"Home Run"

An Account of the Rowallan Company Service at Carnachuin, Glenfeshie in July 1994

We set off from Braeriach Guest House in Kincraig at 9.15 a.m. We had met Ray McLaren, our Chairman, with Major David Pointet and some of the cadets from Rowallan Company, at the Duke of Gordon in Kingussie the previous evening, and had instructions to be at the locked gate at the entrance to Glenfeshie by 9.30 a.m. We arrived exactly at 9.30 to find Bill Shaw already waiting by the gate, which was still locked. Bill was sure that Raymond and Jen had already got through the gate as they had left the Duke of Gordon ahead of him. Soon we were joined by Duncan Henderson and his friend and chauffeur Andrew Naylor. Duncan was due to have a hip replacement in about three weeks and was walking with a stick. We searched unsuccessfully for the key reputedly buried near the gate under a stone. Then John and Annette Downton drove up and we welcomed them to the locked gate. It was approaching 10 a.m. and we were beginning to wonder whether the service would proceed without us, when an estate worker drove down the Glen to the gate. He had the key and had driven up the Glen earlier. Finding the gate open, he had closed and locked it!

It was now after 10 a.m. so we all hastened up the Glen to Carnachuin to find Raymond and Jen, John and Naomi Morrison, and David Pointet and the rest of Rowallan Company standing round the cairn waiting for us. A young piper in full regalia stood stiffly to attention by the cairn. We joined the group by the cairn and the cadets handed out leaflets with the order of service. David Pointet then asked Raymond to make some introductory remarks. Raymond introduced the H.F.T.C.A. representatives, in particular John Downton who had been a member of the DS in the H.F.T.C. from the start and had commanded No. I Company on Course 11 in September 1944. Raymond himself was proud to have been a cadet on the very first course, and he paid tribute to Lord Rowallan as the inspiration behind both the H.F.T.C. and the Rowallan Company.

David Pointet then led us through the service starting with the hymn "Praise my soul the King of Heaven". 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 and the head of the Glen where it bends to the East looked especially inviting. The service continued with prayers and a reading from the Scriptures by one of the cadets, and then another cadet came forward to kneel and lay a wreath at the foot of the cairn. The wreath was a circlet of flowers picked out in the Rowallan Company colours of blue and gold matching the track suits worn by the cadets. The piper played 'The Flowers of the Forest". After the hymn "Jerusalem", David Pointet gave a moving address emphasising the links between the H.F.T.C. and the Rowallan Company. He expressed great pleasure that members of the Association were able to attend the Memorial Service. It was remarkable that the H.F.T.C. and Rowallan Company shared identical training both in the spirit and principles set out by Lord Rowallan over 50 years ago in wartime Britain. His own experience had confirmed that these methods could not be bettered for producing self-confidence and fulfilment of potential in young people. Although the Rowallan Company cadets were not being called on to serve in a world war, as was the case for the H.F.T.C. cadets, nevertheless they would be required to help deal with worldwide problems in countries such as Bosnia, Rwanda and Northern Ireland.

After a final hymn the piper played again (he told us afterwards that this piece was called "The 10th Battallion Highland Light Infantry Crossing The Rhine"), and the service closed with the Glenfeshie prayer. CSM Joinson then asked for photographs to be taken of the H.F.T.C. representatives, then with their wives, then with the Rowallan Company, and finally all of the assembled company. Some of these photographs would be sent for publication in "Soldier" magazine.

The Rowallan Company then produced a dram of the right stuff for all present and we had a further opportunity to exchange experiences with the cadets and staff, having already met some of them the previous evening at the Duke of Gordon. What impressed us particularly was the great respect and enthusiasm which the cadets clearly felt for Lord Rowallan, and their pride in following the traditions laid down by him and developed at the H.F.T.C. 50 years ago. They also clearly appreciated that the H.F.T.C.A had come along to support them at a turning point in their training before starting their commissioning course. This was a rare and heart-warming tribute from a younger generation to the older generation. These feelings were echoed by David Pointet and his colleagues CSM Chris Joinson and Serjeants Brazier and Gilbert.

At the invitation of Chris Joinson we all drove back down the Glen to Laggan Lia where the Rowallan Company was based, for a cup of tea and further discussion. When the time came to leave David Pointet expressed the strong view that similar occasions should be arranged in future (but next time he would station a cadet at the gate to ensure it remained unlocked), a sentiment with which we heartily agreed. It had been a memorable and moving occasion and we felt privileged to have been present.

John and Audrey Harry

 We arrive at the locked gate
We failed to lift the locked gate off its hinges
Glenfeshie put on its best face for the occasion
Major David Pointet discusses the order of service with CSM Joinson
The Mullach path winds its way up into the hills
"Praise my soul the King of Heaven"
David Pointet gave a moving address
CSM Joinson asked for photographs to be taken
The Rowallan Company produced a dram of the right stuff