THE ANCIENTS

Their origin and a few details relative to the Brotherhood

The Association was founded in February 1905, when service with the Regiment was purely voluntary. In those far off days it frequently happened that on the death of highly respected London Scots, their friends in the Regiment, through lack of information, were prevented from paying their last respects to their old comrades. In order that something should be done to rectify this matter, a few members of the Sergeants Mess who wore the Volunteer Long Service Medal decided among themselves that an association, now known as ‘The Ancients’, should be formed.

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The founders, being serving sergeants, approached their CO with a view to securing his approval, but before this was given the late Lt Col JW Grieg (subsequently Col Sir James Grieg) asked for a copy of the proposed rules. Draft rules were framed, submitted and approved and the first official meeting was held in the Sergeants Mess on 6th March 1905, when there was a full attendance of the nine founder members. It was then decided that the annual general meetings should be held on a convenient date as near as possible to 14th February, for it was on St Valentine’s Day 1895, at Headquarters that the first presentation of the Volunteer Long Service Medals was made by General Lord Methuen to nearly 1,000 Volunteers from the Home District.

As most of the above mentioned rules dealt with matters such as title, notice of meetings, office bearers, subscriptions and the like, it is obvious that tradition rather than rules govern the activities of The Ancients. The objects of the brotherhood are to maintain the prestige of the Regiment, to knit friendships, to keep old members closer in touch and to ensure a representative attendance at the funeral rites of a member.

Membership was originally limited to twenty one, but this was later increased to twenty eight. Each new member is elected for life. Prospective members originally had to have completed twenty years’ service, part of which must have been as a sergeant of the Regiment. This was subsequently reduced to twelve years. The original rule governing eligibility was even more stringent, as each member had to be a serving sergeant at the time of his election. This condition was cancelled during the First World War when many sergeants with long service were granted commissions.

From 1905 onwards, 123 members have been enrolled and over 100 were elected after 4th August 1914. It is a source of pride to The Ancients that four of their members commanded battalions of the Regiment during the two World Wars and three became colonels of other units.

The Chairman and Secretary of the association are known respectively as ‘Mine Ancient’ and ‘Scrivener’ and all members, irrespective of their military rank are addressed as Brother. Mine Ancient holds office for one year.

The chain of office, designed by the late Pipe Major Robertson and worn by Mine Ancient, bears links showing the names of two Scriveners who, between them, held the office from 1905 to 1955 together with the name of Mine Ancient and his year of office, The chain is kept in a glass fronted case in the Sergeants Mess.

In April 1925, Brother Robert S Darling gave a dinner to celebrate his 50 years with the Regiment and The Ancients took this opportunity to present him with a memento; a Regimental Badge in the form of a medallion. Brother Nigel Rutherford Young saw the medallion on display in an antique market in 1975 purchased the item and kindly presented it to The Ancients. It has now become the badge of office for the Vice Mine Ancient.  A similar medallion is also worn by the Scrivener.