Fri 26 May 2006
Nemo me impune
COLONEL ROBERT WATSON (retired)
1633 From a royal seal
MARCH 1633, Sir John Hepburn received a Royal Warrant
from King Charles I to raise a regiment of Scottish
soldiers for service in France. The regiment has given
unbroken service to sovereign and country since that
day making it not only the oldest in British service,
but also the oldest continuously formed active army
unit in the world today. In those 373 years it has
served on operations from Canada in the West to China
in the East, and from Northern Russia south to the
Falkland Islands. Battalions of the regiment have been
involved in almost every campaign in which the British
Army has fought, from Marlborough's battles to the
1991 Gulf War, gaining 149 Battle Honours and winning
seven Victoria Crosses in the process.
Pilate error downs the French
this time, officers of the French Regiment of Picardy,
during an argument as to which was the oldest
regiment, claimed that they had guarded the tomb of
Christ. The Royal Scots replied that, had they been on
guard, Christ's body would not have disappeared. The
French conceded the seniority, giving the regiment its
nickname: "Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard".
The first of many honours
regiment gained its first battle honour - "Tangier",
the oldest honour in the British Army. Four years
later, King Charles II awarded the regiment the title
"The Royal Regiment of Foot", subsequently shortened
to "The Royal Regiment", it was the first British
"Royal Regiment" and the only one to have borne the
Age no object in battle
Battle of Malplaquet, the regiment probably had the
youngest and oldest participants on the battlefield.
The wife of a soldier, Private McBain, handed over
their three-week old baby son to him just before the
battle saying she would follow the Colours no more.
McBain placed the baby in his knapsack where he
remained, and survived throughout the battle. Also
serving in the regiment as a soldier that day was
William Hiseland, born in 1620, who, at 89, was almost
certainly the oldest man on the field. Having survived
the battle he lived until the age of 112, dying in
1732, as an in-pensioner at the Royal Hospital
Chelsea, having got married at the age of 103.
The last battle on British soil
Battalion, occupying its place of regimental seniority
on the right of the front line of the Duke of
Cumberland's army, took part in the Battle of
Culloden, the last battle to be fought on British
soil. The Royal Ecossais, consisting mainly of Scots
recruited in the Highlands, formed part of the
opposing second line of the Jacobite left.
Kicking back with Wellington
Battalion played a major role in the capture of the
key city of San Sebastian at the end of Wellington's
Peninsular Campaign. It twice provided the major part
of the "Forlorn Hope", the force formed to storm the
breaches in the city wall, the second time
successfully. The total losses from the battalion,
consisting of 800 soldiers fit and in the field, were
140 men killed, while 389 were wounded.
Regiment shows true colours
Battle of Waterloo, four junior officers had been
killed while carrying the King's Colour at the front
of the regiment. When the fourth of these, Ensign
Kennedy, was killed, a sergeant attempted to take it
from him but could not loosen the dead officer's grip.
sergeant, whose name is not known, threw the ensign,
still clutching the Colour, over his shoulder and
carried both back to the regiment's ranks.
onlooking French, in recognition of that remarkable
act of gallantry, with- held their fire.
unique battle honour
Battalion, which served in India and Burma from 1806
to 1830, took part in the Battle of Nagpore and the
regiment was awarded this as its 21st battle honour -
the only British regiment to have been awarded that
Together for the last time
the 1st and 2nd Battalions served in the Crimea War,
the last time the two served together. Private Joseph
Prosser won the first of the Regiment's seven Victoria
Crosses for aprehending a deserter and carrying an
injured comrade to safety.
1899-1903 The bloody greyhounds
1st, and later, the 3rd Battalions both served in the
Boer War. The 3rd was dubbed "the bloody greyhounds"
for the speed of its marches.
