Vol­un­teers on ma­noeu­vres at Blair Atholl

Stirling Observer - - FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY -

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.

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