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Remembered Today:

Queens Own Cameron Highlanders


Rob Bulloch

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Hello to the Forum.

Are there any members out there with an interest in the QOCH I would be very happy to share Information with members with same interest.

Best Regards to the Forum Rob.

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Tom Tulloch-Marshall

"A good regiment like the 79th may be destroyed; it cannot be defeated."

(GR Gleig, "The Story of The Battle of Waterloo", 1847)

Rob - my particular interests are 1/4th Bn (TF) from the outbreak of war till it's effective demise spring 1916.

Men of the 1/4th or any other unit who served with No 1 Entrenching Battalion from that time till Sept 1916 (and anything at all about No 1 EB), then 1st Bn QOCH 1916-1917.

Particularly looking for info on 1st Bn during the "secret summer" of 1917. - Identifiable photo's of 1/4th Bn Officers and Men. etc

regards - Tom

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Rob:

I have several real photo postcards of Camerons--a couple of individual portraits and two group shots. Unfortunately, they are all unidentified, except for one of the group shots which has a message inscribed on the back stating that it is "Paisley Boys in Seaforth Highlanders and Cameron Highlanders stationed at Fort George, 30th April 1915." Regrettably, no names are given. I can send you scans if you would like to see them.

Chris

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Good Morning,

Thanks for the posts Tom and Chris, I am just in the midst of reading up on the !/4th Camerons, do you have the official Records of the Regiment Tom? I have them and I you would like any information from them I would be glad to send it to you, Thanks for the offer of the Scans Chris I am always happy to get photos, scans cuttings fom newspapers anything pertaining to the Cameron Regiment I have a lot of postcard type photographs family groups singles and as you said sadly most are unamed, a lot of them are just penciled "Our Wully" "Jock 1915" and I have one that someone wrote "to Mither and Faither your son Jamie" it seems very sad that these men stare out at me from my album and I cannot put a name to them very sad indeed

Yours Aye Rob.

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Tom Tulloch-Marshall
......... 1/4th Camerons, do you have the official Records of the Regiment Tom?

Rob - over a period of many years I've compiled an almost day-by-day account of 1/4th Bn from the eve of the declaration of war till their (effective) disbandment at Etaples in 1916. Then ditto 1st Bn QOCH from early Sept 1916, when the big drafts of 1/4th Bn men joined, through till Nov 1917 when my grandfather was wounded - my grandfather being the point of the exercise, of course.

War diaries up to Corps level, CAB45, etc, newspapers, privately published works, manuscripts at IWM, regimental journals, etc etc - squatting outside Fort George waiting for them to open-up the archive (and the horrors of Inverness b&b's !), and must mention the Highland Folk Museum at Kigussie, whose archive yeilded some very good material. ............... And the printed off version is now a 3 inch thick pile of A4 sheets. The intention was always to publish, but things like having to work keep getting in the way.

I also have a database of all of (I think) the 19/2/15 Officers and Men, with info added as and when it is found - I've still got the whole of WO363 and most of WO374 to go through, so there is plenty of scope for the 3 inch pile to grow. Photos are, as you are aware, the big problem. I've made several appeals in Highland papers over the years, with very little success.

Always on the look-out for letters, diaries, things like that, and photos of course, if you could bear that in mind. If there is anything operations wise, or any particular person you may want to know about, then let me know.

regards - Tom

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Tom: publish your book, and immediately the photos come pouring in, together with all sorts of collateral. I know, I've been there, tee shirt, film etc. This is what is really meant by "publish and be damned!"

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Tom.

That is a wonderfull collection of information, makes me feel kind of silly offering you information ( Only Kidding ) you must have put a lot of hour into compiling so much information. On behalf of Cameron collectors all over the world and others please Publish your book. And if you do publish please put me on the top of your buyers list Best Regards.

Yours Aye Rob.

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Men of the 1/4th or any other unit who served with No 1 Entrenching Battalion from that time till Sept 1916 (and anything at all about No 1 EB), then 1st Bn QOCH 1916-1917.

Hello Tom,

I can give you the details of 16 or so Mackays/Mckays who served with the 4th Battalion if you are interested.

Also a couple of hundred Mackays who served with the Camerons in ww1.

Ken.

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Tom Tulloch-Marshall
I can give you the details of 16 or so Mackays/Mckays who served with the 4th Battalion if you are interested.

Ken - I would be pleased to hear of anything you may have (under either spelling) to men with the following original 1/4th Battalion service numbers >

602

677

1079

1097

1359

1787

2255

2524

2525

2670

I already have varying amounts of information on all except one - a "mystery man" who may in fact not exist.

