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The pre-1908 Volunteer Force

  Officers 2nd Vol Bn Gordon Highlanders 1895

The officers of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Gordon Highlanders at camp at Dyce 1895.
My thanks to David Ellis, a relative of Surgeon-Captain Andrew Fowler, for supplying this photograph.

The Territorial Force, established by the Haldane Reforms in April 1908, superceded the Volunteer Force.  The 5th Battalion the Gordon Highlanders (TF) was made up of a combination of companies from the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Volunteer Force.

The organization of the Gordon Volunteers in 1902 was as follows -  (names in blue appear in the 1914 Roll of the 5th Battalion):

1st Volunteer Battalion, headquarters Woolman Hill, Aberdeen.
Ten companies, stationed at Aberdeen.
A Coy - Capt. and Hon. Major D.B.D. Stewart
B Coy - Capt . and Hon. Major G.H. Spence
C Coy - Capt. and Hon. Major W. Paterson
D Coy - Capt. and Hon. Major J.R. Dean
E Coy - Capt. T.L. Adam
F Coy - Capt. W. Mellis
G Coy - Capt. A.H.L. Mackinnon
I Coy - Capt. A.B. Whyte
K Coy - Capt. L.L. Sellar
L Coy - Capt. J.E. Macqueen
Sergt. Major, David Nelson; A. Ewart and G. Ogilvie, sergeant instructors.

2nd Volunteer Battalion, Old Meldrum. Lieut. Col. John Marr commanding; Major J.G Marr; Capt. Stewart L. Murray, adjutant; Hon. Major W. Baxter, quartermaster. [See here for Boer War service]
Seven companies :
A Coy Methlick - Capt. William Ferguson: William Johnstone, drill instructor.
B Coy Ellon - Capt. John L. Reid; Surg.-Capt. A Fowler, medical officer; Sergeant P. Ritchie, drill instructor.
C Coy Newburgh -
D Coy Turriff - Lieut. George Barclay; Sergt. Harry Shelley, drill instructor.
E Coy Fyvie - J.W. Johnston; Surg.-Lieut.-Col. Charles Cormac Greig, medical officer; John Sangster, drill instructor.
F Coy Old Meldrum - Capt.  James Shand; Surg.-Lieut. W. Cockburn, medical officer; William Stanley, sergeant instructor.
G Coy Tarves - Capt. The Hon. D.G. Gordon; Col. Sergt. John Pettie, drill instructor.


Lt Col John Low Reid from 2nd Volunteer Battalion assumed command of the new amalgamated 5th Battalion in 1908 and retired in July 1910.  Captain Leonard Lane Wheatley DSO (A&SH) became Adjutant in August 1909. This cigarette card can therefore be dated to around 1909-1910.


3rd (Buchan) Volunteer Battalion, headquarters Kirk St Peterhead. Hon. Col. R. Robertson commanding; Hon. Lieut. Col. R. Scott; Major W. McConachie; Capt. and Hon Major J. Jack instructor of musketry; Capt. A.O. Norman, adjutant; R.W. Bruce quartermaster. [ See here for Boer War service ]
Eight companies:
A Coy New Deer - Capt. James Lowe Law; Brig.-Surg. Lieut.-Col A. Mitchell, medical officer, Alfred Crighton, sergeant instructor.
B Coy Peterhead - Capt. A.W. Robertson.
C Coy Peterhead - Capt. J. Stuart; Surg.-Capt. J. Middleton, medical officer; Sergt.Major William J. Kelly, instructor. 
D Coy Old DeerCapt. & Hon Major J. Rennie; Surg.-Lieut-Col R.M. Wilson medical officer; Rev. R.S. Kemp acting chaplain. (drill instructor - unnamed)
E Coy Strichen - Lieut. James A. Smith; Sergt. Herbert Bryant, drill instructor.
F Coy Longside - Capt. W.E. Hutchison; Rev R. Cushny, acting chaplain; Sergt. Richard Robertson, drill instructor.
G Coy Fraserburgh (Drill Hall Gratten Place) - Capt. Charles W. Bruce.
H Coy Fraserburgh - Capt. Adam Lind Paterson Cruickshank; Rev. Henry Fyfe, acting chaplain; Sergeant William Laidlaw, drill instructor.

Click here to see a list of men from 3rd Volunteer Bn who attended the Royal Review, Edinburgh, 17th September 1905

 Notice of 1st Church Parage for new Territorial Force

This card shows that Captains Bruce and Cruickshank, who commanded G and H Companies of the 3rd Battalion Volunteers,
 still commanded the two Fraserburgh Companies in the new Force.