1914-1918 Heavy price of victory
First World War. The regiment expanded to 35
battalions, of which 15 were front-line units, with
over 100,000 men serving in it. Of these, more than
11,000 were killed and 40,000 wounded, a casualty rate
of over 50 per cent. The regiment was the largest in
Scotland and suffered the greatest number of
casualties. Battalions served on the Western Front ,
Gallipoli, Macedonia, Egypt, Palestine and Russia. A
total of 79 battle honours (of the 168 which were
designated) were awarded to the regiment.
PRINCESS Mary, the only daughter of King George V, and
later to be the Princess Royal, was appointed as the
regiment's first Colonel-in-Chief.
tribute to those who fell
PRINCESS Mary, Colonel-in-Chief, opened the Royal
Scots Club, the regiment's War Memorial, in Abercromby
Place, Edinburgh as a tribute to those who had lost
their lives in the First World War.
Celebrating three centuries
regiment celebrated its 300th anniversary. King George
V inspected the 1st Battalion at Aldershot and, during
his address to them, announced his decision to confer
on the regiment's pipers the right to wear his
personal tartan, the Royal Stuart.
1939-1945 Earning worldwide respect
Second World War. The 1st Battalion moved with the BEF
to France and was later deployed to cover the
withdrawal to Dunkirk. Few made it home alive. The 2nd
Battalion, stationed in Hong Kong, fought against the
overwhelming Japanese invasion but were ordered to
surrender with the rest of the garrison on Christmas
Battalion was reconstituted and fought in Burma. A new
2nd Battalion was formed in May 1942 and served in
Italy and Palestine, whilst the two territorial
battalions, the 7th/9th and 8th, fought in north-west
Europe from D-Day to the German surrender. Thirty-nine
battle honours were awarded to the regiment .
Douglas Ford of the 2nd Battalion was posthumously
awarded a George Cross for refusing to implicate
others accused of spying by the Japanese, despite
being tortured, starved and eventually executed by
firing squad in Hong Kong in December 1943.
Joining forces as a single batallion
and 2nd Battalions amalgamate at Dreghorn Barracks in
Edinburgh. This was the first time the regiment had
been reduced to a single regular battalion since 1686.
Monumental tribute to the fallen
Regimental Monument in West Princes Street Gardens,
Edinburgh is opened by Princess Mary. The monument
features an inscription of a passage from the
Declaration of Arbroath.
The new kings of the castle
REGIMENTAL headquarters and the museum moved from
Glencorse Barracks, Penicuik, which had been the
regimental depot since 1881, to Edinburgh Castle,
which remains the regiment's home today.
Death of the Colonel-in-Chief
PRINCESS Mary, The Princess Royal, died on Regimental
Day, 28 March, having served as Colonel-in-Chief for
nearly 47 years.
By royal appointment
regiment celebrated its 350th anniversary. The
highlight of a number of commemorative events saw the
Queen inspect a regimental parade in Holyrood Park,
Edinburgh and, in her address, announced the
appointment of her daughter, the Princess Anne - now
the Princess Royal - to be the regiment's new
Awards for gallantry in the Gulf
Battalion deployed to the Gulf as an armoured infantry
battalion mounted in Warrior armoured vehicles. The
batallion won more operational awards for gallantry
than any unit, other than the SAS, and was awarded the
battle honours "Wadi El Batin" and "Gulf 1991".
Tattoo leaves an indelible mark
participating in the 1998 Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a
number of Fijians applied to transfer to the British
Army and to join The Royal Scots. The first 15 arrived
the following year and, since then, more than 2,000
have followed to join all units of the army.
unsurprisingly, the 1st Battalion won the army's
7-a-side rugby tournament the following year and has
now won the competition for a record seven successive
times - as well as making a name for themselves on the
Scottish circuit. In 2006, the 1st Battalion, having
lost in the final in 2005, finally won the 15-a-side
Army Rugby Cup.
regiment united once again
March, 373 years to the day since it was formed, The
Royal Scots ceased to exist as an independent regiment
and merged with the five other surviving Scottish
regiments to form The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
regiment has been committed to the range of operations
in which the British Army has been engaged since 1945.