Also - I already have quite a lot of info about the Officer brothers William (Willie) and Ian (christened John) Mackay, from Inverness. (Willie badly wounded 15/4/15. He led the 4th Cameron Colour Party in the 1919 London Victory Parade; Ian Kia with 6th QOCH 28/3/18). - But - if you have anything on them ........

If it turns out that I have more info than you on the men whose numbers are listed above then I'll turn the information flow back in your direction. Regards - Tom

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charlesmessenger

Tom,

I, too, am intrigued by the 1st/4th, especially since their absorption by the the 1st Battalion was raised in Parliament in March 1916. Do you think that sending them to Etaples to act as a Cameron `Infantry Base Depot' was a way of circumventing the 1915 Army Transfer Act? It is to me remarkable that the Bn nucleus suvrived until February 1917.

Charles M

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I can give you the details of 16 or so Mackays/Mckays who served with the 4th Battalion if you are interested.

Ken - I would be pleased to hear of anything you may have (under either spelling) to men with the following original 1/4th Battalion service numbers >

602

677

1079

1097

1359

1787

2255

2524

2525

2670

I already have varying amounts of information on all except one - a "mystery man" who may in fact not exist.

Also - I already have quite a lot of info about the Officer brothers William (Willie) and Ian (christened John) Mackay, from Inverness. (Willie badly wounded 15/4/15. He led the 4th Cameron Colour Party in the 1919 London Victory Parade; Ian Kia with 6th QOCH 28/3/18). - But - if you have anything on them ........

If it turns out that I have more info than you on the men whose numbers are listed above then I'll turn the information flow back in your direction. Regards - Tom

Tom,

I don't think there was a Mackay/Mckay with the number 1097.

If you give me your e-mail address I will send you a file about these men.

Once you receive it any other information you can give me would be most welcome.

Regards Ken

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I have two photos I took in Bedford of the graves of the following Cameron Highlanders:

1669 Pte James Geddes, 4th Bn, died 13/12/14

1895 Pte Arthur Charker, 4th Bn, died 12/10/14

James Geddes interests me, as he is the only man I can find on SDGW as having enlisted at Culloden. I have made enquiries as to where the recruitment office was in Culloden, but I have drawn a blank.

If anyone wants a scan of the photos then let me have you e-mail address and I'll get them sent off.

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Lee

I am very interested in the enlistment of Pte Geddes "Culloden" could it have been one of those patriotic rally days perhaps like a picnic with the Cameron Highlanders Pipe Band and Regiment out doing there thing for the war effort and it may have only been for one day ( this is only surmise on my part ) as Drummossie is very close to Cameron Barracks. do you think the Inverness Newspaper would have any record of this. I will watch this thread with interest.

Yours Aye Rob.

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Rob,

Researching:

3/5687 Pte. JOHN MAIN HEADSPEATH, 6th Bn. Cameron Highlanders. Killed on November 22, 1915. Age: 26 (From Edinburgh.)

2/Lieut. ANDREW GEMMELL CARMICHAEL, 6th Bn. Cameron Highlanders. Killed on April 11, 1917. Age: 24 (Wife lived Edinburgh.)

Regards

David

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Hi David.You may already have this information.

2nd Lieut ANDREW GEMMELL CARMICHAEL. born 1894 student of Medicine 1910 to 1914 Edinburgh University OTC infantry June 1911 to July 1914 and November 1915 " cadet " 6th Cameron Highlanders KIA 11th April 1917.

This information is from the Edinburgh University Honour Roll there is also a picture of 2nd Lieut CARMICHAEL in the book. I hope this is of some help.

Yours Aye Rob.

Ps I wonder why he did not go into RAMC.? nothing as yet on Pte Headspeath.

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Hi David.You may already have this information.

2nd Lieut ANDREW GEMMELL CARMICHAEL. born 1894 student of Medicine 1910 to 1914 Edinburgh University OTC infantry June 1911 to July 1914 and November 1915 " cadet " 6th Cameron Highlanders KIA 11th April 1917.

This information is from the Edinburgh University Honour Roll there is also a picture of 2nd Lieut CARMICHAEL in the book. I hope this is of some help.

Yours Aye Rob.

Ps I wonder why he did not go into RAMC.? nothing as yet on Pte Headspeath.

Thanks Rob, and yes I do have the Edinburgh University Memorial Book with his picture. I have often wondered the same thing about him-why not the RAMC?

