The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)

'Sans Peur'       Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders red and white dicing       'Ne Obliviscaris'

A Snapshot of Service
in the Argylls
Stirling Castle - 1958

from the A&SH tray..........
RAF Camp Tobruk, very hot, NAAFI windows wide open.
RAF boys and wives inside playing bingo.
Young Jock outside roars through window, 'House!!!'
Complete chaos and anger among RAF boys, much scampering and mirth among Jocks.

Stirling Castle - History

Stirling Castle, standing on a 350 million year old volcanic rock formation, has been an impressive fortress and royal palace since the 12th century. It commands a view for miles all around the Carse of Stirling, the River Forth, Stirling Bridge, Abbey Craig (where the Wallace Monument now stands) and the Ochil Hills to the north.

The Castle was one of the most important strongholds in medieval Scotland. Before the marshlands around the Castle were drained, Stirling Bridge was the only place to cross the River Forth. This made Stirling Castle an important strategic position from which movements between lowlands and highlands could be controlled.

In its time, the Castle has played a major strategic role in the history of Scotland and many of its buildings have frequently been destroyed and rebuilt by the Kings of Scotland.
Of all the Castle's most historic buildings, The Great Hall, the Chapel Royal and King James the V"s Royal Palace still survive today.

From the Castle ramparts can be seen the sites of two of Scotland's most famous victories.
  • Stirling Bridge, where William Wallace defeated the English in 1297
  • Bannockburn where Robert the Bruce defeated the English in 1314

Stirling Castle is now open to the public for a nominal entrance fee, but access to the Regimental Museum is free. There is no better site in the whole of Scotland which gives the visitor a more authentic perspective of the history of the Scottish Nation and one of its finest Regiments.
Stirling Castle from the south east
Stirling Castle from the south east

Stirling Castle - Regimental Depot

Stirling Castle served as a depot for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders from 1881 until 1964. During that time the Great Hall was adapted to provide barrack rooms on three levels for the troops. National Service recruits to the Regiment lived in these barracks during their 10 week basic training period, before joining the Battalion. The training platoons were named after the Regiment's major battle honours, e.g. Alma, Balaklava, Corunna, Gaza, Lucknow, Sevastopol.

Some of the names that stick in the mind from my training days in the Castle, are: Sergeant Willie Wilson, Sergeant Willie Adam, Sergeant Willie Hamilton, Sergeant Tam Johnston, Corporal Jimmy Letham and Corporal "Scouse" Cannon - each of them great characters in their own right.

Although every one of these NCO's made a significant and valuable contribution to the development and training of Argyll recruits, a special mention must go to Corporal Jimmy Letham, one of Balaklava Platoon's training Corporals at the Castle in 1958.

Jimmy epitomised the very best of training skills and capabilities inherent in men of the Regiment. His positive style and approach; his ability to motivate young men; his energy and commitment to the training of recruits to the highest possible standard; and his enthusiasm and terrific sense of fun, while maintaining a real sense of purpose, were an inspiration to us all.
He helped to imbue us with an understanding of the finest traditions of the Regiment and the military qualities expected of a true Argyll.

Jimmy quickly made us aware that if you maintained a sense of humour and team spirit, it was possible to endure any challenge thrown at a soldier - and there were many - for example:-

Who will ever forget the feeling of utter trepidation when, as a young recruit, you had to do stag at the lion's den? The wind used to whistle round that dank, dingy place and you could swear you heard the roar of lions! And just to help concentrate the mind, they told us that the IRA could attack at any time. ---- Help, maw!

Do you remember, for the first time, marching in tackety boots down the slippery cobbled slopes of The Inner Close towards the Gatehouse --- with fixed bayonets? That experience gave a whole new meaning to the words, "skid marks"!

And how about when you got chased round the esplanade at the double holding a .303 rifle above your head - just for laughing during drill practice? ...... Ah, but the views were tremendous!

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