Leith Boys' Brigade Battalion


April 1917

Boys' Brigade Inspection, 1917

Reproduced with acknowledgement to The 1st Leith BB Company Ex-Members' Association.

Thank you to Ian Ross, co-author of the book 'From Humble Beginnings', for allowing me to see the 1st Leith Boys' Brigade collection of photos.




John Stewart

Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to the 1st Leith Boys' Brigade Company Ex-Members'  Association for allowing me to reproduce this photo, and to John Stewart for telling me about it.

John wrote:

Parade Inspection

"Here is an early photo of Leith Boys' Brigade Battalion Parade inspection in Victoria Park.  The statue of King Edward Vll can be seen, so that identifies the Park.  It could also help identify twhen the photo was taken.

I think this is a priceless one.  The boys shouldering wooden rifles and the inspection by Army and BB officers wearing boots somehow dates this way back.

I don't know when they ceased to shoulder arms but no doubt that can be found out.  Can you imagine this being allowed today?

John Stewart, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  February 27, 2010




Ian Ross

Craigentinny, Edinburgh

Ian Ross of the 1st Leith Boys' Brigade Company Ex-Members'  Association wrote:

Photographic Collection

"The photo is one of many hundreds held by the 1st Leith BB Company Memorial Club, collected by previous Captains and Officers since 1894!  About 100 of these photos are included in a new book which will be launched on March 12, titled:

 'From Humble Beginnings - The Story of The 1st Leith BB'."

1917 Inspection

     Boys' Brigade Inspection, 1917

"This photo was taken at the Annual Inspection of the Leith Battalion, The Boys' Brigade on April 28, 1917.  The BB Officer to the rear and half hidden is A J Lethem who was Captain of the 1st Leith Company which was being inspected at that moment. 

He is the gent who bought and donated the Memorial Club to the 1st Leith, and also Lethem Park to the Leith Battalion.

The Inspecting Officer was Brigadier-General E Morton commanding 24th Reserve Infantry Brigade. The 1st Leith was actually the largest Company on parade that day."

1917 Inspection

"Dummy rifles were used as an aid to drill from the beginning of the Brigade in 1883.  However, the First World War was to eventually bring an end to this tradition.

Many Parents and Ministers felt that it was inappropriate to see young boys in a military-style situation after so many of their relatives had died in the War and, one by one, the Companies abandoned use of the rifles.

Brigade HQ eventually decreed in 1924 that all Companies were to stop drilling with the dummy weapons."

Ian Ross, Craigentinny, Edinburgh:  February 28 + March 2, 2010

Here are two other photos taken on the same occasion.

Boys' Brigade Inspection, 1917       Boys' Brigade Inspection, 1917




Bob Henderson

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Bob Henderson who wrote:

Boy Scouts

Dummy Rifles

"The photo of the Boys' Brigade Company on parade with rifles brought back memories of the Boy Scouts still doing drill with dummy rifles in 1949.

I moved from the 118th Edinburgh cub pack at St Patrick's school to the 118th scout troop which met in the hall at St Ann's in 1949.

The troop at that time still did drill with dummy rifles, although I think that was the year they stopped using them.  The younger boys like me used to still get the rifles out of the cupboard to play with."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  March 1, 2010


Edinburgh & Leith - Clubs and Organisations (including Boys' Brigade)

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