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The Gordon Highlanders

Beginnings -
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.  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.

The Gordon Highlanders were raised in 1794 by the 4th Duke of Gordon as a regiment of Highland Foot (infantry). Originally designated the 100th Regiment of Foot and later the 92nd, The Regiment was officially named "The Gordon Highlanders" in 1881. Many of the original recruits were drawn from the Gordon Estates. The early recruitment campaign was assisted by the 4th Duke’s wife, the Duchess of Gordon (Duchess Jean). The Duchess is said to have offered a kiss as an incentive to join her husband's Regiment.

When the regiment was raised in 1794 the Duke's wife, the Duchess Jean rode through country fairs to recruit men to fight the French. She was reputed to have placed a guinea coin between her lips offering to kiss any man who joined up. The illustration shows her in uniform distributing coloured ribbons for new recruits to wear on their hats.

Fair in Kinrara - Ann Allardyce
Song, in Memory of the late Duchess of Gordon, who died nth April, 1812.

In Kinrara blooms the rose,
And softly waves the drooping lily,
Where beauty's faded charms repose,
And splendour rests on earth's cold pillow.

Her smile, who sleeps in yonder bed,
Could once awake the soul to pleasure,
When fashion's airy train she led,
And form'd the dance's frolic measure.

When war call'd forth our youth to arms,
Her eye inspired each martial spirit;
Her mind, too, felt the muse's charms,
And gave the meed to modest merit.

But now farewell, fair northern star,
Thy beams no more shall courts enlighten,
No more lead forth our youth to arms,
No more the rural pastures brighten. 

Long, long thy loss shall Scotia mourn;
Her vales, which thou were wont to gladden,
Shall long look cheerless and forlorn,
And grief the minstrel's music sadden.

And oft, amid the festive scene,
Where pleasure cheats the midnight pillow,
A sigh shall breathe for noble Jean,
Laid low beneath Kinrara's willow.

18th Century
The Gordons were formed during the French Revolutionary Wars. They saw action against the armies of France, 1st at Egmont-op-Zee in Holland in 1799, then in the Egypt expedition of 1801, and in the long campaigns and many battles of the Peninsular War in Spain from 1808-14. The Regiment then played a prominent role in the final defeat of Napoleon at Quatre Bras and Waterloo in 1815.

19th Century

Later in the 19th century, the expanding British Empire saw The Gordon's serve on the frontiers of India, Egypt, Sudan and South Africa.  One of many extraordinary feats was a march over 320 miles of Afghanistan's unforgiving terrain between Kabul and Kandahar, in 1880, which The Gordon's achieved in just 23 days. In 1887, one of their most celebrated achievements was the stunning victory on the Heights of Dargai, on India's North-West Frontier.

The scene makes me shake with excitement even now. The Gordon's, pipers playing and men cheering, never stopped or wavered although many of them were down. It was one wild continuous rush of men all eager to get to the enemy. The sight was magnificent and the excitement so intense that I for one, although I was shouting at the top of my voice, felt the tears springing up into my eyes and could not keep them back.'

During the 1880's, the old 75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment, with its own record of war service in India, was incorporated into The Gordon's which had now established a permanent presence in Aberdeen. At the same time, the development of local volunteer and militia units into the Territorial Army gave the Regiment a truly local character.

The Gordon Highlanders had 2 battalions serving in South Africa and so raised 2 extra companies.  The 1st Service Company Gordon Highlanders consisted of men drawn from the 1st (HQ Aberdeen). 2nd (HQ Oldmeldrum) and 4th (Donside) Volunteer Battalions Gordon Highlanders. It left Aberdeen on February 16th 1900 and sailed from Southampton for the Cape Colony aboard "RMS Guelph" on 17th February, arriving in Cape Town on March 15. The company eventually joined the 1st Gordon Highlanders, serving as "M" Company . After completion of its tour of service, the Company departed Cape Town aboard the "Templemore" on 13th April 1901 and arrived back in Aberdeen on 3rd May.

