Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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The Geelong College Cadet Corps wore the Gordon Kilt as their uniform from April, 1949 until the disbanding of the corps in 1975. The Gordon kilt is part of the distinctive regalia of the Gordon Highlanders Regiment. ‘The Gordon Highlanders was a British Army infantry regiment from 1881 until 1994. The regiment took its name from the Clan Gordon and recruited principally from Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland. It was formed on 1 July 1881 by the amalgamation of the 75th Stirlingshire Regiment - which became the 1st battalion of the new regiment - and the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, which became the 2nd. The 92nd Gordon Highlanders had originally been raised as the 100th Highlanders by the 4th Duke of Gordon in 1794 being renumbered 92nd in 1798. Their early service included the Low Countries and Egypt, followed by Corunna, the Peninsula, Waterloo, Afghanistan and South Africa. ‘The beautiful Jean, Duchess of Gordon was alleged to have recruited many men by giving them a guinea and a kiss. She toured the country wearing a Highland bonnet and a regimental jacket. Later when Gordon Highlanders were lying wounded, other Scottish soldiers would say to them, "OCH CHA N'EIL ACH POG EILE O'N BHAN DIUE". ("Mind lad, ye got a kiss o' the Duchess of Gordon for that")’.

‘The 75th Highlanders were raised in 1787 by Colonel Robert Abercromby of Tullibody for service in India, where they saw a great deal of action. They went on to serve in South Africa, the Indian Mutiny, Egypt and on the North-West Frontier. In 1809 they lost their kilt and their Highland identity but the title Stirlingshire was introduced in 1862.

The Gordons raised 21 battalions in the First World War, serving on the Western Front and in Italy and winning 65 battle honours. The regiment lost some 1,000 officers and 28,000 men during the war. A further 27 honours were added in World War II when the Regiment served in France in 1940, in Malaya, North Africa, Sicily, Italy and north-west Europe. The 9th Battalion were initially posted to the Shetland Islands. Later they were amalgamated with the 5th Battalion and sent to India for training and were then deployed to Burma as 116th Regiment RAC (Gordons) and were trained in armoured combat. Part of 255th Indian Tank Brigade, they were involved in the dash for Rangoon and were heavily involved in the battle of Meiktila, signalling the end of Japanese hopes in Burma. After the war the Gordons saw active service in the Malayan Emergency and Northern Ireland

The original tartan of the 75th is not certain but it may have been akin to what is now known as Campbell of Breadalbane. The 92nd has always worn the Government sett with a yellow stripe, which is worn as a clan tartan by those of the name Gordon. The regimental marches included Cock o' the North, St Andrew's Cross and The Garb of Old Gaul. ‘The Regimental march of the original 92nd Gordon Highlanders was Cock of the North. It derives from the Duke of Gordon who was the hereditary Constable of the Castle of Inverness, and was called by the Highlanders "COIL-EACH AN TOABH TUATH" - Cock of the North’.

‘The regiment was amalgamated with The Queens' Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) on September 17, 1994 to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons). The novelist George MacDonald Fraser was posted as a lieutenant to the 2nd Battalion in the immediate post-war period, and wrote three volumes of short stories (the "McAuslan" books), which were lightly fictionalised recollections of his time with the regiment’.

‘The sporran, presented by J H McGregor to the Geelong College Cadet Corps, was that of Piper Findlater of the Gordon Highlanders who at the battle of Dargai, in 1896, although badly wounded, continued to play his pipes to cheer on his men. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry, and afterwards served in the First World War on home service.
’ This sporran should be worn by the Pipe Major of the band. (This Sporran is not now known to be held by the Geelong College Archives.)

Sources: Extracts J H McGregor, The Origins of the Gordon Highlanders-Pegasus December, 1971 Page12-13.
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