Black Watch gets reprieve from cuts

The Black Watch Homecoming Parade through the streets of Kirkcaldy
The Black Watch Homecoming Parade through the streets of Kirkcaldy

THE Black Watch will retain its name and cap badge following the UK Government’s Defence Review.

It had been feared in May that the historic names of Scotland’s army regiments could be axed within two years as part of a shake up of the army and a cost cutting exercise.

But Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed in an announcement last week that the majority of Scotland’s regiments, including the Black Watch, will be untouched in the cuts.

However, Scotland is not completely unscathed as the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, will be cut to one company carrying out ceremonial duties.

Challenging

Mr Hammond said the cuts, which involve losing 17 major units, were “difficult and challenging” but claimed the Ministry of Defence had respected Britain’s regimental system while earmarking the units to be abolished.

The news the Black Watch is safe during the cuts has been welcomed by politicians.

Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance said: “It’s good news the Black Watch will retain its name and full strength.

“It’s a shame the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders will go down to ceremonial duties.

“Can we really say defence is safe under a Westminster government?

“We just need to look at the cuts to Leuchars and other places in Fife made by the Defence Secretary which to me Westminster is taking decisions that are not protecting the armed forces at all in Scotland.

“How soon will they review the Scottish regiments again?

“I would urge people to fight for the traditions of the Black Watch and the Scottish regiments as they have played a large part in history.”