John Pollock - The Cameronians


Cameronians (The Scottish Rifles) - Time-Line

  • 1638 - Religious origins - Covenanters

Presbyterian sects which sought to prevent any dilution of the Presbyterian faith, and who upheld the principles of the National Covenant, signed at Greyfriars Church Yard in Edinburgh on 28th February 1638.

  • 1688 - Cameronians Regiment founded after arrival of Protestant William, Prince of Orange to the throne. Raised in the name of the Earl of Angus, the eldest son of the Marquis of Douglas
  • 1689 - First muster of the regiment took place at Douglas Parish Kirk, Lanarkshire on 12th May 1689.

All shall be well affected, of approved fidelity and of a sober conversation. The cause they are called to appear for, is the service of the King's Majesty and the defence of the Nation, recovery and preservation of the Protestant Religion; and in particular the work of reformation in Scotland, in opposition to Popery, prelacy and arbitrary power in all its branches and steps, until the Government of Church and State be brought back to that lustre and integrity which it had in the best times.

Fought against the highlanders at Dunkeld

  • 1691 - joined William IIIs Army in the Netherlands and fought in the War of the League of Augsburg at Steenkirk (1692) and Landen (1693).
  • 1702 - the regiment returned to the continent to fight in the War of Spanish Succession (1701-14).
  • 1704 - Under the Duke of Marlborough, the Cameronians were present at the capture of Schellenberg (1704) and at Ramillies (1706).
  • 1709 - the regiment, positioned in the centre of the British line, played an important part in the battle of Malplaquet, forcing the French to break and allowing the cavalry to advance.
  • 1740 - 48 -The Cameronians garrisoned both Gibraltar and Minorca during the War of the Austrian Succession
  • 1751 were renamed the 26th Regiment (The Cameronians).
  • 1767 - They embarked for the American colonies.
  • 1775 - they formed detachments at the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point
  • 1777 - British defeat at Saratoga , regiment was essentially drafted to other units, only a small group returning home to begin recruiting anew.
  • 1801 - Outbreak of the wars with the French, Cameronians took part in the landings at Aboukir Bay and' the capture of Alexandria.
  • 1808 - Present at the retreat to Corunna and the Walcheren Expedition in the Netherlands.
  • 1811 - Arrived in Portugal under the command of the Duke of Wellington, where they saw great hardship but little action and were withdrawn to garrison in Gibraltar.
  • 1841 - Took part in the First China War
  • 1868 - Took part in War in Abyssinia under Lord Napier. The 90th Perthshire Light Infantry were raised by the charismatic Thomas Graham of Balgowan, later General Lord Lynedoch, as the 90th Regiment of Foot, or Perthshire Volunteers, in 1794. Sworn by deep personal commitment to devote his life to fighting the French, he raised the regiment at his own expense. A 2nd Battalion was also raised, but these men were drafted to the Marines.
  • 1881 - 90th Perthshire Light Infantry became the 2nd Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Since then, their recruiting base has been firmly located in Lanarkshire and the Glasgow area, where the 26th Cameronian Regiment originated.
  • 1889-1902 - the regiment served with great distinction during the 2nd Boer War
  • 1891 - the regiment was authorised to wear the Douglas tartan
  • 1914-1918 - During the First World War, gained battle honours at 'Mons', 'Mame', 'Neuve Chapelle', 'Ypres' and 'Gallipoli'.
  • 1940 - 2nd Battalion were evacuated at Dunkirk, having lost 365 of their comrades as casualties
  • 1939-45 - Involved in battles as far afield as north -west Europe, Italy and Burma
  • 1946 - the 1st Battalion were placed in 'suspended animation' and the 2nd Battalion was renumbered as the 1st Battalion.
  • 1968 - as a result of force reductions and army reforms and at their own request, the regiment was disbanded and a last conventicle was held on 14th May 1968. The Cameronians only exist today as detachments of the Army Cadet Force.



The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), (26th and 90th), 1914

John Pollock worked as a butcher, but in 1914, aged 22, he enlisted in the Cameronians, the Scottish Rifles who were based in Hamilton, Lanarkshire. Their depot was still there in the 1960s when the regiment was finally disbanded. John saw action early and was given the 1914 Star for enlisting that year. He later was awarded the Military Medal for bravoury in action. He told me in his latter years that he single-handedly took out a German gun emplacement. John achieved the rank of sergeant but was busted on a number of occasions back to private for dealing in Rum rations. He was eventually taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war in Stendal prison camp in Germany. Sergeant John Pollock, No 15818, A -Company, 9th Battalion, Scottish Rifles was taken prison of war by the Germans during WW1 and was presumed dead until the Red Cross notified the family. He was taken to a POW camp at Stendal in Germany.

