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"Frae Scots tae Scots” – 20,000 tins of tobacco for the troops 2 weeks 4 days ago #85671

  • Neville_C
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"Frae Scots tae Scots”

During July/August 1900, 20,000 quarter-pound tins of tobacco were dispatched to commanding officers of Scottish regiments, for distribution amongst the troops. Each tin, accompanied by a pipe, was decorated with the Lion and Thistle of Scotland and the legend: "Frae Scots tae Scots / SOUTH AFRICA 1900 / For Auld Lang Syne". Inside was a card printed in gold: "PRESENTED TO THE SCOTTISH SOLDIERS IN SOUTH AFRICA BY THE SCOTTISH REGIMENTS' GIFT FUND. William MacDonald Sinclair, D.D., Archdeacon of London, Chairman. Sir James R.D. McGrigor, Bart. Hon. Treasurer".
These were the gifts of the South African Regiments’ Gift Fund, who, with the assistance of the Scottish Corporation, London, had raised £670 for the purpose.
The tins were manufactured by F. & J. Smith, tobacco & snuff manufacturers, Glasgow.

Dundee Courier, 3rd August 1900


The Scottish Regiments Gift Fund, which was organised some time ago by Scotsmen resident in London, has met with most gratifying support. Up to the present no less a sum than £670 has been raised, and the promoters have been enabled to send 20,000 pipes and tins each containing a quarter of a pound of tobacco to the members of all the Scottish regiments now in South Africa. The tin is elaborately got up, and bears a fine coloured representation of the Scottish Thistle and the Scottish Lion, with the words, “Frae Scots to Scots” and “For Auld Langsyne”.
But this is only part of the work which has been undertaken by the organisers of the fund. From John O’Groat’s to Land’s End friends have sent ties, stockings, and other necessaries to the Scots Corporation Hall, London, for despatch to the Scottish soldiers in South Africa. A large consignment of flower seed has also been sent to the front to be planted on the graves of the Scottish heroes who fell at Magersfontein and other battlefields. Mr Robert Dewar, Perth, has forwarded 500 bottles of old Scottish whisky, which, however, is for the sole use of General Macdonald’s Highland Brigade. The success of the fund is largely due to the untiring efforts of the hon. secretary, Mr W.A. Martin, who has just received a letter from the Queen, in which Her Majesty thanks Mr Martin for the specimen of the tin of tobacco similar to those despatched to South Africa, and concludes by congratulating “the Scottish Regiments Gift Fund Committee” on the success of their generous and patriotic work.

London Evening Standard, 3rd August 1900

The Scottish Regiments’ Gift Fund has forwarded to soldiers serving in South Africa about 20,000 specially designed tins containing tobacco, and also 20,000 pipes. The Committee have also sent out many consignments of clothing, comforts, &c., received from all parts of the Kingdom. The following letter has been received by Mr W.A. Martin, hon. secretary of the Fund: – “Osborne, July 28, 1900. – Dear Sir, – I am directed by the Queen to thank you for the specimen of tins, containing tobacco (20,000 of which have been sent to the non-commissioned officers and men of the Scottish Regiments in South Africa), which you have been good enough to submit for her Majesty’s acceptance. At the same time, the Queen congratulates the Scottish Regiments’ Gift Fund Committee on the success of their generous and patriotic work. – I am, dear sir, yours faithfully (Signed) ARTHUR BIGGE”.

Nottingham Evening Post, 10th August 1900


A hardened smoker can readily believe that nothing could serve better to fortify the mind against such little worries as defective boots, inadequate food supplies, or even Mauser bullet perforations, than a pipe of good tobacco. For this reason it is to be hoped that the 20,000 quarter-pound boxes of excellent tobacco and the 20,000 wooden pipes which have been forwarded to the officers commanding the Scottish regiments, for distribution to every man, by the Scottish Regiments Gift Fund, have not been allowed to go astray in South Africa. The boxes themselves will be sought after as an interesting memento of the war, bearing, as they do, the thistle and the Scottish Lion, with the inscriptions, “Frae Scots tae Scots”, “South Africa”, “1900”, and “For Auld Lang Syne”. And the contents are of the very best. The committee of the fund have, in fact, thoroughly deserved the congratulations forwarded to them by Sir Arthur Bigge on behalf of the Queen “on the success of their generous and patriotic work”.

Nottinghamshire Guardian, 11th August 1900


In response to an appeal upwards of £670 has been subscribed for the purpose of providing gifts for the Scottish soldiers in South Africa. The gift takes the form of a quarter of a pound of cake tobacco enclosed in a tin box, having on the lid a representation of the Lion and Thistle of Scotland on a yellow ground, with the words “Frae Scots tae Scots, South Africa, 1900”, and the motto “For Auld Lang Syne”. 20,000 of these boxes, each accompanied by a wooden pipe, have been already despatched. The Queen has sent a letter to the Scottish Regiments’ Gift Fund Committee congratulating them on the success of their work.

