THE Founder of The Boys' Brigade was born at Pennyland, Thurso, 27th October, 1854. His grandfather held a commission in the 78th Highlanders, and served under Wellington, and his father, till his marriage in 1852, served in the 7th Dragoon Guards. At the age of fourteen young Smith came to Glasgow, finished his education, and entered the business of his uncle, the late Mr. Alexander Fraser. In 1874 he joined the 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers as a private. After serving one year he got his lance-corporal's stripe; in the second year he was promoted to be corporal, and passed the sergeants' examination; and in his third year he was selected for a commission. In 1889 he was chosen to command the newly-raised Mounted Detachment, which soon became the smartest feature of this smart regiment, and he retired in 1908 with the rank of Honorary Colonel and the Volunteer Decoration.
    The idea of The Boys' Brigade occurred to Mr. Smith in connection with his work as Secretary of the Free College Church Mission Sunday School. The taste of boys for military matters suggested that military drill might be used as a valuable means of discipline and moral as well as physical training. Mr. Smith took into his confidence two of his fellow Sunday School teachers, Mr. J. R. and Mr. J. B. Hill, both of whom subsequently became vicars in the Church of England, and The Boys' Brigade was formed on 4th October, 1883, in the Mission Hall, 329 North Woodside Road. Fifty boys were enrolled, but the requirements of strict obedience and rigid military discipline soon had the effect of weeding the ranks, and at the end of the first season the strength was reduced to twenty-four of the right sort, while numbers were eager to join. In the second year the now well-known uniform was introduced - cap, belt, and haversack - and on 9th April, 1885 the Company, now known as the 1st Glasgow Company, had its first march-out, to Garscube Grounds. Next year the first summer camp was held at Tighnabruaich, and so largely has this example been followed, that now nearly 14,000 Brigade Boys annually enjoy the privileges of a week's camp at the coast or in the country.
    Soon The Boys' Brigade movement spread over the United Kingdom. In 1885 an Executive was appointed, with Mr. J. Carfrae Alston as Brigade President and Mr. W. A. Smith as Brigade Secretary. Two years later Mr. Smith was asked, and agreed, to relinquish his business and devote himself entirely to the work of the Brigade. At the same time a separate Headquarters Office and Staff were established, and the organisation is now one of the largest, healthiest, and most useful agencies of moral and physical training in the country, with the Prince of Wales as Patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury as Vice-Patron, and the Earl of Aberdeen as Honorary President. In 1902 a Coronation Review of Brigade Boys was held in London, before H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, when the 1st Glasgow Company led the march-past of over 12,000 boys, believed to be the largest review of drilled boys in the history of the world. Within the United Kingdom the Boys' Brigade has over 67,000 members, and altogether, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the West Indies, India, Ceylon, China, and Japan it has no fewer than 2,300 companies, 10,500 officers and staff-sergeants, and 105,000 boys. In September, 1908, the semi-jubilee of the movement was celebrated at Glasgow by a review, by H.R.H. Prince arthur of Connaught, of over 10,000 Boys, under the command of Mr. Smith, who was presented with his portrait and other marks of appreciation by the members of the Brigade and by his fellow-citizens. The Brigade has its official monthly paper, The Boys' Brigade Gazette.
    Mr. Smith married in 1884 a daughter of the late Rev. Andrew Sutherland, chaplain to the troops at Gibraltar. She died in 1898, leaving two sons, the elder of whom is now an officer in the 1st Glasgow Company. In 1906 Mr. Smith married a daughter of the late Mr.William Campbell, a sister of Mr. M. Pearce Campbell, the present Lord Dean of Guild, but death again entered his home, and his wife was taken away after a short married life of only fifteen months.
    Mr. Smith visited the Boys' Brigade in the Dominion of Canada in 1895, as the guest of the Governor-General, the Earl of Aberdeen, and visited the principal cities of the United States in 1907, as the guest of the American Executive. He received the honour of knighthood in June, 1909.

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