glasgow highlanders association newsletter - The Royal Highland ...

glasgow highlanders association newsletter - The Royal Highland ...




Third Edition

April 2008

We intend to put out a newsletter every 4 months do you have a story

that you want published well this could be your five minutes of fame



Although we planned that we keep our internet information

to the last page of our newsletter we have broken

that rule to bring to your attention that we have

recently registered the association’s own web page.

The aim of the web page is to offer a service to bring Ex

–Glasgow Highlanders and their relatives together by

the power of the Internet.

We plan to have an Email address that will allow users

to send scanned photographs to our web team who will

publish them in one of two timeline pages:

One will be photographs pre 1945 and the other post

1945—if you post a picture you are asked to enclose

what details you have on the photo for example if you

put in a squad—platoon photograph you should put in

what names you know and hopefully other viewers may

send Emails filling in the blanks—likewise it may be

that you have no details about the photo you post and

someone can add details .Remember and tell us what

year the photo was taken if you know it

We also hope to have a story page for viewers to add

their stories either of their own service with the GH or

stories of other members of the family who served with

the regiment.

We want the system to be interactive with viewers putting

their photos—questions through the web Email

address which you will find at

On the web page there will also be links to various

sources that viewers may want to view for example The

War Graves Commission—Army Record Offices—Medal

office—and many others—this will allow viewers to look

at different links to collect information.

It is up to you and other viewers to prove the success of

this project—of course many of our members may not be

into the strange world of computers but your kids or

grand kids will be able to assist—all they need is for you

to give them the information and watch them go—surfing

the web and your input could give some other viewer the

information that they have been searching for.

Anyone sending information should accept that we have

the right to decide what will end up being posted and the

input will be copyright to

The Glasgow Highlanders Association.

The Web Team

Jim Devine

John Wilson

Committee Web Member

Raymond Bell

Committee Members

The committee consists of

Note all the one word using lower

case—type it as you see it

The whole plan has came about with the expertise of

Jim Devine and John Wilson who are putting their time

and effort into this so please support their efforts


Col Peter Wright

Alastair Mack

Raymond Bell

Hugh Cameron

Sonny Martin

George Stewart

Angie Gardner

Bobby Woodburn

Robert Griffen

CSgt Stevie Whyte


Nemo Me Impune Lacessit



Another successful function happened when 74 members and guests sat with other cronies

to celebrate at the Annual Burns Supper which was held at Walcheren Barracks Hotspur

Street Maryhill Glasgow on Saturday 23rd February 2008.

With the night went the meal—served by members of F RHF platoon RRoS Army Cadets

Glasgow and Lanarkshire Battalion, who provided an excellent service. The cadets had volunteered

to assist as prior to being re-titled to F RHF had carried the name The Glasgow

Highlanders cadet platoon and they were the last recognised unit to carry the name.

The speakers from the Burns Society were excellent and enjoyed by all those attending.

All in all another good event and well done the committee for all their hard work to make

this another successful event


Museum 29th March 2008

Our meeting at the Home Headquarters of the 2nd Bn (Royal Highland Fusiliers) The Royal Regiment of Scotland proved

another successful gathering with 60 members and guests attending. We wish to thank Col Steel and all the staff who

looked after us during our visit. Col Steele welcomed all those attended and said that these gatherings must continue to

promote the aims of the association allowing members to keep in touch and the committee must keep the momentum going

as they have done since the association reformed over that last year— A few new members came on board bringing the

numbers of The Glasgow Highlanders and Friends to over 100.

Family BBQ May—June 2008

Our next event will be the Association BBQ to be held May/June with the date to be confirmed—This event is always well

attended and will be hosted at Walcheren Barracks Hotspur Street Maryhill Glasgow—This barracks is the HQ of 6th Bn

(Lowland) The Royal Regiment of Scotland and by kind permission of the Commanding Officer, QM and RSM we have

been allowed to return to the drill hall that used to be the HQ of The Glasgow Highlanders.

