Is there a role for the "old" Scottish Regimental Associations

#1
I read in the latest edition of the Red Hackle magazine that the Black Watch is no longer to be listed as
The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, but rather is to be referred to as 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment
of Scotland (Black Watch).

I have also seen commentary and been told by friends and aquaintences still serving that the official line is that to call "3 Scots" or any of the other Battalions by their 'anticedant' name such as the The Black Watch was not being "helpful" and that everyone still serving had "moved on" and that the old Regiment and its associations had gone, (despite the media and the wider community outside of the Army still happily referring to the Battalion as the Black Watch).

Now, while not a shock, the clear implication of these discussions and statements is a complete decoupling of The Black Watch (and the other 'old' Scottish regimental associations) and all they has stood for with the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
The "golden thread of history" has been well and truely severed and all that went before is to relegated to books and a few
regional museums!

Please note, I am not knocking the new battalions or the RRS and have and will continue to follow their endevours and actions with great interest, but... what can be done to maintain the relevance of the "old" to those now serving with the 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (Black Watch)?
 

Auld-Yin

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#3
This is very true and is being keenly felt by all the Scottish antecedent regiments. All funding for the RHQs has been withdrawn and regimental associations have to stand on their own feet. The RRS are forging their identity as a regiment in their own right as instructed by MoD. Once the influence of the regimental associations has deminished fully, MoD will then be able to cut Bns as they will just be a number with less than a decade of history.

Sad times with no thought for the thousands who have served the Queen, Country and Regiment.
 

Auld-Yin

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#4
Nothing, unless you want to vote for Alex Salmond, his SDF 'might' have 'restored' Scottish regiments.
CC, I believe this is happening to the large regiments down south as well but have to hear confirmation. Maybe someone from one of the English regimental associations can confirm.
 

Grumblegrunt

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#5
they could try the la la we're not listening defence - MOD spent ages trying to get us to to call the sa80 the sa90 seeing as it took a tad longer to deploy than anticipated but it failed horribly and we had a lot of blue shouty faces above jumpers with stripes, crowns and pips on :)

I remain amazed that they let it be called sa80a2 instead of the vortex anti personel weapons system or something like that

keep calling it the black watch and have done with it. its a fine regiment and doesn't deserve to die off for the sake of a few quid. higher up the political chain they do not understand nor appreciate regimental loyalties.
 

CanteenCowboy

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Book Reviewer
#6
AY this has been going on for the past hundred years, it is a sad fact that the oldest continuous serving Scottish unit is now a company in the London Regiment.

Many fine regiments with glorious pasts and very deep roots in their communities have been decimated, all the old Regimental Associations can do now is support the old and bold as they make their way into the night. I never joined the new association as I couldn't make the break personally (I still feel betrayed and will never really get over it) so I will just carry on.

I hope to attend the next local meeting of the Association as I will be returning from London the day before and should make it. I hope to see some old friends and make new ones and try and regain some of the feelings of camaraderie I have lost since I left.

To see the different regiments on the plinths of local war memorials reminds us that the communities in the past had a real link with these units and as wars dragged on and conscripts were placed anywhere these links were stretched very thin. The local A & SH Battalion in WW1 was one of the best supplied with the local tobacco company sending out every man fifty cigarettes a month, the local chandlers ensured that the battalion was fully supplied with canvas and ropes for tentage due to the delays in the Military system and the local factories sending a steady stream of consumables to the battalion every month. In the town I was brought up in the only local VC had been conscripted into the Royals (I believe one of the high numbered service battalions, maybe 17 or 18th) in late 17, had made it to the Western front just in time for the German Spring offensive. I am sure he was KIA before he could receive the medal though.
 
#7
CC there is no way I will be voting for Mr Salmond and his political fantasy fairy land of an independant Scotland - I'm now resident down under and don't get to have a say!

I am slightly divorced from this, both by time (it's now over 10 years since i carried heavy stuff up and down hills) and geography (as mentioned I now live down under).

