Scouting about in Montrose in 1909

Scouts in Montrose in around 1909
Scouts in Montrose in around 1909

Some delightful photographs showing scouting days gone by in Montrose have emerged.

Stuart Gardiner recently found some pictures among his father’s papers of scouts in Montrose in the 1900s.

His father, Alexander Cumming Reid Gardiner, born 1899, was a member of the Montrose troop, and the pictures are dated circa 1909, two years after the scout movement was created.

Alexander Gardiner joined the Royal Flying Corp (RAF number 2107) and served in both World Wars, serving as a Warrant Officer (WO1) in the Second World War.

He was born and lived before his marriage at 2 Panmure Street, Montrose, where the family had a furniture shop.

At 14 he ran away from home and joined the Black Watch.

Stuart, who lives in Sydney, Australia, said: “His mother hauled him back saying - correctly - that he was underage. A year later he joined the Royal Flying Corps, serving in both World Wars and other campaigns.

“During the Second World War he was in Iceland as foreman in charge of the servicing of Sunderland flying boats. He was demobbed in 1946 with the rank of WO1 and died in 1970.

“The little I do know is he served in Murmansk in 1919 a part of the Anglo-American joint force supporting the White Russians. (The force later withdrew largely owing to White Russian atrocities.) I have a photograph somewhere of Russians baiting a bear.

“I know he was in Athens during the Turkish-Greek war in 1920. He was later posted to the seaplane carrier, HMS Pegasus, which travelled around the world. “He won a football medal in Singapore when Pegasus won the Singapore cup, and later served in Kenya.

“He married my mother in 1934 and later moved to Portsmouth, her home town.

“In 1926 he was a fitter on the first RAF Cape-Cairo flight which took off from Lee-on-Solent with four Fairey aircraft, four pilots, two navigator and two fitters. I think that was a bit of a big deal at the time.

“Among his effects was a hand-held altimeter. He would put his hand over the side of the aircraft and hold this implement and that would tell him how high they were. My brother and I gave it to the Yeovil RAF Museum. I went back to the museum about 10 years ago, but the guide couldn’t identify it.”