A letter or Email will be sent to all members once the date has been confirmed - We have ordered GOOD WEATHER


Our membership has increased over this year by allowing other organizations to join with us as friends of


The cost of membership is a mere £5.00 a year to help cover cost of newsletters and other mail sent to you

Payment to be made out to:


The plan to make it easier to pass on information is to look at using the Email system

Members who have an Email address are asked to send a contact Email to

Raymond Bell Membership Member on



Battlefield Tour May 2008

At the end of April I intend to visit France on a battlefield

tour arranged by Danny McRae with the view that one of

the locations I intend to visit is an area called High Wood in


High Wood is a block wood located about 3 miles from Albert

and in July 1916 was where the Glasgow Highlanders

suffered heavy losses along with other regiments trying to

take this high point on the ground—In the next newsletter

we hope to produce a story of our visit to High Wood so

keep a look out in the next edition

Visit to Erskine Home

The 2nd Bn 52nd Lowland Volunteers, were asked by

Brigade Headquarters if we could provide the Castle

Guard at Edinburgh Castle for fourteen days during the

Summer tourist season in 1972

We replied “of course, for what other reason did we exist,

if not to assist our regular brothers” We asked brigade

for a week pre-training to brush up our drill and

sort out the tailoring of our kit and general spit and polish

for the task, this was readily granted. Knowing our

super trump card was our Regimental Sergeant Major,

Mr Kenyon, we had no qualms. (Unaware of course, how

this assistance would be magnified thirty years later in

foreign wars)

Soldiers from Royal Highland Fusilier and Cameronian

companies were selected—with initial training being held

at Hamilton drill hall area.

There was an abundance of good humour, when one

young soldier was asked the time honoured question,

“How would you like your hair cut lad” - he was said to

have replied “Same as yesterday” and the American

tourist who asked a sentry “Say soldier, what does that

mean above the castle door? (Nemo Me Impune Lacessit)

- he turned his head, thought for a minute, then replied

“Mind yer Heed”.

Captain Lord James Douglas Hamilton was made Orderly

Officer, as his legal chambers were close to the castle,

and his happy tale is of those men who were civilian

unemployed requesting from him. “Please Sir, can we

have a landrover on Thursday to take us to the “Buroo”

we have to “sign on”.

The whole task was a great and happy success and we

received many compliments regarding our total professionalism,

from both regular staff in the castle and from

visitors. Much of the credit due, of course to Mr Kenyon

Major Les Obre Ex OC of C RHF Company 52nd Lowland

has asked if I would see if anyone would be interested in visiting

Erskine Home to visit “old” soldiers who live within the


I personally think that it would be a great idea to visit the

home the problem we would have is getting our members to

the home and in some cases managing to get them out???


The only way we could do this was to ask if anyone wishing to

attend would car share to attempt to get people to participate

if you could letter or Email Dinger on your thoughts on this

and also if you would be willing to take other members with


Erskine Home is for members of the armed forces, founded

in 1916, Erskine has provided nursing and medical care for

former members of our Armed Forces through two world

wars and the more recent conflicts and peace keeping initiatives

of the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Rebuilding

shattered lives, restoring dignity and providing

first class care to ex-Service men and women both young

and old

Please let me know your thoughts

on this I personally support this


Submitted by Lt Col Bob Barnes OBE TD who commanded

the 2nd Bn 52 Lowland Volunteers in the early


The New Cap Badge of The Royal Regiment of Scotland

One of the members asked for details on the new cap badge

The Cap Badge

The official heraldic description of the Royal Regiment of Scotland Cap badge is: A saltire surmounted

of a Lion rampant ensigned in chief by a representation of the Crown of Scotland and in base on

an Escrol Argent the Motto “NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT" in letters

The constituent parts are :

The Saltire - The Saltire is a diagonal cross and is taken from the National Arms of Scotland, being a

silver Saltire on a blue background. The Saltire is traditionally said to be the shape upon which St Andrew,

the Patron Saint of Scotland, was crucified. The colours are reputed to have been taken from an

apparition of the cross shining in the sky to encourage the King of the Picts in his battle with Athelstane,

the King of the Saxons, before the 9th Century. Athelstaneford in East Lothian is the site of the

presumed battle. It has formed part of the National Arms of Scotland from a very early period and is

recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in 1672 as the national badge.