One of the reasons I am hugely puzzled, and a little troubled, by this blanket stance is the impact that it will have on recruiting - already the Argylls (5 Scots) have been reduce to Company size ( i guess to stiffle the screams of outrage if they were cut) which i suppose the RHQ of the RRS will use as a dumping ground for those either on their way in or way out...

During my time with 3 Black Watch (TA), 51st Highland recruiting and recruit training teams and after leavng managing the redesign, development and launch of the Armyjobs website, one of the consistent themes that came through from potential recruits, recruits, serving soldiers and the wider community was the sense of disconnection with The Highlanders (who had been in existence for 3 - 4 years). The local populace still talked of the Gordons or the Queens Own and the recruits from Inverness still talked of the same - e.g. i'm joining B Company - the Queens Own Highlander company (apologies if i have the Coy name wrong...). I have also heard that this is starting to happen as a whole with the RRS - especially when wee jock wanders into the recruiting office to join The Black Watch like ma da and is told they don't exist anymore... This was of huge concern to one and all, which is why so much time and effort was put in to promoting the anticedant regiments and in cultivating input and assistance from the associations and the wider community...

As mentioned by Auld Yin I also believe this to be an issue south of the border...

Does the MOD wish to move the structure of the Army to be more like the US, where you have a mass that is called the infantry and you just get sent where there is a hole to be filled?

I fully understand the economic imperatives of cutting your cloth to fit your budget... but some of these changes, allied to the forced redundancies about to hit appear to me to indicators of an organisation delighting in destroying itself and its links to the wider community that supports and pays for it out shear blinkered stupidity...
 
#9
I read in the latest edition of the Red Hackle magazine that the Black Watch is no longer to be listed as
The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, but rather is to be referred to as 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment
of Scotland (Black Watch).
FFS! It's about time they dumped the name "Black Watch" from the serving Bn altogether and just referred to it as 3 SCOTS like everyone else does. Until then, you will all just carry on ignoring the fact that it is now the 21st Century, and continue to fight among yourselves and pretend that nothing has changed. Frankly it's embarassing. You have a new Regiment now: why not be proud of it?? This fiasco has been going on for five years and it's time for someone to get a grip. Look at how a certain English Regiment has handled amalgamation and looked ahead to the future. Clue: they wear rifle green berets and are fully manned.

No reason for the BW Association not to crack on as before however.
 
#10
Only the Rifles (out of the new Regiments) have ceased all connetations with preceding Regiments/Bn affiliations.

Probalby because 1 (RGBWDDLI) Rifles would have been a fcuking nightmare.

It is about time that these connections are broken on the name. Most lads joining now don't remember teh units anyway.

The wee jock wanting to join the BW is in a different army to his da, or grandda. His da and grandda should remember that and not obsess about joining teh BW.

He is no longer constrained to his own Bn, he can promte in to another one, he can move bns to improve his career or life.

The RRS were luck they didn't lose 5Scots altogether. Like many other Regiemtns who lost Bns. One being the Green Howards who up until the merger in to the Yorks had never ben amalgamated.

'Save the Scottish Regiments/Battalions!' is the cry, by joining them.
 
#11
I have to almost agree with Hobo-Ken as I can see his point.

I started off life in the RGJ as a boy soldier. I remember traditions being drummed into me, yet The Rifles have embraced the changes and have continued to get high numbers joining. The Regimental ties with area and districts was strong and I joined as I lived in the East End of London, and that was the only regiment you would ever think of joining.

When I joined the 51st, I was 2nd Battalion, 51st Highland Volunteers, (The Gordons). We wore Gordons uniform except for the TOS badge. In 94, when amalgamated, we became 3rd Battalion, The Highlanders, (Seaforths Gordons and Camerons) and changed our sporrans and capbadge for those of the Queens Own and now wore a Blue Hackle.

