Black Watch to spearhead assault


War Hero

THEIR battle honours read like a history of Britain’s glorious military past; Waterloo, Balaclava, Sebastopol, the Somme, Arras, Ypres, Crete, El Alamein.

Wherever Scotland’s Black Watch have been called to serve, they have distinguished themselves with a bravery that has inspired fear in enemies and respect among all those who have served alongside them.  ;D ;D

Now the Black Watch is preparing to take its place at the forefront of another great military campaign.

As part of the legendary 7th Armoured Brigade - the Desert Rats - and under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mike Riddell-Webster, they will play a key role in the events which will unfold over the coming days.

For weeks, they have been preparing for this moment at their temporary home in northern Kuwait, a mere 25 kilometres from the Iraqi border.

Camped out in a vast area of desert, they have grown used to the suffocating heat, the dust storms and the privations of life far away from the comforts of home.

Above their heads has been the constant sound of whirring helicopters and jets tearing across the sky. The desert has been alive with the noise of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and all the other vehicles that make up the formidable battle group stretched out facing the Iraqi border.

As the 1,100 troops and 50 Warrior armoured vehicles prepare to engage, they know they could have done no more to get ready.

In front of them is an Iraqi army dug in to defensive positions which they must overrun quickly if they are to achieve their objectives. Those inside the armoured vehicles are under no illusions about what they are taking on. The Iraqi army may not be as well-equipped and trained to such a peak of readiness as the British and US forces, their morale might not be as high, but they have the advantage of numbers and few among the Black Watch believe all their number will return home alive.

Not everyone who will go into battle wearing the red hackle of the Black Watch believes theirs is a just cause. The debate among the troops has been earnest and impassioned: some have railed against the politicians who have sent them to a foreign country to fight against people with whom they have no quarrel. Some, making the last call home to loved ones, fear for the Iraqi children as they would for their own.

Others have looked forward with enthusiasm to the moment the bombs begin to fall, standing outside their tents over the last few evenings in the hope of seeing the first flashes of explosions out in the darkness beyond the lights of the oilfields of Kuwait.

They display mixed emotions, from nervousness to bluff confidence. Others have no words at all.

Yet whatever their emotions, all understand they are professional soldiers who have chosen this path. When they joined the Black Watch, they knew at times they could be asked to do things they might find disturbing, even distressing, in the regiment’s name.

Formed in 1725 when six companies of Highlanders were raised to keep watch on the Highlands, they took their name An Freiceadan Dubh - the Black Watch - from the dark tartan they wore. When they fought for the first time in battle in 1743 at Fontenoy in Flanders, the enemy reported that "the Highland furies ... rushed in more violently than sea in a storm".

Renamed in 1749 as the 42nd Regiment, at Waterloo they were singled out by the Duke of Wellington for their bravery at Quatre Bras. In the Crimea, they fought at Alma, Balaclava and Sebastopol.

In India, members of the regiment won eight Victoria Crosses in just 15 months.

In 1861 the name The Black Watch was formally approved by Queen Victoria and the regiment went on to serve around the empire.

During the First World War, they fought at Marne, Aisne and Ypres, Givenchy, Neuve Chappell and Festubert. At Loos, one general who saw their dead lying so thick that it was difficult to place a foot between them confessed his amazement "when I thought of the unconquerable, irresistible spirit which the men must possess to have enabled them to continue their advance after such losses".

Now, more than 80 years later, they will be called upon to display that same rare bravery again.

Move fast and stay low guys - god speed and good luck..........
Had the pleasure to work alongside The Black Watch in Berlin in the late 80's.  Excellent bunch of lads then, and a Regiment steeped in history.  

Good luck, and safe return lads.


Wasn't it someone from the Black Watch who urinated on the eternal flame in Berlin and got the Regiment sent home?


War Hero
Yes  ;D ;D ;D ;D

Also responsible for flashing their arrses at the chinese dignitaries in the Hong Kong handover.....those were the days...... ;)
Didn't realise Bruce was still around :)


Didn't realise Bruce was still around :)

Aye, still around.   They called him geopolitics editor for a while but everybody (inc himself) laughed at that.

Lot's of good stories about Brucie - like GW1 when he went Riyadh and his luggage went to Singapore.   Also the guy (I hear) who threatened to kill Hastings because he was, so it's said, sitting back at the beachhead in relative safety while the others were at the sharp end.   That in itself would be OK but the story is that Hastings was substituting his by-line for their's.


Heard nothing but good things about the bloke. Yes, I heard about the Hastings thing too, from a guy who was there, but is now a Journo. Max was using their copy (allegedly), Bruce offered to turn his lights out (allegedly) if he allegedly continued :)
Line Grunt, surprised at you being a Jock n'all and did not pick up the fact that the only INFANTRY regiment in the Army which sports the battle honour "BALAKLAVA" is of the course the Argyll and Surtherland Highlanders. Their old 93rd gave rise to the term "The Thin Red Line".

And I bet that they are "fizzing" still stuck in Palace Barracks when but for a few weeks they could have been IRAQ.
:eek: :p


War Hero
I know :mad:  

looking on it as Journalistic licence - not happy about it though.

The Watch were lurking about the place though ;)

Shame us

Best of wishes to the Black Watch and all other Regiments/Corps in Iraq - I'm sure that you will do the job, for which you are paid, admirably.

Will it be too much to hope for though, that on their return to beautiful Fallingbostel, this 'brave and distiguished' Regiment won't return to their old ways of smashing up the town, stealing from each other, drink driving and battering the local poulation of this small German town into a pulp because they've had a beer?

I can hear the repeated cries now - "I've just come back from war, mate!" as an excuse for whatever crime they've decided to commit next.