The Lion Rampant - A lion rampant is found throughout heraldry in Europe and particularly is found

in the Arms of a great many of the European sovereigns both past and present. It is thought that the

beast was chosen by these kings as a symbol of their strength and the position of the lion as one of

the most noble of beasts in the wild. The Lion rampant has appeared in the Royal Arms of Scotland

for a very long period indeed and has certainly been used since the early 13th Century.

The Crown of Scotland - This is a physical object housed in Edinburgh Castle. There are differences

between this crown and the Crown of England (known as the St Edward’s Crown). This is to be expected

as no two crowns are necessarily going to be the same as they will be made by different jewellers

at different periods.

Motto - The motto ‘Nemo Me Impune Lacessit’ is inextricably linked with the Order of the Thistle and

has been designated by the Statutes of the Order as the motto of that Order since at least the 17th

Century. The older Royal motto of Scotland is ‘In Defens’ and this appears on the Royal Arms from an

earlier period. However the motto of the Order of the Thistle has been long associated with the Royal

Arms. The motto translates as ‘No one provokes me with impunity’.

Each of the battalions wear a hackle on their TOS to donate their original regiments:

Black—The Royal Scots and KOSB merged to become 1st Bn (RSB) The Royal Regiment of Scotland

White—The Royal Highland Fusiliers became 2nd Bn (RHF) The Royal Regiment of Scotland

Red—The Black Watch to become 3rd Bn (BW) The Royal Regiment of Scotland

Blue—The Highlanders to become 4th Bn (Highlanders) The Royal Regiment of Scotland

Green—The Argyll's to become 5th Bn (Argyll) The Royal Regiment of Scotland

The 6th (Lowland) and 7th (Highland) battalions are territorial soldiers and wear the colour of hackle

worn by their respective identities

The 6th (Lowland) personnel wear either white or black hackles

The 7th ( Highland) personnel wear either Red—Blue or Green hackles



In the third phase of Operation "Bluecoat" the 15th Scottish

Division were fighting on a 32 kilometre front, from Vire to

Auney sur Oden. Intelligence suggested that the Germans

were in disarray and in retreat. On August 6, the Division

found out how wrong this information was. Hitler had

launched his suicidal Mortain counter attack, intending to

drive the Allies into the sea at Avranches and cut off the Third

US Army. Along the front opposing the Scottish Division, the

Germans were organising a series of strongly defended

"hedgehog" positions

The cream of the German troops were involved in garrisoning

these positions and were prepared to fight to the death, supported

by highly mobile forces, enabling them to quickly

counter attack, and the German 15th Army, newly arrived from

across the Seine.

Also newly arrived in Normandy was Rifleman Thomas

Gore. Tom had been a member of his father's old regiment, the

Devonshires, when he landed at the Mulberry Harbour, Arromanches

on August 4. Within minutes 50 of their party received

instructions that they were to join the 9 Cameronians of

46 Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division.

Within two days, Tom and his pal, Rifleman Grant, now of 7

Section, 7 Platoon, "A" Company, 9 Cameronians, were waiting

to go into action. On the morning of Sunday, August 6, at

0600 hours, "A" Company, supported by a troop of Churchill

tanks of the Coldstream Guards, moved on their objective, a

spur on the hillside known as le Bois de Mont, rising 1,000

yards to the south of the village of le Codnet (le God net?) and

just to the west of the village of St Jean le Blanc. Thick morning

mist had delayed their start, but once commenced the objective

was secured without too much difficulty. News of their

success allowed the other three Rifle Companies of the Cameronians,

plus Tom's section which had been left out of the

original attack, to advance down the forward slopes of the valley,

across the wide, flat valley floor to the opposing steep

hillside on the approach to the village of St Jean le Blanc.

Their objective was Gournay, a village on the high land, with

commanding views over the surrounding land andvalleys. Intelligence

reports suggested that the area was clear. In fact

units of the SS 9 Panzer Division occupied the area, equipped

with Panzers, 88mm guns, bazookas, mortars, Neblwefers, machine

gun nests and mines, with medium and heavy artillery

back up.

Tom Gore recalls his baptism of fire: "Moving off from

Au Cornu, passed a troop of tanks. Approaching the cross roads

above the valley, passing a group of slit trenches, occupied by some

weary looking infantrymen (probably 7 Seaforths). There was a high

pitched moaning noise coming towards us. mortars landed very near

to us! My first experience of the 'Moaning Minnies', the six barrelled

German mortar! Throwing ourselves to the ground, the smell of cordite,

shrapnel buzzing through the air. The shout, 'Stretcher Bearers'.