The regiment's territorials have been involved
reinforcing the 1st Battalion on its overseas
deployments as well as providing almost 50 individual
reinforcements for six-month tours in Iraq since 2003.
wheel has come full circle and, once again, the
regiment has become a single entity recruited from
across Scotland. It takes pride in its continuing
service to Queen and country its position as the
senior regiment of the British infantry, its "royal"
title and its motto, which are all drawn directly from
The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment), First of Foot
and Right of the Line.
Fri 26 May
Proud Royal Scots
march into history
THE proud 373-year
reign of the Royal Scots was laid to rest
today as crowds lined Princes Street to bid
Edinburgh's regiment an emotional farewell.
Up to a 1000
serving soldiers and veterans took part in the
historic regiment's final parade, with
hundreds turning out in the drizzle to watch
troops, who have just returned from their
second tour of duty in Iraq, marched in desert
uniform, drums beating and bayonets fixed,
down Princes Street. The damp conditions
suited the sombre mood as the men saluted The
Princess Royal, their Colonel in Chief, for
the last time as they passed the Royal
The Royal Scots
will merge later this year with the King's Own
Scottish Borderers to form The Royal Scots
Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of
Scotland. The creation of a Scottish
super-regiment was billed by the UK Government
as a move to modernise Britain's Armed Forces
but critics denounced the reform as
of the Royal Scots, Lieutenant Colonel Robert
Bruce, 40, who took over the post in February,
said he felt proud to command the parade. He
said: "It's a great honour. They did a great
job in Iraq and the honour of leading them is
even greater on such a public occasion."
officer said the mood was only subdued for the
veterans. He added: "For the serving community
it's not sad. It is for some of the retired
community but what we hope with a parade such
as today's is to take forward the history and
tradition of the Royal Scots with pride."
He said that they
had decided to wear their combat uniforms in
recognition of their recent tour of Iraq. "We
decided to illustrate to the crowd first and
foremost we are a fighting infantry
Sir Robert Richardson, former Royal Scots
Colonel of the Regiment, said: "The golden
thread linking the past and over three and a
half centuries of unrivalled tradition of
service, comradeship, courage and loyalty to
crown and country will be fostered and
maintained in the present and the future.
"I have the
greatest admiration for those serving today
and am confident that they and those that
follow will not rest on their laurels but
through their ability and commitment will
ensure the success of the new Royal Regiment
of Scotland and the continuance of the
Scottish military tradition."
cruised into Leith harbour to pay respect to
the battleship's Royal Scots-affiliated Army
battalion. The marchers gathered outside the
City Arts Centre on Market Street from before
9am. Among those on parade were serving
soldiers and veterans, some in wheelchairs and
many who had followed fathers and brothers
into the regiment.
The Royal Scots
led cadets, veterans, Territorial Army and
Gurkhas over Waverley Bridge and along Princes
Street. The Gurkhas, led by a man in a leopard
print cloak beating a drum, were followed by
three camouflage vehicles carrying soldiers
with blackened faces.
the route, clapping the marchers as they
passed. Staff at Marks & Spencer, Romanes and
Paterson and Jenners, which had a display of
old uniforms in its window to mark the
occasion, turned out to watch from their
stood on the podium on the steps of the RSA
wearing a camel and navy skirt suit and
matching hat to take the final salute from her
regiment. The Princess, who was holding her
own umbrella, stood alongside Brigadier Robbie
Scott-Bowden, Colonel of the Regiment of the
Royal Scots, until the parade passed at
She waved at the
crowd and then spent over half-an-hour
chatting to soldiers past and present before
going off to a private reception at the Royal
Scots Club in Abercromby Place with
approximately 100 people, including the Lord
Lieutenants of all the recruiting districts
and Edinburgh's Lord Provost Lesley Hinds.
• The Royal Scots
is the oldest, continuously formed, active
army unit in the world and the oldest infantry
regiment in the British Army.
