Fighting Front

Fighting Front

The 1/4th Gordon Highlanders entrain at Aberdeen for the rail journey to Bedford.
The skirl of bagpipes was heard throughout the land.

Many people from Aberdeenshire fought in the war and many died. The Gordon Highlanders, who largely came from the region, raised 21 battalions during the war and suffered 9,000 deaths. It is impossible to know the experiences of those who fought in the war.

In August 1914, the Gordon Highlanders invaded Bedford.

500 men of the Gordon Highlanders returned to Kittybrewster Station after they had been hurriedly recalled from camp at Tain.

An Aberdeen University graduate, a member of 1/4th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, which originally contained a significant number of students and staff of Aberdeen University, wrote later:-

During August 1914, the all-kilted Highland Division streamed into Bedford in trainload after trainload, and the skirl of bagpipes was heard throughout the land. From the wild straths and glens we erupted overnight into a Cowperesque landscape where the sluggish Ouse lazed through flat meadows bounded by thick hedgerows. Age-old churches, with square Saxon towers or graceful spires, dotted the countryside, and around them nestled thatched cottages with white-washed walls. We came, we saw, and we took possession. We found it good.

The quiet old county town was shaken to its foundations. We doubled the population; sheer weight of numbers alone made us a disturbing factor in its Civic life. Then, in addition to our 12,000 infantry, we had no fewer than 12 Pipe Bands … Our invasion was a peaceful penetration – from the military point of view – but we shattered the calm of 700 years.