The Platoon Sergeant (Sgt Smith, a Glaswegian, who would

later become CSM) shouted for us to move on. Turning left down

the high hedged lane, we came across a deserted village and farm with

a large orchard. Spreading out in a line, we commenced the advance.

Moving down the steep hillside with little problem, out of the orchard

across the wide valley floor. (It reminded Tom of his native

Devon). An automatic weapon fired, breaking the silence, answered

by one of our Bren guns. One dead German soldier slumped in a heap

against the hedge, his steel helmet slipped forward covering his face.

Evidence that a lot of others had been here, judging by the empty tins,

rubbish and smell. CANLOAN Officer Lieutenant Fernie B. Stewart

ordered Corporal Rose, later to he awarded the Military Medal, to take

his Section forward and to flush out the Spandau."

The Battalion War Diary tells us that "A" and "B" Companies

reached the small road bridge and although blown,

it would support the passage of vehicles. "B" Company continued

to make for the high ground in map square 7940. "A"

Company moved towards the high ground in the north west

corner of map square 7940, where they were to be relieved by

a Company of 2 Glasgow Highlanders.

Battalion Headquarters moved into a small copse, on the

north side of the blown bridge at map reference 796411. The

tanks in support of "B" Company became jammed at the

bridge, so the Company carried on without them. 30 minutes

later the Commanding Officer pushed forward two tanks and

a platoon of "D" Company east along a track towards Gournay,

to make contact with "B" Company. Immediately after

they set off, "B" Company returned to the bridge, from where

they were immediately sent off again. During this time, the

bridge area was being targeted by intermittent machine gun


Tom Gore's story continues: "We advanced to the far side of the

valley, the steep hillside rising over two hundred feet to the village of

St Jean le Blanc, when all hell broke loose! We came under intense

shell, mortar and small arms fire. At the base of the steep bank runs a

path. The Platoon Sergeant ordered the platoon runner and myself to

recce along the bank and into the woods. As we moved along the track

an officer from "D" Company, who were out on our right, passed us,

clutching his right arm, blood pouring through the fingers of his left

hand. Asking if he needed help, he passed without comment.

Then it started: with a swish, whistle and noisy bangs of incoming

shells. All around us, shells, shells and yet more shells were exploding.

Some in the tree tops, spraying shrapnel all around us. ' Stretcher Bearers'

was the cry! 'Dig IN!' Digging a hole, it was dig or die. I said the

first of quite a lot of prayers that day. The roots in the bank, making

the task of digging more difficult. It is surprising how quickly you

can get below ground level when there are a number of shells about.

The chap in the next hole got hit in the neck. He put his hand up to it

and ran up the road. I hope he reached the first aid OK. A wounded

Lance Corporal was passed along the bank with a foot wound; we were

instructed to get him back to the road. On the way back, we found a

wheelbarrow in a farm yard, amongst five or six dead cows. We loaded

him into it and made for the road. The path led to the bridge and Battalion

HQ, which was now receiving a severe 'stonkin' from the mortars

and artillery. There was a lot of activity and radios chattering away. A

Cameronian Bren gun carrier lay on its side at the edge of the road, its

crew covered with their gas capes. Shells started to arrive again; we

took shelter against the hedge, getting as close as we could, almost

asking the hedge to swallow us up. Fortunately, they all crashed onto

the opposite side of the hedge. A break in the shelling saw the arrival of

a jeep, bearing Red Cross markings, on the top two badly wounded

soldiers on stretchers, others crowded around the sides. Making room

for the Lance Corporal, we loaded him on amongst the less seriously

wounded. The jeep then speed off up the hill, weaving in and out of the

wrecks littering the lane, seriously overloaded and swaying from side to

side. Circling above, three Typhoon fighters swooped in, pin pointing

the enemy positions, and let fire with their rockets and machine guns at

the German tanks and 88mm guns around the village of St Jean le

Blanc. Smoke billowing up from their hilltop positions, our own artillery

and the machine guns of the I Middlesex Regiment joined in, firing

over our heads. Three Churchill tanks made their way down the lane,

commenced firing and then took up defensive position on the left of the

bridge, under the steep slope of the hill.

