Our History

The following history was written by a former member – Kenny Dobinson – as part of his Queen’s Badge work. An updated history will appear here shortly.

The 229th company of the Boys Brigade is affiliated to St Andrews Parish Church in cambuslang. The parish of St. Andrews was formed as a result of the amalgomation of Rosebank church and west parish church, both of which were demolished during the modernisation programme in Cambuslang in the 1960’s. The 229th company had previously been affiliated with Rosebank Church and is presently one of seven companies in Strathclyde Distric a branch of Glasgow Battalion.

The earliest recorded date of a Boys Brigade company in Rosebank Church is 1911. The captain of the period was a Mr John Reid , who had seen 27 years service in the Royal Marines. Previous service in the Boys Brigade included captain of the 61st Glasgow Company for a period of 6 years. In those early days, the company was registered as the third cambuslang company and was a member – company of the Rutherglen and Newton council along with three other companies, are,

1st Cambuslang, from the Old Parish Church.
2nd Cambuslang, from the West Parish Church
4th Cambuslang, from Newton Church

[ The only church still standing is the Old Parish Church, which no longer has a BB company, but has a Scout Troop.]

By 1916 the great war had began and all but two of the officers from the 2nd and 3rd Companies had enlisted and left to fight in the war. As a result of this the two companies amalganated under the supervision of Mr John G. Smith, who had taken over captaincy of the 3rd Company in 1914. This arrangement continued until after one war, when several attempts were made to reinstate both companies. At one point the boys were lined up in single file and split into 2 separate groups, one group to form a company for west parish church, the other to remain at Rosebank. This arrangement was, understandably, immensely unpopular with the boys and was unsuccessful. Eventually, the boys were reformed into 1 company, which met at Rosebank Church on Friday evenings and in the West Parish Church on Sunday mornings for bible class. This situation was deemed unsuitable by both kirk sessions, but despite several attempts, the split was never undertaken.

In 1921, Mr. Douglas Mitchell succeeded Mr J. G. Smith as captain, and the following year, rutherglen and Newton council joined the Glasgow Battalion. The number 192 was given 2 the existing company, with the number 193 reserved for the second company in the event of a split. In 1923, the first section of the boy reserves in cambuslang was launched in Rosebank Church. At the time, it was hailed as the first section east of Glasgow. In 1926, the Glaasgow Battalion was reorganized, the reserve number was withdrawn, and a new number, 229, was given to the Rosebank Company. In 1927, Mr. John Henderson became the captain of the 229, and held this post for eight years. Mr. Henderson is one of the oldest remaining members of the 229 company. He has been closely associated with the company since 1911, and is still a reserve officer in 1984. during Mr Hendersons period as captain, the company reached its peak strength of over 100 boys, boasting a pipe band, led by pipe major G. Yardley, assisted by his brother. In 1933, the jubilee camp was held at Dechmont Hill, near Cambuslang, thrusting all Cambuslang companies including the 229, into the center of the 50 years celebrations. The company was represented at the jubilee camp by William bradferd and peter muirhead. In Mr. Hendersons final year as captain, the company was awarded the district shield for general efficiency.

Mr Henderson resigned in 1935 and was succeeded by Mr. George Allen, who after 2 years was succeeded by Mr. George Brown. One year later, Mr Adam Johnson took over being succeeded the following year by Mr. John Stoddart. After 2 years, Mr. James Brownlie became captain in 1941.

In 1942, Mr. David Collins became captain and continued in the post for 7 years. Mr. Collins was a dedicated member of the 229, giving dedicated member of the 229, giving dedicated service from an early age. He was also an wminent member in the life of Rosebamk Church and latterly St. Andrews. In remembrance of Mr Collins, his family donated a table to the church, which can be viewed in the vestilaie at St. Andrews.

