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from volunteering to conscription



So It Looks To Me


the autobiography of SirWilliam Darling


autumn months,September and October,we rose at dawn and formed

fours,marched in column,formed on the left,closed column of platoon

and other manoeuvres,ad


did physical exercise – running

before breakfast,square drill in the forenoon,attempted manoeuvres

if the weather permitted it in the afternoon,and attended instruction

lectures at


ate what we got and how we got it.

The unprecedented increase in the size of theArmy put enormous

strain on resources and volunteers experienced many shortages in

these early months of the


Darling’s opinion,K2,Kitchener’s

second newArmy, was

‘nobody’s child’.

With civilian overcoat,red tunic,blue trousers with the red

stripe,and a postman’s hat – such was the equipment of a Royal

Highlander of the 9th BlackWatch in the early weeks of the

Autumn of 1914 …

However,it was not long before these civilian volunteers were forged

into effective units.Here,a core of ex-regular non-commissioned

officers proved invaluable in inculcating into the new recruits a sense

of regimental identity and belonging.Darling observed that despite

being enlisted for only a few weeks,

‘we quickly assumed a

new allegiance’


I think it very moving that these men,who lately owed no

allegiance to anyone ...had somehow accepted the reputation

of their recently,not even self-chosen,regiment,as something

for which they had a special responsibility,something for which

they were prepared to fight for and,as events showed,something

for which,when the time came in France and Flanders,they

were prepared to die.