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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 3/28/2006 5:34:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2006 7:51:03 AM EDT by 95thFoot]
Some of these regiments fought in America, 250 years ago...

Highland lament: Scotland's oldest regiments march into history
By Auslan Cramb
(Filed: 29/03/2006)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/03/29/narmy29.xml&DCMP=EMC-new_29032006

It was out with the old and in with the new yesterday as six Scottish infantry regiments were consigned to military history.


Black Watch veterans bid farewell to their regiment

While Black Watch veterans, wearing the red hackle, lamented the loss of their 267-year-old regiment, serving soldiers wore the cap and badge of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland for the first time.

Ceremonies were held in Perth, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cyprus and Basra to mark the disappearance of the Black Watch, the King's Own Scottish Borderers, the Royal Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the Highlanders and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

The new regimental badge features the saltire, a lion rampant and a crown with the motto Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No one assail me with impunity). Ministers say the merger will create a more mobile Army for the 21st century.



Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:46:27 PM EDT
So why deestablish the old units with all the history rather than simply reorganize them in the manner of the new units? It's always sad to see such storied military units pass into history.


-K
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:48:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2006 5:50:36 PM EDT by weptek911]

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:
Some of these regiments fought in America, 250 years ago...


It was out with the old and in with the new yesterday as six Scottish infantry regiments were consigned to military history.


Black Watch veterans bid farewell to their regiment

While Black Watch veterans, wearing the red hackle, lamented the loss of their 267-year-old regiment, serving soldiers wore the cap and badge of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland for the first time.





And they look none too happy about it.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:53:53 PM EDT

I cannot believe they disbanded the Black Watch.


A good high school buddy of mine was a platoon commander in the Royal Highland Fusiliers, and even though it's not as prestigious regiment, that's still a cryin' shame.

Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:55:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Special-K:
So why deestablish the old units with all the history rather than simply reorganize them in the manner of the new units? It's always sad to see such storied military units pass into history.


-K



There's a lot of baggage that goes with the old regimental system. I could only guess that might have something to do with it.

One way or the other, it's a sad end to such an exemplary institution.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:56:48 PM EDT
Those units' histories are too exclusive.

New units are needed for the new diverse UK.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:58:42 PM EDT
The Black Watch made a name for itself during the French & Indian War. It was one of the first regiments sent to help the Colonies and fought valiantly at Ticonderoga and later at Bushy Run. Buh-bye.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:03:31 PM EDT
My family is British on my mother's side, and during WW II my uncle enlisted as one of the youngest members of The Seventh Seaforth Highlanders. He fought at Tobruk and El Alamein and became an Anglican priest after the war. I have a few pretty cool pictures of him, as well as the metal badge from one of his caps. Now he's a retired Vicar in a small village in England.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:04:18 PM EDT
Thats just WRONG !!
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:04:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
I cannot believe they disbanded the Black Watch.




+1

WTF?
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:06:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 4v50:
The Black Watch made a name for itself during the French & Indian War. It was one of the first regiments sent to help the Colonies and fought valiantly at Ticonderoga and later at Bushy Run. Buh-bye.



Vimy Ridge.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:14:53 PM EDT
that's sad.


I just saw the 'pipes and drums of the Royal Highland Regiment (Black Watch) last month in concert here at TPAC.


Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:32:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2006 6:37:29 PM EDT by Bostonterrier97]
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:38:02 PM EDT
They are disbanding the Black Watch?
Not much gets me down - this does.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:38:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By arfreak74:
that's sad.


I just saw the 'pipes and drums of the Royal Highland Regiment (Black Watch) last month in concert here at TPAC.





I saw them a few weeks ago here.
Awesome show !!
Sad they're gone.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:39:09 PM EDT
What a lot of people don't realize is that the British Army has shrunk to 102,000 or so pax.

Our Marine Corps is much bigger than their army. (170,000) Our active army is 4.5 times their size.