When the Gordon Highlanders entered the Transvaal after the siege of Ladysmith they wore khaki aprons designed to cover the dark coloured kilts and bright Sporran that had been blamed for high stomach casualty figures within Highland regiments at the start of the war.

20th Century
In World War l, some 50,000 Gordon's served in the regular, Territorial and service Battalions. Of these, approximately 27,000 were killed or wounded. Among other major Battles, every Gordon Battalion saw action in the Somme in 1916.

In World War ll, Gordon Battalions served with the British Expeditionary Force in France in 1940, and in the Far East in 1942, where many became prisoners of war. Great success was achieved in the North African Campaign, in Sicily and Italy, in the invasion of north-west Europe, followed by the long advance into Germany, and the liberation of Burma.

In the years after 1945, the Regiment took part in peace-keeping and anti-terrorist operations in Malaya, Borneo, Cyprus, Germany and Northern Ireland, with detachments serving in the Gulf War and Bosnia. In 1994, the Regiment was amalgamated to become part of The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) – the new regiment of the north of Scotland.

21st Century
In 2006, The Highlanders were merged with Scotland’s 5 other Infantry Regiments to form The Royal Regiment of Scotland. The legacy of The Gordons therefore lives on through The Highlanders, 4th Battalion, and The
Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The Sodjer
Heatherin eerin orin aye,
The drums are dirlin lood ootbye!
Hiddledum diddledum deitherin deist,
The pipes are willin the lads tae list.

Too roo rantin ree,
Hine awa an ower the sea,
Hudderin heiderin hodderin hey,
Cannon rick is cauld an gray.

Eenertie feenertie fichertie feg,
The sodjer's gotten a widden leg.
Pirlie wirlie winkie woan,
Far's the cheer in winnin yon?

The Head-dress was the Regimental pattern diced Glengarry, with a Black Cockade and the Regimental Badge on the left hand side. The Badge was of white gunmetal, not brass, and consisted of a Stag’s head above a Ducal Coronet with a Wreath of Ivy, all above the motto “Bydand”. It was based on the Crest of the Marquis of Huntly, heir to the Duke of Gordon, and was only adopted in 1872. The motto is Scots and means “biding or abiding, in the sense of firm, enduring, lasting or standfast”.

Castle Hill Barracks & Depot

The term ‘barrack’, derives from the Spanish word for a temporary shelter erected by soldiers on campaign,  barraca. Because of fears that a standing army in barracks would be a threat to the Constitution, Barracks were not built in Great Britain until 1790, on the eve of the Napoleonic War

The Barracks, that stood on the Castlehill, was erected in 1794-96, and was capable of accommodating 600 men. The situation is airy and healthy, and the design of the building considered good for the times,  It became notoriously a bad slum in the late 1940's and 50's such is the durability of Granite over 200 years.

A Castle stood here from the 1100's.  The Army Barracks were used as a Depot by the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders until 1935. After many years of neglect they were demolished in 1965 to provide space for the over imposing and skyline demanding Tower blocks.

Changing of the Sentry / Guard Drill



The Infantry Barracks, on the crest of the Castlehill, stands on the site of a Castle erected as early as 1150.   The Barracks as built from 1764 and completed in 1796 at a cost of £16,000, formed a plain winged oblong of 3-storeys, but were greatly enlarged by the block added (1880-81) at a further cost of £11,000, with a frontage to Justice Street of 138½ feet.  The King Street Militia Barracks were erected in 1863 at a cost of £10,000 in the old Scottish Castellated style: the Rifle and the Artillery Volunteers had drill-halls in Blackfriars and Queen Streets.

