Harry stopped and spoke to her…a memory she will treasure, also one I have treasured for the past sixteen years.
I have now decided that it is time for me to hand over the Westminster task to someone else. I have nominated Ian Bilboe and he has accepted the role. Every moment of organising this great occasion has been sheer delight for me and I know that Ian will continue to do a tremendous job.
After some months of negotiation but with the support of Historic Scotland we have managed to secure two important additions to our cause at Dunkeld Cathedral namely a Battle Marker recording the event that took place on the 21st August 1689 and an enhanced Grave Marker to our first Commanding Officer who died in that battle, Lieutenant Colonel William Cleland.
On 26 June 2015 these two new additions were unveiled in the presence of the Regimental Trustees namely Majors Brian Leishman MBE, John Craig TD DL, Ian Farquharson and former member of the Regiment Mr Tam Balloch MBE, representing The Cameronians (SR) and Family Members Organisation together with those from Historic Scotland who have made it possible, namely Mr Graeme Bell and Ms Karen Williamson and most of the Apprentice Stonemasons (whose engraving skills the subject of much positive comment) and their Instructors. (see photos below)
I recently read your 2010 blog entry on the Cameronian website. Like your father, my father—L/Cpl. James Jordan, D Company, served in the 7th Cameronians during WWII.
When I was young, my father told me many tales of his six years with the 7th Cameronians. But later in his life, he didn’t speak much about it and thus I never really knew the full story. Unfortunately, my father died in 2004 and is no longer with us for him to tell his story. Recently I’ve been doing a great deal of research trying to piece together as much as I can of my father’s wartime service. Last year, I received his complete service record. And from the National Archives, I now have the entire WWII “War Diaries” of the 7th Cameronians. Through these official records and reports, I have a much fuller idea of where the battalion—and my father—were throughout the war.
Last month, my son and I took a bike trip through Zeeland and visited Dutch towns that my father and the 7th Cameronians had fought to liberate in Oct-Nov 1944 (Baarland – Oudeland – Ellewoutsdijk – Arnemuiden – Kleverskerke - Veere). In Ellewoutsdijk, we paid tribute to my father’s “best pal”—Rfn George Valentine—who was killed there on 28 October 1944. In Kleverskerke, we paid tribute to Rfn Ken Deighton who was killed while clearing a Teller mine while my dad stood nearby shaving. We also visited the British military cemetery in Bergen-op-Zoom where we laid flowers at the grave sites of Ken Deighton, George Valentine and 14 other members of the 7th Cameronians.
Mr. Brennan, in your blog entry, photos of your father were posted and mentioned publishing his wartime diary. While I cannot help you with identifying any of the other soldiers in the photos, I am very interested in your father’s diary. It would be a tremendous help for me to be able to read a first-person account from a soldier who was in the same battalion as my father. Is there any way I could receive a copy of this from you (either hardcopy or digital)? Of course, I will be happy to pay any associated costs.
NB: Reply please to Major Brian A S Leishman at firstname.lastname@example.org