Alexander Bruce Tulloch.

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The Southern Counties Circulating Library,

ESTABLISHED 1832.
WILLIA1VI C. LONG.



KECOLLECTIONS OF FORTY YEARS' SERVICE



BECOLLECTIONS



OP



FOETY YEARS' SEEVICE



BY

MAJOK-GENERAL

SIR ALEXANDER BRUCE TULLOCH

K.C.B., C.M.G.



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS

EDINBURGH AND LONDON

MCMIII



All Rights reserved



DEDICATED TO

TEE BACKBONE OF THE BRITISH ARMY,
THE COMPANY OFFICERS.



2066478



P KEF ACE.



MY relations often suggested that I might write an
amusing, and possibly interesting, little book about
my early days in the Service. I therefore put
together a small work, ' A Subaltern in the Royals,'
and had intended publishing it. But last winter
one of the most renowned commanders of modern
days, who has done more towards making the
British Army what it ought to be than any one
who has administered its affairs for many genera-
tions, suggested that I might give some useful pro-
fessional information by publishing the whole of
my experiences during the many years I had the
honour to belong to the British Army.

As it was owing to the assistance and encourage-
ment which that commander viz., Viscount Wolseley
always gave me to lecture or do anything which
might be useful to the Service, I considered I ought
to try what I could do as an author. ' Recollections
of Forty Years' Service ' is the result.

I now venture to present the book to the public,
and trust that its imperfections may be lightly criti-



Vlll PREFACE.

cised ; for, with the exception of some notes and
reports on the Carlist war, the Egyptian campaign
of 1882, and an old letter written from Pekin in 1860,
I have had to rely almost entirely on my memory,
which fortunately proves to be a good deal better
than I expected.

I hope my attempts at literary work may be of
some use to those who take an interest in army
matters, and instructive to young officers, who will
be able to see how very far they are advanced in
professional knowledge as compared with what we
were half a century ago, when a correct march past
in slow and quick time and the performance of curious
kaleidoscopic drill movements inside a barrack square
were about all that was considered necessary.

ALEX. B. TULLOCH.
LLANWYSK, September 1902.



CONTENTS.



CHAP. PAG*

I. EARLY DAYS AND SANDHURST 1

II. DEPOT AND CRIMEA ..*.... 14

III. CENTRAL INDIA . . - ' , . . .33

IV. HONGKONG . ^ . >. . . .51
V. CANTON . . . . . . . . . 65

VI. PBIHO . . . . . ' . . . . 78

VII. TAKU FORTS 91

VIII. PEKIN ......... 108

IX. HOME SERVICE ........ 126

X. STAFF COLLEGE 144

XI. CANADA ......... 153

XII. INSTRUCTIONAL WORK, HALIFAX AND GIBRALTAR . . 167

XIII. PYRENEES 177

\

XIV. RELIEF OF BILBAO 191

XV. INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT, BELGIUM, EGYPT, AND CRETE 208

XVI. INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT, WAR OFFICE . . . 220

xvn. QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL'S WORK, PORTSMOUTH . . 232

XVIII. INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT, EGYPT .... 244

XIX. MEDITERRANEAN FLEET . . 260



X CONTENTS.

XX. ALEXANDRIA FORTS ....... 272

XXI. SUEZ CANAL 291

XXII. TEL-EL- KEBIR ........ 309

XXIII. SOUTH AFRICA 324

XXIV. CAIRO . 341

XXV. VICTORIA 353

XXVI. AUSTRALASIA AND NEW CALEDONIA .... 367

INDEX . . 381



EECOLLECTIONS OF FORTY YEAES'
SEEVICE.



CHAPTEE I.

EARLY DAYS AND SANDHURST.

MY first recollections of soldiering were in the year
1844 or 1845, when I was taken to see the Queen's
birthday parade at Edinburgh Castle. I have a
particularly distinct remembrance of seeing, from
where I stood above the Half-moon battery, a soli-
tary artilleryman walking from gun to gun and
firing them by means of a red-hot poker. Although
the Royal Artillery gunners in those days were few
and far between, infantry battalions still continued
to exist, the garrison of the Castle being, as I after-
wards learnt, the Royal Regiment, to whom the
ancient title of Royal Scots, of which they are so
justly proud, has since been restored. As I com-
menced my service in the Royal Regiment, its
ancient history became well known to me, and,
oddly enough, I found it was also known to several
officers in the French army, with whom Scott's
novels, and especially ' Quentin Durward,' were such