That means as a big army becomes a small army units go away.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:45:53 PM EDT
Well, another good historied unit to the hole of history.

There flushes down the unit morale. Good luck.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 7:12:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Special-K:
So why deestablish the old units with all the history rather than simply reorganize them in the manner of the new units? It's always sad to see such storied military units pass into history.


-K



A big reason is that young Scotsmen and -women are not lining up to join the military. Recruitment has been way down for all the disbanded regiments for many years. Each regiment has an officer/NCO structure designed to deal with x number of men. With few men, the regiments became top heavy and expensive.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 9:04:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:
A big reason is that young Scotsmen and -women are not lining up to join the military. Recruitment has been way down for all the disbanded regiments for many years. Each regiment has an officer/NCO structure designed to deal with x number of men. With few men, the regiments became top heavy and expensive.



Exactly. But it is also political correctness that is destroying those regiments--the Scots want their own "national identity" and are down on all things British.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 9:18:52 AM EDT
I'm not into this military stuff, but even here in the USA, we reconfigure the military to better confront whatever threats we faced. I'm sure that the Brits are trying to do the same thing. To have a unti that 250 years old, is a nice bit of trivia, but it is not going to help you win your next battle.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 6:18:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2006 6:38:42 PM EDT by PaDanby]
It was that or go to battalion sized "regiments" as their total force shrinks rapidly.

If you're a true son of William Wallace and Bobby Burns, ye dinna wan to go here for a more detailed description of the dark day. With ancestors who served in the Argyle & Sutherland, it brings a tear to the eye.

www.electricscotland.com/history/scotreg/400years.htm
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 7:42:31 AM EDT
400 years of glory and valour are consigned to history
by GETHIN CHAMBERLAIN, CHIEF NEWS CORRESPONDENT


Former Royal Scot. 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 lament. Picture: Neil Hanna

-Parade signals arrival of new Royal Regiment of Scotland.
-Merger of former 400-year-old regiments remains controversial
-Dissolved regiments include The Royal Scots and The Black Watch

Key quote:
"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

Story in 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 history.

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 happy.

Still, as Major-General Euan Loudon, the new regiment's most senior officer was to say, change may be painful.

"Parade will 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.

Those remaining 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 lament.

Their commanding 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.

Back in Edinburgh, the general finally appeared, striding into the square, sleeves rolled up. The others had apparently been a little too quick off the mark.

"Parade, general salute," barked RSM Mackenzie and the band broke into a stirring burst of regimental music. And stopped again, just as quickly.

The general 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 down.

And with that they were off, disappearing to the sounds of the new regimental march, Scotland the Brave. Appropriately, this time they were in step.

• 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 Northern Ireland.

• 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.

• The 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 King).

• 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.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 7:42:54 PM EDT
The Thin Red Line at Balaclava



The Scots Greys and the Gordon (92nd) Highlanders at Waterloo.



The Birkenhead Drill



Women and children first
IAIN LUNDY

"To stand and be still,
to the Birken’ead Drill,
is a damn tough bullet to chew."

- Rudyard Kipling

THE AGE of chivalry is often defined by the quintessentially English Sir Walter Raleigh laying his cape before his Queen lest she should tread in a puddle. But Raleigh's actions pale into insignificance beside those of Lt-Col Alexander Seton, an imposing Scottish army officer who, in 20 terrifying minutes, demonstrated a level of selflessness, bravery, leadership and chivalry rarely witnessed before or since.

It is Lt-Col Seton and the men in his command who gave rise to the cry "women and children first", which many of them died fulfilling.
Lt-Col Alexander Seton <br/>Picture: © Crown Copyright The Ministry of Defence



Lt-Col Alexander Seton
Picture: © Crown Copyright The Ministry of Defence

A native of Mounie, near the village of Daviot, Aberdeenshire, Lt-Col Seton served with the 74th Highlanders and was described by Lord Aberdare, former Home Secretary and one-time president of the Royal Historical Society, as "one of the most gifted and accomplished men in the British Army". The lieutenant-colonel achieved his place in history by his actions on board the sinking troop ship HMS Birkenhead off the coast of South Africa in 1852.

