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15 years in the Army ..
After 15 years service in the Army, 11 of which were spent severing with special forces units including the SAS
(Majority of personnel were Scottish) I set up my own business in London. At the start of the last invasion into Iraq the Black Watch were deployed into the hot desert with a lack of equipment and basic tools to do the job. Our company bought the Battalion enough "Camel Baks" (A large water bag carried on the back with a tube to enable you to drink without too much trouble) for every soldier as the MOD could not get them to the troops in time. Being born and bred in Dundee I was only too happy to support our brave soldiers going into battle. I have worked with many Scottish regiments in my military career and their presence in any campaign has gone a long way into not only winning the battles but wining the hearts and minds of the local population.
do hope the government reconsiders it attitude towards our historical
regiments as the world has become a more dangerous place and conflict will
needs boots on the ground not smart weapons which drain our recourses.
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George Mackenzie, (ex 7GR), Australia, writes....
Although he was often off-side with UK & NATO MPs and with 'Men of Vichy', in Whitehall, the controversial General Sir Walter Walker was, arguably, one of the best generals the West has had, since World War Two. A quote from his 1997 book, "Fighting On", is appropriate. "A politician has no credibility to lose. His footwork is without compare. I learned long ago that politics is about power, not principles, and therefore the word integrity is not to be found in the politician's dictionary. Too often have politicians been allowed to get away with savaging the services so as to be able to preserve their sacred political cows. Had they but served their armed forces with half the zeal they served themselves !".....
"Cabar Feidh Gu Brath". Mackenzie, Haggis o' yon ilk.
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You have never lived until you've almost died ..
Sir, I have always kept an eye on events in respect of the Scottish Division. In the last round of cuts we lost "The Gordons" how many more individual identities must now be lost / amalgamated to satisfy the bean counters of the treasury ?? As Roosevelt said " You have never lived until you've almost died. For those who have had to fight for it, Life has truly a flavour the protected shall never know" I suspect the VAST majority of the bean counters and YES men in government currently advocating these "adjustments" would fall within the description of "the protected". Will this ease the massive over-stretch currently being felt I think not. Its really quite simple society will just have to open another box of soldiers to send here there and everywhere --- BUT THERE ARE NO MORE BOXES. I wonder if the current level of over-stretch plays any part or explains the low level of recruitment and retention within the Scottish Division -- or am I just applying some good old common sense ???
A proud ex Royal Scot (1970 - 1979).
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370 years of Scottish history and loyalty
My family and ancestors have served in the Seaforths, Gordons and Black Watch for generations, I can trace one Gordon ancestor back to Corunna. Many of these brave men were killed fighting for the country they loved and believed in.
I am appalled and disgusted that our present government can sign off 370 years of Scottish history and loyalty at the stroke of a pen. My late great Uncle Willie Young (1907-2002 late Maj. Seaforths TA/QOH, and RSM 1 Bn. Seaforths Ca. 1948-50) must be turning in his grave at Geoff Hoon's plans. He was saddened by the 1961 merger which resulted in the QOH, and appalled by 1994 - good job he isn't here to see it again!
Alba gu brath
|65 of 90|
was in a reasonable state ...
I served for 26 years in the British Army and was demobbed in December 1990. When Labour came to power this Country was in a reasonable state. However since they have been in so called control of our Country we have been on a continual downhill slope. I sincerely hope that they are not re-elected at the next General Election.
Yours sincerely, David Muir
I am fully behind you in
your fight. With the need for more peacekeeping in the world it is soldiers
on the ground we need and I think it is important to keep all of our
I watched my Regiment disappear (The Gordon Highlanders) and got out of the Army due to it. So am appalled at the stupidity and disrespect shown by "the powers that be" to the remaining Scottish Regiments. These Scottish Battalions have served Britain with great distinction since the very formation of a Regular British Army, and this is how they show their gratitude, by destroying the very fabric of what has made them what they are? Each Scottish Regiment is a "Family" with distinct and independent traditions. To loose these traditions, is to loose your identity which effects both moral and pride, and in the long run recruiting. It was always said that "once a Scottish soldier always a Scottish soldier", even after leaving the Army you "belonged" to the Regiment. The very spirit of the Scottish soldier will be destroyed with the loss of "the sense of belonging" and with that goes everything that made OUR Regiments admired by our allies and feared by our enemies.
