Friday, July 3, 2015

#6 - Camp Life

Sent on July 21, 1909, this postcard was from Nellie Steele (my great-grandmother) to Jack McCurrach (my great-grandfather) before they were married.  Jack was living in Nairn with his mother at 9 Roseneath Terrace, and Nellie was in Aberdeen (or at least sent the postcard from there are it was postmarked from Aberdeen at 9:50 AM) waiting for a rental in Inverurie.

The text on the postcard reads:  "D.J. Is this how you did when you were at camp I have got that place at Inverurie so I am just staying here until I go to it I go to if on the 31 July N.S."

I assume that Nellie is talking about military camp.  Jack was with the 4th Cameron Highlanders for 1 1/2 years.  The 79th Regiment of Foot (Cameronian Volunteers) was raised on August 17, 1793 from members of the Clan Cameron by Sir Allan Cameron of Erracht.  Originally an Irish regiment, they became part of the British Army in 1804 and in 1806 were renamed the 79th Regiment of Foot (Cameron Highlanders).  In 1873, they became the 79th Regiment, The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders.

In 1908, the 4th Battalion was formed, based at Inverness with the Seaforth & Cameron Brigade in the Highland Division.

So, in doing the math, that means that Jack was a member for 1 1/2 years between when it formed on (or after or about) April 1, 1908 and when he left on June 4, 1910.  They had an annual camp which is likely what Nellie was referring to.

In 1916, Jack joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF) with the B.C. Bantams - you can read all about it in my recently published article (self-promotion, self-promotion).  It is on his attestation papers to the CEF that he stated his previous military service with the 4th Cameron Highlanders.

I don't know about you, but when I look at a photo like this, I wonder who these men were, where they ended up and how they lived.  I wonder if any of them died in the war.  I wonder what their names were.

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