The organisation of the Battalion in 1914

The 5th Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders was a Territorial unit, recruiting in the Aberdeenshire and Banff areas of north east Scotland. The Territorials replaced the Volunteer Force in April 1908.
The organisation of the 5th Battalion was as follows:
Headquarters: Peterhead.
A Company: Strichen with drill stations at New Pitsligo, New Aberdour, New Deer and Maud.
B Company: Peterhead with drill stations at Longside and St Fergus.
C Company: Peterhead with drill stations at Boddam and Hatton.
D Company: Turriff with drill stations at Fyvie and Cuminestown.
E Company: Ellon with drill stations at Auchnagatt, Methlick, Skilmafilly and Newburgh.
F Company: Old Meldrum with drill stations at Tarves, Newmachar and Pitmedden.
G Company: Fraserburgh with a drill station at Rosehearty.
H Company: Fraserburgh with a drill station at Lonmay.

At the outbreak of war, the battalion was organised into eight companies of approximately 100 men each.  However, since 1913, Regular battalions had adopted a four company arrangement, each of about 240 men, an organisation imposed upon Territorial units by early 1915.
The Territorial Force had been established by the Haldane Reforms in 1908, and replaced the earlier Volunteer and Yeomanry forces.  Men from the age of 17 enlisted for a period of four years, which was automatically extended by one year in time of war.  Their training consisted of one or two sessions of drill a week, an occasional weekend camp, and an annual fifteen day camp, usually held between May and September every year. 

The primary roll of the Territorials was Home Defence with no requirement to serve overseas.  However members could undertake voluntarily to commit to this Imperial Service obligation.  By September 1913 only seven per cent of officers and men had chosen to do so.
Under the 1908 reorganisations, the following arrangements were put in place for the mobilisation of the Army:
On the outbreak of war
The troops with the colours [i.e. the members of the Regular Army], were mobilised
The Regular and Specialist Reservists were called out
The Territorial Force was embodied
 A 1909 manual estimated that:
The wastage of the regular army in its expeditionary character is calculated at a rate of not less than 80 per cent per annum. The First and Second Battalions may maintain themselves for a short period.  Their deficiencies will then normally be met by drafts from the Special Reserve, supplied in the earlier stages out of the existing material, and in the later by the ordinary operation of recruiting."
The manual then describes the function of the Territorial Force:
On embodiment, [the Territorial Force will] proceed to undergo a continuous course of six months' training on a regular basis, being either billeted or encamped, according to circumstances.  Their previous training has been elementary and elastic, but on embodiment it is thorough and exhaustive.  Their mobilization is therfore a mobilization, not immediately for war, but for a war training. . . As however the Territorial Force hardens and is perfected by training, the home portion of the regular army is to a corresponding degree released from the task of home defence, and becomes available in its entirity as a force for overseas, whether to attack a foreign enemy or to preserve peace within the borders of the Empire.
Baker, Harold. The Territorial Force : a manual of its law, organization and administration, with an introduction by R.B. Haldane.  London : John Murray, 1909


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 1914

The 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 Peterhead

'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.'

New Pitsligo

'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.'

New Deer

'Bills calling out the Territorials and Reservists are posted up on every prominent building in New Deer, and motor cars run day and night conveying the orders to outlying districts. A feeling of enthusiastic patriotism prevails such as not been seen since the relief of Ladysmith. On Wednesday night the New Deer brass band played loyal airs in Main Street, which were received with rousing cheers. The Buchan Troop of Scottish Horse, F Squadron, passed through the village on Thursday at 1.45 p.m, picking up the New Deer contingent on the way, and they got a hearty reception from the cheering crowds. At two o'clock the Territorials set off from the armoury, and proceeded by Pipers George Robertson and David Stewart, marched to the foot of Fordyce Terrace, where they took brakes for Maud. They were under the command of Colour Sergeant Wm. Watt. Enthusiasm was at a high pitch, but more than one face betokened the strain of the exciting moment, and the prayer of all was that the men would return to their dear ones.'


'The village of Longside presented an animated and military appearance on Wednesday with the mobilisation of the local section of B Coy (Peterhead), 5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders (T.F.). This section embraces men from Longside, Mintlaw, Old Deer, Stuartfield and other parts of the immediate district. Under the command of of Captain Rennie and Lieut. R. Cowie, the men, numbering about 50 in all, paraded from 10 a.m. at the armoury, where during the day kilts and weapons were served out.'