A view of the southern aspect of the Castlehill in about 1850, with the Barracks featuring prominently.  The Barracks replaced the Chapel of St. Ninian and an Observatory erected in 1781. The foundation stone was laid on 24th June 1794 by the Marquis of Huntly and it was completed early in 1796, with accommodation for 600 men. The picture is interesting, as it shows the line of Hangman's Brae, which descended from the South-west corner of the Hill to Castle Lane and into Virginia Street.  It was partly absorbed into the construction of Castle Terrace in 1864. The houses on the left of the illustration have outside steps.  Castle Terrace incorporated the 1st Hospital for Sick Children in 1877.


The Litho  dated 1850 indicates the south facing upper level Barracks and upper tier road some 4 Metres below it, indicating a steep natural slope down to Park Lane on the right which was between Castlehill and Heading Hill.  Since then a  2nd nether tier was added with a granite rampart defining the new roads of Castle Terrace and Commerce street and the houses swept away.  The corner building of the Barracks would have been where the 1781 Observatory was. This lower tier perhaps instigated and infilled by Cromwell's Forces who made major improvements by way of Artillery Positions on the upper tier to protect the Harbour The intermediate ground of this natural Fortification was used as allotments during the 1939/45 War. Park Lane became Commerce Street due to harbour traffic and the main link to North Street.  This area retained its spacious junctions and was a less steep route to the Harbour and Footdee with the link road to become Castle Terrace.  Some artistic License here as it looks into the quadrangle and shows tenements on the left which would have bordered on Virginia Street by James Street if the perspective was correct.  They show outside stairs which was the norm for access to upper floors and a lighting Bracket that is nigh impossible to reach. The real topography of the land is much steeper and this may be better illustrated by the Castle Terrace and Commerce Street Junction which is shown below.

Early Map

This wide cobbled area was amended with a triangular traffic island added at the end of Castle Terrace

In 1794 and was there­after occupied by the Gordon Highlanders. A Military Hospital was built on the adjacent Heading Hill in 1799; a cast-iron bridge, perhaps like the Duffus & Co Founders pedestrian bridge, linked the Barracks to the Hospital. Some time before World War ll, the old barracks were turned into Tenement Housing and degenerated into slums. They were demolished in 1965 and replaced by the present twin blocks of flats. Part of the old surrounding wall of the Hanoverian barracks is still to be seen on the south-east side of the Castle Hill, just up from Castle Terrace.  A Short row of houses ran from the pedestrian Bridge in the top of the hill above Commerce Street Infants School and emerged at the crest of the Hanover Street near Fish Lane.

The Gordon Highlanders were, for nearly 200 years, North-East Scotland’s own regiment. Kilts require regular care and maintenance, particularly if they are in daily use. A foot-operated treadle sewing machine is being operated by one of the tailors in the right of the picture. Castlehill Barracks were in occupation from the 1790s until 1935, when new premises were built at the Bridge of Don. The Barracks themselves were demolished in 1965.

The Army Barracks were essentially lining 3 sides of the a large square and this photo may be at the rear  of the Barracks adjoining Justice Street where the Gymnasium was The Old Barrack Gymnasium was used for overspill schooling by Fredrick Street pupils being taught English by Mr Smith post WW2 and also as a Recreation Club for Youth in the late 50's.

Militia Barracks - 389 King Street

The King Street Militia Barracks were erected in 1863 at a cost of £10,000 in the old Scottish Castellated style: the Rifle and the Artillery Volunteers had drill-halls in Blackfriars and Queen Streets.  Designed by William Ramage in 1863 and became home to the Gordon Highlanders 3rd Battalion.  Two-storey block, crowstepped baronial, symmetrical rubble-built with a 3-storey L-plan and featuring angle Turrets with a Central Pend arch leading to the Drill Court.

