A number of postings have been made reagrding the 4th Highland Mountain Brigade RGA and it's constituent sub units. An excellent photo from Mike (aka CSMMo) shows the 4th Highland Mountain Brigade with TOS and RA badge. Having spent a considerable time wearing a TOS / Balmoral as a Gunner I thought this was unique to 204 (Tyneside Scottish) Battery Royal Artillery.
On the formation of the Territorial Force, the 4th (Highland) Mountain Brigade RGA was the only Royal Garrison Artillery Brigade. All other volunteer units were formed into heavy batteries, or companies for Defended Ports [Fredericks ‘Lineage Book of British Land Forces’ page 696].
The Territorial Force were formed for a home defence role, the 51st (Highland) Division with the highly mountainous area felt they required specialist mountain artillery in their order of battle.
Formed at Tarbet, Loch Fyne in October 1908, the unit consisted of:
(Source: Army List 1914)
Headquarters - Russel Street, Rothesay
Argyllshire (Mountain) Battery - Campbeltown
Ross and Cromarty (Mountain) Battery - Lochcarron,Ross-shire
Buteshire Mountain Battery - Rothesay
4th (Highland) Ammunition Column - Tarbert, Loch Fyne
The Brigade headquarters was in Rothesay (on Russell Street) as was the Headquarters and one section of the Buteshire Mountain Battery (with their drill hall located nearby, off of High Street), the other section being split between Largs and Millport. The Argyll Battery had one section in Oban and another in Campbeltown. The Ross Battery had elements in Stornoway, Lochcarron and Dingwall, while the Ammunition Column was headquartered in Tarbert, Loch Fyne.
These men worked hard to become qualified Mountain Gunners, imbued in the unique mountain mission. This mission, although originally assigned to them because of the defence needs of the Highlands, would cause them to be used in a very special way in the upcoming World War.
The brigade used Highland Garron Ponies to transport their 10 pounder screw gun.
They entered active service in August 1914 with 130 horses. Each gun section, which accounted for two of the battery's four guns, was allotted 68 horses, while its ammunition column required an additional 19. The Battery also assumed feeding and cleaning responsibilities and veterinary care as well as shoeing and blacksmith responsibilities for all of these animals.
On mobilisation, the Brigade move south into England and concentrated with the rest of the Division at Bedford. As the Western Front developed into static trench warfare, there was no real requirement for light mountain guns, consequently the 4th (Highland) Mountain Brigade RGA left the 51st (Highalnd) Division in March 1915 and became part of the 29th Division bound for Alexandria in Egypt.
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