Mobilisation notices for the 5th Battalion were posted at midnight on Tuesday 4th August 1914, with most of the men arriving in Peterhead on Thursday 6th August. (Note: The official term for the "mobilisation" of Territorials was "embodiment". When the force was stood down from war service it was "disembodied".)
The following articles describing the concentration of the troops in Peterhead are from the Buchan Observer of 4th and 11th August 1914. The photograph heading the articles comes from 'The War Book of Turriff' and shows the departure of the troops at Turriff railway station on 6th August.
Tuesday, 4th August 1914The Buchan Territorials
'Everything is now in readiness for the mobilisation of the Territorial Forces in Peterhead and surrounding districts. As is well known, the battalion of Gordon Highlanders is short of the required strength, but a number of discharged men have presented themselves at the Drill Hall and intimated that they are prepared to give their services should they be required. The various hotelkeepers have been notified that they may have to billet some of the Territorials.'
Mobilisation of Reserve and Territorial Forces'It is understood that the mobilisation of the entire Reserve and Territorial Forces is to be made tonight, commencing at midnight.'
Tuesday, 11th August 1914
Mobilisation of Territorials at PeterheadThe 5th Gordon Highlanders
'The 5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders were mobilised at Peterhead on Thursday. The men, including the headquarters company at Peterhead, came from Aberdour, Cruden, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Longside, Lonmay, Methlick, New Deer, New Pitsligo, Old Deer, Old Meldrum, Strichen, Tarves and Turriff, and in all they mustered about 1000 men. The men were billeted in the burgh schools all of which were requisitioned except the Academy. On arrival by train during the day the Territorials were marched to the various schools, and were assisted in their arrangements by the local Boy Scouts who acted as messengers.'
New Aberdour'The local company of Territorials left New Aberdour on Thursday for Peterhead. Before leaving the men were addressed by the Rev. C. Birnie and the Rev. Wm Dymock, one verse of the National Anthem was sung by the large company who gathered to give the men an enthusiastic send-off.'
'The posting of the mobilisation order at Hatton of Cruden on Tuesday night commanding the Territorials to report themselves for active service, was responded to by the men without loss of time, and by Wednesday morning all were in readiness. The section ‘C’ belongs to the 5th Battalion G.H. (T.F.) and on Thursday afternoon they assembled at the armoury from whence they marched to the railway station. The men, who numbered 29, were under the command of Sergeant Youngson [No 1807]. When the train moved off, encouraging cheers were raised by the crowd on the platform, to which the soldiers cheerfully replied.'
'The local section of ‘A’ Company, 5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders left on Thursday afternoon under the charge of Sergeant Horne. [No 4] A large crowd assembled on the Square and gave the ‘Terriers’ a very hearty send-off. The utmost enthusiasm prevailed.'
'One of the most animated scenes which has ever been witnessed at Ellon station took place on Thursday, when the local company of Territorials entrained. The platform and the approach were thronged with spectators, relatives and friends bidding the Territorials good-bye. During the time the company was awaiting the arrival of the train, the band, under Sergeant-Drummer Neilson, discoursed lively music. The company was under the command of Major Smith and as the train steamed out of the station there was unbounded enthusiasm, and no heartier send-off could have been awarded to any company. The cheering and waving of hats and handkerchiefs continued until the train was well out of sight. Many were visibly affected at the great send-off.'
'The Turriff Company of the Territorials received a most enthusiastic send-off from the public as they left on Thursday (6th August). Captain Runcieman was in command and along with him were Lieutenants Chalmers and Lyall. The Town Council were present to officially farewell the men and Provost Melvin addressed the company as follows: "Officers and men of the Gordon Highlanders – At this supreme crisis in our national life you have responded to your country's call to maintain her interests and honour. We are proud of you, and appear in our official capacity to signify so and bid you God-speed. I am sure you are going in to this campaign light-heartedly, but with a due sense of your responsibilities. War is a terrible calamity to any State, but peace can be bought at too dear a price. The peace of Europe has been unduly disturbed by an aggressive and truculent enemy, and now the nations of Europe are closing round her in a death grapple. It is yours to play a part in this world struggle, and that you will respond capably to the call we do not doubt. You inherit a great tradition from the distinguished regiment of which you are part, and I do not doubt but loyally you will maintain this heritage and contribute substantially against this menace which has endangered the peace of Europe during the past 20 years. We bid you God-speed, with all heartiness, and wish you the best of luck." Captain Runcieman returned thanks, and then asked Rev. G.L. Duff, St Congan's Church, to lead in prayer. The town's band headed the march to the station, and as the train was ready to steam out of the station the band played ‘God Save the King’.'
'Oldmeldrum Territorials turned out to a man on Thursday and mustered in the Town Hall under the charge of Captain Fowlie and Colour Sergeant Mort. In the absence of Provost Shanck, Bailie Chalmers and the Town and Parish Councils met the contingent in the Town Hall and a short service was held by Rev. J.A. Swan and Rev. A. Macpherson. Rev. J.A. Swan made a stirring speech and said that no one doubted for a moment their devotion to duty and their will to fight for their country. The fight was none of their making, but they were there to fight for liberty, honour and right, and he hoped that one and all would come back, bringing peace with honour. A large crowd escorted the company to the station where a present of fruit was presented by Miss Manson of Comlethill and Mrs Kemp, the Hotel. The train left amidst ringing cheers.'
'Under the mobilisation order over twenty men of the Territorial Force left here on Thursday. Under the supervision of Sergeant Mort, who has seen service in many countries, everything was carried through with care and without flurry. On Wednesday night the early arrivals made the Hall their headquarters and a number of friends gathered in to wish them God speed. Mr Wm. Duthie addressed a few words of encouragement to the men, also the Rev. Mr Fell, Craigdam, and the Rev. J. Pringle engaged shortly in prayer. On Thursday the company got a great send-off from the villagers. They entrained at Oldmeldrum with the rest of the company for Peterhead.'
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