'The notices calling out the Reservists and the Territorials were posted in the village of Strichen on Tuesday night, and steps were at once taken to convey the orders to the outlying districts. Large numbers of Territorials were in the village expecting something of this kind, and preparations were made for leaving.'

Buchan Observer 11th August 1914
Service in Parish Church

"A military service was arranged to take place in the parish church at 10 o’clock and some time before that time the various companies under their respective officers marched out and mustered near the Drill Hall, Kirk Street whence they marched to the Church. There were 1000 on parade and the impressive ceremony was witnessed by many hundreds of onlookers.

The colours of the Battalion were enfolded on each side of the pulpit which was occupied by Chaplain Rev J. Halliday, who preached from text Matt. v. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers”, the lessons being read by Colonel Grant DSO of Monymusk, in command of the Battalion, and Rev. McWilliam.

Chaplain Halliday in the course of a very impressive sermon said : The peace of Europe had been broken and this country had answered the call of duty, as the supreme peacemaker. The late King Edward was known as the peacemaker and the same tradition continued under the present King’s reign. But for this, the peace of Europe would have been broken years ago. Britain entered this war with clean hands after having done everything in her power to prevent war., and only because national honour and self-preservation left no other alternatives. It was not their love of war but their desire for peace that explained the enthusiasm of the nation. Friend and foe alike had been impressed by their British solidarity, and the hour was now striking in which the British soldiers and sailors would show what they were made of. The whole military force of the empire had responded nobly to the call, and no part of it more willingly than the Territorial Army. The Town had been greatly impressed by their appearance and conduct while garrisoned among them. The people of Peterhead were full of their praises and would follow them with many prayers for their protection and their safe return."

Buchan Observer 11th August 1914
Departure of the Buchan Gordons

"The first bugles were sounding and the pipes were playing " Hey Johnny Cope are you wauking yet" by four o'clock yesterday morning. Within two hours the battalion was ready for their departure. After breakfast the various companies assembled ready for the march to the headquarters in King Street under the command of their respective officers.

Soon the whole battalion had mustered in front of the Drill Hall and proceeded via Queen Street to the Railway Station led by Colonel Grant DSO who was accompanied by Major [name unclear] and Adjutant Cruden. The battalion made a splendid appearance, and the officers and men looked smart and fit as they marched off to the sound of the band. The entraining of the troops was accomplished with admirable discipline.

The troop special, conveying about one half of the men, steamed away about 6 o'clock, witnessed by great crowds, who followed the train for a long distance out from the station.

Half an hour later, these scenes were repeated when the second train removed the remainder of the force.

Rev. J. Halliay, chaplain, wished the officers and men goodbye, wishing them a safe journey and safe return, and conveyed to the men and the staff a message from Provost Leask saying he regretted he was unable to be present and had asked the Chaplain to say that he had heard all the good accounts that that had been recounted of the excellent appearance and behaviour of the battalion during their sojourn in Peterhead. He wished them a good journey and a safe return and he was sure the Buchan battalion of the Gordon Highlanders would always give a good account of themselves and maintain the reputation of the noble regiment to which they belonged.

Colonel Grant asked the chaplain in the name of the staff and men to thank Provost Leask for his kindly message and assured him that he appreciated the compliment which he had been pleased to pay them regarding the battalion's sojourn in Peterhead. He added that he hoped the Provost's health would be soon restored to him.

An advance party of the Territorials departed on the 5.45 train on Saturday afternoon under the command of Major Law."