4th (Donside Highland) Battalion, headquarters 60 School Hill Aberdeen. Lieut. Col. W.A. Mellis, commanding; Major J.A. Horton; Major W.F.G Dawson. Lieut. J.H. Johnstone, instructor of musketry; Adjutant, Capt. Colin McLean; Quartermaster, Hon. Capt. J. Hopkins.
Ten companies:
A Coy Huntly - Capt. John Gray; Surg.Capt. John Osbert Wilson, medical officer; Sergeant James Robertson, drill instructor.
B Coy Strathdon - Capt. Sir C.S. Forbes; Surg.-Lieut. P.E. Howie, medical officer; Rev. William Watt, acting chaplain. 
C Coy Insch - Lieut. C.E.N. Leith-Hay; Surg.-Lieut. Samual George Davidson, medical officer; Rev. John Mack, acting chaplain; Sergt. James Walls, drill instructor.
D Coy Alford - Capt. Harry Forbes, DSO; Surg. Lieut. James Nicol, medical officer; Rev.P. Adam, acting chaplain; William Gray, sergeant-instructor.
E Coy Inverurie - Capt. and Hon. Major William Anderson Gray; Capt. and QM John Hopkins; Surg.-Capt. Alexander Nicol, medical officer; Rev. James Black acting chaplain; Col.Sergt. John Arbuthnot, drill instructor.
F Coy Kenmay (Monymusk) - Lieut. A. Charles; Surg.-Lieut. William Henry; Rev. Alexander Hood, acting chaplain, Joseph Campbell, drill instructor.
G Coy Bucksburn, (Newhills) - Capt. and Hon Major Alexander Keir; Surg.-Lieut. David Maver, medical officer; Rev. James R. Allan, acting chaplain
H Coy Bucksburn, (Newhills) - Capt. and Hon. Major James N. Gray; Surg.-Lieut. Edward Oliphant, medical officer; Rev. J.A. Allan, acting chaplain; Sergt. Major Matthew Barnes, drill instructor.
K Coy Kintore - Capt. James Callan; Surg.-Lieut. E.R. Turner, medical officer; Rev. Thomas Ogilvie Duncan, acting chaplain.
L Coy Kildrummy - Capt. Alexander Ingram.

5th (Deeside Highland) Battalion, (Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire), headquarters Banchory. Hon. Col. J.M. Duff, commanding; Major P.L. Davidson and Major A.D. Dunbar; Capt. K. Dingwall, DSO, adjutant; Hon. Captt. F.S. Kennedy, quartermaster. [ See here for Boer War service ]
Nine companies:
A Coy Banchory-Ternan
B Coy Laurence Kirk
C Coy Portlethen
D Coy Durris
E Coy Peterculter
- Capt. A. Shaw; Surg.-Capt. Robert Rennie, medical officer; T. Priest, segeant-instructor
F Coy Skene - Capt. G.H. Smythe; Alexander Bulloch, drill instructor.
H Coy Aboyne - Capt. Alexander Howie; Rev. C. Dunn Acting chaplain; George Duble, sergeant instructor. 
I Coy Ballater - Capt. A.H. Farquharson; Lieut. William Duguid; surg.-Capt. William Gordon Mitchell; Sergt. John Hanna, drill instructor.
K Coy Stonehaven

6th Battalion, headquarters Keith, Banffshire. [ See here for Boer War service ]
Seven companies:
A Coy Banff
B Coy Aberlour
C Coy Keith
D Coy Buckie
E Coy Minmore
F Coy Dufftown
G Coy Aberchirder


7th Battalion (attached to 1st Volunteer Battalion) headquarters Lerwick, Shetland Islands.
Three companies:
A and B Coys Lerwick
C Coy Scalloway

The following table shows the numbers on officers and men enrolled in each of the Gordon Battalions. The figures were published in the Scotsman on 4th November 1903 and represented the figures for 1902. The numbers showed a drop from those of 1901.

Vol. Batt 

Establishment  Officers  

NCOs & men 



Present at annual inspection 


















































In 1899, with the outbreak of the Boer War, members of the Volunteers were recruited into Service Companies and served along side the Regular Battalions.  A list of men who served in one of these Volunteer companies can be found here.

Back to the organisation of the 5th Bn (TF)

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Carolyn Morrisey