Disbandment of Rowallan Company, RMAS

When Rowallan Company was formed they adopted the Stag's Head emblem of the HFTC Association. There have been continuing links over the subsequent years and as a result the Officer Commanding, Major Alastair Dickinson RE, decided that associated with the disbandment the final course's Charity Event would consist of returning this symbol of Rowallan Company to Glenfeshle. The staff and cadets were to transport the Stag's Head on foot over 650 miles from Camberley to the HFTC Memorial at Carnachuin in Glenfeshie to present it to the officers of the Association at a Drumhead Service at noon on Saturday 6th April 2002. Brian and I received invitations for the Association to take part in this event only about three weeks before the chosen date and despite the short notice we decided without hesitation to accept. A difficulty then arose of conveying this acceptance to the Rowallan Company, the entire staff of which were away on a scheme for about a week, and of discussing the detailed arrangements, particularly as to whether the Drumhead Service was to take place in Glenfeshie or at Poolewe, which was not clear from the original invitation. Eventually communication was established and we were able to send out invitations to about 65 Members and Friends of the Association, and to local dignitaries. 12 members were able to accept and the numbers representing the Association came to about 20. A number of us met up for dinner in the Duke of Gordon on the Friday evening and others, including John and Annette Downton, arrived on the Saturday morning when we all drove up the Glen at 11 a.m. for the service timed to start at midday.

Glenfeshie had put on its best face for the occasion. The sun shone and there was a strong cool breeze blowing down the Glen. The Mullach path wound its way up into the hills which glowed in the sunlight. I had speculated that the cadets might appear carrying the Stag's Head round the bend at the head of the Glen where it turns to the East, but in the event they were already at Carnachuin before us, lined up in two ranks at the side of the Cairn having arrived in the area the previous day. We became aware of the sound of pipes and from the road below a piper led two cadets, one male and one female, carrying the Stag's Head which they mounted on a stand by the side of the Cairn. The Stag's Head was then ceremonially presented by Major Alastair Dickinson, OC Rowallan Company, to Brian and myself. The Service of Thanksgiving began with the hymn "Give me joy in my heart" led by the RMAS padre. This was followed by readings from the Bible by two cadets. In his address to the cadets the padre emphasised that it is possible, when tested in adversity, to draw on one's own inner strengths given to us by God. This was delivered with such vigour and certainty that, despite his slight frame and youthful looks, with the wind tugging at his robe the padre seemed to take on the aura of a prophet from the Old Testament. The service concluded with another hymn and the Collect of the RMAS was said: "Almighty God, whose son, the Lord of all life, came not to be served but to serve; help us to be masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others, and teach us to serve to lead; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord". The piper then played a long lament.

Afterwards the assembled company repaired to the Duke of Gordon for a few drinks following which John Downton gave a tribute to Lord Rowallan and held everyone enthralled with his recollections of how Rowallan set up the HFTC and what it was like to serve under him. In a day of nostalgic memories this was one of the highlights.The fact that a ten week training course in 1943/44 could lead to an Association spanning nearly six decades and forge such good links with the RMAS Sandhurst, and that a dozen members, average age 77, with families and friends could travel several hundred miles at short notice for a brief service in the Cairngorms, is a good demonstration of the underlying philosophy behind the training.

The following Members and Friends represented the Association at the Drumhead Service: Jim Barnes with Geoffrey and Brian (grandson), Alan Bissett, John and Annette Downton, David Glen, Gerald Halnan, John and Audrey Harry, Cliff and Liz Longman, Bill McIntosh, Gordon and David Miller, John and Naomi Morrison, Brian and Claire Taylor, and John and Shirley Trimmer. The RMAS were represented by Major Alastair Dickinson, OC Rowallan Company, Capt. Mike Elviss, the RMAS padre, Lt Col. M P Gandell, i/c Training at RMAS, and about 30 cadets. Their efforts raised £7,000 for the Army Benevolent Fund and prostate cancer research. John Harry/John Morrison.

The view up the Glen

Padre Angus Macleod gets the cadets in line

 Col. MP Gandell i/c Training, RMAS, Jim Barnes, Past Chairman HFTCA, Brian Taylor, Chairman HFTCA, and Major Alistair Dickinson, OC Rowallan Company

 

Arrival of the Stag's Head at Carnachuin

Presentation of the Stag's Head to the Officers of HFTCA 

 

 The Padre starts the service

 

 A cadet comes forward to read the first lesson

 

 The Padre addresses the cadets

 

After the Service

 

 Photocall

 

Major Alistair Dickinson, Brian Taylor and John Morrison

The piper then played a long lament.