Regimental Museum

Even before the creation of the Transvaal Scottish Volunteers, the museum existed. The countless memorabilia, documentation and artefacts relating to the process of the Regiment's establishment began to mount up.

The Transvaal Scottish Museum present the following items of interest.

The two founders of the Regiment.
Transvaal Scottish first active service. (1906)
The quiet years (1906 - 1914)
The Great War (1914 - 1918)
German South West Africa
In Europe
Delville Wood Cross

Miners Revolt. (1922)
World War II (1940 - 1945)
Sidi Rezegh
El Alamein

Visits to the Museum
Johannesburg sites with memorabilia on display.

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Scottish Horse Slouch Hat
(presented by Lord Bruce Murray, Marquis of Tullibardine, June 1996)

Worn by the Marquis of Tullibardine, founder of the Transvaal Scottish Volunteers on his return to Scotland in 1902 as Officer Commanding the Scottish Horse (Yeomanry).

Notes: The inside label indicates the manufacturer, "Lincoln Bennet, Sackville Street, Piccadilly, London"

Also, only the Commanding Officer would wear the silk Murray of Athol tartan in the pogri

Having founded the Regiment, the Marquis of Tullibardine recommended that the new Regiment used the Scottish Horse slouch hat and black cock feather. This head dress was only used in the period 1902 to 1906

The two founders of the Regiment.   [ TOP ]

Marquis of Tullibardine

The Marquis of Tullibardine, later the 8th Duke of Athol, was responsible for the establishment of the War Memorial Chapel at Edinburgh Castle which commemorates the Scottish dead of the Great War.

Thomas Law was the chief of the Johannesburg Caledonian Society, who assisted the Marquis of Tullibardine in recruiting for the Scottish Horse during the Boer War 1899 - 1902. When the Marquis returned to Scotland in late 1902, Law continued the Marquis. s initiatives to form a powerful regiment on the Witwatersrand, the Transvaal Scottish Volunteers.

Transvaal Scottish first active service. (1906)   [ TOP ]

In the 1906 Rebellion in Natal, the Transvaal Scottish volunteers swung into action in the form of a company commanded by Capt. Arnold Statham Milne. Capt. Milne his men and their actions were responsible for the first battle honour, Natal 1906. This picture indicates the uniform that was worn on active service.

Capt Arnold Statham Milne

The uniform has changed little since 1902:

  • A Blue balmoral replaces the the Slouch Hat.
  • the distinctive black cock feather replaced by the Regimental badge.
  • The khaki spats replaced with white ones.
  • The officers tunic has been changed with an open necked one and a collared shirt and tie are worn.

The quiet years. (1906 - 1914)   [ TOP ]

Pretoria 1910
Prior to the Great War, the Transvaal Scottish Volunteers had companies stationed across the Witwatersrand. Even as far north as Pretoria. This picture shows uniformed officers in 1910.

The Great War (1914 - 1918)   [ TOP ]

German South West Africa
Narrated imperial flag

The German Imperial Flag. The flag was captured by 2 Transvaal Scottish at Swakopmund prior to annexure of 16th January 1915.

This is one of the more impressive items on display in the museum since it documents the names of those participants. The six companies and the command structure of the battalion at the time are also recorded. On the right hand side of the double headed eagle are the signatures of the Commanding Officer, the battalion second in command, the Adjutant, the Padre and the Log Officer. Below these signatures are the names of the men under a heading indicating which company they served.

On the left of the flag are more names, presumably written there because the area to the right of the eagle was too small.

In front of the flag is a "minenwerfer" (German trench mortar) known as "minies" by the British forces, including the South African Scottish.

Corporal George Warwick of the South African Scottish wrote :

"You would hear the minnie going off. One of our men on minnie guard would blow one blast on a whistle if the minnie was coming straight for him; two blasts if it was falling on his right hand side; three if it was on his left hand side.
You would see the minnie go into the air and apparently come down straight for you. You ran to the right and looked up and it seemed still to be descending straight on you. You ran back and by the time the minnie would have reached your line and gone off with the most nerve shattering detonation. The minnie was just as terrifying at night time, for it lit up it. s path through the air with a fiery tail."

In Europe.   [ TOP ]

Acting on the principle that no regiment is fully equipped without a mascot and showing a keen interest the Scottish contingent, Mr David McLarren Kennedy, of the farm Vierfontein, Orange Free State province, presented the Regiment with a young Springbok:

Hey Jock! am sendin' ye ma 'Nancy'
an' hope that she may tak' yer fancy!
Yer gaein' faur across the seas;
Sae mind puir 'Dauvit' if ye please -
thats me.
David McLarren Kennedy,
Vierfontein, OFS
20 August 1915

Nancy and Pvt AE Petersen, Potchefstroom, September 1915.

Nancy and Pvt AE Petersen, Potchefstroom, September 1915.

During the battle of Delville Wood, a shell exploded in the transport lines close to where Nancy was tethered at the Quarter Master Stores.  Nancy took fright, bolted and broke her left horn against the wall.  This horn began growing downwards at an angle.   The doctors didn't know much about vetenary sciences and weren't about to set it.   Thus, the horn was allowed to continue growing.  To her honour, a gold stripe was added to the Murray Athol tartan coat strapping that Nancy wore.

