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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 11/23/2003 10:22:44 AM EDT
It will be sad to see these regiments go- in earlier forms, they fought in America in the Revolution and the War of 1812, and their modern counterparts fought bravely in WW1 and WW2. And are still fighting today.

Axe may fall on Royal Scots and Black Watch

By Diplomatic Editor Trevor Royle

The Black Watch, the Royal Scots and the King's Own Scottish Borderers could be disbanded under a proposal being considered by the Ministry of Defence.

The MoD is to publish a White Paper within the next two weeks which will lay down the need to reduce troop numbers by about 10,000. This is the "peace dividend" the government wants as a result of the agreement to reduce troop levels in Northern Ireland from 14,500 to 5000 by April 2005.

An MoD spokeswoman said it would not confirm speculation on the forthcoming White Paper. However, she highlighted a speech made by Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon earlier this year to the defence think-tank the Royal UnitedServices Institute.

In it, Hoon said: "Defence cannot stand still. I am therefore looking to the MoD to think the unthinkable, to challenge orthodoxies and find new solutions. This will mean tough choices. We have no alternative."

Clive Fairweather, the former divisional colonel of the Scottish regiments, who oversaw the last regiment review in 1993, said: "The peace dividend from Northern Ireland is driving this review, along with the Army being short of cash.

"A number of options are being looked at and this one is the most radical. That can't be ruled out but I don't expect it will be that extreme. The thinking behind this White Paper is pre-Iraq and before we have finally pulled out of Northern Ireland. So a lot could still change.

"It is likely the MoD will instead lay down that it wants a lean and mean Army rather than specifying which regiments are to go or be amalgamated. They will leave that to the Army."

At the time of the last review of the Army's infantry manpower during 1991-93 The Gordons and The Queen's Own Highlanders were merged into The Highlanders. The KOSB and the Royal Scots were to have merged but within weeks of that happening, Malcolm Rifkind, the then Defence Secretary rescinded the order following a huge campaign in Scotland.

The KOSB has just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and the Royal Scots have replaced them.

Another senior Army source said last night: "Any threat of the abolition of regiments is likely to spark another huge campaign and there could well be political damage flowing from the decision.

He added: "None of Scotland's regiments is up to strength, soldiering has become a following which young people don't want to pursue, the war against terrorism is unpopular and soldiering has lost its popular appeal.

"Following on from Bush's visit which includes the UK in the battle against terrorism it seems self-defeating to cut back on the striking force of the army - the infantry, at this point."

There are six Scottish regiments. All are under-recruited and all find it difficult to bring themselves up to full strength.

23 November 2003

Link Posted: 11/23/2003 11:11:13 AM EDT
God damn that is SOO sad.

Remember, back in 1763 the Black Watch saved the cities of Pittsburgh and Detroit from destruction by Indians under Pontiac.

The Black Watch seemed to have no problem forming a battle group to go to Iraq last winter...

"The war on Terrorism is unpopular" Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. See if we ever do anything for England and Scotland ever again...

Maybe its merciful that these fine regiments should die rather than continue serving such ungrateful assholes.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 11:20:34 AM EDT
OMG that would suck!

The Black Watch especially, is one of the greatest regiments there is! What a tragic loss if the got axed.

Unfortunately, a lot of this has been happening over the least decade and a half. Many proud and historic regiments have been either eliminated or amalgamated into others.

It's a cryin' shame!
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 11:26:28 AM EDT
Too bad the Scott's have always been good warriors. In the last round of draw downs they also got slammed.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 11:27:38 AM EDT
Well its sad to see a unit(S) with such historical importance go, but i am happy to see that the UK wishes to reduce its troops in Northern Ireland, this is a major victory for Irish Republicans.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 11:45:02 AM EDT

...the war against terrorism is unpopular...

Someone over there (and here) may want to etch that in stone so the next time they get hit and the public starts screaming "Why did this happen? The government is supposed to protect us!" it can be pointed out that their own ignorance and shortsightedness is to blame.

Idiots! The government keeps telling them that self-defense is wrong and that the authorities will take care of you. Well, guess what? The pacifist/dependant mindset is coming home to roost. They've lost the connection to the fact that the military is derived from the citizens, er, subjects. What the fuck do they expect, to outsource it to another country? Maybe they’ll start a Foreign Legion and get others to fight their battles for them. Problem is by the time they figure it out it will be far too late.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 12:03:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tiocfaidh_ar_La:
Well its sad to see a unit(S) with such historical importance go, but i am happy to see that the UK wishes to reduce its troops in Northern Ireland, this is a major victory for Irish Republicans.

I just returned from a trip to Derry with my wife (born/raised there) visiting her parents. Her Dad was driving us somewhere when he casually said "Oh there's some Coldstream Guards"... I looked to my left and there was a group of 3 Coldstream Guards walking down the street on patrol complete with SA80's, radio, web gear, etc. Fucking wild for an American to see that type of thing.