Just as we were setting off back to join the platoon, up the lane came

some of the platoon with their mess tins. We made our way back up the

lane, about a mile to the Company ration truck, parked in a field. Porridge,

tinned sausages and a round of white bread. It had been some

twenty hours since my previous meal, the first we'd had when landing in

Normandy, when I had shared a tin of sardines with my pal, Rifleman

Grant. Strangely enough, I didn't feel hungry. Life had a different

meaning now!"

Returning to the Cameronians War Diary, we learn that at

1030 hours "B" Company supported by two tanks had reached

the village of Gournay, with the lead platoon clearing the first

line of houses, when the enemy opened up with mortars and

heavy machine gun fire. "B" Company suffered fairly heavy

casualties and withdrew to the road. "C" Company who had

moved up to the right of the feature to the south east of the

bridge, reached map reference 794405 when they too were met

by similar fire.

"D" Company meanwhile had moved in close to Battalion

Headquarters at the north end of the copse by the bridge. Battalion

HQ had been targeted three times by mortar fire and

had suffered a number of casualties. "D" Company were also

the recipients of mortar fire and had a number of casualties.

Around 1230 hours the enemy, who had excellent observation on

the area, dropped six mortar bombs into Battalion Headquarters,

killing five and wounding 12.

It was at this point that Lance Sergeant William Aitken

3250005 took charge of re-organising Battalion Headquarters

By now he was the only Signal NCO who was not a

casualty. He organised the Battalion runners, ensured that the

lines of communications were working and attended to the

wounded. During the day he had ceaselessly moved up and

down the lane, repairing the damaged communications cables.

Tom Gore recalls seeing him: "I remember, as I passed along

the lane, seeing the Signals Sergeant repairing the telephone cable

and at that moment Brigadier Villiers passed by in his jeep. Sgt. Aitken

jumping to his feet and saluting. I thought at the time, that bloke's

in for an award." Lance Sergeant Aitken was recommended for

the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The citation read:

On August 6, 7944 the Battalion advanced to secure high ground

around the village of Gournay. The area was found to he strongly

held and the Battalion was forced to occupy a position in the valley

where it was heavily shelled and mortared from 0900 hours to 2300


During this period the behaviour of L/ Sgt Aitken was quite outstanding.

Under the heaviest of f i re he moved about his men with

great steadiness and courage, performing his duties as Signal NCO at

Bn HQ and ensuring comets were at all times working. At about 1300

hrs Bn HQ was heavily and accurately shelled and five men were

killed and seven wounded. L/Sgt Aitken was quite invaluable at this

period. He was the first to commence the necessary reorganisation of

the HQ, attending to his own comms, checking up on runners who

were left and ensuring the casualties were attended to and evacuated.

He performed these tasks quite regardless of heavy and continuous

shell fire. After this incident the Bn HQ was withdrawn to a more

covered posn from which access to Coys was by a road on which

enemy fire fell incessantly. L/Sgt Aitken, who by this time was the only

Signal NCO unwounded, made several journeys up and down this

road, ensuring that the lines were laid to Coys and visiting each Coy

in turn.

It is considered that the continued steadiness and cheerfulness of this

NCO throughout the day was of more value than any single deed of

heroism would have been. "

Despite the recommendations for this award being signed

by a number of senior officers and countersigned by Commander

in Chief, 21 Army Group, Field Marshal, B. L. Montgomery.,

for all his brave and outstanding work, it was not

enough to win him the Distinguished Conduct Medal, as the

newly-promoted Major-General C. M. Barbers reduced it to

the Military Medal.

It was from the Signals HQ truck, amazingly free from

damage, that the Cameronians Adjutant had called up the RAF

Typhoons from the "cab rank" to attack the enemy positions at

St Jean le Blanc. Battalion Headquarters having evacuated the

wounded, now moved back to a safer location. Shortly afterwards

as Tom recalled: "Fixing myself up for a long, dark, lonely

night, just me and my thoughts for company. The Company runner

arrived with orders to join the rest of the

Company on the road. Forming in sections, it was back over the

bridge and up the hill. No talking, just following the shadow in front.