Military occupation In 1861 the Commissioners of Supply for the County of Aberdeen announced plans to build a Depot for the Royal Aberdeenshire Highlanders - a volunteer regiment. It was to lie between ‘Love Lane’ (later St Peter’s Street) to the North and Advocates Road (from the current site entrance to King’s Crescent by the Spital) to the South, facing onto the west side of King Street. It contained a large Drill Court - 370 feet long by 140 feet wide, and would be  “of plain design but with a couple of towers at the angles giving it a baronial appearance”.  It was to be well landscaped as it is today. The design was by William Ramage, formerly assistant to renowned local Architect Archibald Simpson.  At 1st, the Drill Court had sheds and open shelters  along its sides as stables, but they were soon converted to Barrack Rooms. The Depot was completed in 1862 but an outbreak of Typhus in nearby Gallowgate and Causeway End saw the Regiment sent to Fort George to complete their training.

The King Street Militia Barracks were erected in 1863 at a cost of £10,000 in the old Scottish Castellated style.  The building was completed and 1st occupied by the Royal Aberdeenshire Highlanders in 1862. These quarters, which were for permanent staff, consisted of a block of stores, guard room and offices, which surrounded an ample parade ground. In poor weather, the men were provided with adequate shelter within the staff quarter’s basement.

Before long the accommodation was enhanced by converting the ranges of open shelters into Barrack rooms, and then a considerable number of men were quartered in the Barracks. The permanent staff had however, not long occupied the new quarters when they had to move to other accommodation due to an infectious disease Cholera and Typhoid which prevailed in Aberdeen in 1864 and it was deemed unsafe to keep the Regiment there. This led to the training of the Regiment being conducted at Fort George.

In the mid 1870s the barracks were to be dispensed with, but in 1880 the regiment was enlarged with an extra 300 men and the accommodation became insufficient therefore additional Barrack rooms were built to house the extra men.  In 1882 the Royal Aberdeenshire Highlanders became the 3rd Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders.  At this time the staff based at the Barracks consisted of Officers, Warrant Officers and permanent Staff Sergeants. All other ranks lived at home in the local area, and reported to the Depot when Drills and Training were required.  In 1900/1901, during the Boer war, troops were sent from King Street to Cape Town, but in 1902 the Barracks reverted to their peace-time role.  In 1905, 21-year-old Pipe Major George Stewart McLennan (the youngest in the British Army) organised the 1st Pipe Band at the Barracks.

To the right of the Pend was the Orderly Room and Officers Assembly Room and Quarters, to the left was Guard Room, Non Com Officers Reading Room and Quarters.

Henry Knight-Erskine, of Pittodrie, Capt. 33rd Foot, afterwards Colonel of the Aberdeen Militia (Gordon Highlanders)
Pittodrie Estate, Chapel of Garioch Parish, Aberdeenshire, was in the hands of the Erskine family from 1602. It was succeeded by Henry Knight Erskine, Esq. (b 1858) in 1870, and remained in his hands in 1901.

Pittodrie House
This photograph shows Pittodrie House which stands on the east slopes of Bennachie - the Mither Tap is visible in the background - near the village of Pitcaple about 20 miles from Aberdeen. Although it stands over 680 feet above sea level, it is surrounded by trees which provide shelter from the wind. It is a complex house of several dates and was on the Estate of the Knight Erskine family for centuries, before being sold in 1903 to George Smith, a Glasgow shipping magnate who founded the City Line of Steamers. The Smith family still own the property which has been run as a luxury hotel since 1977 and the 3000 acre estate is leased for Agriculture. The original house probably dated from around 1490, and a wheel stair from that period still survives, athough the house was burnt by Montrose during the Covenanting Wars. A date stone commemorates the re-building by the Erskine's in 1675, and in 1841, the architect Archibald Simpson created the large neo-Jacobean extension with 3-storey balustraded tower on the East side - seen here covered in ivy. A billiard room was added in the early 1900's and further extensions took place in 1990. The word 'Pittodrie' is thought to be derived from the Gaelic 'todhar' which can mean either manure or bleach. Aberdeen Football Club's ground is known as Pittodrie Stadium, because the Knight Erskine's also owned the lands in the City where the Stadium was built.