A retired Gordon Highlander, Perth
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As an American I have been inspired by the music and history of the Scots regiments since I was a lad. When I was 10 my dad took me to see the Argylls and Welsh Guards tour at Madison Square Garden. I was thrilled by the precsion and spectacle of the show. The musicians spoke with me during the intermission and autographed my programme. It was a thrill I have never forgotten and I have seen every British band tour of the States since then for the last 30 odd years! Since then I have become a dedicated follower of the histories, traditions and music of all the Scottish regiments (Highland & Lowland) If I were a citizen of the UK I probably would have joined, although it would have been difficult to choose which regiment to join because I know and love all their histories! When I saw the Argylls in 1974 it was just after they had been saved from amalgamation. So what is going on today is nothing new.
It was with sadness that I saw the Gordons and Queens Own become the bland sounding Highlanders. Having just seen them on tour recently in the USA and I was inspired by their excellence and thought perhaps they could retain the traditions of their two former regiments successfully. To learn now that all the Scottish regiments are in danger is indeed a sad blow. I hope their loss can be averted. The history and traditions of a regiment are a unique thing to the British army. In the States we have nothing that compares in the same way. We have some old units, and famous ones, but none that can claim 300 years of continued service as a single regimental formation. To destroy the regimental system in the British army would be a terrible blow. Even Montgomery warned that politicians tamper with the regimental system at their own peril.
What has happened to the Highlanders should serve as an example of what will happen should all the famous names be removed from the Scottish regiments. Recruits will not want to join. If I were a young man in the UK I would not wish to join the army if there was no regimental structure anymore. I have made a donation of 50 Pounds to help in your noble campaign to save the Scottish Regiments. When I am in Scotland this summer I shall visit as many of the regimental museums as possible to enjoy their histories once more. I hope it will not be the last time I can do this. I know I sent a previous message, but I wanted to add aditional sentiments to it.
Sincerely, Roger T. Kennedy
What would you expect from Jackson?
He is our Tone's man and he will obey. When I started this here in England it was my hope that if we ALL kick up enough fuss about what Buff-Hoon is trying to do to ALL our most famous regiments we may scare the you know what out of him +and all he stands for. We know what this is leading to and what it is all about. I always declare myself as British then English and as never before we have to stand together in order to save what is best about OUR country.
Godbless to you all.
A letter from England
|70 of 90|
Ladies and Gentlemen: Some twenty-nine years ago, the unit I commanded – Combat Support Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry – participated in a parade marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Albert I of Belgium along with honor guards from the Belgian forces, France and the UK. The UK contingent was provided by the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. At lunch following the conclusion of the ceremony, I remarked on the then-fairly-recent successful fight to “save” the Argylls. I said, rather flippantly, to the Captain commanding the Highlanders “Call me if you need help fighting off the politicians again.” It appears that I now have to act upon that commitment. I can’t but note the two divergent paths being taken by the British MoD and the U.S.
Army in response to their experiences in Iraq. The U.S. the Army is opting for expanding the force – reorganizing and reallocating people to create as many as 10 additional brigades in the next three years. The UK, on the other hand, appears to have decided that cutting muscle is the best way to ‘enhance’ the force and make it more ‘expeditionary.’ With that kind of reasoning, perhaps Mr. Hoon would have advised Lance Armstrong to cut a chunk out of his thigh before beginning to ride the Tour de France a couple weeks ago! I doubt that, as a U.S. citizen, my signature on a petition would be of much value; but you can certainly count me among those astounded by the stupidity of the MoD’s position.
The British Army – and especially its Scottish infantry – has always been held up as a model for the development of esprit, cohesiveness and discipline in its regiments and battalions. To intentionally break down that cohesion by ‘amalgamation’ has got to be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve heard in recent years.
John Shepherd, Lt. Col., U.S. Army (Ret.)
Horsham, PA, USA
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Proud to have served ..