It was formed in
1633 by King Charles I as the sovereign
recruited men from Edinburgh to fight in
France. They won their first battle honour in
Tangiers in 1680 and their first Victoria
Cross at the Siege of Sevastopol in the
The Battle of
Culloden in 1746 was the last time the
regiment fought on British soil.
Members of The
Royal Scots have won seven Victoria Crosses -
six during the First World War when The Royal
Scots lost 11,162 men. The regiment's motto, "Nemo
Me Impune Lacessit" ("no-one dares me with
impunity") is now the motto of the new Royal
Regiment of Scotland.
In 1983, the
regiment celebrated its 350th anniversary and
the Queen carried out a review of the regiment
at which she announced the appointment of her
daughter, HRH The Princess Anne, to be Colonel
'IT'S SAD BUT WE
HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD'
57, from Haddington, was sad to leave behind a
long family history of Royal Scots soldiers.
He said: "I feel extremely sad. I have four
brothers, one of whom is dead, and we all
served in the greatest regiment. It's a sad
day. I feel pride and sorrow."
Steve Simpson, 75, from Colinton, served in
The Royal Scots from 1948 for 37 years. He
said: "I will support the new regiment but I
feel very bitter."
The old soldier,
who was wounded in the Radfan mountains
serving in Yemen, added: "My grandson, who's
12, said he wanted to join The Royal Scots
when he grew up, but now he won't be able to."
Jack Storie, 84, from East Linton, near
Dunbar, served in The Royal Scots for just
over eight years.
He said: "I've
accepted the fact it's going to happen but I
am sorry it's come to an end.
Kenny Scott, 88,
from Dalkeith, served from 1936-1944. He said:
"I feel terrible about the amalgamation. I
joined the Royal Scots in 1936, but got put
out because I was too young at 16-and-a-half.
My mother had the police out looking for me."
class one, Phil Gilbert, 42, said:
"It's sad because
I'm the third generation but we have to look
forward and not be sentimental about it."
29th March 2006
CHIEF NEWS CORRESPONDENT - The Scotsman
"From this moment forward, the very best way to cherish and
respect the memory of the Royal Scots will be to carry this
honour forward with pride into the regiment. Change may be
painful, but it has come to visit us in our day and generation"
- LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ROBERT BRUCE
full IN BASRA, the sun beat down on the soldiers
gathered in the dust of Shaibah camp. In Edinburgh, a light
drizzle fell on the men and women lined up on parade at the top
of the castle. In Glasgow, Baghdad, Omagh, Belfast, Cyprus and
Canterbury, similar ceremonies were taking place. As midday
struck in Scotland, the country's old regiments slipped into
Gone were the
Royal Scots - almost 400 years old - the Black Watch, the Argyll
and Sutherland Highlanders, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the
King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Highlanders. In their
place, to a flurry of pipes and drums, was the new Royal
Regiment of Scotland.
It was certainly
not the first merger imposed on Scotland's soldiery, but it has
proved to be one of the most controversial. Yesterday, however,
the army was putting a brave face on it.
As the moment
drew near, a large crowd had gathered around the edges of
Edinburgh Castle's Crown Square. Kenny Mackenzie, the Royal
Scots' Regimental Sergeant Major, marched smartly into the
square and snapped to attention.
"By the right,
quick march," the order came, and from around the corner came
the new regimental band, belting out the tunes of the Athol
Highlander and Glendaruel Highlander. Behind them, a carefully
chosen cross-section of the new regiment marched into the Crown
Square, wheeled right and came to a halt.
They had been
practising hard, apparently, but perhaps in keeping with the
furore surrounding the merger, not all were in step. Their boots
hit the cobbles like a burst of machine gun fire, rather than
the single sharp report that the sergeant major was hoping for.