I have these notes with my research on Headspeath:

'The Edinburgh Evening News' -Sat. December 4, 1915, Page 5

'Scots Who Have Died For Their Country'

'....Pte John Headspeath, 6th Cameron Highlanders, who was killed in France, was the youngest of four brothers, all of whom are in France in the same battalion. A tragic incident of his death was that at the same time of the fatal shot one of his brothers was standing by his side, and slightly wounded.'

Photograph printed on Wednesday December 8, 1915 Page 4. I do not have this photo, only a note about it!

Rob, forgive my asking, I don't have any access to any UK publications here in Canada; do you ever have access to the Edinburgh Evening News? If so is it at all possible to make a copy of the above photo?

Thanks in advance

Best wishes

David

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David,

I have a listing in my Cameron files on a S/16503. Pte William Headspeath 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders 28/4/1917 ( Killed ) would this be one of the brothers could well be not a very common name.

As for the request for the Edinburgh news paper I would love to help you David but I am further away than you, I am in Vancouver, but I do still have some contacts over there I will see what I can do for you all I can do is try.

Yours Aye Rob.

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David,

I have a listing in my Cameron files on a S/16503. Pte William Headspeath 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders 28/4/1917 ( Killed ) would this be one of the brothers could well be not a very common name.

                    As for the request for the Edinburgh news paper I would love to help you David but I am further away than you, I am in Vancouver, but I do still have some contacts over there I will see what I can do for you all I can do is try.

                                              Yours Aye Rob.

Rob,

That's just fine, and thanks for your efforts. (I didn't realize your a fellow Canadian, I'm in Ontario).

The information on the other Headspeath is very interesting (I had never done a search!). SDGW shows my man spelled: HEADSPATH, and his possible brother spelled: HEADSPEATH.

'Possible brother' shows ALL the same information as my man: Born Midlothian, Edinburgh. Residence-Edinburgh, and enlisted Edinburgh.

I would bet, dollars to donuts that these men were brothers! Thanks for the heads up, this has been very helpful!!!

Regards

David

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Dave - Have you tried looking for your man on this site (click here, old boy)?

You have to pay for the info, but its a damn good site:)

Lee,

Never seen this site before,

Thanks

David

(PS: Never afraid to pay for it of course, you should see my yearly research bill; Lets put it this way...I have to hide it from my wife!)

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Dave - I have used the site a few times, including researching a couple of the Scottish born men on the Forum's 'Remembered Today' feature.

The info you can get of it includes; births, addresses, family, marriage etc. All in all, not bad for a few quid :)

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I have two photos I took in Bedford of the graves of the following Cameron Highlanders:

1669 Pte James Geddes, 4th Bn, died 13/12/14

1895 Pte Arthur Charker, 4th Bn, died 12/10/14

James Geddes interests me, as he is the only man I can find on SDGW as having enlisted at Culloden. I have made enquiries as to where the recruitment office was in Culloden, but I have drawn a blank.

If anyone wants a scan of the photos then let me have you e-mail address and I'll get them sent off.

Lee,

there is a distinct change over time in the place of 'enlistment' in SDGW for men in 5th Seaforth.

Up to, and for a time after, the outbreak of war the place of enlistment is usually a place where there is a drill hall.

There then follows a period when men recruited from Caithness and Sutherland are recorded as having enlsited at Golspie, location of the battalion HQ (because after mobilisation there was nobody left at the outlying drill halls to enlist anybody).

And later still they are recorded as having enlisted at Fort George i.e. the Seaforth's regimental depot.

There are a few wobbles to this pattern but it holds together fairly well.

Assuming a similar pattern exists in other TF battalions, it may be that there was a drill hall/station at Culloden prewar (I'm assuming from his number/date of death that Geddes joined prewar or very early after 4 Aug) or, as I think happened with some of mine, the place of enlistment was the company OC's drawing room.

But I'm sure Tom Tulloch-Marshall could give you chapter and verse on 4th QOCH.

Jock

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Jock - Thanks for that. I'd assumed he was recruited at an 'open day' or some-such event at the outbreak of war. However, my knowledge of the TF is zilch, so I'm on a big learning curve here!

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I suppose they could have sent the firey cross round the glens - Lochiel did this (not literaly, I don't think) to raise service battalions of the QOCH.

If I was going to recruit for the British Army, I'm not sure that Culloden would be the most inspiring location :o ... but I suppose anything is possible in Inverness-shire.

Jock

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Tom Tulloch-Marshall
I, too, am intrigued by the 1st/4th, especially since their absorption by the the 1st Battalion was raised in Parliament in March 1916. Do you think that sending them to Etaples to act as a Cameron `Infantry Base Depot' was a way of circumventing the 1915 Army Transfer Act? It is to me remarkable that the Bn nucleus suvrived until February 1917.

