ABOUT ROBERT LOUIS SOUTER
Italian children asking for food at Salerno.
Born in 1903 Robert Souter was already winning prizes for his drawings from the Royal Drawing Society in 1915. Unable to join the Royal Engineers till he was 18, he took a job with The White Star Line in London and in 1931 joined the London Scottish Regiment TA. He was mobilised as a corporal in 1939 promoted to Sergeant and after a short period with the BEF, he served in the 1st Battalion in Iraq. In 1943 the Battalion took part in the invasion of Sicily. He was captured at Anzio spending the rest of the war as a POW.
Before the war he had contributed cartoons to the Regimental Gazette and throughout his active service he took his sketchbook with him. When he was captured he had a bundle of drawings in his knapsack, which his captors allowed him to keep in view of their opinion that they were
“Of No Military Importance”.
This book is a collection of cartoons, drawings, poems and articles, which he produced relating to his service with The London Scottish whose motto is
The London Scottish Regiment was founded in 1859 as the London Scottish Rifle Volunteers. In 1900 Volunteers went to South Africa and won the Regiment’s first Battle Honour “South Africa 1900-02”. In 1908 following the Haldane Review it became The 14th County of London Bn of the London Regiment. In WW1 the 1st Bn was the first Volunteer unit to be committed in the Line. On the night of Hallowe’en 1914 it held the line at Messines near Ypres and suffered 384 casualties before morning, killed wounded or missing.
The 1st Bn went on to take part in most of the significant engagements. The 2nd Bn served in Palestine and France. During the War 1584 members of the Regiment gave their lives.
It was this Regiment, which Bob Souter joined in 1931.
An Iraqi market place
Colonel John Clemence CBE TD was commissioned into the Seaforth Highlanders National Service. In 1959 the Centenary year of the London Scottish he joined it as a private as had his uncles and cousins. He served in the 1st Battalion until the reorganisation of the TA in 1967 and commanded “G” Company 1/51 Highland Volunteers until he retired from active service in 1972. He served as Regimental Trustee and Treasurer and was Regimental Colonel from 1989 to 1995 during which time the London Scottish became “A” (London Scottish) Company of the London Regiment. When he retired he was awarded the CBE for services to the Territorial Army.
“I knew Bob as a fellow Glenworple Highlander and the more I learned about him and his drawings the more convinced I became that they should be brought to a broader public”.