Bedford, Measles and Embarkation

Training at Bedford.
It had been estimated that Territorial Battalions would require at least six months’ training after mobilisation before being ready for overseas service. (In reality it took on average nearer to eight months.)
The first detachment of the 5th Battalion left Peterhead on 10th August 1914 to begin this period of training. After spending two weeks in Perth, the men eventually arrived at their war station in Bedford, a town about 50 miles from London. The battalion was part of the 1/1 Highland Division (Renamed 51st (Highland) Division on 11th May, 1915) initially under the command of General Colin Mackenzie.
The Division found itself obliged to make do with the out of date equipment, inadequate training facilities which included no rifle ranges and scarcely any practice ammunition, obsolete transport and a shortage of trained staff. Almost immediately after arrival General Mackenzie was transferred to a New Army Division and his place taken by Major-General Bannatine-Allason.
It was not just a lack of suitable equipment that hampered preparations. The inexperience of the officers and NCOs was also a major handicap in instilling the discipline and training required of a fighting unit. The following excerpt is taken from 'The Gordon Highlanders in the First World War 1914-1918', by Cyril Falls and outlines some of the problems faced by the unit in its early days:
Lieut.-Colonel Arthur Grant, of Monymusk, commanding the 5th Gordon Highlanders in the 51st Division, kept a private diary throughout the period of home service. It begins with the mobilisation, the arrival of the troops at the drill halls, measures for the defence of Peterhead, all the details with which a commanding officer had to cope in the briefest possible time, with inexperienced officers and non-commissioned officers. One of its main themes is the contrasts between this weakness [i.e. inexperience] and the enthusiasm of the men. As early as August 21st he writes: ‘The men improve, but the officers … do not know their work,’
Under September 16th is the entry: ‘I went out as usual at 6.30, getting up at 5.45, and find that my n.c.o.s give their orders a little better – when I am looking on. I am almost in despair at times. Progress is so slow.’
This lax discipline was a common complaint in regard to Territorial forces. ‘To a large extent such criticism derived from a failure to understand its different ethos. The recurring phrase in Territorial histories is ‘family’, with the idea that, since officers and men might well be social equals in civilian life, discipline must be based upon something other than a rigid code.’ (Becket and Simpson 'A Nation in Arms'. p.144) It took some time before even many officers could be made to understand that an ‘order in the field did not admit to heated argument before execution; and the rank and file had to learn that training was not a recreation to stop when they got tired.’ (F.W Bewsher, 'History of 51st Division'. p.5.)
At Beford, the troops were billeted in private home and in unoccupied dwellings. In his book 'Behind the Lines' Walter Nicholson, a staff officer, provides a vivid description of life at Bedford with the Highland Division, the peculiarities of dealing with Territorials, and the way in which the local population assisted the troops.
"The Regular soldier, like Peter Pan, has no maternal relations; but what would the Territorials do without their mothers? Our men wrote home to their mothers to ask if they had had measles; to inquire whether they might enlist for Imperial Service; they even asked what their age might be. Their mothers decided everything; and the women of Bedford acted as their deputies.  The latter nursed their lodgers, for from two to four men were billeted in some occupied houses, they washed and mended their clothes, saw that they wrote home, drafting letters where the need arose. Then having learned all there was to know about their lodgers, they looked next door.  I remember a visit from one such delightful old lady who came to see me on what she believed to be the neglect of the health of the troops.  She did not, as I expected, point a finger of scorn at our Measles Hospital; but dealt with minor details in billets.  She wanted to take men out of empty houses when they had colds, and nurse them fit again.  She hinted, ever so delicately, at sanitation and baths, and vermin, and soda for scrubbing floors, and the lack of coal." 
Nicholson, W. N. (Walter Norris), Behind the lines,  London : Jonathan Cape, 1939 pp.4-41.
Photograph of 3 NCOs taken at Bedford 1914

