Volunteers on manoeuvres at Blair Atholl
Reports in the Observer 100 years ago suggest Stirling’s Volunteer Battalion – part of the force expected to help defend the country in the event of invasion – was hard at work.
The men were subjected to weekly drill including“bayonet exercise”.
One article tells how the company was forced to return to their hall to continue their training as the wet grass made any outside activity“very disagreeable”.
The Stirling Battalion also paraded in King’s Park and went under canvas for a military exercise at the Duke of Atholl’s estate at Blair Atholl.
The Observer tells how, during the exercise, the Stirling volunteers marched up one of the carriage drives leading to Blair Atholl Castle at the start of night manoeuvres.
“There are none, I am sure, who took part in that evening parade will ever forget the scene of splendour presented to their view,”said a report of the event in the Observer.
“The castle was now in view and the Duke and Duchess took up position at the main entrance while on the lawn to the west were gathered wounded soldiers and Red Cross nurses to witness the march past of some 400 or 500 volunteers who through the generosity of the Duke were granted use of the certain parts of the estate for training purposes.”
A two-hour march followed before officers explained the training scenario faced by the volunteers.
They were supposed to be the advanced guard of an Army marching from Braemar to Perth, and were resting for the night behind a large wood. Sentry groups and pickets had to be posted, as would have been the case had they been engaged in the real thing.
After completing that element of the training, the volunteers were informed the “enemy” had shifted its position and was now occupying Blair Atholl camp.
Members of the battalion then returned to the castle, via a different route, to confront the enemy.
“After a short engagement, there remained no doubts as to who were the victors,”said the Observer’s report.