Hands off our Red Hackles

Proud tradition - the Black Watch.
Proud tradition - the Black Watch.

PLANS which could see Black Watch regiment soldiers axed have been met with “dismay and disgust” by area MP Lindsay Roy.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has dodged questions over the future of the prestigious 3 Scots recently, following suggestions that the unit could be merged with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders as part of cuts.

Any shake-up could also be likely to force a cap badge name change to the Black Watch, although it was suggested towards the end of last week that the coalition may be beginning to cool on the idea.

In 2006 3 Scots became a battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland as part of a defence reorganisation.

Mr Roy is particularly concerned about the new threats to the future of the Black Watch, which draws many of its recruits from Fife, as a result of plans to cut the Army’s current strength by 30,000.

Labour MP Mr Roy has signed up to a cross-party campaign aimed at persuading the UK Government to show respect for the history of Scotland’s regiments.

He told the Mail: “Respect our Regiments urges the Government to do exactly what it says.

“Like most people, I little thought that The Black Watch could be under threat again just a few years after the success of the campaign to save it.

“My constituency is one of the battalion’s principal recruiting grounds and it is held in high esteem and affection throughout the Kingdom.

“The Black Watch has a unique identity and history and the very suggestion that it could be merged with another battalion, or even axed completely, fills me with dismay and disgust.”

The Defence Secretary has already stated that entire infantry and armoured groups could be cut following a Coalition cash-saving review.

It has been suggested that the coalition Government plans to cut the army from 102,000 soldiers to 82,000.

Glenrothes and Central Fife MP Mr Roy added: “Savings have to be found and change is needed, but communities across Scotland do not want to see historic cap badges cast aside – the Government must think again.”