I well remember the grumblings going on, some folk left, some did nothing but moan. We had a visit from a former Gordons Officer who gave us a bit of a history lesson. His attitude was suck it up, get on with it, and make sure The Highlanders were remembered in history. Like he pointed out, the regiments had always been amalgamated, renamed, disbanded then reformed, it was part of army and regimental life. As he pointed out, the history books will always tell of the Gordons, that will never change and will never be lost.

Anyone living in Scotland will know that Scotland lives in the past. It clings on to history and things that happened hundreds of years ago, even if the truth is distorted to suit. The days that the local young loons worked on the farm and stayed in the area are long gone. Most bugger off from the villages as soon as they are old enough to get work in the towns or even offshore (oil and gas/fishing). The old community spirit is lacking. (although I would say it is stronger than down south).

The RRS is a regiment in its own right. People should be proud of the work it has been doing in "the ghan" and the reputation it has. Rather than trying to split it into 5 "Regiments" and 2 TA Battalions, should we not be looking at The Rifles and following their lead? Numbers are down, they have been down well before the RRS was formed, they were down in the 80/90's which is why amalgamations took place in the first place, and that is not going to change. Its not down to local ties being lost, its down to young Scots realising that there is an alternative to army life these days. Back in the 50's it was army, farming, heavy industry or unemployment.....thats was about it! Scotlands biggest export remains folk under 25.

The RRS has had time to make a name for itself, it has done that with distinction, perhaps it is time to recognise that.

The old regiments live on in peoples hearts, the history books and inscribed on war memorials all over the UK and the world.
 
#12
Perhaps my question could have been more to the point...

What role now for the old regimental associations?

I do not believe that it is possible to reform what was - that is a pipe dream for some, but from a practical point of view the old doesn't exist anymore and it woyld be a waste to try and recreate the old regiments. As i mentioned i have and will continue to follow the 'adventures' of the RRS with great interest, and where possible will give what little support i can.

But, how can the old and bold assist, help or maintain a connection with the RRS, when the perceived message coming from RHQ RRS is for the associations to fade away and never darken the door? Surely there must be some way to close the gap between what was and what is, without continually trying to live in the past?

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Z

Zarathustra

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#13
Perhaps my question could have been more to the point...

What role now for the old regimental associations?

I do not believe that it is possible to reform what was - that is a pipe dream for some, but from a practical point of view the old doesn't exist anymore and it woyld be a waste to try and recreate the old regiments. As i mentioned i have and will continue to follow the 'adventures' of the RRS with great interest, and where possible will give what little support i can.

But, how can the old and bold assist, help or maintain a connection with the RRS, when the perceived message coming from RHQ RRS is for the associations to fade away and never darken the door? Surely there must be some way to close the gap between what was and what is, without continually trying to live in the past?

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Do the separate Bns of RRS still recruit from different areas or is it pot luck where the new lads end up after training?

Is there an RRS association?
 
#14
they could try the la la we're not listening defence - MOD spent ages trying to get us to to call the sa80 the sa90 seeing as it took a tad longer to deploy than anticipated but it failed horribly and we had a lot of blue shouty faces above jumpers with stripes, crowns and pips on :)

I remain amazed that they let it be called sa80a2 instead of the vortex anti personel weapons system or something like that

keep calling it the black watch and have done with it. its a fine regiment and doesn't deserve to die off for the sake of a few quid. higher up the political chain they do not understand nor appreciate regimental loyalties.
That strategy eventually worked for the RCAF and RCN, much to the disgust of those who thought that they could dump them into the dustbin of history.
 

The_Duke

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#15
Part of the problem is the old boys continually telling them that the SCOTS is not as good as the Black Watch or whichever previous regiment. The Old comrades associations then have the same recruiting effect as the very bad Royal Marines advert did. Their advert said "99% need not apply" so guess what? 99% didn't - if you keep telling people that the new regiment is not as good as the one their dad was in because they have different badges, hackles, tartan or dicing, why should they be inspired to join?

As long as the OCA are acting against the wishes of the current Regtl council, then they cannot possibly be "helpful". Refer to the current Bns in the way requested by their commanders, publicly acknowledge that they don't have to hang on to the old names to reflect the old standards and you have a chance of moving on. The reality is that not enough of the young people in Scotland want to join the Scottish infantry, and so they were merged, cut and to be honest should have been cut even further but politics saved them.
 