He made them suffer by shuffling them backwards and forwards for
a couple of minutes, barking out instructions until he was
Major-General Euan Loudon, the new regiment's most senior
officer was to say, change may be painful.
remove head dress", RSM Mackenzie yelled, and they whipped off
the old caps. Two more soldiers appeared, bearing between them a
tray draped in the new regimental tartan and worked their way
among the ranks, collecting the last vestiges of the old
regiments. They marched out smartly, covering the abandoned hats
discreetly with the tartan.
in the square waited. The drizzle continued. The crowd, mainly
tourists interspersed with press and some military types, craned
their necks to see what was going on. Nothing happened. "Where's
the general?" one soldier whispered. More drizzle fell. The
onlookers began to talk among themselves.
In Basra, the
soldiers of the Royal Scots were baking in the heat. The
regiment, the oldest in the British Army, is not due back until
May; they had the curious experience of being consigned to
history while still being called on to serve in action.
As if there was
not enough historical baggage hanging around, the Ministry of
Defence had chosen the 373rd anniversary of the formation of the
regiment to disband it. About 200 soldiers who were not required
for patrolling stood and watched as the standard of the Royal
Scots was lowered for the last time, while a lone piper played a
officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Bruce, addressed them. They
were, he said, part of history, the history of the Royal Scots,
the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the history of Scotland
itself. "From this moment forward," he told them, "the very best
way to cherish and respect the memory of the Royal Scots will be
to carry this honour forward with pride into the regiment." Then
they slipped on Glengarry caps bearing the new regimental badge
and got back to dodging roadside bombs.
Edinburgh, the general finally appeared, striding into the
square, sleeves rolled up. The others had apparently been a
little too quick off the mark.
salute," barked RSM Mackenzie and the band broke into a stirring
burst of regimental music. And stopped again, just as quickly.
strode up and down the lines, dishing out new caps, each bearing
the hackle appropriate to what were once individual regiments,
but are now mere battalions: black for the 1st Battalion (Royal
Scots Borderers - the old Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish
Borderers); white for 2nd Battalion (Royal Highland Fusiliers);
the famous red for the 3rd Battalion (Black Watch); blue for the
4th Battalion (Highlanders); and green for the 5th Battalion
(Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders).
The caps also
bore the new insignia of the Royal Regiment, a lion rampant on a
cross of St Andrew, or the crucified cat, as some wags have
taken to calling it. It looked quite smart. The general stood in
front of them and made his big pitch. It was, he said, a new
chapter in the story of the Scottish soldier. "Change may be
painful, but it has come to visit us in our day and generation,"
he said, but it followed on from a glorious past.
They had to fight
to win the best roles they could and not forget their past - the
golden thread of tradition which the opponents of merger declare
cut and which the army insists is intact.
United by their
past, confident in their future, excelling in their jobs and
relying for success on their courage, good humour and
selflessness. That was the ticket, he said. RSM Mackenzie
demanded another general salute and the band piped up and piped
And with that
they were off, disappearing to the sounds of the new regimental
march, Scotland the Brave. Appropriately, this time they were in
• The Black
Watch's name came from the dark tartan its soldiers wore and
from its role to "watch" the Highlands after its formation in
1725, when six companies were formed to stop fighting among the
clans. The regimental motto was Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No-one
Attacks Me With Impunity).
• The King's Own
Scottish Borderers were the local infantry battalion for the
Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, and Lanarkshire. They were
founded 1689 to defend Edinburgh from Jacobites and fought in
every major conflict of the last 300 years including, with
distinction, the Gulf in 2003.
• The Royal Scots
was the oldest Infantry Regiment of the Line in the army. It was
formed in 1633 under a warrant granted by Charles I, raising a
body of men for service in France. The regiment saw conflict in
many theatres, both world wars and the Gulf war, and action in
• The Royal
Highland Fusiliers were formed in 1959 by the controversial
amalgamation of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Highland Light
Infantry. The regiment was awarded more than 200 battle honours,
a number unsurpassed by any other unit in the British Army.
Highlanders, a combat infantry regiment of about 550 men, was
formed in 1994 with the amalgamation of the Queen's Own
Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) and The Gordon Highlanders.