Sir, I was proud to have served on attachment with the Black Watch and RHF in Belfast 1974, when it was the British Army and not the English and Scottish Army as some commentators would have. We must stick together, Jocks,Tommies, Taffs and Micks to fight off this short sighted cut back. It's boots on the ground with bayonets and brains that win wars and then control the peace. We are the best at this. Incidentally, our wonderful Leader is a Jock and most of the Government too, exploding the myth that it's the English that want to due away with the Scots regiments. Yes, I will be signing the petition to save the Jocks and yes I will be signing any petitions to save any other regiments in the British Army.
|72 of 90|
Following in my father's footsteps
Dear Sir: I fully support your organization's efforts to do what it can to save Britain's historic past by preserving its Scottish Regiments. Unfortunately, politicians in their attempt to do what they think is right, often do not fully appreciate the consequences of their actions. It is obvious in this case that the British Government has completely overlooked the historical significance and tradition of its Scottish Regiments. During World War 2, my father served with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, which is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Following in my father's footsteps, I too served with the Camerons as both a cadet and militia member. In the mid to late 1990's, the Canadian Government attempted to reorganize the Canadian military by disbanding a number of regiments. Included on their list of regiments was the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. Needless to say, the Canadian Government's efforts were met with strong opposition. I am pleased to say that public opposition was instrumental in reversing the government's decision. Highland regiments in Canada have a strong historical affiliation with its British counterparts. A move by the British Government to disband Scottish Regiments is tantamount to on attack on a Canadian Regiment. In light of this, the people of Canada support your efforts in saving Scottish Regiments from the axe of British bureaucrats.
Don Halbert Lac du Bonnet,
|73 of 90|
|74 of 90|
George Mackenzie, (ex 7GR), Australia,
Although he was often off-side with UK & NATO
MPs and with 'Men of Vichy', in Whitehall, the controversial General Sir
Walter Walker was, arguably, one of the best generals the West has had,
since World War Two. A quote from his 1997 book, "Fighting On", is
appropriate. "A politician has no credibility to lose. His footwork is
without compare. I learned long ago that politics is about power, not
principles, and therefore the word integrity is not to be found in the
politician's dictionary. Too often have politicians been allowed to get away
with savaging the services so as to be able to preserve their sacred
political cows. Had they but served their armed forces with half the zeal
they served themselves !".....
|75 of 90|
Highland SNP MSP Fergus Ewing
Political parties in the Highlands must unite in defence of The Highlanders and repel the attacks of Whitehall ‘bean-counters’, says local SNP MSP Mr Fergus Ewing in his call for a cross-party campaign to save the regiment. Speaking after reports that the MOD may be scrapping at least one of Scotland’s regiments or even amalgamating them in to one “super-regiment”; the MSP – whose constituency includes the Cameron Barracks in Inverness and Fort George – attacked the plans. Mr Ewing said: “The men of the Cameron’s, Seaforths and Gordons have fought from Waterloo to Alamein. They have defeated enemy after enemy with honour and valour. Yet the post-WW2 period has witnessed the MOD achieve what no foe could achieve on the battlefield for many a Scottish and Highland regiment.
“That continuing treadmill of uncertainty about institutions which are very much part of the identity of local Scottish communities must come to an end. People of all parties and none must stand shoulder to shoulder with them to defeat the insidious mandarins at the MoD who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. “They may see things only in terms of balance sheets and bottom lines, but we see a history of sacrifice that you cannot measure in pounds and pence. “It would be utterly shortsighted to scrap a frontline regiment like the Highlanders or any other Scottish regiment at a time of massive international instability, especially when commitments across the globe have stretched the Army to the point that TA units had to be deployed in the Gulf. “Politicians of all parties across the Highlands must unite to repel Whitehall’s bean-counters.”
|76 of 90|
As an American of Scottish descent, I wanted to
write and tell you that many of us here in the States are behind you 100%!
We are outraged and saddened at how these brave men & women are being
treated by the Blair government. All Americans should heed the words of the
regimental history of the Black Watch about the American Revolution: We can
boast no Battle Honours for our part in the American War of Independence,
because it was rightly decreed that Battle Honours should not be granted for
a war with our kith and kin.
|77 of 90|
Every Jock - Stand Up and be Counted
I'm Utterly disgusted that this government dares to even suggest cutting more scottish regiments.It's time for every Jock to stand up and be counted.
|78 of 90|
Ex BW in Thailand
I am based in Thailand so it would be difficult for me to collect signatures for the petition but I will be forwarding your email to friends and relatives in the U.K.
