The Tenth Home Defence Battalion, The Royal Scots, as it is officially designated will be mobilised immediately. The actual mobilisation notice was issued on Monday, and on Tuesday forenoon at eleven o’clock the men of the new Battalion paraded near the drill hall,
From early mom there was a big stir on in Bathgate, and long ere the men, landed with their kit arrived, large crowds lined the streets, the largest crowd congregated at the drill hall.
Among the first to arrive were Colonel Peterkin, the commander, Adjutant Captain Jackson, and Quarter Master MacKay. Later most of the officers of the new battalion mustered. At eleven o’clock, sharp, Quarter Master MacKay proceeded to call the muster roll.
The following were the numbers passed, from the various towns: - Bathgate 111, Kirkliston 71, Linlithgow 69, Bo’ness 62 Armadale 60, West Calder 26, Uphall 19, Fauldhouse 14, Grand total 432. The above figures are exclusive of officers and staff, which number 21. With three exceptions, 1 Uphall man and 2 West Calder men all answered to their names.
As Company after Company lined up, in civilian dress, each man carrying his kit, the crowd evinced keen interest, and the general expression was that there was a splendid collection of “grand raw material.” At the commencement of the proceedings the sky had been somewhat overcast, but after No 1 Company had been formed up, the sun broke through, and continued to shine for the rest of the day, a happy augury.
Just as a second Company had been fixed up, the Bo’ ness and Linlithgow contingent headed by Pte Young Linlithgow, playing the pipes, arrived, their progressed from the station to the hall being marked with cheering, the call of pibroch evidently appealing to all hearts.
After about two hours the Companies, there are four, were made up, and are made
up as follows: -
No 1 Company Men from Linlithgow, and Kirkliston.
No 2 Company Men from Bo’ ness, and Kirkliston.
No 3 Company Men from Uphall, Fauldhouse, and West Calder.
No 4 Company Men from Bathgate.
The officers are.
No 1 Company Captain Forbes, Lieutenants Wakelin, and Thom.
No 2 Company Major Dudgeon, Lieutenants Brock, and McLaren.
No 3 Company Captain Campbell, Lieutenants Robertson, and
No 4 Company Captain Allan, Lieutenant Johnston.
Among the interested spectators at the opening muster were Mr James Anderson, Crimean Veteran, Captain McCallum, Armadale, Lt Wright (Cyclist) 10th Battalion, Provost Robertson, Judge Sutherland, Bailie Walker, and ex Captain Jeffrey, Bathgate.
Colonel E Peterkin, late of the 8th V.B. The Royal Scots; Major W.C. Dudgeon (temporary) Adjutant, Major Nelson, A.A.C.; Captains J. Mason, Uphall; T.Bartie, Dundas; W.Allan, Bathgate; A.Forbes, Linlithgow; J.P.Campbell, Whitburn; Lieutenants, J.T. Johnston, Bathgate; Sydney E. Brock, Kirkliston; (temporary); Second Lieutenants H. Wakeiin, Linlithgow; A.A. Stuart, Brighouse; J.R. Henderson, Kirkliston; A.Robertson, Uphall; N.S. Main, Linlithgow; F.Thom, Linlithgow; McLaren, Grangemouth.
After the men had been inspected by Colonel Peterkin, they were marched to their various stations. After partaking of dinner, they were reassembled and marched to Mr Russell’s farm at Kirkroads, where they filed their ticks with straw. Later they were also supplied with blankets, and so in due time they were ready for a night’s repose.
As already noted the New Battalion is divided into four companies, and they are known as Nol, No 2, No 3, and No 4. The idea is to obviate confusion which would have followed had the old Alphabetical form been kept.
The temporary residences of the troops are as follows: -
No 1 Company - Com Exchange.
No 2 Company - Working Men’s Institute.
No 3 Company — Parish Church Hall and Congregational Church Hall.
No 4 Company - Old Post Office, and in their own homes.
Wellpark House is being made ready for the officers, and is almost ready for occupancy.
The Drill Hall is now entirely used for the clerical work, drill, and officer’s rooms of the New Battalion.