Charles - I dont think there was any great "conspiracy", though there may have been an element of deviousness involved, and probably some bias against the TF - the matter seems to have been dealt with in a very matter of fact way. Things seemed to be going ok when 1/4th Bn arrived at Rainneville 7/1/16 - 51st Highland) Division being reconstituted in that area, and the 1/4th having been earmarked to rejoin it's old Division for some time. BB Cubitt, for example, wrote to Sir John French 15/7/15 and suggested removal of the 1/8th Kings Liverpools from 154th Bde to be replaced by the 1/4th. This would be doubly advantageous because the 1/4th would return to a Territorial Division, and 51st Div would gain a "genuine Highland Battalion."

The Bn wasnt desperately under-strength at the time, with 30 Officers and 571 OR's at the beginning of Jan 1916. However they lost the machine gun section to 154th Bde 14/1/16, and there is some evidence (far from cast-iron though) that other men were going to 1st Bn QOCH when there was no transparent reason for a transfer, - men who had not appeared in casualty returns for example. Some 30 men were detached for permanent employment by the divisional engineers 12/2/16, etc. At the same time (comencing 18/1/16 and running through Feb 1916) recruitment into 4th Bn was being actively encouraged - "Group Men" were being told in newspaper advertisements that if they didnt wait for their group to be called up then the 4th was still an option. Probably unrealistic, but that's what the ads said.

That's a bit bye the bye ............... what happened next was >

Lieutenant-Colonel Murdoch Beaton (OC 1/4th Battalion) "visits" General Headquarters at St. Omer, "where he pleaded with the Adjutant-General and his staff for the existence of the battalion". ("Historical Records Of The Cameron Highlanders" records this event as a "visit"; the Inverness Courier later records that Beaton was "..... summoned to G.H.Q. There it was announced to him ..... "). He is advised that in the course of a recent visit by Lord Kitchener and Sir William Robertson (War Minister and Imperial Chief of Staff, respectively), that it had been decided that it was necessary to the success of the new scheme of organisation of the British forces that all battalions which were substantially below establishment and without prospect of early reinforcement, must cease to exist as fighting units and be amalgamated with other battalions of the same regiment, or failing that, entirely re deployed. In the case of the 1/4th Cameron Highlanders it had been decided that they should be drafted into the only battalion of the regiment then in France which was senior to them; 1st Battalion The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.

The war diary of the Adjutant-General at GHQ records that various CO's were called to St. Omer on February 14th, however it does not record their names. The GHQ record of the meeting reads; The A.G. interviewed the commanding officers of the 1/4th and 1/5th Black Watch, the 1/9th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and 1/4 Camerons, with a view to amalgamating the two former Battalions and employing the two latter for drafts for their Regular Battalions. This is considered necessary owing to their weak strength (about 500 each) and the unlikelyhood of sufficient drafts being sent out to make them up to full strength in the near future. The C.O's thought there would be no great objection on the part of the men to the proposal being carried out. (The highlighting is mine).

Although GHQ records that Lord Kitchener had visited them on the 9th of February (returning to the UK on the 12th) there is nothing in their files to indicate that he had any involvement with the decision to disband the 1/4th Camerons, though there should probably be some suspicion that he was instrumental in the decision. Historical Records Of The Cameron Highlanders says that the retention of a nucleus of 3 Officers and 100 OR's at base, pending possible reconstitution of the battalion when sufficient reinforcements arrived, was a concession by GHQ, as was reconstitution of the 1/4th Bn at the end of the war, if it hadnt already been reformed prior to that. I've seen nothing in GHQ diaries to support that.

With regards to Parliamentary questions, the Member of Parliament for Inverness lodged protests in the House of Commons accusing the war office of a violation of law in the action which it had taken; not to mention the ingratitude implied in the breaking up of “a battalion that had won deathless renown on the field of Flanders” The Secretary for War replied that the action taken in respect of the 1/4th was dictated by the requirements of the military situation in France. "This particular battalion has been so reduced in numbers by its gallantry that in the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief at the front it was desirable at present to merge the Territorial Battalion in the 1st Battalion in order that for the time being they might form one strong battalion." .. He went on to give his opinion that "... its future would be none the less satisfactory or less glorious."

No one seems to have bothered "circumventing" anything - "requirements of the military situation in France", simple as that. Whether that was entirely true is a different matter, and it may really have been Kitchener and the Army Establishment "against" the Territorials.

If you ever see any paperwork that explains it further then please let me know.

Regards - Tom

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