Aberdeen Corporation Tramways bought the property in 1914.
There are detailed memories of the King Street Barracks being used for housing families immediately after WWl as there was then a severe housing shortage for returning soldiers.  The spartan Militia Barracks would also prove to be equally spartan accommodation for the ex soldiers families.  Damp walls, outside water supplies, the remote latrines numbered 4 for some 16 families and with communal washing facilities.  Quite typical of so many existing 19th Century Tenements still being occupied as late as the 1950's including Castlehill Barracks and the remote Torry Battery at Balnagask.  The sought after Officers Quarters were above the Entrance Pend on the upper floor and the Drill Court was adapted for drying greens and a playground for the many families.  The North End was then employed as the Tram Depot and Administration offices.  The long upper Lofts also provided space for drying clothes in inclement weather. Gas lighting and cooking were available on ancient lighting brackets and cast iron gas rings.  Crystal radio sets were a luxury but for one listener only at a time.  The children would play in the Tram Depot much to the annoyance of Fatty Clarke the 'Watchie' who was also a fellow Barrack Tenant.  Much fun could be had playing in an open ended static tram - both upstairs and down stairs.

Turret Suicide
In 1915 Captain Beaton, an Army Officer during World War 1, returned from the trenches in France after sustaining head injuries. After treatment and recuperation he was later transferred to King Street Barracks. In March 1918 he received his orders posting him back to France, but Captain Beaton had endured enough.  The following morning his body was found hanging in the southeast Turret of the building, which was at the time used at the Officers Mess. The Captain has since been known to haunt the building, and has been spotted in full regimental dress by members of staff on several occasions with the latest sighting in October 1988.

Gallow Hill Powder Magazine
Later the Gallow Hill due east of the Depot was partly excavated to create a Gunpowder Magazine for use by the King Street Militia Barracks;  the soldiers made a gruesome discovery - piles of human bones, the remains of the condemned who had been buried under the shadow of the Gallows and excluded from sacred ground because of their sins.

The 1st place actually mentioned as the scene of executions was the grassy Knoll which afterwards became the site of the Powder Magazine of the town. About the middle of last century the Powder Magazine required to be enlarged, which led to excavations for a foundation. Remains of skeletons were found, and this showed that criminals had been buried, as was usually said, "at the foot of the gallows tree." The Powder Magazine was intended to be protected from lightning by a metal rod projecting above it and terminating in 2 thick chains extending under the surface of the ground for some distance in opposite directions. The Gallows Knoll was sandy and dry, and after some time it was discovered that some damage had been done to the building by lightning. As a further protection 2 other chains were connected with the conductor. The Magazine was thought to be too near the town when houses were built beyond the Railway, so it was removed. The site of the Magazine and its predecessor the Gallows is now occupied by a building called The Shelter, at the corner of Trinity Cemetery; but the north side of the Gallowhill became a Sand Quarry, and has been taken away. In excavating the sand near the Shelter the chains were found, and though bits were removed the ends of some of the chains may still be seen on the west side of the Shelter. When 1st found it was supposed that they had been used to attach the bodies of criminals to the gallows in such a way as to prevent their friends from removing them, as was sometimes done; but they were too heavy to have been used for that purpose.

Gordon's Invade Bedford

Some of the 500 men of the Gordon Highlander's returning to Kittybrewster Station, Aberdeen, having been hurriedly recalled from camp at Tain.

"During August, 1914, the all-kilted Highland Division streamed into Bedford in trainload after trainload, and the skirl of bagpipes was heard throughout the land. From the wild straths and glens we errupted overnight into a Cowperesque landscape where the sluggish Ouse lazed through flat meadows bounded by thick hedgerows. Age-old churches, with square Saxon towers or graceful spires, dotted the countryside, and around them nestled thatched cottages with white-washed walls. We came, we saw, and we took possession. We found it good."
'Students Under Arms', Alex Rule*, MC, MA; Aberdeen University Press 1934
Alex Rule was a member of 'U' Company, 1/4th Battalion Gordon Highlanders. 'U' Company originally comprised mainly Students and Staff of Aberdeen University.
The 1/4th Gordon Highlanders entrain at Aberdeen for the rail journey to Bedford. 

