Eager to Go to the Front

Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Blantyre's Heroes

Eager to Go to the Front

Eager to Go to the Front

The 6th Cameronians, in common with every other Territorial battalion, were immediately mobilised when was was declared, and a week later were sent to their war station at Falkirk. From the outset the men were keen to be able to take their share in the titanic struggle into which the world had so suddenly been plunged, and to a man they promptly volunteered for foreign service.

Seven months of arduous and continuous training were put in at Falkirk. This period of training was a severe trial to the Territorial’s, whose ardour, could they have had their own way, would have carried them straight to the firing line. They realised, however, the necessity and value of a thorough training, and everyone from the Colonel down to the drummer bow worked strenuously and with enthusiasm, with the result that at the end of their seven months training on a war basis they were fit and as efficient a body of men as any commander could wish to have under him, and as capable troops as any that have been sent from these shores to France.

When the intimation came that they were at last to be given the wish of their lives and to be sent to the front the Cameronians were wild with delighted enthusiasm. They left Falkirk, a splendid body of men 1200 strong, under Colonel Kay, their commanding officer, on 19th March last, with light hearts and a song on their lips but with a strong determination in all their hearts to play their part manfully.

By that time they knew full well the hard task that lay before them and the heavy toll that might have been demanded of them before that task would be completed, but they had also gained a better realisation of the issues that were at stake, and were prepared to pay the penalty, if need be, to gain the precious prize of liberty.

Sent into the Trenches

The battalion arrived in France on 21st March, and were at once despatched to a base camp, whence after resting for a couple of days were moved up to Northern Flanders. Two days later they had their first experience of actual warfare when they were sent into the trenches for twenty-four hours. Since then they have been more or less constantly in the firing line, and have wortherly upheld the glorious reputation which the Territorial Army had already gained as intrepid fighters and gallant soldiers.

They suffered several casualties in their earlier engagements and in the trenches, but the latest intelligence is the most disastrous which has yet been received in Hamilton. Among those who have been wounded is the popular commanding officer, Colonel Kay.

Included in the list of officers killed are several of the most experienced officers of the battalion, including Captain Brown of Blantyre.

Captain Brown has had a long and honourable connection with the Territorial Force. The Schoolmaster at Auchinraith School in Blantyre, he was connected to the old Volunteer Force before Lord Haldane’s scheme of the Territorial Army was brought into being. Under the new regime his enthusiasm did not wane, but rather grew. He has been connected with the 6th Cameronians since the formation of the battalion, and was a highly popular officer in the regiment.

The Late Captain Brown

Died most Heroically in a Charge

Captain James Brown, of Blantyre, who is reported amongst the officers killed, was the popular officer in command of the Blantyre Company of Territorial’s which went out to France 140 strong. He was recognised as the most efficient and capable officer, and, although a strict disciplinarian, he was held in general high esteem among his fellow-officers and by his own men.

A teacher by profession, he came to one of the Blantyre schools some sixteen years ago, and three years ago was promoted to headmaster of Auchinraith Public School. Outside his scholastic duties, military matters were his principal concern, and he had qualified in many branches of the service. He was unmarried. His parents reside at Douglas Water.

Relating to his death, quite a number of letters were received in Blantyre yesterday. One of them states that Captain Brown died like a hero. An extract from one of them states that during a charge the Captain was badly wounded in the hand, but stuck to his post and shouted to his men, “Come on Blantyre men, stick it out.” Again he was wounded in the shoulder, but even then did not halt. A few minutes later he was shot through the head.

Blantyre Casualties

Considerable anxiety has prevailed in Blantyre since Friday, consequent upon rumours relating to casualties among the Blantyre Company of the 1/6th Cameronians.

Letters from men in the Company state that the following have been Killed:

Private Roger McPhail (married)
Sergeant Hillhouse
William Simpson.

Reported Wounded

Private James Boyd
Company Sergt.-Major Donald Reid
Private Jow Dunsmuir
Private James Reddist

A later message states that there are more killed and wounded.

The death of Sergt. Hillhouse was reported by another officer, who states that Sergt. Hillhouse was passing a wounded German officer, who was lying on the ground, when the German pulled out a revolver and shot Hillhouse dead. Sergt. Hillhouse leaves a widow and five children. He went through the South African War.

Source: Daily Record and Mail, Tuesday, June 22nd 1915


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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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