A



2 EARLY DAYS AND SANDHURST.

favourites. The Scotch Garde du Corps of the
French monarchs really dates farther back than the
time of Louis XL viz., to John II., 1360. The
Guard was 360 in number, of the best blood in
Scotland. It took precedence of all other corps,
even of the celebrated regiment of Picardy, who
were naturally rather jealous of the privilege.
There is a regimental tradition that on one occa-
sion a Picardy officer wished to make out his regi-
ment was the oldest, saying, " We admit the Scots
are very ancient, and were Pontius Pilate's guards at
the crucifixion, but we were marines on board Noah's
Ark." To which the Scot replied, " That is really not
worth mentioning ; it was a subaltern's guard of the
Scots which turned Adam and Eve out of the Garden
of Eden." In the book kept in the orderly-room the
record giving the history of the regiment begins as
follows : "In the reign of Achaius of Scotland, in
the year 800." Some one considering that date not
sufficiently ancient added the letters B.C. To a
Celtic Scot a pedigree which cannot be traced back
to the Flood, and any trade but that of annexing
his neighbour's property, is unworthy of considera-
tion, so perhaps I may be excused for stating that
I cannot, even in name, go farther back than Le
Moygne de Tulloch, whose son Walter is said but
on doubtful authority to have married one of the
many daughters of Robert II. Walter in 1363 was
Keeper of the Castle of Kildrummy, and subsequently
had a charter of Bonnington from Robert II. In
1399 Robert III. granted to John, son of William
Tulloche, the keepership of Montrewmouth Moor, and
this remained with his descendants, the Tullochs of
Hilcarnie, for nearly two centuries.



BISHOPS IN FORMER DAYS. 3

The most celebrated members of the family in
former days were the two statesman bishops,
Thomas de Tulloch, Bishop of Orkney, and his
cousin William, also Bishop of Orkney and after-
wards of Moray. Thomas was in great favour with
Eric, King of Denmark, from whom he obtained the
administration of the Orkney Islands in 1422 and
1427. He was a younger son of Tulloch of Bon-
nington, in Forfar. He obtained from King Henry
VI. of England letters of safe-conduct for himself
and eight persons of his retinue for the space of a
whole year, dated at Westminster, 18th November
1441. William Tulloch, cousin of the former, was
bishop of the same see in the reign of King James
III., and, with other "illustrious" persons, was sent
by him into Denmark in the year 1468 to negotiate a
marriage between the king and the Princess Margaret
of that nation, which they had the good fortune to
effect.

In 1471 he was appointed one of the Adminis-
trators of the Exchequer ; he was likewise made
Lord Privy Seal, March 26, 1473 ; he was one of
the ambassadors sent to England 1471-72. In 1477
he was translated from the see of Orkney to that
of Moray, and died at Spynie, 1482. A gold cup
with the Tulloch arms, three cross crosslets fitche,
presented to him by the King of Denmark, is still
in existence.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the name
often appears in official documents in Moray. In
1480 Alexander Tulloch is a witness to a deed of
arbitration with regard to the marches of the Thane
of Cawdor and the Baron of Kilravock. Sir Martin
Tulloch is also referred to in another. From those



4 EARLY DAYS AND SANDHURST.

times until the estate on the Findhorn of the last
laird of Tannachie, Alexander Tulloch, was sold in
1772, the family seem to have lived as others did
in those warlike days, but gradually dying out, the
'15 and '45 about finishing them, my own immediate
forebears being out on both those occasions. Of
seven brothers who went into Culloden, my great-
great-grandfather was the only one who came out
of the action. The other six, slain on that fatal
day, now rest under the heather of Drummossie
Moor. The next generation had to lie low. Some
of the family escaped to Norway, where their descend-
ants now are ; others got away to America : their sons,
it is said, over twenty in number, joined Washington's
forces. Two of the family, who were captured after
Culloden and sent to Carlisle, had the honour, on
account of the prominent part they had taken in the
rising, of having their names specially mentioned as
excluded from the Act of Indemnity, which saved the
lives of many sentenced to death, but their kinsmen
enabled such as were left to get their heads above
water again as loyal subjects ; and for the last four
generations soldiering has been our only trade, and
the Army List our territorial home. With the ex-
ception of a few farmers in the far north and a
minister or two, the very name has almost left
Scotland. A family burial - place is now my only
connection with what for so many centuries had
been our " ain countrie."

