Royal Navy Brigade depart from Port Glasgow station, 1914

Royal Navy Brigade depart from Port Glasgow station, 1914

On 21st October 1914, the Port Glasgow Express and Observer reported on the scenes at Port Glasgow Station when the Royal Naval Brigade was departing.

It is a good thing we have our new passenger station now. What like would the crowd have been on the old platform which assembled on Monday night to witness the departure of our heroes of the Royal Naval Brigade? These were the boys who were in the trenches of the outer forts at the siege of Antwerp. After their arduous labours they were allowed five days to come home. What a scene it was at the station on Monday night! Wives, fathers, mothers, sisters, sweethearts, pals of all descriptions to witness the departure for the front once more of these forty men from the good old Port. The rear was brought up by these two fine fellows, the brothers James and Samuel Coulter – James from his home in Station Road and Samuel from his father’s home at 2 John Wood Street. They are a credit to the Port, and there was rejoicing as Sammie was seen to come through the Station Arcade waving a big Union Jack.

The time for the train to depart drew nigh. There were partings of farewell, but not a sign of sorrow. There was some silent weeping after the train steamed away, but a bright and cheerful front was maintained until the train took away the two score of Port Boys to the war, because who knows when or how many of them may return? In the train there was nothing but mirth and jollity. One of the contingent from Greenock sang with fine effect that pathetic song, ‘A Mother’s Love’. He almost made his strong-hearted comrades cry.

Before leaving the station, however, it should be mentioned that there was ex-Provost McMaster deputed to give each member of the Brigade a New Testament. This the ex-Provost did, and full forty copies were handed out. Each member of the Brigade received a hearty shake of the hand from the ex-Provost and the expression of a kindly word on the eve of his going.

It was a terrible crowd which assembled at the central Station. The songs were ‘It’s a long way to Tipperaray’ and ‘Rule Britannia’, the national song which nobody has a greater right to sing than the members of the Royal Naval Brigade. Before the train left the Central at a quarter past ten up went the shout 'Are we down-hearted?' and the response was 'o, for we will be marching through Berlin by the 23rd of December'. There is much to be done before this triumph can be achieved, but thus full of confidence and hope our boys once more set out to do what in them lies to serve their King and country. The best wishes of everybody in this town are with the gallant boys who have so nobly responded to the call of duty.

Port Glasgow Station, c.1910
Port Glasgow Station, c.1910. Copyright Inverclyde Museum Service
Group of officers wait to embark on the train c.1914
Group of Officers wait to embark on a train in Port Glasgow, c.1914. Copyright Inverclyde Museums Service.