The Fife Volunteer Regiment and National Reserve County of Fife

St. Andrews Volunteer Reserve
St. Andrews FVR with copyright & kind permission of Jimmy Bone
National Reserve County of Fife lapel badge

It is unclear what unit this photograph shows, I initially thought it could be soldiers of the National Reserve.

To quote from The long Long Trail Website

"The National Reserve was, in essence, a register maintained by Territorial Force County Associations of all those who had military experience, but who had no other reserve obligation. It was divided in three classes: Class I for those under 42 in age, II officers and senior ranks under 55 and junior ranks under 50 for home service only, III those who were not medically fit for Classes I and II."

I've ruled this out however as several of the nco's have wound stripes on their left arms, these were only introduced in 1916 by which time the National Reserve had vanished, most men being drafted into service battalions

There is a confusing selection of insignia on display, most of the men are wearing a general service badge, the pipers and nco's Black watch uniforms and the officers are wearing cap badges like the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry. On the shoulder straps of the young lads in the front it's just about possible to make out V over FIFE.

Detail 1
Detail 3
Officer Detail

My best guess is that this shows the Fifeshire Volunteer Regiment which encompased the 7th, 8th and 9th Volunteer Battalions of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) (confusingly these are totally seperate from the territorial battalions with the same numbers). In 1918 the 7th was based at Drill Hall, Kirkcaldy, the 8th at the Municipal Buildings, Dunfermline, the 9th at Drill Hall, St.Andrews and the County Commandant, 96 North Street, St.Andrews. I'm guessing they acted very much like the later Home Guard with similar duties.

For now it remains a mystery, if anyone can shed any light please let me know.