Friday, 15 August 2014

Arrival of the Highlanders

Highland troops in Bedford, 1914 [Z68/2]

Saturday 15th August 1914 (Bedford): Today there has been great excitement in Bedford with the arrival of the Highland Territorials in the town. The Scotsmen made an extraordinary sight as they marched along in their green tartan kilts and red jackets singing some of the great songs of Scotland. These included Annie Laurie, The Land of the Leal and The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond. Groups of Boy Scouts helped to guide the soldiers to their billets where they were given cups of hot cocoa. One Highlander was heard to say their journey had been so long that “another hour or two and we must have been off the map!” Although the men had been travelling for eighteen hours they still had the energy to spend the afternoon enjoying themselves on the river. They took out every boat and punt they could find but some obviously lacked experience of the water. Two men fell in after a collision between two boats, and there were a number of abandoned punt poles sticking out of the river. The soldiers were extremely noisy, but their broad Scottish accents meant that much of what they were shouting about was incomprehensible to the local bystanders. 

Source: Bedfordshire Times 21st August 1914

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