One of the more notable events during the Highlanders’ stay in Bedford was the outbreak of a measles epidemic. During the first winter in Bedford [December 1914 to January 1915], several hundred cases of measles were diagnosed by the divisional Medical Officers. Inoculation against the disease was not available at that time, and antibiotics had yet to be discovered. The number of deaths from measles appears to vary between sources - later authorities putting it as high as 58 while contemporary accounts place the death toll at 27.  Men from the more remote regions of the Highlands and Islands suffered the greatest number of casualties.
The following account is from the 'Bedford Times and Independent' and reproduced in the 'Campbeltown Courier' [Argyll] of 23rd January 1915 and was brought to my attention by Mike Morrison from The Great War Forum:
In last week's issue of the 'Bedfordshire Times and Independent' the measles epidemic among the troops was dealt with at considerable length, and as the statements made and the statistics given are of uncommon interest and importance to many of our readers, we take the liberty of reproducing the article from our English contemporary.
So many rumours have been prevalent of late, many of them grossly exaggerated, as to the number of deaths of Scottish Territorials, that it seems desirable to give the actual figures. This we ('The Bedfordshire Times') are enabled to do, having before us, by the courtesy of Major Keble, D.A.D.M.S., H.D. (T.F.), the vital statistics relating to the Highland Division T.F., in Bedford from August 17, 1914 to January 9, 1915.
The deaths during that period from acute infectious diseases number 33, viz.-
From Scarlet Fever 3
From Diphtheria 3
From Measles 27
In addition, there have been 3 fatal cases of pneumonia, 1 of uraemia, and 2 of violence, making the total number of deaths from all causes up to January 9, 1915, 39. These figures should at once and definitely put a stop to all the talk of 'hundreds of deaths.' The average number of troops quartered in and around Bedford during the past five months has been about 17,500, and the total number of deaths works out at the low rate of 2.22 per 1,000.
The largest number of deaths, it will be seen, is due to measles, and it may be said at once that this danger was foreseen. The real difficulty as to measles, and some other infectious diseases, arises in the case of men like the Camerons, who come from the Western Highlands and Isles, where such diseases are unknown. They have no such resisting power as is built up in town-bred populations which for generations have been subject to the disease. When they get measles it goes very hard with them, and the disease is utterly unlike that which we know in the case of our children. This is unavoidable, according to the official military medical authorities. All that can be done is done. The men who have been in contact with measles and are susceptible are removed to the Huts at Howbury. Then, if they are attacked, they are removed to the Measles Hospitals at Goldington Road and Ampthill Road. The official medical view is that the number of deaths, deeply regrettable as it is, is not large under the circumstances; and all the evidence goes to show they are right. The statistics, brought up to January 9th, 1915, show that the first case of measles occurred on October 13 and from this till January 9 there were 416 cases - 8 in October, 72 in November, and 336 in December and the early days of January. The cases and deaths were thus distributed:
Unit                                No. of cases      No. of deaths 
 4th Camerons                            141                         14
 8th Argylls                                 101                           4
 4th Brigade R.G.A                       51                           4
 6th Gordons                                 33                           3
 5th Seaforths                                30                           1
 4th Seaforths                                26                           1
 6th Seaforths                                19                           0
 4th, 5th, & 7th Gordons                12                           0
 Field Ambulance &
Lovat's Scouts                                  3                          0
  TOTAL                                       416                       27

By the end of January the epidemic had run its course and  final toll for deaths from measles was  65 from 529 cases reported.


Embarkation : 'Every man sober!'

On 13th April 1915, the War Office advised that the Division was to prepare immediately for overseas service. On 29th April orders were received for the troops to proceed to Southampton and Folkestone for Le Harve and Boulogne during the next few days. Colonel Grant’s diary records the heartening entry for 2nd May as he left Bedford for the front:
'We left at 5.25. Every man sober and there was a large crowd to see us away from the station, many saying goodbye and God speed to me.’
A post war memoir of James Mort, a sergeant in 1915, later commissioned into the battalion, states:"To France - train to Folkstone thence the Invicta packet boat to Boulogne."
The War Diaries for the 5th Battalion state that: ‘Battalion left Bedford on 2nd May and arrived at Boulogne at 12 n.n on 4th’.
By 5th May all the forces had arrived and the Division was concentrated in billets in the area around Busnes, Robecq and Lillers.


The Highland Division, to which the 5th Gordons were attached, recruited mainly in the north of the country, from the counties of Caithness, Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty, Inverness-shire, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Argyllshire, Nairn, Moray, Banff Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Angus and Kincardine.
Geographically this is a large area, but the population was relatively small. The various battalions usually had clearly-defined catchment areas: for example, the 6th Seaforths recruited only in Morayshire, the 4th Gordons in Aberdeen city and 5th Gordons only in the sparsely-populated region of Buchan.
The writer C.Y Cheyne in his book The Last Great Battle of the Somme makes the following observations about this regional recruitment system:
The advantages … were obvious : men could join up confident of finding in their local unit a few old friends, possibly some relatives and certainly many acquaintances.
The disadvantage, not apparent until later, was that a tightly-knit community could suddenly find itself mourning the loss of its menfolk in just one costly battle…Turriff, a small agricultural township on the Aberdeenshire-Banff border, found itself at the conclusion of the War with scarcely enough young men left alive to continue the working of its once-thriving farms. On the Somme, at Arras, at Passchendaele, at Cambrai and in the German and British offensives of 1918, the Highland Division was generally in the thick of the fighting; and Turriff, which had recruited almost exclusively into the battalions used by the Highland Division, earned for itself the dubious distinction of having lost more of its menfolk than any other place in Britain.
(The Last Great Battle of the Somme pp.27-28)
In the Preface to The War Book of Turriff, the author states that for the whole area, one man in four did not return; in some areas it was one in three.


