Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities Officer Training Corps

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Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities Officer Training Corps
Cap Badge of GSUOTC
Active 1908 - Present
Country United Kingdom
Branch Territorial Army
Type Officer Training Corps
Role TA Reserve Group B (Non deployable)
Size Three Companies
Part of Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Group
Garrison/HQ Hillhead, Glasgow
Lieutenant Colonel David Bradley
Honorary Colonel Colonel Allan Lapsley
Tartan MacKenzie[dead link]
From the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment)
Abbreviation GSUOTC

Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities Officer Training Corps (GSUOTC) is one of nineteen University Officer Training Corps in the United Kingdom and one of four in Scotland, drawing recruits from higher education institutions in and around the city of Glasgow and the wider Strathclyde region in west-central Scotland. Officer Training Corps were originally established at the four ancient universities of Scotland, but have continued to expand their catchment in line with the expansion of higher education institutions during the latter half of the 20th century. As part of the Territorial Army, the OTC's mission is to develop the leadership potential of selected university students through enjoyable and challenging training in order to communicate the values, ethos and career opportunities of the wider British Army.

Part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Group, GSUOTC currently recruits its members from student volunteers attending the four Universities in the Greater Glasgow area: The University of Glasgow, The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of the West of Scotland. Students from these institutions can also join the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde Air Squadron or the Glasgow University Royal Naval Unit.


The origins of the University's links with the military can be traced back to the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745, when companies of Militia were raised by the University of Glasgow to defend the pro-Hanoverian University and the City of Glasgow against the absolutist Highland Jacobites.

The current unit is however the direct descendent of the reserve Rifle Volunteer units that were originally raised in the Scottish Lowlands as part of the Victorian Volunteer Force by Lord Lieutenants in every county. In the 1880s, professors such as William John Macquorn Rankine and students formed two infantry companies as part of the local 1st Lanarkshire (Glasgow 1st Western) Rifle Volunteers.[1] This unit later became the 5th Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), based at West Princes Street Drill hall in the Woodlands area of Glasgow.

The emergence of Glasgow University OTC as a distinct unit began in 1906 when the Secretary of State for War, Lord Haldane, first appointed a committee to consider the problem of the shortage of officers in the Militia, the Volunteer Force, the Yeomanry and the Reserve of Officers. The committee recommended that an Officers' Training Corps be formed. The Corps was to be in two divisions, a junior division in public schools (now the Combined Cadet Force) and a senior division in the universities.

In October 1908 therefore, authorised by Army Order 160 of July 1908, as part the Haldane Reforms of the Reserve forces, the contingent was formally established as the Glasgow University Officer Training Corps and incorporated in the new Territorial Force, which was created by the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907.

The new unit was located in its own Drill hall at University Place on the Glasgow University campus. In those Edwardian days, the Corps numbered some 400 Officer Cadets organised into 3 infantry companies and an engineer company.

During the First World War, OTC members were amongst the first to volunteer, and Glasgow University OTC trained many potential officers for Kitchener's New Armies. By the summer of 1916, some 2,800 officers had been raised by the University, with over 300 other students working in munitions factories. The War Office also requisitioned lecture theatres to train officers from all parts of the UK. During the 1920s, the Corps added medical, artillery, and signals detachments to its strength.

In the Second World War, conscription was introduced immediately, and every student was regarded as a potential officer. The OTC's role was to train officers from those University students conscripted into the Army and to provide basic training for those who remained behind as a Home Guard unit. At its height the Corps rose to 1,500 members. Officers from the Polish Free Army were also educated at the University. The names of those sons of the University who fell in both World Wars were commemorated in the University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel, which was originally completed in 1929.

Glasgow University OTC continued to train university students as officers during the post-war period of National Service, between 1949 and 1960. In 1955 women were first allowed to join the OTC and a WRAC sub-unit was formed; eventually becoming fully amalgamated into the other sub-units in 1992.

The OTC expanded its title to its current form upon the creation of the University of Strathclyde in 1964, and later expanded recruitment to Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Paisley, with the passing of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. There are currently approximately 160 members in GSUOTC.

Current organisation[edit]

Members are currently organised into three Companies within GSUOTC, according to seniority:

  • Waterloo Company First year Officer Cadets. The Military Leadership Development Programme (MLDP) 1 syllabus introduces new recruits into the UOTC. Students should be able to function in field exercises as a trained soldier upon completion of the year. First year recruits will study various military skills, such as; map reading, navigation, handling the SA80 weapons system, marksmanship, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft and drill.
  • Ypres Company Second year Officer Cadets. Having learned the basic series of military skills, MLDP 2 focuses more on leadership development. Students will study how to process information about a battlefield, turn that information systematically into a set of orders and deliver them in a confident manner, using the principles of Mission Command. They will also cover in more depth map reading, signals and work on personal skills such as public speaking, team work and confidence under testing conditions. Upon completion of MLDP 2 students may be awarded a NVQ Level 3 award in leadership and management.
  • Rhine Company Senior Officer Cadets. Most are placed in command appointments, training junior officer cadets, others will go on to study Infanteering, Signals, Engineering or Artillery in more detail.

OTC members are classed as Officer Cadets (OCdt) and are "Group B" members of the Territorial Army, paid when on duty. As part of "Group B" however they are neither trained for nor liable for mobilised (active) service overseas.

Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities Officers Training Corps has three specialist Troops: the Infantry & Signals Troop, the Artillery Troop, and Engineers Troop, as well as a fully established Pipes and Drums, which regularly represents the unit at national events such as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Artillery Troop has also fired 21-gun salutes, using the L118 Light Gun, from Stirling Castle on several occasions.[2]

Unless in receipt of an Army Scholarship, Cadets have no obligation to join the regular British Army or mainstream TA when they leave university, and can resign from the OTC at any time.

External links[edit]