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Battalion Hymn "Arm Us O' Lord!"

In the early days, one of the most influential officials was Dr Thomas M Davidson MA BSc who wrote and presented Dundee Battalion with its own hymn. "Arm Us O' Lord!" the music having been written by Mr J More Smieton. Always a popular and stirring addition to our Church Services over the years, its words remain inspiring and the music uplifting.

history

Although The Boys’ Brigade began in Glasgow in 1883, it was not until 1891 that enough Companies had been started in Dundee to allow a Battalion to be established. The 1st (Dundee) Company began in St. Paul’s Church in Nethergate and existed until quite recently. In its heyday in the 1930’s and late 1940’s, the Battalion numbered around 55 Companies including at various times, companies in Invergowrie, Longforgan and Newport-On-Tay and although the “local” ones no longer operate, Newport-On-Tay still does and 1st Newport/Wormit is part of Fife Battalion. In 1964, the strength of the Battalion amounted to 44 Companies with 327 Officers and 1630 Boys. The Life Boys were still a separate body and in Dundee there were 47 Teams with 153 Leaders and 1423 Boys. By 1978, the Life Boys had been absorbed into the Brigade and became the Junior Section and at that time there were 42 Companies, 311 Officers and 2466 Boys.

Having been established in 1891, Dundee Battalion celebrated its Centenary in 1991. At this time a history of the Battalion was compiled by the then Battalion President, Dr William K Fitzgerald DL JP, and it recounts various high points in the 100 years of existence. A copy may be available for loan from the Battalion Office if anyone wishes to read more! Since 1891, Dundee has had 17 Presidents and 13 Secretaries, and their names are recorded on special boards currently held in Battalion Headquarters in Dundee.

Although records show that Companies have existed in Angus for many years and 1st Kirriemuir has celebrated its Centenary, Angus Battalion was only established in 1948. The "founding" Companies were 2nd and 3rd Arbroath, 1st Brechin, 1st Ferryden, 1st and 2nd Forfar, 1st Kinnell & Friockheim along with 1st, 3rd and 4th Montrose. Information is somewhat “sketchy” but the first Secretary (1947 – 1948) was J. Walker of Montrose. On 1st October 1948 things appear to have been put on a more formal basis with the Brigade’s Annual Report recording the Battalion President as H. Husker, of Friockheim and the Secretary as C.H.P. Gerrard of Arbroath. The make-up had changed slightly with the appearance of 4th Arbroath and the disappearance of 1st Ferryden and 1st Montrose. Other Companies that have been part of Angus Battalion over these 60 years have been 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th Arbroath, 4th Brechin and 3rd Forfar. Information on other Battalion Officials over the years has not yet been verified but again the records show that for many years the Brigade County Patron for Angus was The Earl of Airlie.

There have been many changes over the years. Dundee Battalion and Angus Battalion amalgamated in 2003 into Dundee & Angus Battalion and now support Companies in Dundee, Broughty Ferry, Monifieth, Carnoustie, Arbroath, Charleston & Glamis, Kirriemuir and Forfar. Over the years many different tasks have been undertaken and many programmes of work and events introduced to make the BB relevant and attractive to today’s young people. Many dedicated officers and leaders have given much time and effort to supporting young men over the years and the Battalion is proud to record its thanks to them all past and present.

If you have photographs or other memorabilia concerning the Boys Brigade in Dundee or Angus, we would be very happy to hear of it and perhaps add it to our collection. Photographs for inclusion on our website from time to time would also be welcome.

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Brigade Council 1951 with Brigade President Lord McKay taking the salute.
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The Coutts Flag for First Aid is presented circa 1913. The Battalion President, Mr T M Davidson looks on (right)
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The Battalion Pyramids being displayed in the Caird Hall, Dundee 1956
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The Boys Brigade provides a Guard of Honour for Lord Baden Powell arriving for a Scout Review in Dudhope Park, Dundee 1910. 50 Boys were on parade and the Officer Commanding was the Captain of the 24th Dundee Company, John Galloway (with Lord Baden Powell)