Farm houses burning in the distance lit up the night sky. We reached

the crossroads, where we had started that morning. There surely must

have been some purpose for what we had done. We had gained nothing

and lost a lot of comrades, wounded or killed. After following the

leader for some distance we turned off into a field, digging in for the

fourth time that day. We didn't dig deep, we were too tired. Two hours

on, four hours off were the guard orders. But it went wrong. No one

woke me up. If Jerry had come over he would have probably found us

all asleep. The Sergeant's watch, which was passed on to keep the

time, was found between two trenches. Still we had a good night's

sleep. Followed by breakfast of porridge, tinned bacon and hard tack

biscuits and the welcome tin mug of strong tea. We felt good that we

were still in one piece."

Sergeant Adam Gray (later Orderly Room Sergeant and the

last man to leave the 9 Battalion, Cameronians on its disbandment)

recalling the successful attack on Bois des Monts

and the later fateful attack across the valley below St Jean le

Blanc, remembered amongst those killed was his very good

friend, the Sniper Sergeant Len Clough.

"It was thereafter known within the

Battalion as 'Black Sunday.

Major Mullens, who had assumed command of the Battalion on the appointment

of Lieutenant Colonel Villers to Brigade Commander, wrote in the War

Diary: "Casualties following the battle of the Bridge were 5 Officers wounded, 12 Other

Ranks killed, 45 wounded and 25 missing." Many of those missing were later confirmed

as dead. The Seaforths and the Glasgow Highlanders were also involved

in the immediate area of the battle and they too suffered a number of casualties.

For the next few days, the Cameronians were out of battle in the area of Au

Cornu. Due to the very dry weather, the main road, which was being used to ferry

supplies forward to the Estry battle, was producing clouds of dust every time a

carrier moved along it. Sentries were posted to slow down the speeding vehicles

and "Dust means Shells" signs were dotted along the road.

Tom Gore, doing his stint on sentry duty, was unlucky to be hit by shrapnel

from a shell burst, receiving a "blighty" wound. He was flown home to England,

spending some months in hospital before returning to the war, which by

this time had moved into the Rhineland. And that's another story

We thank Col C Roger MacLellan a CANLOAN officer who served with

2nd Bn Glasgow Highlanders and writer Don McLean for allowing us to

use this article for our newsletter

We are still looking for input for future newsletters—if you have a

story to tell please send it to

Raymond Bell (Dinger)


we will publish it


Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Glasgow Highlanders Association



Details about the Glasgow Highlanders Web Page

We have now registered our own web page at

Note all one word glasgowhighlanders—no spaces

Going Live April 2008—Please visit the site

We have a forum thanks to RHF Home Headquarters in Glasgow on and click

onto “Veterans forum” and we’re under GH—there will be a link on the RHF page to take

you to our own web page—likewise we will produce a link to take you to the RHF page


Anyone looking for information on war graves can find information at

This is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site and by simply logging on you can

find out information on the cemeteries and fallen soldiers—you may have a relative and

want to find out details where they are buried

The Scottish Belgium


Log onto


And listen to the song



If you don’t have a computer

you can go to your local library

and ask to use theirs—

all you have to do is be a

member of the library—and

ask to set up an account (it’s

free). The staff in libraries are

generally very helpful and

would guide you through the

system and you can set up an

Email account for example and register

giving yourself an Email

account name and your in!

You should check with the

library if you have to book to

use their machines but most of

them are “Walk in and use”

depending on how many machines

they have and how

busy they are at the time.


There are many search engines available for you to look for information on the web—a

few examples are

Once you get onto your selected search engine then type in what you are looking for— for



and the search engine will then display any information on that subject—you may want to

further define your search by adding more detail for example: Glasgow Highlanders at

Walcheren and a more detailed search will be conducted. If you have a question you can

enter for example Ask Jeeves in your search engine and the page will appear

and you have a choice of pages to go to—once in you can ask a question and a search will

be made using the words that you put to the search engine for example “Where can I find

out about British war graves” and it will give you samples of your main words like British—


Most of the pages are free to use but it depends on what you want to do—it may be that

you are trying to trace your family roots—a lot of these pages require you to register

which may involve a registration fee but as I said it depends on what you want


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