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Again?

A while back I had ago at Scotland's General Ian Hamilton for sneering at the 8th Scottish Rifles because it recruited heavily in the slums of Glasgow. Then it turned out that it was Seaforth Highlander Granville Egerton, whose 52nd Lowland Division included the battalion, who reported that while it was recruited from "the lowest slums of Glasgow" as it had good officers could be expected to fight well. Now military historian and author David Raw has been in touch to tell me that I've got Major General Egerton all wrong and no slight on battalion or slum dwellers was intended. And Mr Raw should know, he has done an exhaustive study of Egerton's diary and other papers and has a book coming out on the General's experiences in Gallipoli with the 52nd Division in 1915. The Egerton of the diaries turns out to be a warm hearted, kindly and compassionate man. Apparently in September 1915, Egerton even declared the 8th Scottish Rifles his "favourite battalion, what is left of them;recruited from the lowest slums of Glasgow, many of them awful little ruffians, just ‘Glasgow Keellies’, but cheery game fellows". My take on the "lowest slums of Glasgow" remark was that thanks to the high quality of the officers this handicap could be overcome. Was I being too harsh with that interpretation? Was I guilty of jumping to the conclusion that an upper class and socially well connected officer would disdain and disparage the urban poor? Should Egerton be given the benefit of the doubt? The answer to that last question has to be "Yes". I retract my "Big Boo" to Granville Egerton. By the way, Egerton's "what is left of them" refers to the fact that the 8th Scottish Rifles had pretty much been wiped out on the 28th of June in four battalion attack on Turkish trenches that made the First Day on the Somme look like the handiwork of a military genius. 

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