The Victoria Hall,
Bathgate Co-operative Society, Ltd., have the charge of feeding the men. To do this a special staff has been brought together. The chief cook is Mr Hood Glasgow, who has a large experience in camp work, and has just recently returned from Gails. He has staff of 17 women helpers. The men have three meals per day, served in the Cooperative Hall, and the times and menu are as follows: -
8 am - Porridge, tea sausage, bread.
2 pm - Soup, meat, potatoes, pudding every alternative day.
5 30 pm - Tea, bread, butter, jam, currant bread.
To see the mass of men at any of their meals is quite a wonderful sight. Each man supplies his own cutlery. This is a great help when washing up time comes for the waitresses.
The Territorial Tommies first day - we speak of those who had no former experience - was naturally novel, and so one of the Terriers was interviewed as to his first night under service conditions, and we got the following notes.
In the first place, being in civilian dress did not allow the concentration on military matters that a khaki jacket and trousers would have conducted. We stood up at the first muster, just like so many Irish harvesters just over from
Naturally there was a bit of fun going on, but the raw lot - I was one - took matters rather seriously, though on the march back the sight of so many with their bed carrying tickled us all very much indeed. After blankets, bed, kit, had been put up into the smallest compass, as per instructions, the boys were free until ten o’clock. The visitors enjoyed touring round the town, and getting the hang of things, and by ten o’clock one was quite glad to get under a roof. But alas; there was little rest. There were many each hall out for larks, and it was well into Wednesday morning before peace reigned, and a few hours snatched for sleep. The men were up with the lark 6 30 am and at 8 o’clock everyone was ready for breakfast. Washing tidying up what a scene before we got ready. But the bohemian sprit of the night before was quietened, and only a lot of water chased away the sleep out of the eyes.
On Wednesday a foretaste of what is in front of us was given, several march outs having been taken, and on Thursday three more, and we had a big time over the golf course with a view to knocking the rough edges off.
But never mind, the accommodation is excellent, and the “grub” first class. We are all enjoying ourselves.
With the coming of the T.T.’s the town has assumed a busy time all the time. Usually in the forenoon everything was pretty humdrum, but now, from an early hour till bell rings out, everything is lively.
The women folks are very interested in the New Battalion, and whenever there is a parade of the men there is sure to be a big attendance of the female sex.
A strapping lot is the universal comment upon the men, and so far they are proving to be an orderly lot.
It is hoped, for the honour of the County that whenever they may be placed they will maintain the reputation the Tenth have ever had that of being a gentlemanly set of fellows.
It is understood that Staff Sergeants Dow, Linlithgow; Reid, Bo’ness; and Drummond, Bathgate; will have the assistance of Mr H. Fairley in physical drill work, part of which may be undertaken in the Torphichen Street School, while in drill, several Sergeants from the Cyclist Battalion have been attached to help.
The young Battalion should in short time, judging from the earnestness evidence in the first week, be ready for work. Usually the period allowed is two months.
So far Colonel Peterkin has indicated his approval of the conduct of the men under him.
The Y.M.C.A. Hall has been thrown open for the use of the men, and will be noted from advertisement; donations of magazines and games will be welcome. Perhaps the Institute Committee may also allow free entry into the reading room and billiard hall.
It is believed no better man could have been chosen as Commanding Officer of the Tenth Reserve Battalion Royal Scots, because he not only has the necessary experience to fit him for
the important post, but he commands the respect and esteem and confidence of the officers and men under him. It was in 1872 that Colonel Peterkin joined the Artillery, and in 1886 he became a member
of The Royal Scots.
In his 33 years service he went through all the ranks to that of Colonel. As Second in Command of the 8th V.B., he retired in 1905. In tactical experience, Colonel Peterkin has been a close student for several years, and it is interesting to note that he contributed a textbook on the result of his endeavours in this respect, entitled “Minor Tactics for Non Commissioned Officers,” which has been recognised as a valuable contribution on the subject.
It is interesting to note that Colonel Peterkin saw service in
In 1892 Major Dudgeon joined the 8th V.B as Captain of H (Kirkliston) Company, and until the Territorial Force came into operation, he proved himself a capable officer in the ranks of the Volunteers. Two years ago he retired from service.
His identification with the Reserve Battalion makes for the strength and stability of the Battalion, and his experience will stand him in good stead. He has been Gazetted to his old position as second in command.