Issued on: Departure
Date of presentation: 29/01/1900
Number issued: 13
Silver watch pendants, suitably inscribed, to:
8713 Trooper Robert Barclay McGREGOR
12575 Trooper Alex McMILLAN
7314 Private James SWEENEY
Reverse with recipient's name.
On their return 22 Helensburgh men received carriage clocks, inscribed: "PRESENTED / TO / W. McKINLAY / A & S.H. / IN RECOGNITION OF PATRIOTIC SERVICE IN / THE SOUTH AFRICAN CAMPAIGN / HELENSBURGH JUNE 1901".
Send-Off to the Helensburgh Volunteers.
When the Volunteers, Yeomanry and sharpshooters came back from the war — including Lance Corporal Stuart Black — they were given a reception in the Victoria Hall in June 1901 by the Provost, Colonel William Anderson, and the Magistrates, in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of the County, Sir James Colquhoun.
Attending were most of the 22 who took part in the conflict, but some of them were still in South Africa.
A large gathering of local people attended the reception, and tea was served before the Provost, local dignitaries and the soldiers in uniform made their way to the stage.
The Provost said that they were met together representing the burgh and the neighbourhood to do honour to men who had done honour to themselves.
He said that after making allowances for the very natural taste youth had for adventure, he thought these men had been actuated by the best motives, the most patriotic motives possible, in offering themselves in a dark hour to give their services for their country and their Sovereign.
He said: “They answered the first call of duty. They knew that dangers would have to be met, that hardships would have to be endured. These dangers they had met, and met bravely as they knew.”
He said that the purpose of the reception was to express goodwill and gratitude for their actions, and to ask them to accept a token of their recognition of their services.
The Provost said that a carriage clock, a sample of which was on the platform, would be sent to each of them. In fact they were presented personally at a ceremony in the Municipal Buildings in November of that year.
Two Sergeants replied, and three cheers were given for those still in South Africa.
The clock was made to a special design by Messrs Elkington & Co. of London of oxidised silver and brass.
Above the dial is a reproduction of the burgh coat of arms, with South Africa and 1899-1901 on either side. At the foot of the dial is an Argyll and Sutherland Highlander, a field gun, and an Imperial Yeoman.
The inscription reads: “Presented to ………………………. in recognition of patriotic service in the South African Campaign — June 1901.”
The local officer and other NCOs who served in the campaign were: Lieutenant J.Maxwell Gillatt, Sergeant Farrier William Neilson, Sergeant Daniel L.Porter, Lance-Sergeant John McNicol, Corporal John Hamilton, and Corporal George S.Maughan.
The other men were Farrier Peter McDougall, Farrier John McBride, Trooper John W. McCulloch, Trooper Robert B. McGregor, Trooper W. Young Cruickshank, Trooper Alex McMillan, Farrier R. Martin, Trooper James F. Neilson, Trooper John Blackwood, Trooper James Alexander, Private Robert Alexander, Private William McKinlay, Private James Sweeny, Private Alfred Gilchrist, and Private William Stirling.
In 2013 Helensburgh Heritage Trust, assisted by an anonymous benefactor, bought the clock presented to Private McKinlay, and it is currently one of a number of Trust items on display in Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre in East Clyde Street.
The clocks originally cost ten guineas each, and the total cost to Helensburgh Town Council was £261, including a plaque which was erected in the former Municipal Buildings. It is hoped also to display that plaque in the Civic Centre.