"The quiet old county town was shaken to its foundations. We doubled the population; sheer weight of numbers alone made us a disturbing factor in its Civic life. Then, in addition to our 12,000 infantry, we had no fewer than 12 Pipe Bands … Our invasion was a peaceful penetration – from the military point of view – but we shattered the calm of 700 years."

The modern houses-cum-billets offered creature comforts that many of the soldiers had never experienced before; 'hot and cold' running water and gas to burn.  "There were many men of most excellent character who came with us from Scotland, who had rarely seen a house like any one of these Bedford residential properties and who had certainly never been inside one. One such soldier after a long day in the country was washing his socks in that small compartment described by the House Agent as a 'Gent's Cloakroom'. "What do I do when I want more water, Jock?" he shouts to his companion in the room outside. "Pull the Chain" ..............."Christ!" he exclaimed as he then watched his steeping socks depart on their journey to the sewer."

English Colonel to the Gordon Highlander Sentry, "Who are you?"
Sentry to the Colonel, "Fine Sir, and hoo's yersel?"

1/4th Battalion

August 1914: at Aberdeen. Part of Gordon Brigade in the Highland Division. Moved to Bedford.
20 February 1915: left the Division via Southhampton 'Achimedes' and landed at Le Havre, and a week later joined the 8th Brigade in 3rd Division at La Clytte.
10 October 1915: transferred to 76th Brigade in same Division.
23 February
1916: transferred to 154th Brigade in 51st (Highland) Division.
Late in
1916, absorbed the Shetland Companies.

The Duthie Park contains memorials to the Gordon Highlanders who fell in the Indian Frontier Campaign of 1892-1898, This is located approximately 60 metres northwards from the West entrance gate at Great Southern Road. This memorial consists of a triangular granite pillar and rises to a platform on top of which there is a bronze angel holding on high a laurel wreath.  Beneath the angel is depicted in relief the Regimental Badge of the Gordon Highlanders.  The Aberdeen Volunteers are also commemorated. 

One to the Officers and Men of the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders who died in Egypt, 1882-84 This is situated in a shrubbed area beside a pathway near the Winter Gardens, about85 metres south of the entrance from Polmuir Road.  This granite memorial, takes the form of an Celtic Cross supported by an tapered pillar, the base of which is surrounded by rough-hewn boulders. On the front, just below the cross, is depicted a badge similar to that on the Gordon Highlanders' other memorial in Duthie Park with the St. Andrew's Cross, Wreath of thistles and the Sphinx and Royal Tiger.


The Don Barracks
Gordon Barracks are situated in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen. Built by J & W Wittet, circa 1935, the barracks buildings are located around the Barrack Square.  Constructed of dressed granite blocks, the 2-storey central block, once used as the Junior Ranks Club, is typical of the style with 3 bays and being rectangular in shape. The roof is crowstepped and slated. It has very grand Royal coated arms tripartite above with pediment detail. Other listed buildings include: the Medical Reception Centre, 3 barracks blocks, the Guard Room, Gate Piers and Gates, Married Quarters, the Officers Mess and the Gymnasium.  Once the depot for the Gordon Highlanders, Gordon Barracks, it then became the training depot for the Highland Brigade. It is still actively used for training by the local cadet groups. The Barracks also hosts many events which serve the community of Aberdeen.

