MONEY WELL SPENT
The Duke of Gordon and his son the Marquis of Huntly, an officer in the Scots Guards, decided in 1794 to raise a regiment from the men of their Highland estates. Their women folk joined the recruiting drive. The Duchess of Gordon was a well known beauty at the time and her daughters were also attractive. The women offered a kiss to every man who joined the regiment. Decked out in a feminised version of the regimental uniform the duchess and her daughters toured the family estates from Aberdeenshire in the east to Lochaber in the western Highlands signing men up. One canny farmer took his traditional King’s shilling and kiss from the Duchess and then promptly stumped up the £1 required to buy his way out the army again. “Never was a £1 coin so well spent,” he declared.
Later, as the number of original members of the regiment was whittled down in battle by French musket fire and cannon balls, old soldiers were heard to tell comrades wounded in action “Och, cha n’eil ach pog eile o’n Bhan Duic” or in English “Man, you got a kiss from the Duchess for that”.
Next Week - Before the Jocks