It was the only one with a Gaelic motto - Cuidich 'n Righ (Aid
• The Argyll and
Sutherland Highlanders, nicknamed the "Thin Red Line" for their
actions at Balaclava, were formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of
the Princess Louise's Argyllshire Regiment and the Sutherland
Highlanders. They had the army's largest cap badge and the
Glengarry as headgear.
Silent watch at
regiments’ last post
ALISON CHIESA - The Herald - March 29 2006
In the end, the only sound that could be heard was the cawing of
crows circling overhead.
Below, the massed
ranks of Black Watch veterans, their heads bowed in red hackle
bonnets, stood in silent commemoration as one of Britain's most
famous fighting regiments passed into the history books.
After nearly 300 years, the final act of several hundred former
soldiers at a rain-soaked Balhousie Castle, the regiment's
Perthshire home, marked an end to a valiant era.
infantry unit now joins The Royal Regiment of Scotland, based at
Edinburgh Castle, and will be known as the 3rd Battalion.
As such, it has
effectively lost its historic insignia – the red hackle – which
can now only be worn when the men are in combat kit.
palpable anger ran through the veterans, politicians and public
paying their final respects.
heralded into the event by Pipe Sergeant Jimmy Doig, who later
performed his own composition – The Vile Plot – was a father and
son whose connections to the Black Watch span five generations.
Bob Scott, 63, who served under the regiment for nearly 25
years, said: "This occasion is beyond sad. I cannot understand
how history can just be taken away like this. The people who
make these decisions do not understand how unique the regiments
are and what they mean to people.
"There are our
families and then there is the Black Watch."
Gesturing to the
hackle on his bonnet, he added: "This is such a powerful symbol.
It has always been the case that when a soldier felt the need
for extra support, he would touch the hackle and say 'Black
Scott vowed: "I myself will wear this hackle until the day they
put me in a wooden box."
His son, Sergeant
Hamilton Scott, 40, is due to be discharged from service
tomorrow after more than 22 years.
Sergeant Scott –
whose son Charles, 20, is serving in Northern Ireland – said: "I
wanted to commemorate the regiment today because it is no longer
going to be the regiment I grew up with. It is a sad day and it
could have been made to the Army without destroying the whole
system. The people who have done this really haven't got a
veterans fought back tears during a ceremony which included a
service of remembrance, as well as biting criticism of
Proctor, of the Angus Black Watch Association, which hosted the
event, said: "The purpose of this ceremony is to remember all
those who served in the Black Watch over the regiment's
existence since 1739.
"There are also a
lot of members who are not happy about the amalgamation, and
although serving soldiers cannot protest, we can."
addressed the event included Murdo Fraser, the Scots Tory deputy
Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, questioned the
removal of individual regimental identities at a time of
increased military commitments.
He said: "In
Iraq, the Black Watch returned home after serving with the
highest dignity, bravery and honour.
"They had carried
out a tremendous job and for Labour to pat them on the back for
serving them in Iraq and to then stab them in the back the next
moment with amalgamation is disgusting."
Cunningham the SNP MSP for Perth, paid tribute to those involved
in the campaign to save the Black Watch. "I am sorry the
government has no time for history," she said.
Sergeant Major Bob Ritchie, who served in the Black Watch for
four decades, asked veterans to remove their hackle bonnets
before cheering the regiment and association.
He said: "This is
the last time you will be asked to remove your blue bonnets.
Continue to wear them with pride."
‘God’s tears’ bless Black Watch
By Dave Lord - The Courier - March 29, 2006
THE RED of the world-famous
trademark hackle contrasted sharply with overcast skies
as around 200 veterans bade a final farewell to the
historic Black Watch regiment at a ceremony in Perth
steady drizzle falling on those who had come to pay
tribute, one veteran said the regiment was being blessed
by “God’s tears.”
The Black Watch is now part of the
Royal Regiment of Scotland (RRS) and its red hackle will
only be worn as part of combat uniform.