All good Americans when they die are said to go
to Paris, but all Scots who prefer life and wish to get
on, if they are wise, go south. A school in southern
England was my destination when ten years of age.
Arriving in the autumn, the peaches and wonderful



A WEE HIGHLAND LADDIE. 5

fruits of the south of England were something for a
boy to remember ; but the sudden change from a wild
open-air Highland life to school captivity in flat, dull,
prosaic England was dreadful. For a friendless wee
laddie, with his strange accent and queer little Scotch
expressions, so amusing to the other boys, to find
himself on a bright autumn afternoon, with the
swallows darting past the windows, shut up in a
dreary schoolroom, was too trying ; and when his
hereditary Highland instincts took his mind back
to the hills and the stream near the house with the
little burn-trout, and when he seemed almost to hear
his old friends, the shepherds' collies, barking to him
to come out for a run, it was no wonder it was more
than the poor little fellow could bear, and that he
dropped his head on his desk and sobbed as if his
heart would break.

In course of time I got used to school-life, but it
was not until I went to a small private school, Welton
Vicarage in Northamptonshire, that I came to the
conclusion England was not such a bad country to
live in after all. A near connection was the squire
of Welton, and his house became another home to
me, as my father had a staff appointment in Canada.
Fishing being born in me, it showed itself in the
Highlands as soon as I could hold a line, and I had a
good time in the Welton waters, and the pike and
perch a bad one. I also became the proud possessor
of a single-barrel gun of my own, and in the holidays,
with my good old friend the keeper as instructor,
rapidly became a terror to rabbits. Cleaning my gun
in those days was a very different operation from what
it is now, and meant a good half-hour's work, requiring
a bucket of hot water and the expenditure of much



6 EARLY DAYS AND SANDHURST.

tow on the jag of a cleaning-rod. My pony, whose
tail I must have at times almost ridden off, was well
known with the Pytchley. The proper get-up for
boys out with the hounds fifty years ago was a blue
jacket and white trousers ; and I have a lively recol-
lection of the colonel of the Scots Greys, then staying
with a house party at Welton Place, being, as I
thought, ultra-particular about my turn-out, and also
that of my pony.

I may mention a recollection of 1851 or 1852 viz.,
being present at the birthday parade on the Horse
Guards' square, when the Duke of Wellington was the
reviewing officer. I well remember his appearance, a
pale clean-shaven face with a prominent beaky nose :
being mounted on a good-sized horse, his figure seemed
small and thin. Having a place at the Horse Guards'
building, I had the good fortune to get a close view
of the "Iron Duke."

There can be but few boys who have not had a
fancy at some time or another for a sailor's life. I
imagine Marryat's novels had something to do with
it ; but in those days it was no easy matter to get a
nomination for a cadetship. My name, however, in
due time came to the top of the First Lord's list, and
I should have been appointed, and been a sailor in-
stead of a soldier, had not the First Lord Admiral
Dundas, I think asked my uncle (afterwards Sir
Alexander Tulloch), who had put my name down, to
let me stand over till the next vacancy, which he
promised, as he was particularly anxious to appoint a
relative of his own. My aunt thought I was too
young, and might well wait a little longer, but before
my turn came again the Ministry then in went out of
office. I was put down again on the new First Lord's



SPARTAN LIFE OF A CADET. 7

list (Duke of Northumberland, I think), but before
getting to the top had passed the age for entry to the
navy. I recollect being taken on board the guardship
lying off Woolwich dockyard, an old 40-gun frigate,
the Fisguard. The flintlocks on the guns were the
only thing I particularly remember about the ship.
In February 1852 my uncle took me to Sandhurst,
where I had to pass a very mild examination, and
became a military cadet. At the end of a week the
uniforms for the new arrivals were ready, and funny
little objects these embryo soldiers, ranging from
thirteen to fifteen years of age, must have been in
their red swallow- tailed coatees and heavy shakos
with the great brass plate in front and scale-metal
chin-straps. The forage-cap for ordinary wear was
a stiff broad-topped article about half the height of
the shako : its internal capacity was very useful for
carrying small articles, the little pocket in the coatee
tails being of no use in that way. In those days the
same clothing was worn summer and winter ; and as
for greatcoats, they were considered quite unnecessary
for cadets, no matter what the weather might be.
The equipment for parade or guard was of the same
pattern as that worn in the Peninsular War viz.,
two broad pipe-clayed belts, one over each shoulder,
crossing on the chest, where they were kept in place
by a large rectangular brass breastplate. One belt
was assigned to the big black cartridge-box, and the
other to carry the bayonet-scabbard by a stud attached
to the belt just over the hips. A short Brown Bess
percussion-musket and bayonet with blunted point
completed the equipment. Drill only lasted an hour
in the middle of the day, but it was of the most severe
barrack-square type, with curious ancient formations