Please let me know if there is any other way I can assist.
Ex L/Cpl Bain
|79 of 90|
Canadian letter to MOD
This is a copy of the e-mail I sent to the M.O.D. on the 22nd of July: Gentlemen: Please forgive the intrusion, but I just read that The Black Watch, The Argylls and The Royal Scots regiments will either be merged with The Highlanders or cut altogether. Please tell me that I am mistaken about this. For the life of me, I simply cannot envision a world without any of the BigThree: The Black Watch, The Argylls or The Royal Scots.
Both sides of my family served with pride in the 'Watch and the Argylls, and the thought of these two regiments in particular ceasing to exist is absolutely sickening to me. My late piping teacher Mr. James V. Greig was a piper in the 1st Battalion Black Watch from 1945 to 1952, and this was always his greatest boast. Even though he played with the world champion Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band before moving to Canada (where he founded one of North America's most respected competition pipe bands) nothing he ever did in civilian life gave him as much pride and pleasure as the time he spent with the colours. In fact, his ingrained regimental pride was the source of the tremendous courage and stamina he drew upon during his long struggle with the cancer that ultimately killed him this past year. And there in his casket for all to see were his two most treasured symbols: a Black Watch cap badge and a Red Hackle. It is my chief regret in life that I delayed too long in attempting to do what he always encouraged me to do.......go to Scotland and join The Black Watch.
As a Canadian, I have watched my nation's armed forces being systematically emasculated over the decades, to the point where they are now a mere shadow of a ghost of what they once were. And where do we, the Canadian people, now find ourselves? We have become almost totally reliant on the Americans for our national defense, and they know this only too well. Even when we are able to put troops into the field (and dedicated troops they are!), they are so under- funded that what is already dangerous work for them becomes infinitely more hazardous. Once again, I ask that you forgive me (a foreigner) for sticking my nose in and voicing my support for keeping the Scots regiments intact as they are, and not reduced to the level of mere companies within some proposed "super regiment". But I feel I owe it to my teacher and my ancestors to help if I can. Indeed, The Black Watch, The Argylls and the Royal Scots all at one time or another saw active service in my country, fighting to repel American invaders or to suppress rebellions.
The United Kingdom is so old and so imbued with history, that I wonder if all of you truly understand how preciously unique your national heritage is? In countries like my own, which is so young compared to Great Britain, the inhabitants stand in awe of your nation's longevity and it's resulting traditions. To have regiments in your armed forces that have existed and served with distinction for three hundred years or more is an uncanny accomplishment. I personally believe it is these regiments' long histories of struggles endured and overcome that make them the incredible fighting forces that they are today. And once that chain of tradition is broken, it is gone forever. The great Highland Regiments that you are so fortunate to call your own are irreplaceable national treasures and absolutely essential elements in your country's national security. All of them, especially The Black Watch and The Argylls, have done so much to alter the course of world history over the centuries.
Have these remarkable institutions not at
least earned the right to exist?