The controversial merger may have
caused massive divisions but veterans, politicians and
Perth residents stood united at the ceremony which
marked 266 years of distinguished service.
Held at Balhousie Castle—the
regiment’s historic headquarters—the sombre event
included a short service of commemoration and speeches
by dignitaries and MSPs.
Amid emotionally-charged scenes,
The Black Watch was described as “one of the best
fighting units in the world today.”
A strong sense of pride was clear
for all to see, with politicians insisting the regiment
must never be regarded as a “relic of the past.”
In fact some spoke of their
continued opposition to the merger and insisted they
would fight for a reversal of the controversial
It was almost 50 years ago that
Brigadier Garry Barnett enlisted with The Black Watch
and he welcomed veterans to yesterday’s ceremony.
“I have mixed feelings today,” he
said. “I would like to express thanks to all those who
have campaigned tirelessly for our regiment.
“Today we think of the regiment
and remember all that it means to us.”
However, he said it was time to
look forward as well as back.
“We must admit our campaign to
save The Black Watch has not succeeded,” he added.
“We must recognise that The Black
Watch as we have known it is no more.
“The regiment has served the Crown
loyally and without question—we can all be immensely
proud of our regiment.”
Retired major Colin Innes gave a
brief history of the regiment and the Rev Alex Forsyth
of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department led a religious
service of commemoration.
A loan piper played Lochaber No
More before silence fell over Balhousie Castle.
The ceremony ended with veterans
giving a spirited and emotional three cheers for The
Politicians were then given their
chance to address those assembled in Balhousie Castle’s
They struck a defiant note, with
Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart saying those
behind the amalgamation should be “ashamed of
“The fight goes on comrades,” he
said. “We must ensure The Black Watch can keep its
identity within the new Royal Regiment of Scotland.”
Perth MSP Roseanna Cunningham paid
tribute to all those involved in campaigning to save The
“I am sorry the Government has no
time for history, no time for tradition,” she said.
“Recruitment figures are falling
and the Government may come to regret the day it came to
The Black Watch has fought in some
of the world’s most famous battles, as Mid Scotland and
Fife MSP Murdo Fraser recalled.
“This is the end of a regiment
that has fought across the globe with the highest of
dignity and has battled in some of the most ferocious
battles in history,” he said.
Mr Fraser added, “They have fought
in North America against native tribes during the seven
years’ war. They have defeated George Washington in the
Battle of Long Island. They have fought in the Boer War.
They fought at Waterloo, the Somme and Ypres.
“Black Watch soldiers were among
the first forward in some of the most intense fighting
of world war two in Normandy after the D-Day landings.
“The 1st Battalion of The Black
Watch became the first British unit to enter German
territory in world war two.”
Mr Fraser fears the “honourable
traditions” of The Black Watch may well be lost
forever—harming recruitment in the process.
“Our local area and The Black
Watch are intertwined with one another and it will be a
severe loss for the communities that have had long
standing ties with the regiment,” he said.
“This strong bond with the local
area undoubtedly aids recruiting, as we see different
generations from the same family joining their local
“This will be lost and I fear
recruitment for our regiments will fall.”
He added, “After so many battles
and victories this is a sad end for The Black Watch.
“Do not forget The Black Watch.”
Mr Fraser added.
Politicians of several parties
attended yesterday’s event, along with association
branch members in Dundee, Perth, Fife, Newcastle,
Chorley, Stoke and London.
The other five regiments becoming
battalions of the super regiment are the Argyll and
Sutherland Highlanders, Royal Scots, Royal Highland
Fusiliers, King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the
As well as the Perth event there
were special parades in parts of the world where
Scottish soldiers are based, including the Royal Scots
in Iraq and the Royal Highland Fusiliers in Cyprus.
* Soldiers from The Black Watch’s
Territorial Army unit were presented with their new
Royal Regiment of Scotland cap badges by Perth Provost
Bob Scott last night.
The presentation took place at
Queen’s Barracks on Dunkeld Road in Perth.