8 EARLY DAYS AND SANDHURST.

amongst others, that of sections of threes, doubtless a
survival of the old three-deep line. " Handle cart-
ridge " and " bout " (to bring the musket to the
capping position) were words of command in the
platoon (firing) exercise. The term " firelock " was
in regular use. " Bout " was evidently a survival of
the ancient " cast about your firelock " (or matchlock)
when bringing it up to the hip from the loading
position with the butt on the ground. Biting the
cartridge, although flintlocks had been abolished
eight years before I went to Sandhurst, was con-
tinued for several years after I joined the service.
The word of command " Fire " universally used, is
probably a survival of the old matchlock word of
command, "Give fire," the preceding ones being,
" Blow your match," " Cock your match."

There was no gymnasium, but in its place an
excellent riding -school. A diminutive cadet, how-
ever, about 4 feet 8 inches, astride a broad- backed
dragoon horse, was rather an absurdity ; but the
general result was that Sandhurst cadets, with very
few exceptions, all became good riders and quite at
home in the saddle.

The board and lodging of the cadets some half a
century ago were of Spartan simplicity. Each room on
the upper storey of the college had five cadets assigned
to it, and was furnished, or rather unfurnished, very
much like a soldier's room in the present day, five
barrack bedsteads being placed along the wall. The
bedding was rolled up during the day : what would
have happened to a cadet who presumed to unstrap
his bedding and lie down, except at night, has been
forgotten, but he certainly would not have done it a
second time. A small compartment like a bird-cage



SPARTAN LIFE OF A CADET. 9

and a canvas bag was given to each boy to hold his
small articles and clothes. The rooms were not com-
fortable, the floor being sanded and the door locked
wide open during the day. There were not even strips
of carpet by the sides of the beds, and such luxuries
as slippers were unknown. There were no dressing-
tables, chests of drawers, or washstands the basins
were placed on the chairs, of which each cadet had
one, and also a small tin foot-bath. For breakfast a
cadet had a bowl of boiled milk, as much bread as he
wanted, and a pat of decidedly nasty butter, which
had to be macerated in some of the milk to make it
palatable. Dinner consisted of a leg or shoulder of
mutton for each table of ten cadets, with an unlimited
supply of waxy potatoes in their skins, and as much
bread and small beer as was wanted. The five seniors
at the top of the table generally managed to get a
good feed of mutton, but the mangled remains left by
the boy-carver which came to the juniors were not
particularly appetising. The second course on alter-
nate days consisted of boiled rice-pudding, which was
very fair, or baked plum-duff, known as stick-jaw, so
badly cooked that few could eat it. Such necessary
articles of diet as green vegetables or fruit -tarts were
quite unknown. On Sundays the cadets had ribs of
beef instead of mutton. This was a great treat : so
much appreciated was it that the more voracious
juniors used to go round the tables on the chance of
finding some of the ribs not entirely cleared of meat.
The evening meal, tea and bread and butter of the
usual description, was taken in the cadets' rooms, the
tea and sugar being served out in bulk once a- week.
The feeding at the college was certainly not sufficient
or suitable for growing boys, and had to be supple-



10 EARLY DAYS AND SANDHURST.

mented by the tuck-shops in the village, usually on
tick. The high prices charged for jam and potted
meats would rather astonish schoolboys of the present
time.

As regards the instruction given at the college, it
was a strange mixture of ordinary school and pro-
fessional work French, German, History, Geography,
Latin, Mathematics, Surveying, and Fortification. The
Peninsular War furnished the object-lessons in Forti-
fication, the senior instructor in which had spoken so
often about Badajos that at last he believed he had
served at the siege. The antiquity of certain portions
of his teaching was amusing, such as exercising us in
throwing hand-grenades with blowing charges. Boy-
like, we delighted in getting him into a wild state of
excitement by being very slow in throwing the grenade
after lighting the fuse. Mathematics, Fortification,
and Surveying were very well taught ; but as for
the rest, unless a cadet had a special gift for
languages, or had a good colloquial knowledge of
French or German, the instruction was probably
about equal to what it is and has been in ordinary
schools for many years. The same may be said of
the other school subjects.

Almost despotic power was given to the masters,
but only one, a very objectionable old Frenchman, who
had the junior class, really exercised it vindictively.
If an unfortunate boy ignorant of French had too many
mistakes in his exercises, he was simply reported to
the superintendent of studies for incorrigible idleness,
which meant every afternoon for a fortnight in the hole
writing impositions. The " hole" was a room contain-
ing a table and a chair, with waved-glass windows,
which admitted light but could not be seen out of.



SPARTAN LIFE OF A CADET. 11

Instead of the ordinary college dinner, the unfortunate
boy got only bread and water, except on every third
day, when he got a plate of meat. He was only re-
leased each night in time to go to bed. No investi-
gation or inquiry whatever as to the truth of the
instructor's report was made by the superintendent of
studies, whose billet, as far as work was concerned,
must have been a perfect sinecure. Instead of send-
ing for the cadet to see what a little talking to would
do, or to hear what he had to say, as soon as the
irascible instructor's report came in, the unfortunate
boy, age about fourteen, was sentenced to a long spell
of the hole, to the detriment not only of his health but
of his progress in other subjects, in which he might be
giving the utmost satisfaction to his instructors.

Fifty years ago there were 180 cadets at Sand-
hurst, formed into two companies, the juniors in A,
the seniors in B. These companies were kept quite
separate in different wings of the college, apparently
to prevent bullying by the older boys. Public-school
fagging was unknown, but there were some strange
customs. A " John " that is, a first-half cadet was
not allowed to wear his chin-strap down, and such-
like ; but any cadet if insulted by another could
challenge him to fight, a regular ring being formed,
with the usual towels, a sponge, water, &c., a
sergeant attending to see fair play, the fighting
place being under the fir-trees at the old gymnasium.
A cadet had to be thirteen years of age on entry,
and might remain up to eighteen, if he had not before
that time qualified in the requisite number of subjects
to get his commission ; but few had to remain beyond
seventeen. Considering the number of cadets, the
military and civilian staff employed was excessive.



12 EARLY DAYS AND SANDHURST.

There was a governor, usually a distinguished old
general, who was only seen twice a-year, May and
November, when the Horse Guards Commissioners
came down ; the lieutenant-governor, another old
general, who was occasionally seen ; and a super-
intendent of studies, an elderly colonel, who made
a solemn procession round the class-rooms where the
cadets were at work perhaps once in two months.
There were two captains of companies, elderly men,
a sergeant-major with several drill-sergeants, and an
excellent band. Sullivan was the bandmaster : his
son, a little curly-haired boy, was the late Sir Arthur.
The instructional staff for the number of pupils was
decidedly large, possibly to keep in countenance the
excessive military establishment ; but in those days
easy billets had to be found for many old deserving
officers who had been in the Peninsula, and done
right good service for their country not only there,
but in other old wars, now almost forgotten. But
be that as it may, our family should have nothing
but good wishes for Sandhurst. My elder brother
went there in 1847 and got his commission in 1851.
I became a cadet in February 1852 and got my
commission in May 1855. My younger brother went
there in July 1855, and left in the summer of 1857,
having been presented with a cadetship in the East
India Company's service. He embarked for Calcutta
in June or July, and got out in time for the relief
and siege of Lucknow. The regiment to which he
had been nominated having disappeared before his
arrival, he was attached to the 38th, and subsequently
was gazetted to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, in which
regiment he remained till his retirement from the
service, a second lieutenant-colonel of his battalion.



GAZETTED TO THE ROYAL REGIMENT. 13

The coming Crimean war caused a number of com-
missions to be given in July 1854 to Sandhurst cadets
who would be coming out in December and the May
following. I was in that list, but being still under
sixteen was not eligible, and with five other un-
fortunates had to remain the full time viz., until
May 1855, when I passed out, and on the 23rd of
that month was gazetted to the Royals, now Royal
Scots. At that time, my father being employed in
Canada, I was under charge of my uncle, who, as
already mentioned, lived in London : but he was
abroad in the Crimea. He wrote to have me ap-
pointed to the 92nd Highlanders, but by the time
the letter arrived I had been gazetted to the Royals,
and was well up the Ensigns' list ; so I got my outfit,
a very small one in those days, and in June joined
the depot of the 1st battalion Royals at Winchester,
where were also the depots of the 3rd Buffs, 7th and
23rd Fusiliers, 46th and 88th Regiments, whose head-
quarters were all in the Crimea.



CHAPTER II.

DEPOT AND CRIMEA.

A DEPOT battalion at the time of the Crimean war
was anything but a good place for a youngster to



Online LibraryAlexander Bruce TullochRecollections of forty years' service → online text (page 1 of 31)