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Do something now or lose the best soldiers in
|81 of 90|
I don't care what politicians or officers say
My name is Alexander Murphy, I had served with the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Black Watch [RHR]of Canada from Sept,. 1958 tilll they were removed from the line of battle in June of 1970. The Bns,. were formed into the 2nd Bn Royal Canadian Regiment. I stayed in for one more year but it wasn't the same , sure we were all the same guys but it was'nt THE WATCH there was no more swing of the kilt no more Black Bear HOI! no more "esprit de corp" I don't care what politicians or officers say it tears the heart out of you. The English politicians and their military lapdogs should not be allowed to get away with what they are proposing. All of Scotland in fact all Scots world wide like myself should show their disdain by boycotting all things English, and have another campaign like the SAVE THE ARGYLL'S one, but bigger and better,
|82 of 90|
As a 100% Italian I shouldn't have anything to
bother about this (insane) project. But rumors of this (insane) scheme have
reached so far, and I think the loss Great Britain is facing is not only in
terms of fighting manpower, useful and well-trained combat units, source for
employemnt in "critical" areas etc. What will be lost forver is not only a
great loss also in terms army traditions, history , culture and glory. You
are going to cut and throw away a piece of Scotland and UK's economy! My
point is I wouldn't be writing this mail to you if I wouldn't have been
studying Scottish Regiments' history and achievements for years. I wouldn't
have bought hundreds of books and magazines published by UK companies on the
subject. I wouldn't have travelled so far as Fort George, Spean Bridge,
Inveraray, Ballihousie Castle, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle to visit
Regimental and war museums - paying my travel, food and accomodation to
British companies and citizens. I wouldn't have joined a couple of UK
associations, paying regularly my annual fees. I wouldn't have spent quite a
substantial amount of money in UK if your Scottish Regiments wouldn't have
had such a strong driving force - worldwide! So , since MoD looks like
doesn't give a damn about ideals - like the regimental traditions, pride and
history, centuries of sacrifice and millions of proud Scot died for their
Regiment and their comrades etc. - perhaps could be more sensitive about
|83 of 90|
Served with The Black Watch in World War I
My mother and father have asked me to sent you these comments of support as being in the seventies the are not quite what you would call computer literate but they have taken the time to find out your web site address so they could sign the petition
"My Father (my grandfather) John Duncan served with the Black Watch at the Battle of the Somme in World War 1. Being serverly wounded he was left for dead and was only noticed when he moved while the Regiments Minister was walking the battle field praying for the dead. He spent almost 2 years recovering in hospital. He survived this ordeal and went on to work as a postman bring up 4 children and 10 grandchildren. We would like to express our disgust at the Goverment and the MOD for agreeing to disband certainly our most famous Scottish Regiment"
Margaret & Alex Hutchison
|84 of 90|
Daughter of a Former Black Watch
My father served in the Black Watch for 13 years before moving to the USA. I have been brought up with a strong love for my Scottish Heritage. These regiments are a strong and wonderful part of Scotland and it's history. I have always loved the Black Watch and loved seeing them at the Tattoo. Through out the years I have met people from the other regiments such as The Argyll and Sutherlands and The Highlanders. I am very proud of my father, H Donald Legge, and all the other people I have met that have served with these regiments.
I can only hope and pray that the regiments
will be around for a very, very long time. I am also very pleased that there
is this website and proud of the people who have put this all together.
|85 of 90|
A comment from an ex-patriot Scot in Canada.
My father served in the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders from 1914 to 1919, and was wounded four times. I served in the same regiment in the 50s. It hurt us both when the amalgamation with the Seaforths was made and again when the Gordons were added.
I am thoroughly disgusted by the latest amalgamations and down-sizing of the Scottish and other regiments as a means of saving money. What is Blair trying to do? Be like Canada? Look at the Canadian armed forces. They have been down-sized, gutted and starved of adequate equipment and funding so much that they had to borrow equipment and transport to get to Afghanistan. It is not the fault of the men and women in uniform that the Canadian Armed Forces are a joke in the eyes of the world and an embarrassment to Canadians - it is our short-sighted government. Is that to be the future of the once mighty British army?
It seems to me Blair has been taking notes from the late Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's book, and once you start down that slippery slope there's no cheap and easy remedy. I wish you the very best of luck in your endeavours to make them see sense and retain these world-famous Regiments.
|86 of 90|
This will be my second comment on this
disgusting proposal. Why are they so adamant, I bet they would not have
dared opened their mouths if the Queen mum had still been alive and I don't
understand the silence of the royals especially Charles after all they are
not making policy but they at least they should make some comment.
|87 of 90|
reaction to the symbols of Scots pride?
The British Army is one of the few institutions left in the country where standards of excellence are obvious to the world. Why wreck it's best part? Everyone knows that the Scots have always been the most formidable soldiers in the world. Or is there some bigoted reaction to the symbols of Scots pride: the sound of the pipes and the swing of the kilt. Is this an echo of the proscription of the bagpipes and the kilt following the Jacobite Rebellion?
Fort Augustus, Inverness shire.
|88 of 90|
counter-arguments for Mr. Hoon
I must say that I completely disagree with the government's decision over cutting the Armed Forces. There are two separate arguments for this: the practical and the emotional. On the practical side, some might argue that cutting back at a time when the Forces are needed more than ever is somewhat misguided. Sticking to the subject of this petition, creating larger infantry formations, as has been proposed, I believe, is just not suitable to the present nature of challenges being faced.