The South African Scottish Regiment was the Imperial Service unit of the Transvaal Scottish . This unit was on a par with similar service units established for the duration of W.W.I for service overseas by countries such as Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand. The SA Scottish Regiment consisted battalions from the four provinces at the time; Cape, Natal, Free state and Transvaal. The Transvaal unit was a tactical grouping of 1st, 2nd and 3rd battalions Transvaal Scottish. The Scottish are the only regiment in South Africa that mustered and deployed three battalions during the war.

The first floor landing at the museum is dedicated to those who fought in the South African Scottish.

Delville Wood Cross The Delville Wood Cross.   [ TOP ]

This cross was made from a tree in Delville Wood and was erected there by the pioneers of the South African Scottish Regiment during the war and later transferred to Johannesburg. The cross and shield suffered damage from shell and rifle fire during the retreat of 1918.

Miners Revolt. (1922)   [ TOP ]

1922 Miners Revolt losses.

World War II. (1940 - 1945)   [ TOP ]


The campaign saw the Transvaal Scottish march through Kenya up into Abyssinia.

Among the Abyssinian memorabilia there stands one of the many cloaks of Haile Selassie.  This cloak was presented by a Mr. Drabbe who realised the value of the cloak within a museum context.


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Sollum.   [ TOP ]

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Headlines of the day.

News of the Transvaal Scottish victory at Sollum was such good press that the headlines beat the military communications to the South African Public. Needless to say the military were disappointed.

This battle is honoured through a parade each year, where the most important guests of honour, are those survivors who manage to attend this parade.

Sidi Rezegh.   [ TOP ]

This rugby ball was autographed by some of the survivors of the 5th South African Infantry Brigade after the battle of Sidi Rezegh (22-23 November 1941). Among the names is Lieutenant N.N. Webster. After the war, Lt.Col. Webster became the commanding officer of 3rd Bn Transvaal Scottish for the period 1947 - 1954


POW signed rugby ball Sollum survivors signatures on Rugby Ball

Genl. Webster's ribons

Major General NN Webster's ribbon bar

Lt.Col Webster later continued his career within the South African military to the rank of Major General. He is the highest ranking officer to have served within the Transvaal Scottish.
(presented by Major General Webster himself)

  • His International Association awards (not shown) are:
    "Golden Service Cross of Prinz Eugene Veterans Association of Austria.".
  • "Knights cross of Iron cross - German Veterans Association"
  • "Republic of China (Taiwan) Association medal of Highest Honour"

Top row: Star of South Africa (SSA), Southern Cross Medal (SM), South African Defence Force Good Service Medal - Gold (30 Years Service)
Middle row: John Chard Decoration(JCD), Military Merit Medal (MMM), 1953 Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal, 1939-45 Star
Bottom row: Africa Star - 8th Army Clasp, Italy Star, British War Medal, Africa Service Medal

General Webster was also awarded the Chinese military honour :
"Order of the Banner and the Cloud Special Cravat"

El Alamein.   [ TOP ]

This Afrika Korps insignia is on a piece of one of Rommel's Afrika Korps vehicles from the battle fields of Sidi Rezegh. Presented by Lt.Col. (Later Brigadier) E.P. Hartshorn to Field Marshall J.C. Smuts, where it hung on his farm at Rust De Winter.
(presented to the Regimental museum by Field Marshall J. C. Smuts himself)

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Visits to the Museum   [ TOP ]

The museum consists of so much more material than is dealt with on these pages.

The museum is open to the public at a nominal fee, by appointment only. The curator himself is involved on a voluntary part time basis and needs adequate warning to prepare for visitations.

More than 1000 people pass though the museum each year where detailed report is given on each of the available artefacts. The museum. s approach is to provide a comprehensive tour to small groups of interested parties. With this approach, all tourists are able to "feel" the proud history that the Transvaal Scottish embrace.

Portions of this museum are also available for viewing at the Rand Club, (Johannesburg central business district) and at the Museum of Military History in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. There are artefacts held for storage at other museums, however these items are not on display at present.

Further Reading.   [ TOP ]

Pyramids and Poppies, 1st SA Infantry Brigade in Libya, France and Flanders 1915 - 1919, Peter KA Digby, Ashanti Publishing

Johannesburg sites with memorabilia on display.[ TOP ]

Museum of Military History

Public Relations Officer :
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Capt. J.H.A. Spier
20 Erlsworld Way, Saxonwold, Johannesburg
PO Box 52090, Saxonwold, 2132
+27 (0)11 646 5513
+27 (0)11 646 5256"

The Rand Club

Manager :
Physical :
Postal :
e-mail :
Tel :
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Tony Thompson
22 Loveday Street, btwn Commissioner & Fox Streets
PO Box 1032, Johannesburg, 2000

+27 (0)11 834 8311
+27 (0)11 834 1247

Photographs, DD Smythe © 1999.