Ellon Road, Gordon Barracks Parade Ground Barracks Block A, Old Machar (Don Barracks)
Block A 1935. 2-storey, 7-bay range with wider advanced and crowstepped centre bay with apex stack. Squared granite rubble with rock-faced base courses, finely tooled ashlar dressings with long and short quoins. Centre bay, 3 windows each floor. Outer bays, windows in pairs. All windows narrow with multi-pane. Sash and case glazing. Straight skews, end stacks, slate roof. Entrance at rear.   

Block B 1935 2-storey, 7-bay range with wider advanced and crowstepped gabled centre bay with apex stack. Squared granite rubble with rock-faced base courses, finely tooled ashlar dressings and long and short quoins. Door off-centre left of wide central bay, 2 windows to left 3 above. Outer bays windows in pairs. All windows narrow with multi-pane sash and case glazing. Entrance to rear: straight skews, stack at E. Slate roof. 

Block C 1935. 2-storey, 7-bay symmetrical range with 3 window advanced centre gabled bay with straight skews, stepped skewputt and centre stack. Squared granite rubble. Windows paired in outer bays; multi-pane sash and case glazing throughout. Slate roof; end stacks. Entrance at rear (S).

Barracks Hit - The Bridge of Don Barracks was the home of the local regiment from 1935 to 1960.
The barracks were struck by the air raid on 21 April 1943.
27 servicemen died and a further 26 were injured.
In time it became the Training Depot of the Scottish Division.

Gerry Scanlan was an 18 year-old Glaswegian from the Catholic district of Provanhill, he was a steward in the Army, based at the Gordon Barracks. He and 26 of his young fellow soldiers were killed that night. His grave is in Trinity Cemetery, which shows his parents' names. One of his colleagues was so badly burned, the death certificate for the lad which was issued in Old Machar Parish, simply reads 'unidentified male'.


A Gordon for me, a Gordon for me, 
If ye're no a Gordon ye're no use to me. 
The Black Watch are braw, the Seaforths and a' 
But the cocky wee Gordon's the pride o' them a'.

The Gordon's on Parade at Don Bridge en route to the Barracks with pedestrians awaiting their passing and enjoying the spectacle - possibly with new recruits at their heels - now did they break step as they crossed the Arches?

Belhelvie’s connections with the Military, which remained active as the parish provided the Black Dog Rifle Range. This is situated on the Wester Hatton Links in 1927 for the use of the Gordon Highlanders, who were based at the Bridge of Don Barracks. In the past it has hosted the annual 'Wappenschaw' where anyone could compete for a prize, but which became largely restricted to the Military and the Police in recent times. One of the prizes reflected local history: it was given in honour of Reverend Alexander Forsyth and his contribution to firearms evolution.

There were also a number of Drill halls throughout Aberdeen, such as the Woolmanhill Drill Hall & Offices, which was home to 1st Volunteer Battalion Gordon Highlanders.
2nd Volunteer Battalion, Orderly Room, 74 Union Street.
4th Volunteer Battalion, Orderly Rooms, 28 Guild Street and 52 Constitution Street.

Also Hardgate, Bucksburn and Culter Drill Halls
Aberdeen Artillery Volunteers, 60 Queen Street
1st Aberdeen Rifle Volunteers, Orderly Room, Blackfriars Street and Woolmanhill
Volunteer Royal Engineers, 50 Hardgate

Froghall Terrace WWII
certain Regiments were stationed at the Jute Works there opposite Jute Street (later to be Spencer's Paints). We can assume they were Gordon Highlanders. They were there prior to the Italian POW's who were kept in the Jute Works later in the war and were very behaved.

The Gordon Highlanders were stationed at Sunnybank School which backed on to the Jute Works.  There was no school for the children for some time because of this. Gordon Highlanders were also stationed in tents in the school playground. The eventual embarkation of sections of the Gordon Highlanders from Sunnybank School; led to their local women standing in the Spital with tears in their eyes. Some soldiers were marched off to Ports to be shipped out to North Africa before continuing to Sicily and Anzio in Italy.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013