Specialisations which up to now had been concentrated around different battalions would be diluted and therefore skill sets would not necessarily reach the standard of excellence which has previously made the British Army the most professional in the world. Furthermore, as has been demonstrated in Sierra Leone and other places, smaller units would often be more practicable. This is especially the case as the Army finds itself increasingly stretched. Talk of cost-cutting following expenditure on new technology is also worrying. As the media would testify to, much of this, such as the Eurofighter, the radios etc. etc., is proving to be a costly white elephant that is constantly requiring expense to sort out. And anyway, much as one spends on new generations of bombs and planes, one of the major rules of war has never changed- that of occupying the ground. This has always been the task of the Infantry and always will be- it never changes. Thus, to cut down on infantry, or to have large, unwieldy formations are unacceptable. It seems apparent that Britain will shortly become incapable of fighting wars on Her own anymore. Of course this is also a hugely emotive issue. I have the privilege to know a great number of ex-servicemen, servicemen and soon-to-be-servicemen, many of whom in my family, and I know exactly what regimental pride is. It is identity, tradition, brotherhood, a sense of belonging. We are in danger of losing this, even if the politicians argue to the contrary about the larger formations being mooted keeping vestiges of tradition.
A case in point would be the Cameronians, faced with the choice of amalgamation or disbandment in 1968. They chose the latter rather than have their identity diluted by combining with another regiment. I feel that if the remainder were in the same situation, they would make the same choice and march off into history. One should not forget the other army regiments in all of this, hanging as they are under the same cloud, be they English, Welsh or Irish. It must be understood that now is not the time for petty rivalries or squabbles about which are better. They are all 'in the same boat'. Although this issue is highly charged there is no point launching into familiar angry clichés about the government's decision (everyone knows this is not the first time this shadow has befallen us). I believe the most constructive way forward would be to provide good, balanced and practical counter-arguments for Mr. Hoon.
Scottish History student/Officer Cadet,
|89 of 90|
Dear friends, My father fought in WWII with the Princess Louise Fusiliers out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. His brother, along with many of his other boyhood buddies, fought with the Cape Breton Highlanders. Uncle Frank was killed on May 1, 1945 in Holland, on the last day of fighting in that sector before the official surrender by Germany a few days later. Although he wasn't in their Regiment, my father always spoke with pride about the Highland Regiments during the war. He spoke of how everyone's spirits were lifted when the skirl of the pipes revealed that a Highland Regiment was in the area. As a career military officer, he never forgave the Liberals (specifically Defence Minister Paul Hellyer and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau) for starting the decimation of the Canadian military which has been continued, to varying degrees, by the governments of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chetien. The Black Watch Regiment was stationed in Base Gagetown, New Brunswick (which is often used for training purposes by British regiments) when I was a young lad and it was an awesome sight to see them on parade. It's still a stirring sight to the 48th Highlanders (militia) up at Citadel Hill in Halifax, keeping the old traditions alive. When the regular force Highland Regiments were abolished in Canada, the morale of the entire military was devastated. An essential piece of military history, a point of pride and inspiration, was swept away and our soldiers became a generic group with few anchors to the past. To think that Britain, who built an empire on the backs and blood of the Highlanders, is planning such a desecration shows just how out of touch the Labour Party is with the deep rooted traditions of that country. They have sold their soul to the multicultural madness that is also sweeping most of Europe and North America. I fear that the sound of the lament will soon be all that's heard to the north of England., while the pipes fall silent throughout the remnants of Britain's "empire".
|90 of 90|
salute your braveness
I was a soldier/piper with The 1st Bn The Black Watch in the 70s and remember with great pride my time with the Bn.
Our history is long and our Colours littered with the Battle Honours of every major engagement for hundreds of years. Blair,Hoon try reading the history of the Scottish Regiments it will give you an idea of how grateful you should be that these Regiments exist.
To all servicemen and women serving in Iraq we salute your braveness and resolve in light of these statements from our government.
Bill (Tich) Galloway
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit