blackwatchvets.jpg<br/> Black Watch veterans bid farewell to their regiment

I feel that way too.

Telegraph – Highland lament: Scotland’s oldest regiments march into history

It was out with the old and in with the new yesterday as six Scottish infantry regiments were consigned to military history.

While Black Watch veterans, wearing the red hackle, lamented the loss of their 267-year-old regiment, serving soldiers wore the cap and badge of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland for the first time.

Ceremonies were held in Perth, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cyprus and Basra to mark the disappearance of the Black Watch, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the Royal Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the Highlanders and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

The new regimental badge features the saltire, a lion rampant and a crown with the motto Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No one assail me with impunity). Ministers say the merger will create a more mobile Army for the 21st century.

I can’t believe they did that. I just can’t believe it. And if you need a good cry, get a load of the headlines linked at the bottom, including this one (rearranged to be in order):

• 3 October 2005: Scotland’s old soldiers unite to fight merger plans<br/> • 26 November 2005: Dismay as regiments lose their historic badges<br/> • 29 March 2006: Highland lament: Scotland’s oldest regiments march into history

Update (3.31):

Politicians knife Scottish regiments

Sir – It was a sad day for the United Kingdom when six Scottish regiments disappeared for ever for dubious governmental reasons of “costs and efficiency” (News, March 29).

These Highland and Lowland regiments were the pride of Scotland and the envy of the world. Amongst their number was the Royal Scots, the 1st of Foot, the oldest British regiment and the longest serving regiment in the world. From the 17th century to today, the “Jocks” have served loyally and courageously, defending the Crown, Parliament and all the people of this island. From Blenheim to Basra, they have inspired awe, admiration, and in Scotland, fierce affection, as they largely replaced in the regions from where they were recruited, the bonds, loyalties and ties previously reserved for the ancient Highland clans and Lowland families.

The Scottish regiments have never been defeated and have never been found wanting, but have been destroyed with a knife in the back, from a government so mediocre, tarnished and shabby, that it does not care or even understand the shame (and danger) of its directive. New Labour, which has a constant juvenile need to be seen as trendy and modern and answerable only to focus groups and PR consultancies, has eradicated in one stroke the proud regimental structure in Scotland.

Gordon Brown had the astonishing gall recently to pretend to champion the British traditions that give us our pride and identity. His contribution to this debate, so typically crass, was to suggest we adopt an American tradition of sticking flags in our front gardens.

Peter Ferguson, Hertford

What he said.