1908 – Silver Jubilee
Extracts from The Boys’ Brigade Gazette 1st October 1908: Never before in the history of the Brigade has there been such a mass of Boys brought together and deep the regrets, though quiet the determination to face the worst and triumph over circumstances when we realised that rain, almost unceasing rain, was inevitable. Twenty minutes only were allowed to get all in readiness for the Royal Salute. Less than twenty minutes were required, which spoke volumes for the military capacity of the Commanding Officer, Captain W A Smith his Chief Staff Officer, Captain W G Macalister and his trusty subordinate Commanders. As the score or so of mounted Officers moved about, the trained soldier was clearly seen under the garb of the BB: and their smart salute after the C.O. had had his say and dismissed them to their commands, was an object lesson to the younger Company Officers.
Punctually the Royal Soldier came on the ground proudly the Boys responded to the order, and lustily the bands struck up when the command was given: “Royal Salute – Present Arms”. Then came that wonderful March-Past. Headed by the “Signallers” closely followed by the pattern on which the whole fabric has been moulded, the well-known “1st Glasgow”. Company after Company, Battalion after Battalion came swinging past to the music of the massed bands. For nearly half an hour that stream of Boys flowed on, till the smart ambulance party with their stretchers brought up the rear. It was interesting to note that on this historic occasion the Colours were carried by Lieutenant G Stanley Smith, son of our Founder.
A special word of commendation must be given to the Bands. The three massed bands, each about 80 to 100 strong, played alternately without breaking time for a single beat till all fifteen Battalions had gone past. The marching was excellent, whether we looked at those big quarter columns doing their wheel, or the same columns marching steadily past the saluting point. And now came the sight of the day. Heedless of rain, of mud, of fatigue, as brisk and erect as though they had newly paraded on a sunny day at their own headquarters, the living field of ten thousand Boys moved forward in perfect unison to the “Advance in Review Order”. What a sight what an inspiration.
Before leaving the parade ground, His Royal Highness having summoned Captain Smith and the other mounted Officers, said:- “I have called you together for the purpose of expressing to you in a very few words the great pleasure and gratification that it has given to me to have an opportunity of holding this Review and of seeing the excellent work of all ranks. I assure you I most deeply appreciate the devotion and zeal which has animated you and those serving under you by which this great movement, so filled with promise for the moral welfare and development of the youth of our Empire, has attained such a state of perfection. I hope and feel sure that your efforts will be attended by the same ever-increasing success that has been yours during the past 25 years since the foundation of the movement. I purpose publishing an Order, which I hope you will convey to all ranks under your command, telling them how pleased I am to have had this opportunity of seeing them. In conclusion gentlemen, I can only thank you, and say that it has given me very great pleasure to come here today, and I hope neither you nor the rank and file will be any the worse for of the ducking which I am afraid you have got this afternoon”
At the close of the Prince’s speech, the Commanding Officer called for “Three Cheers for the King” and no one who was present can ever forget the unbounded enthusiasm with which the Boys of the Brigade responded to the call.