Many Catholics will be happy to see the troops displace from their neighborhoods, as you said. Hopefully things remain quiet, for everyone's sake.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 12:10:50 PM EDT
Sounds like a windfall for the Legion.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 1:52:46 PM EDT
My clan badge:

Concedo Nulli is Latin for Never Surrender (Concede Nothing)

Too bad they aren't taking THAT to heart.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 2:01:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By raven:
Sounds like a windfall for the Legion.

For the British Legion- or the Foreign Legion?
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 2:19:36 PM EDT
That stinks to high heaven. It just makes me angry to think they would consider doing this.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 2:51:13 PM EDT
Damn shame. It is too bad the US Army's regimental system is so fucked up.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 4:04:31 PM EDT
Truth be told the Scotts f##cked ocer the Irish more than the English. Since my family was burned out of Derry it is no sweat of my ass if they disband.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 6:42:08 PM EDT
More info......

Black Watch and Royal Scots are among ten regiments to be axed in cull of Army
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 23/11/2003)

Up to 10 of the Army's most famous regiments - including the illustrious Royal Scots and the Black Watch - are to be disbanded in the most radical post-war reorganisation of Britain's fighting forces.

More than 9,000 soldiers face redundancy following the withdrawal of troops from Northern Ireland, a process that must be completed by April 2005.

As well as the Royal Scots and the Black Watch, other regiments to be disbanded include the King's Own Scottish Borderers, the Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire and one battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment.

At least one of the two battalions of Gurkhas will also be cut after senior officers decided that it would be politically unacceptable for British units to be disbanded while allowing two battalions of foreign troops to remain.

Defence chiefs have decided not to amalgamate units as an alternative to cuts and it is understood that all infantry units - including the Foot Guards and the Parachute Regiment - could lose battalions if they do not remain at full strength.

The Government will "sell" the policy to the public as part of the "Northern Ireland peace dividend" which will see troop levels in Ulster reduced from 14,500 to 5,000, according to a senior defence official.

Details of the cuts provoked disbelief and anger last night from MPs and former senior Army officers who said that cutting the strength of the infantry would add to the pressure on an already over-stretched Army.

Nicholas Soames, the shadow defence secretary, said: "This is an absolute disgrace. There are no circumstances that would merit a cut to the infantry at a time when the world has never seemed more dangerous."

Patrick Mercer, the Tory spokesman for homeland security and a former infantry commanding officer, said: "Any cuts in the manpower of the Army are sheer madness. Trying to dress it up as a peace dividend is hugely irresponsible and dishonest."

Maj Gen Peter Curry, a former Deputy Adjutant General, who retired last year, said: "If this is true then it is extremely unwise. The Army is going through a period of considerable overstretch and the infantry has never been more in demand. Whichever operation you look at in the recent past the infantry role has been fundamental."

It is understood that the cuts will be achieved by natural wastage and allowing soldiers to transfer to other units, providing vacancies are available. Otherwise troops will be made redundant.

Under the Joint Declaration signed by the British and Irish governments, withdrawal of soldiers from Ulster is supposed to begin by the end of 2003 and the first disbandment of regiments could start within 12 months.

A senior official employed by the Ministry of Defence said: "By April 2005 the process of normalisation in Ulster will be complete. That means that the Army will have a surplus of 8,000 troops whose only real role over the last 30 years was to serve in Ulster. That role has now come to an end. Sadly there is no other option than to disband those units. It would be nice to keep them but the Treasury will not allow us that luxury.

"The Royal Scots is a very fine regiment but, militarily, it is not a viable force because it is under strength. It can only deploy on operations if it is significantly reinforced by other units."

Infantry regiments should have about 650 troops when they are at full strength but many battalions, especially those in the Scottish Division, have consistently failed to achieve this. This means they can only be deployed on operations when they are reinforced by other regiments, a problem defence chiefs are determined to eradicate.

The Royal Scots, which was formed in 1633, is the Army's oldest regiment. In the past 10 years it has struggled to recruit and retain soldiers and has been forced to rely on volunteers from the Commonwealth.

The Black Watch, which describes itself as Scotland's "premier regiment", has served the British crown for over 250 years. Its Colonel-in-Chief from 1937 until her death last year was the Queen Mother, who lost a brother and a cousin during service with the regiment on the Western Front in the First World War.

The King's Own Scottish Borderers only just escaped from being amalgamated with the Royal Scots in the early 1990s but, like most Scottish regiments, has struggled to keep up numbers.

Link Posted: 11/23/2003 7:04:27 PM EDT
DAMN! I served in the Black Watch years ago. Started in '88, as much to continue a family tradition. At least one member of my family has served in the 42nd going back literally to it's inception. It always seemed likely that the Black Watch would cease existance about the same time as the British Army was disbanded.

Sad day indeed.

Cpt. Redleg

Link Posted: 11/23/2003 7:16:24 PM EDT
The old 42nd won the day at Bushy Run (1763) when they swept the hillside clear and ran the foemen off.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 2:57:41 AM EDT
Damn! My grandfather served in the Black Watch in WW2 or just after it. Hes gonna be pissed when he finds out, if he hasnt already found out
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