Notes on Stendal

STENDAL, a town of Germany, in the province of Prussian Saxony, picturesquely situated on the TJchte, 70 m. W,. of Berlin on the main line of railway to Hanover and at the junction of lines to Bremen, Magdeburg and Wittenberge. Pop.(1905), 23,281.

Notes from here and there on Stendal prison camp:

1. THE STORY OF NORAH LOUISE WHITTAKER Born in Yorkshire 3rd February 1900 – Died Perth, Western Australia 2 November 1991.

Wartime, my brother Bert joined the Kings Royal Rifles and was sent to France. He was captured by the Germans and sent to a prison camp. We used to write often to him but he couldn’t tell us much. After he came home he told us that in Stendal (the prison camp) food was scarce and they had to scrounge it from dustbins and odd places. He was later sent to a farm to work for a woman called Frau Winterbauer and things got better. She said he reminded her of her son who was away in the war and she called him Peter. While he was there he got pneumonia and she wrapped him in feather-bedcovers. She not only cured that illness but also the problems he had previously incurred some years earlier when his shoulder blade had pierced his lung when he was knocked off his bike by a dog. It was in 1917 or 1918 when he returned home.

2. The Germans went to extraordinary lengths sometimes to use them to counter the tales of mistreatment that were abounding. Men were made to smarten themselves and then had their photograph taken looking well and contented either singly or in groups. These photos were then made into postcards, which were mailed back to families in England.

3. The Germans maintained a set of 'Registration Camps' such as Gustrow, Stendal, Limburg, Friedrichsfeld and Parchim. They were used as the designated addresses of men who had been sent to work in mines and factories and on farms. Red Cross Parcels sent to them rarely arrived and after the war the Committee made a list of parcels sent and parcels acknowledged so that a claim could be made on the German Government for the missing parcels

4. After convalescing in hospital Durham was moved to the Prisoner of War Camp at Stendal, Germany about 90 miles west of Berlin. The men were well treated although rations were in short supply, especially near the end of the war. Prisoners were issued a prison uniform supplied by the Red Cross that was black with brown stripes down the legs and a brown insert on the sleeves of the jacket. The daily fare at the camp consisted of black bread and soup and the men depended on packages from home and from the Red Cross for additional food, money, and supplies. A new arrival at the camp would be paired up with someone who had been at the camp for a while and they would share their parcels until the new arrival began to receive packages.

Prisoners also performed labour both inside and outside of the camp. Durham worked as an electrician while others would be billeted with farm families . More unfortunate prisoners would be sent to work in the salt mines. To keep the men occupied the camp organized concerts, a debating club, orchestras, plays and sports teams. Durham traded English lessons for cello lessons. The men also adopted a black cat as their mascot and gave the cat and her five kittens a home in their barracks. After the Armistice took affect on November 11, 1918, the camp was visited by Canadian officers who arranged for the transportation of the men back home

Excerpts from Motherwell Times Newspaper


Intimation has been received that Sergt. J. Pollock, Scottish Rifles, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery on the filed. Sergt. Pollock is well known in the town, and prior to the war he was employed as a butcher with Messrs J. Edwards & Sons. His home address is 39 Abbotsford Place.


Sergeant John Pollock, Scottish Rifles, who has been missing since the start of the German offensive on 23rd March, has turned up a prisoner of war in Germany. He is a Military Medallist, and before en-listing was employed with Messrs Edwards, butchers, The Cross.

Post card from Stendal, on back: A Stower Nachl. B. Zielinski, Stendal, Schadewachelen 43


The Germans produced a brochure, perhaps as propaganda, showing how well the prisoners were treated and how good the conditions were in the camp.

Avenue and entrance to the Camp


Group of workers in Parcel-office

Avenue of the Camp - Unloading of a food-wagon

View of the Camp - Facing-west

General view of the Camp - Facing North

Interior of a Russian Barrack

Ingenious methods of French prisoners transporting their belongings to a working camp

Distribution of biscuits by the National Federation for the assistance of prisoners of war (French)

Cook-house of the 4 Company

Distribution of soup

Camp kitchen

Camp kitchen (boilers)

The practice of a French dentist

Russian Fire-Brigade

Interior of shower-bath

Life in Camp - The wash-house

A quiet game of chess

A game of bowls

The Library - The Book-case

The Library - School, Lecture and recreation-room

Recreation room - A game of Billiards

Barracks and Garden of No. 3 Company

Barracks and Garden of No. 4 Company

Camp orchestra (24 performers)

Sport in Camp - Franco-British football team

Art in Camp - Two motor cars made by a prisoner of war

Art in Camp - Wood-carving

Camp hobbies

The roman-catholic chapel

Russian Orthodox priest in his official robes - also showing view of alter

An Indian prisoner

Group of Indian soldiers

Russian Cossack

Art in Camp - French artist in studeo

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