The 5th Battalion, like many others, was under strength at the time of its mobilisation and continued to receive new recruits from Reserve Battalions that were formed early in the war. The following article from the Buchan Observer in August 1914 records the establishment of these reserve units:

Reserve Territorial Units
Aberdeenshire needs 2500
'The Army Council’s decision to raise duplicate units of the Territorial Force to take the place of those which have volunteered for foreign service as a whole or in the proportion of at least 60 per cent affects the counties of Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine to a marked degree.
The 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions of the Gordon Highlanders will have to be duplicated and a new force of some 2500 men is needed for Aberdeenshire alone to complete the established units, at present stationed at Bedford, for foreign service, and to fill up the reserve battalions.
The Chairman of the Territorial Force Association for the County of Aberdeen has decided to issue an appeal in the form of a letter to the Provosts of the various boroughs and other town or county officials.
The new units will be organised with the following objects:-
To take the place when called on, of the general service unit, if the latter is ordered abroad
To act as a feeder to replace wastage in the general service unit
To carry out the above function, the reserve unit will be composed of all men from the general service unit who cannot go abroad, and recruits enlisted for both general and home service
Enlistment is on the ordinary attestation form for the Territorial Force, for a period of four years. Men enlisting either for home or general service may be discharged at the end of the war.'

Ripon in Yorkshire was a place where much of the training of the Reserve battalions was conducted. 


On August 18th 1914 the Buchan Observer printed the following appeal for recruits:

Recruits Wanted
5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders
Territorial Force
'Men suitable for above Battalion and wishing to enlist can do so at once.  Sound Teeth and Good Physique are necessary. Men with previous service will be accepted for one year or for the period of hostilities.
On application being made to any of the following Station Masters, men will be sent on to Peterhead at no charge to report themselves on arrival to the Drill Hall here.
Station Master Fraserburgh Lonmay Strichen Maud Auchnagatt Ellon New MacharMintlaw  Longside Turriff
If rejected, they will be sent home free of charge to themselves."
J. Morrison  Drill Hall Peterhead  Commanding Depot, Peterhead
Peterhead 10th August 1914
God Save the King.'

 The response to this and similar appeals is shown in the following article:

Brisk recruiting at Peterhead
"Recruiting at the headquarters of the 5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders is proceeding briskly.  Men and young lads from all parts of Buchan, drawn chiefly from the agricultural classes are responding to Captain Morrison’s appeal, and the officers at the Drill Hall are having a busy time.  Since the appeal was issued the number enrolled daily stands at 20.  Intending recruits are allowed to travel from any station on the Buchan line to Peterhead free of charge."


While the Territorial force accepted men from the age of 17 ‘and upwards’, the requirements for Kitchener’s ‘New Army’ were more specific, requiring recruits to be between 19 and 35 years of age, unless former soldiers, in which case the age limit was 42.  (Later in the war the age limit was raised.)
Appeals for recruits in both the Territorial Force and the New Armies often appeared side by side in the newspaper, just one of many example of duplication created because of Lord Kitchener’s distrust of the Territorial Force.
Kitchener’s suspicion of the Territorials -‘a Town Clerk’s army’ as he once called them - as a reliable force, resulted from his dislike of ‘amateur’ soldiers.  He preferred to place his faith in his New Armies.  ‘While the pre-war Territorials could claim more acquaintance with military procedures than new recruits, Kitchener  preferred men with no knowledge to those with ‘a smattering of the wrong thing’.  (Becket and Simpson A Nation in Arms.  p.131)
Direct recruiting into the Territorials ended soon after the introduction of the Military Service Act.  Thereafter all new recruits were recruited for general service and allocated as required.