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The Early Years (1907 - 1935)


phin The 44th Aberdeen Company was founded 94 years ago by the Rev. W. Phin Gillieson (left). It was formally enrolled with 4 officers and it's first Captain, Phin Gillieson, on Friday December 5th 1907. By the end of the first year an incredible 42 boys had enrolled. This was Company Section only remember, Lifeboys (the forerunner to Junior Section) didn't start at the 44th until 1925 & Anchor Boys weren't formed until 1985.

Our founder, Rev. Phin Gillieson, was a 28 year old bachelor, the son of a Caithness minister. He came to Mannofield from St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. He was only at Mannofield for 4 years but in that time he was instrumental in starting many of the organisations we know today e.g. BB's, Guides, Sunday School & even the Guild. He left for Ayr in 1910 and was awarded the Military Cross as he served as a chaplain in H.M. Forces from 1915 - 1918. He remained at Ayr for the rest of his life and died there in 1942.

He was Captain for only one year though, then remained as Chaplain and handed over to another pioneering officer, James L. Archibald snr (right). He was the Companies first real Captain leading it for 12 years and seeing the 44th through World War I. It was to be the start of a long association between the Archibald family with the 44th through to today where Mrs Pat Geddes, wife of our Session Clerk, Nicol Geddes, is the granddaughter of James L. Archibald snr and daughter of Robert Archibald.

James L. Archibald snr had 2 sons, James jnr & Robert. Both men were officers in the Company. James jnr became the 4th Captain in 1925 and remained until 1933. He was made Honorary Captain in 1935. Robert became an officer in 1928 and it's thought he too had a spell as Captain perhaps during the World War II years although its never been documented in Battalion records. It was at the 44th that Robert met his wife, Mrs Pat Archibald, who is still a special guest at our Open Nights. She played piano for many years. It was Robert too, who in the early 1930's presented the Company with the vaulting horse (and possibly the bars too) which we still use today. Just imagine how many boys have been over that horse in the 70 years it has been with us.

Incredibily the Archibald family gave over 40 years of service to the 44th in those early years.