Save the red hackle!

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It’s been a topic of contention since it was announced last week, but still concerns are being raised about the potential loss of the historic names of Scotland’s army regiments, including the Black Watch.

Defence secretary Philip Hammond had revealed plans for a cost cutting shake up last week which included proposals to lose the traditional regimental names, which are steeped in history, as well as at least one infantry battalion.

The move has been met with anger and opposition from politicians of all parties as well as from those with a military history.

The latest fears for the Black Watch come just six years after the Scottish battalions were amalgamated to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

At that time battalions were promised they could keep their historic names and cap badges to keep centuries old traditions alive, however the latest shake up could potentially mean this is no longer the case.

If they go ahead the latest plans will see the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) as it is currently known become just 3 SCOTS.

This week Lindsay Roy, Labour MP for Glenrothes and Central Fife, expressed his “dismay and disgust” at the proposals and has vowed to continue to fight for the Black Watch’s survival.

“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.

“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 Black Watch, along with its badge and the famous red hackle, must remain as an identifiable single entity.

“No further dilution of a fighting unit which has served Britain so well for many, many years must be allowed.”

Mr Roy added he had written to the Defence Secretary expressing his concerns in the “strongest possible terms” and assured those campaigning to retain the status of the Black Watch they have his full support.

Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance said: “The Black Watch is a very historic regiment and has played a huge part in Kirkcaldy and Fife.

“It would be an absolute travesty if we lost the name and the red hackle.

“I would urge everyone to sign the online petition to save the Black Watch.

“As such a famous regiment which has represented Britain in nearly all its major conflicts.

“The name shouldn’t be lost.”