The Argyll stories continue…

This month, we would like to share a some of the museum’s new accessions. The museum collection is always growing as more objects related to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders are brought to light and many items are accumulated through donation from the public. Read on to learn about several different and interesting items that the museum now cares for. 

Porcelain China Figurine of an Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Officer with the Thin Red Line magazine (1974) ad for the figure in the background.
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum

The first object, pictured above, is an Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Officer Porcelain China Figure. The figure was made in West Germany in 1974 by W. Goebel, creators of Hummel figurines. The sketch art of Maria Innocentia Hummel grew in popularity in Germany and Switzerland during the 1930s and the first Hummel figurine line was produced in 1935 after Franz Goebel acquired the rights to turn Hummel’s art into figurines. After World War Two, Hummel figurines grew in popularity as soldiers stationed in Germany would send the figurines home as gifts. The figurines quickly became popular collector’s items. The above Officer figurine is from a series on British soldiers, and this was their first on a Scottish Regiment. The figurine pictured belonged to Matthew M. Henderson who served as an Officer in the 1st and 7th Battalions from 1951 to 1959.  

Photograph showing Matthew Henderson service during 1952
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum

After his service, Matthew set up a retail jewellery business in Scotland named MM Henderson Ltd and sold this figurine line of a Scottish officer for £68.30. With the inflation rates of 2024, if it was sold today, it would cost £892.04. The regimental approved of this range, and it is a rare collector’s piece, as only a limited number were made.  

Small Arms Dummy Drill bullet from the 1930s.
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum.

Another object that was recently added to the museum collection is a Mark VI .303 Small Arms Dummy Drill bullet from the 1930s. These bullets were used during practice drills for loading and unloading a Lee Enfield rifle or magazine. This bullet was found near the old short firing range in Stirling Castle by a school student, Callum, in 2024 during a castle visit with his school, Gore Glen Primary. It was used when Stirling Castle was the Regimental Training Depot for The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and it still retains some of the original groove red paint. What an amazing find from Callum! 

Sergeant James Kemp Aitchison who was shot through the head during the Second Boer War.
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum.

Next is a medal and picture of James Kemp Aitchison who amazingly survived a bullet through his head! Information on Aitchison and other wounded soldiers can be found in Henry Wilson’s book, With the Flag of Pretoria. Aitchison was shot in his forehead, just an inch above his eyebrow, with the bullet passing cleanly through his head at the battle of Magersfontein on the 12th of December 1899 (Second Boer War). Aitchison was on board the RMS Umbria, alongside other wounded soldiers, that brought them to Southampton. Private Aitchison survived and recovered from his head wound and would later be promoted to Sergeant in 1904. Unfortunately, Aitchison suffered from headaches and epilepsy and was consequently discharged from the army on the 14th of April 1909 as medically unfit.

Medal collection belonging to Regimental Sergeant Major Robert T Boyde.
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum.

The above medal collection was awarded to Regimental Sergeant Major Robert T Boyde and reflects his bravery and long service in the Regiment from 1933 to 1967. Boyde received the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his bravery during the attack in the Bienen area in Germany in March 1945 when serving in the 7th (Stirlingshire) Battalion. This medal is second from the left in the picture above. After an initial large scale attack on Bienen was unsuccessful, the Battalion was then given the task of capturing an enemy held farm to the south. D company moved up to attempt another assault at 8pm but the leading platoon was held up by Machine Gun fire from positions on an embankment. The then Company Sergeant Major Boyd moved his platoon into a fire position and directed the flamethrowers to engage the enemy. As soon as they engaged, Boyde led a bayonet charge against the enemy MG teams, killing or capturing them. Enemy snipers opened fire from an out-building and held up the attack again. Boyde organised covering fire, ran forward and neutralised the threat with 2 grenades. His actions allowed the objective to be captured and a large number of the enemy were either killed or captured. 

Sergeant Charles A Boyle with his wife and mother-in-law, WW1.
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum

The following collection belonged to Sergeant Charles A Boyle and was donated to the museum by a relative after finding them in their family’s attic. Sergeant Charles A Boyle served in the 5th (Renfrewshire) Battalion from 1908 to 1916. Previous to this, he also served with the 1st Renfrewshire Volunteers Battalion. Boyle is pictured above with his wife, Catherine Marie, and his mother-in-law during World War One. There are several items that were donated to the museum, including family photographs, Battalion photographs, Boyle’s Glengarry cap and feather bonnet, as well as his discharge certificate. Some of these items are photographed below.   

1st Renfrewshire Volunteers, NCOs and Officer, 1904-07 – Charles is in this photo.
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum.
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Feather Bonnet which belonged to Sergeant Charles A Boyle, 5th (Renfrewshire) Battalion c1910 -1916.
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum.
Boyle’s discharge certificate.
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum.

If you have any items that relate to The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and would like to donate or share the stories behind the objects, then please feel free to get in touch with the museum through email or telephone as we welcome the opportunity to safeguard the amazing stories of the Regiment. Additionally, if you wish to keep the objects, we respect this but can take photographs of the objects and note the stories attached to these.

Written by Caitlin Stewart, Digital Content Volunteer