Army children’s birthplaces can speak volumes about their families’ peripatetic lifestyles, as well as the times in which they grew up. Various aspects of Bulford Camp pictured in a postcard dating from the World War I era. The two images below illustrate the contrasting dating in Chingola in your 30s of those nineteenth-century army families that, on the one hand, were accorded ‘on-the-strength’ status and were therefore allowed to accompany their soldier husbands and fathers on overseas postings, and, on the other, were not recognised as being in any way the army’s responsibility and were consequently left behind to fend for themselves.
Medical Inspection Before Embarking for Foreign Service’. Married Without Leave: Left Behind on the Departure of the Regiment’. The old colour postcard below presents a view of Gibraltar’s South Barracks, which date from the 1730s. Created using watercolour, pen and black ink and graphite on thick, moderately textured, cream wove paper, it is now part of the Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection. The colourful old postcard seen below presents a view of Casemates Barracks, in Gibraltar, which dates from 1817.
The illustration below is part of the Yale Center for British Art’s Paul Mellon Collection. Created by George Lothian Hall, it shows the officers’ quarters and Casemates Barracks in 1843. The photograph below is part of an album of views of Jamaica. Reproduced courtesy of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library, it shows a view of the barracks at Up Park Camp, Kingston, Jamaica. British soldiers were stationed at the camp following its establishment in 1784 until 1962, and it was home to many of their families, too. Click here for further information about Up Park Camp on the Jamaica Defence Force website.
Newcastle Military Cantonment’, Jamaica, once home to generations of army children. Kingston, where the British were prone to succumbing to yellow fever. Mary Jane Grant, the Kingston-born nurse and healer, wrote that by 1843, she had ‘gained a reputation as a skilful nurse and doctress, and my house was always full of invalid officers and their wives from Newcastle, or the adjacent Up-Park Camp. With her father serving with the 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Mairi Paterson’s army childhood began and ended in Stirling, Scotland, where she lived from 1921 to 1922, and again from 1934 to 1938.
My father, Hugh Campbell, from Lochgilphead, Argyll, joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Fort George. He became an instructor and was a good shot, competing at Bisley . When World War I broke out, he was seconded to the King’s West African Rifles in Nigeria as an instructor. He was wounded in what was then German East Africa. He returned to the Argylls and was stationed at the depot, Stirling Castle, when I was born.
The 2nd Battalion was then assigned a «tour of overseas duty» and was posted to Jamaica. The camp was just outside Kingston, and during the hot season, it was almost too much to bear. Every so often, we were sent up to Newcastle, a hill station in the Blue Mountains. The steep road, with its hairpin bends, ended in the square formed by the church, the school, the orderly room and the NAAFI.
There were steep paths up to the bungalows, and we had a donkey to help us get up and down them. Our house was in quite a large garden, with four banana trees, a mango tree, a calabash tree and masses of plants. There were beautiful blue and green lizards and many birds. But there were also the terrifying large land crabs, which came out in the dusk, as well as scorpions, which were liable to hide in your slippers. I once watched as a piece of bread that I had put down moved swiftly over the floor, carried away by the ants. I attended the army school nearby, and achieved the distinction of being expelled at the age of eight.