The Birkenhead, an iron paddle ship, had sailed from the Cove of Cork in Ireland with 692 people on board, most of them soldiers, some with their wives and children, bound for action in the Frontier War against Kaffir and Hottentot tribesmen in the Cape of Good Hope. Lt-Col Seton was the senior officer on board, in charge of detachments from ten British regiments. The vessel was in the command of experienced Royal Naval Captain Robert Salmond.

The voyage included ports of call in South Africa where a majority of the women and children disembarked while others came on board. The trip had been unremarkable and the weather fair until 2am on 26 February when disaster struck off Cape Agulhas. A sickening crash shattered the silence as the vessel ploughed into an underwater reef not marked on the maps. Within minutes it had ripped open the Birkenhead's iron hull. Water poured in and more than 100 soldiers sleeping in the lower troop decks were drowned.

As terrified survivors scrambled on to the deck they were met with a scene of amazing calmness. Capt Salmond, dressed in his nightclothes, ordered the women and children to be taken up and carried to the lifeboats. Lt-Col Seton gathered his officers and told them, "Gentlemen would you please be kind enough to preserve order and silence amongst the men and ensure that any orders given by Capt Salmond are instantly obeyed?". Then the 6ft 3in, 38-year old stood by the gangway as the seven women and 13 children were put aboard a cutter, his sword drawn in case any men tried to jump aboard. None did.


Fast fact

The 74th Highlanders were amalgamated to form the Highland Light Infantry. In turn, it merged with the Royal Scots Fusiliers to form, what it is known today, the Royal Highland Fusiliers


When the cutter was launched, and only 15 minutes after the collision, Lt-Col Seton ordered troops to line up on the poop deck, regiment by regiment. They stood to attention, staring silently into the night sky as the lifeboats sailed for the safety of the shore. Suddenly there was a horrific crash as rocks tore open the ship and it began to sink. Capt Salmond climbed the rigging and urged all who could swim to abandon ship. But Lt-Col Seton, his sword still drawn, raised his hands above his head and told his men, "You will swamp the cutter containing the women and children. I implore you not to do this thing and I ask you all to stand fast". Seconds later the Birkenhead broke her back, not a man disobeyed Lt-Col Seton's orders and they shook hands and said goodbye as the water closed in over their heads.

Exact numbers on the dead and survivors were difficult to come by, as the ship's logs were lost in the sinking. The Royal Navy considers Stand Fast, a book published in 1998 by David Bevan, to be the most authoritative on the subject. In the book it said 436 men died that night including Lt-Col Seton and Capt Salmond. The 207 who survived included every woman and child on board the doomed ship and the phrase "Birkenhead Drill" entered the language as the epitome of discipline in the face of adversity.

Although he never uttered the exact words "women and children first", Lt-Col Seton's determination to put disadvantaged passengers before soldiers and ship's crew changed maritime protocol forever. A history of the 74th Highlanders says the action on the Birkenhead "sheds more glory upon those who took part in it than a hundred well-fought battles".

Lt-Col Seton's place in Scottish military history was assured.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 7:47:48 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 7:52:11 PM EDT
At least they still somewhat live in on in the Battalions. I guess that will have to do.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 7:56:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By warlord:
I'm not into this military stuff, To have a unti that 250 years old, is a nice bit of trivia, but it is not going to help you win your next battle.



No but morale and Esprit de Corps does win battles.
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:30:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By warlord:
I'm not into this military stuff, but even here in the USA, we reconfigure the military to better confront whatever threats we faced. I'm sure that the Brits are trying to do the same thing. To have a unti that 250 years old, is a nice bit of trivia, but it is not going to help you win your next battle.




It will when you decide you don't want to be the first in 400 years to run.
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