When Mr. Collins vacated the captaincy in 1949, Mr Nicol Stoddart assumed the post. Mr Stoddart continued in the post for three years. In 1952, a Mr Hunter replaced Mr. Stoddart as captain and held the position for 2 years. Mr John Henderson  suceeded Mr. Hunter in 1954. During his second period in the post, Mr Henderson pulled the company from a low ebb of 6 members to a company of reasonable strength. In 1956 Mr. George Sinclair suceeded Mr. Henderson. In 1962, Jonny celebrated 50 years affiliation to the company, and a “This Is Your Life” evening was held in his honour within the company. Mr. Sinclair had to end his first period of captaincy in 1963, due to business commitments.

Again there was difficulty in finding a new captain and a Mr John Brownlie was selected to fulfil the role. Mr. Brownlie had previously served as a boy and an officer in the 229. John Brownlie remained in the post for years till 1981, and is to date, the longest serving captain, in 1964, that the 229 became affiliated to St. Andrews Church. Also in this period the company won the distric sports trophy for the seven consective years. Officers during this period include Mr. D. N. Dick, who served as convenor of Strathclyde District for several years after leaving the 229. Mr. Dick is still an active reserve officer and Queens Badge co- ordinator in the district at the present time. In his later years as captain, Mr Brownlie received invaulable assistance from Mr. John Clelland, who is at present a liutenant in a company in East Kilbride.

In 1981, Mr. Brownlie resigned and Mr. G Sinclair again became captain. During this period, the company enjoyed an upsurge in members. Along with Mr. J. Ferguson, Mr R. McDonald, Mr. J. Willougby, Mr. J. Forsyth and Mr. A. Forbes, the company won many competitions both at District and Battalion level, and ultimately were voted the best Comapny in the District in 1981-82. In 1982 – 1983, the company had a very important year. The company recieved its own set of colours, and these are now displayed at every parade. During this session, the Pre-Junior section boys at St. Andrews officially became members of the Boys Brigade, when the Rockets were disbanded and the Anchor Boys formed under ex – Rockets leader Mrs. Jan Birch. In 1983, the company assumed an active role in the Centenary Year Celebrations, with seven boys attending the International Camp at Scone Palace. Three N.C.Os’ acted as Stewards at Arena ’83, and buses femed membera, ex members and friends from St. Andrews to attend the various displays and activities. Almost all the boys attended Ibrox Park on Saturday 27th August for the climax event and the opening of the casket, sealed at the Jubilee Camp, at Dechmont in 1933. Two boys from the 229 comapny had the honour of being included in the representation from the Internation Camp, on the Ibrox Turf that day.

In 1983, Mr. James Ferguson suceeded Mr. Sinclair as company captain, and has led the company to continued sucess in the present session, retaining the Distric Drill Shield for the 3rd consecutive year, Keeping the company in the running for the best Comapany award again.

Camps have always been an important feature of the 229 company curriculm. The first camp was held in 1921, and was to West Kilbride. Other areas visited include Montrose, Girvan,(where one comapny featured in the local newspaper twice) Kilcattan Bay, Jubilee camp at Dechmont, Crieff, Amchar, Strachur, Dunbar, and Dalguise.

The Jumior section in the 229 has always been strong. Two names stand out when the Junior Section History is considered. The first is Mr. Robert Henderson, who was in charge of the Junior section for 32 years. During the war, Mr. Henderson had to hold B.B . meetings on a saturday, due to blackout Regulations in the evenings. Mr. Henderson is still an elder in St. Andrews and still sings regularly with the choir, despite being 74 years of age. The finer outstanding name in the history of the Junior Section is Miss Jean Black. Miss Black has served in the Junior Section since 1964 and is still the officer in charge of the Junior Section. Since 1972, she has been aided by Mrs. A. Grant, Mr. G. Grant has served in the Junior Section since 1978. The Junior Section, like the company section is very successful in District and Battalion competitions, winning the District Maze Marching competition on 3 occasions in the past 4 years.

The 229 company at present has a regular attendance in excess of 25 Company Section Boys, a similar number of Junior Section Boys and 50 Anchor Boys.