Western Chronicle, 10th August 1900

The Sphere, 18th August 1900

GREAT NEW STREET, August 15th, 1900

To the Scottish Corporation, which has fine rooms within a stone’s throw of Fleet Street, is mainly due the fund which has sent out 20,000 boxes of tobacco and 20,000 wooden pipes to the Highland regiments now at the front. Each box contains a quarter of a pound of tobacco in four plugs. Very appropriately the boxes have been made in Glasgow (by the Smiths).

Inside each box is a card: –
Presented to the Scottish soldiers in South Africa by the Scottish Regiments’ Gift Fund. William MacDonald Sinclair, D.D., Archdeacon of London, Chairman; Sir James R.D. McGrigor, Bart., Hon. Treasurer.
Archdeacon Sinclair is one of the most enthusiastic Scotsmen in London. His cousin, Sir Tollemarche Sinclair, the baronet of Ulster, who has a house in King Street, St James’s, is taking several wounded officers to his Caithness seat, Thurso Castle. Sir James McGrigor, the treasurer of the fund, is the grandson of the famous Sir James McGrigor, who curiously enough began his career as a surgeon to the Connaught Regiment in the Holland and Flanders campaigns.

The premises of F. & J. Smith is 1888 ( http://www.glasgowwestaddress.co.uk/ )

SEE ALSO: Frae Scots Tae Scots

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"Frae Scots tae Scots” – 20,000 tins of tobacco for the troops 2 weeks 4 days ago #85674

  • Neville_C
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Two tins with very different stories - the first kept by the family as a keepsake, having been presented to a V.C. winner; the second discarded by its owner and picked up by an officer on the Modder River, who brought it home as a curiosity.

Label pasted to underside of lid reads:

"South African War. 1899-1901.
Presentation Tobacco Box. The one given to Captain W.E. Gordon, V.C., 1/. Gordons, and sent to me by him full of Kruger gold, silver & copper money, by the hands of Captain J.H.C. Ogilvy, The Canadian Regiment. [signed] A.A. Gordon, 19.7.1901".

This example was given to Captain William Eagleson Gordon, V.C., 1st Bn. Gordon Highlanders, who sent it to his brother Major Archibald Alexander Gordon. Captain John Herbert Cecil Ogilvy, who forwarded the tin, was attached to the Gordons from the Canadian Regiment. He died at Reitfontein West, on 19 Dec 1901, from wounds received in action at Klipgat two days previously.

Purchased directly from the family.

“This item was passed down from my great-uncle to my grandfather and then via my father to myself. Captain (later Colonel) William Eagleson Gordon was my grandfather's cousin and he gave this box to his brother Major Archibald Alexander Gordon who wrote the note which is still inside in 1901. The Captain J.H.C. Ogilvy mentioned in the note was attached to the Gordon Highlanders from the Canadian Regiment and was killed in December 1901. Also included is the original presentation card which came with the box”.

V.C. Citation

"William Eagleson Gordon, Captain, Gordon Highlanders. Date of Act of Bravery: 11 July 1900. On the 11th July, 1903, during the action near Leehoehoek (or Doornboschfontein, near Krugersdorf), a party of men, accompanied by Captains Younger and Allan, having succeeded in dragging an artillery waggon under cover when its horses were unable to do so by reason of the heavy and accurate fire of the enemy, Captain Gordon called for volunteers to go out with him to try and bring in one of the guns. He went out alone to the nearest gun under a heavy fire, and with the greatest coolness fastened the drag-rope to the gun, and then beckoned to the men, who immediately doubled out, to join him, in accordance with his previous instructions. While moving the gun Captain Younger and three men were hit. Seeing that further attempts would only result in further casualties, Captain Gordon ordered the remainder of the party under cover of the kopje again, and, having seen the wounded safely away, himself retired. Captain Gordon's conduct under a particularly heavy and most accurate fire at only 603 yards' range was most admirable, and his manner of handling his men most masterly; his devotion on every occa­sion that his battalion has been under fire has been remarkable".

And the discarded tin ....

Found on the Modder River by Lieutenant Hugh Steuart Gladstone, 3rd King's Own Scottish Borderers. This, amongst other curios, was displayed in a cabinet at Capenoch House, Dumfries, Scotland.

The card that accompanied the tin in the display cabinet reads: "Tin of tobacco presented to all ranks of Scotch Regiments by fellow Scotchmen - Modder River".

Gladstone's ID card was also amongst the other articles on display: "Army Form B. 2067. DECRIPTION CARD FOR ACTIVE SERVICE. No. and Name: Hugh S. Gladstone. Rank and Regiment: Lieut. 3rd K.O.S. Borderers. Nearest of Kin: Father S. Gladstone. Residing at: 19 Lennox Gardens, London S.W. Signature of Officer Commanding Troop, Battery or Company: A D R Pott".

Capenoch House, the seat of the Gladstone family

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