#16
Do the separate Bns of RRS still recruit from different areas or is it pot luck where the new lads end up after training?

Is there an RRS association?
As far as I am aware, the lads in training can state a preference as to which battalion they join after training, but that is subject to the operational requirements of the regiment as they are applying to join the RRS, not the royal highland fusiliers for example. The battalions no longer recruit individually from the old catchment areas.
 
#17
Although it sticks in my throat - The Rifles is by far the most successful of the super regiments.

It was bold enough to create a new corporate identity which gave those serving a sense of purpose. It unified its kit and got deals to make it commercially available online (and not made by a man in a shed in the borders and only available to those lucky enough to be in a home based Reg Bn).

The Reg and TA were included in the "brand" with no distinction - something we in the RRS failed to do until lately.

There are multiple opportunities for the Rifles to gather together (Rifles Dinners, events, trips) open to regular and TA.

Meanwhile, in Scotland we are wasting our time arguing over names which have passed into history, and fail to focus on the real need for the move to super regiments which was to provide an adaptable career path for soldiers and fix the expensive incompetent arms plot. I.e. it suits those who are in and not those who are out.

Who should we be focusing on?? The careers and home-lives of those who are serving or the nostalgia of those who have left.

And before anyone moans about losing our identity - regiments like the Rifles have a better tradition of remembering their antecedent regiments and their battle honours than we do in our insular, fragmented Scottish psyche.
 

Auld-Yin

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#18
People keep banging on about how well the Rifles have done in shedding their old identities. In line with the original question do the Rifles antecedent Regiments have Associations and have they had their funding withdrawn, abruptly, and told to get on with it? Do the Rifles acknowledge their antecedent Regiments or are they just a memory that some old folk talk about? Be a shame if they are being forgotten.

The Regimental Associations in Scotland are restructuring and getting themselves ready to take on the tasks of looking after the name of their Regiment(s) - dosen't make it any easier by saying just suck it up and get on with it. For my own Regiment I know there are still strong links with the new Battalion of RRS (although I believe they like to be called SCOTS) - that does not make our old Regiment any the lesser.
 
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Zarathustra

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#19
People keep banging on about how well the Rifles have done in shedding their old identities. In line with the original question do the Rifles antecedent Regiments have Associations and have they had their funding withdrawn, abruptly, and told to get on with it? Do the Rifles acknowledge their antecedent Regiments or are they just a memory that some old folk talk about? Be a shame if they are being forgotten.

The Regimental Associations in Scotland are restructuring and getting themselves ready to take on the tasks of looking after the name of their Regiment(s) - dosen't make it any easier by saying just suck it up and get on with it. For my own Regiment I know there are still strong links with the new Battalion of RRS (although I believe they like to be called SCOTS) - that does not make our old Regiment any the lesser.
Is there a RRS association or do members of the Bns still join the old regimental associations?




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#20
To the best of my knowledge the OCAs for teh Rifles accept any Reg, TA or Cadet AI that has gone in to the Rifles.
ie
teh Gloster OCA will let you in as a Gloster, RGBW or Rifles.

Iwould imagine eventually these OCAs will merge too, as blokes die off.

It may have been easier for teh Rifles (LI and RGJ being so similar before anyway) but the uniform takes a little from every where.

CdG from D&D, Back badge from Glsoters by way of RGBW, capbadge is essentially LI but buckles are RGJ. Mess silver from the Bns was amalgamated and divvied out. Thus sitting at the table you'll see LI, RGJ and RGBW/D&D silver regardless of Bn.

Former identities havebeen stamped out, even tour T-shrts from previous Bns are a no, no.

And what REALLY helps, look at their recruiting area. Apart from a few offshoots, their patch is the SW. Look at other Cav and Inf areas and they are spread over the UK like a mad woman's sh1t.
 

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