Perth ceremony to mark service and sacrifice of Black Watch soldiers

Iraq veterans asked to muster again in remembrance of their most bloody and costly encounters since the Korean War.

Iraq veterans called to muster as The Black Watch reunites to remember its own at ceremony in Perth E-mail

The service and sacrifice of Scotland’s Black Watch soldiers in Iraq will be marked with a day of ceremony and remembrance in the regiment’s home town of Perth next month.

The Red Hackled Scots’ deployments to the war-torn Middle East in 2003 and 2004 marked the final operations of one of the world’s most famous regiments before they were absorbed into the new Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2006 and reduced to company status.

Now, 20 years on, Black Watch Iraq veterans are being asked to muster again as the call goes out to rally in remembrance of their most bloody and costly encounters since the Korean War.

Brigadier Alastair Aitken, who commanded a Black Watch company in Iraq in 2004, heads up the regimental Association’s commemoration steering committee for the event on Saturday, June 22.

He stressed the aim of the day was to mark the final campaign of the Regiment and to recognise the very specific service of those who served in Iraq, especially the ultimate sacrifice of the nine Black Watch soldiers killed in action and the many wounded.

Brigadier Aitken said: “Soldiers of the 1st Battalion The Black Watch took part in the initial invasion, in the fighting in Southern Iraq and in the highly publicised deployment with US forces to take part in the 2nd Battle of Fallujah.

“On completion of the tours, the Regiment was merged with the other Scottish Infantry Regiments to become the Royal Regiment of Scotland – The Black Watch then becoming known as 3 SCOTS.

“We’re hopeful that the proud spirit of The Black Watch will see old comrades gather again in the 20thanniversary year of our involvement in Iraq.

“And we’re asking the public from The Black Watch recruiting heartland of Perthshire, Fife, Dundee and Angus – and beyond – to show their respects by turning out in support of these veterans.”

The day will begin with an ecumenical service or remembrance in St John’s Kirk, Perth, when a special plaque will be unveiled bearing the words: “In commemoration of the service and sacrifice by All Ranks of the 1st Battalion The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) in Iraq during its last operational deployments 2003 and 2004”.

The service will also feature a hymn sung by a Fijian soldiers’ choir comprising former Black Watch and serving 3 SCOTS soldiers, many of whom fought in Iraq. 

The church service will be followed by a Freedom of Perth parade of veterans through the streets of the city to the beat of the Pipes and Drums of 2 SCOTS.

A salute will be taken before the parade moves on to a private reception for veterans and their families at St Ninians Cathedral hall, hosted by Perth and Kinross Council.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code