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Stephen Nulty

Trying to identify (Scottish?) regiment & battalion

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Stephen Nulty

I have a handwritten note which says 'December 1914. training at fort Matilda for 4 weeks then Greenock for 11 weeks. Went to France on 19 March 1915'

Could anybody shed any light on this regiment and battalion, please?

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roughdiamond

First thought was one of the A&SH TF Bn's especially the 1/5th, 1/6th, 1/8th or 1/9th who were raised around that area, but the LLT info doesn't match. It has to be bourne in mind that Greenock was a main port and troops fom all over would have embarked from there.

Sam

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WilliamRev

I have a handwritten note which says 'December 1914. training at fort Matilda for 4 weeks then Greenock for 11 weeks. Went to France on 19 March 1915'

Could anybody shed any light on this regiment and battalion, please?

Fort Matilda was a training camp of huts and tents adjacent to the railway station called Fort Matilda, which is between the twin towns of Greenock and Gourock in Renfrewshire, west of Glasgow. The camp was on Lisle Hill, (and wasn't in Fort Matilda itself, which was a nearby small coastal fort manned by the Royal Garrison Artillery, despite what you may read on the internet). Fort Matilda's address was sometimes given as Greenock, sometimes Gourock, sometimes just Fort Matilda. So I think that your chap did 15 weeks training at just the one camp!

It was a Regular army training camp, created in August 1914, and 3rd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers was based there throughout the war, and 4th Battalion Scottish Rifles was there from 1914 until 1917 - they were both training units. There were possibly other units there as well. (N.B. There are a number of minor errors on the usually reliable Long Long Trail website regarding Fort Matilda and the units based there, alas, so don't rely on it in this regard).

So I think that Regular Battalions (1st and 2nd Battalions) of Royal Scots Fusiliers or Scottish Rifles are the likely candidates for this man. I have been researching Camp Fort Matilda for a while now (my grandfather did his officer training here Dec 1915 - March 1916, and then came back to help train men after he was wounded on the Somme, before returning to the front in time for 3rd Ypres), and it seems to me that the majority of men who trained here went to 1st and 2nd battalions Royal Scots Fusiliers.

William

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Kitchener's Bugle

A little more about Fort Matilda Greenock:-

Whiteforeland Point was the site of a World War I coastal battery. The battery was armed with two 4.7-inch (quick firing) guns in 1904, and the battery manned by 2/1 Company Clyde Royal Garrison Artillery, a Territorial unit. The guns were removed prior to 1928 and there are no reported remains, the battery site having been demolished and cleared.

From August 1914 until July 1919 the parkland near the fort was the site of a large military camp, also called Fort Matilda, where the 3rd Battalion of the British infantry regiment, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, was based. This was a training-battalion charged with training soldiers and officers for the regiment's two regular-army battalions, the 1st and 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers. The training was initially supplied by a small staff, mostly Boer War veterans too old or medically unfit for service at the front, but their number was soon to be swelled by officers and NCOs who had been wounded and were either temporarily or permanently unfit for active service.

The camp was initially housed in rows of tents, and later in huts. Additionally, various civilian buildings in the town were taken over, including a house called Drumslea which was used as the officers' mess. Fort Matilda had no parade ground, so The Esplanade on the seafront was taken over for this purpose.

The camp turned civilians into soldiers with fourteen weeks training, and veterans who were returning to the front after recovering from wounds were hardened-up in a fortnight. Officers (who after March 1916 had to have been in a school or university Officer Training Corps, or to have served in the ranks), received eighteen weeks training. From 1914 to 1918 the camp trained 480 officers and 15,486 me

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WilliamRev

Hi Kitchener's Bugle - thanks for that! I must confess that I wrote quite a lot of that internet article that you quoted. :whistle:

[if anyone has any extra information about Fort Matilda training camp, or has any questions that they think I can help them with, or indeed corrections about anything that I have written in various places on the internet, I would be very happy to hear from them, either via private message, e-mail (william"at"williamrevels.com), or in public on this forum.]

William

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Stephen Nulty

Thanks guys, I'll follow up those leads and report back in a day or so

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kenmorrison

Two guys from my neck of the woods who died there:

William Jamieson – age 24 – Private (35437) 4th (Reserve) Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Son of James and Janet (Parker) Jamieson of Main Street, Port William, Wigtownshire.

Died on Service – 9 September 1917 in Greenock Infirmary.

Commonwealth War Grave – Greenock Cemetery, Renfrewshire.

The 4th Cameronians was a training unit which remained in UK throughout the war. In August 1914 it was based in Gourock and in April 1916 it moved to Greenock.

Fergus McKinnell – age 18 – Private (32628) “G” Company, 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Son of Margaret (Skilling) McKinnell of Murray House, Lockerbie Road, Dumfries, and the late William McKinnell, Station-master at Cummertrees, Dumfriesshire.

Died on Service – 9 April 1917 in Greenock Infirmary.

Commonwealth War Grave – Cummertrees Cemetery, Dumfriesshire.

The 3rd RSF was a training unit. It moved immediately on mobilisation to Gourock for a role on Clyde Defences. Moved in April 1916 to Greenock.

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WilliamRev

Ken's post above shows italicized quotes from The Long Long Trail website which illustrate my point that the LLT is inaccurate/misleading regarding Camp Fort Matilda. Greenock and Gourock are only about a mile and a half apart, and Camp Fort Matilda was roughly halfway between the two - neither 3rd Royal Scots Fusiliers nor 4th Scottish Rifles moved to Greenock from Gourock! Possibly the postal address was altered.

William

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Moria

Please can you tell me why Matilda? Was it named for someone? 

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WilliamRev

The fort was built in 1814 to protect the Clyde (from Napoleon) and was called Fort Matilda from then. A quick google yields no ideas as to why the fort was so named, but they may know at Greenock Museum - if you are really keen to know more you could e-mail them.

 

William

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FROGSMILE

Perhaps it was named after “Matilda of Scotland”, who became a Queen of England.  Matilda was born in 1080 in Dunfermline, the daughter of the Scottish king Malcolm III and the Anglo-Saxon princess Saint Margaret. As such, she was a descendant from both the Scottish and the Anglo-Saxon royal family.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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