|The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland|
Cap Badge of the Royal Regiment of Scotland
|Active||28 March 2006–|
|Part of||19 Light Brigade|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort George, Inverness, UK|
|Motto||Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
("No One Provokes Me With Impunity")
|Anniversaries||Red Hackle Day (5 January)|
|Royal Colonel||HRH The Duke of Rothesay|
|Tactical Recognition Flash|
Royal Stewart (Pipers kilts and plaids)
|The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)|
badge and tartan
|Active||1 July 1739 – 28 March 2006|
|Country|| Scotland (1739–1800)
United Kingdom (1801–2006)
|Part of||19 Light Brigade|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort George, Inverness|
|Nickname(s)||"The Forty Twa"
"Black Jocks" (slang term used by members of other regiments)
"Ladies from Hell"
|Motto||(Scotland's) Nemo me impune lacessit
Latin: "No One Provokes Me With Impunity"
|March||Quick: "All the Blue Bonnets are o'er the Border"
Slow: "The Garb of Old Gaul"
Pipes & Drums Quick: "Hielan' Laddie"
Pipes & Drums Slow: "My Home"
Pipes & Drums Slow: "Highland Cradle Song"
|Anniversaries||Red Hackle Day (5 January)|
|Battle honours||see below|
Prior to 28 March 2006, the Black Watch was an infantry regiment – The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) from 1931 to 2006, and The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) from 1881 to 1931. Part of the Scottish Division, it was the senior regiment of Highlanders.
The source of the regiment's name is uncertain. In 1725, following the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, General George Wade was authorised by George II to form six "watch" companies to patrol the Highlands of Scotland, three from Clan Campbell, one from Clan Fraser, one from Clan Munro and one from Clan Grant. These were to be "employed in disarming the Highlanders, preventing depredations, bringing criminals to justice, and hindering rebels and attainted persons from inhabiting that part of the kingdom." The force was known in Gaelic as Am Freiceadan Dubh, "the dark" or "black watch".
This epithet may have come from the uniform plaids of dark tartan with which the companies were provided. Other theories have been put forward; for instance, that the name referred to the "black hearts" of the pro-government militia who had sided with the "enemies of true Highland spirit", or that it came from their original duty in policing the Highlands, namely preventing "blackmail" (Highlanders demanding extortion payments to spare cattle herds). However, these theories are without historical basis and do not stand up to scrutiny.
1739 - 1881
In 1739, the six Highland watch companies were augmented to ten and incorporated into the regular forces of the Crown as the Earl of Crawford's Regiment of Foot.
The regiment was ordered to London by George II in 1743 for inspection; however, along the way, rumors spread that that they were to be sent to the West Indies to fight in the War of Austrian Succession. That was not what the Highlanders expected when they enlisted. As a result, on May 17, 1743, approximately 100 men deserted and set off to return to Scotland. They were intercepted by cavalry in Northamptonshire. The ringleaders (Corporal Samuel MacPherson, Corporal Malcolm MacPherson and Private Farquhar Shaw) were executed by firing squad at the Tower of London on 18 July 1743. The remaining deserters were sent to regiments in Minorca, Gibraltar, Georgia, and the West Indies.
The regiment was numbered the 43rd Regiment of Foot in 1747, changing to 42nd in 1749. In 1751, the regiment was titled "42nd (Highland) Regiment" and, in 1758, was permitted the honour to add "Royal" to its title. However, it continued to be known colloquially as the "Black Watch".
The Battle of Ordashu was a battle fought on 4 February 1874 during the Third Anglo-Ashanti War, when Sir Garnet Wolseley defeated the Ashantis. The attack was led by the 42nd Regiment of Foot. L/Sgt Mcgaw won the Victoria Cross during the action.
In 1881, when the 42nd amalgamated with the 73rd Regiment of Foot, the new regiment was named "The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)". The regiment adopted the royal motto of Scotland's Stewart monarchs, Nemo me impune lacessit ("No-one provokes me with impunity").
The Black Watch was formed as part of the Childers Reforms in 1881, when the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot (The Black Watch) was amalgamated with the 73rd (Perthshire) Regiment of Foot to form two battalions of the newly named Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). The 42nd became the 1st Battalion, and the 73rd became the 2nd Battalion.
The 1st Battalion then served in Africa taking part in the Highland Brigade's dawn assault on the Egyptian position at Tel-el-Kebir in 1882. Two years later, it was in the thick of the fight with the Mahdi's tribesmen at El Teb and Tamai. The following year, 1885, saw it taking part in the Nile Expedition and the action at Kirbekan.
During World War I, the 25 battalions of the Black Watch fought mainly in France and Flanders, except for the 2nd Battalion, which fought in Mesopotamia and Palestine, and the 10th Battalion, which was in the Balkans. Only the 1st and 2nd Battalions were regulars. The rest were either part of the Territorial Force or the New Army. The Black Watch served with the British 51st (Highland) Division (World War I).
Battalions of the Black Watch fought in nearly every major British action in World War II, from Palestine to Normandy, and as Chindits (42 and 73 columns) in Burma. In 1940, the 1st Battalion, together with two Territorial Army battalions, were captured at St Valery-en-Caux with the 51st (Highland) Division. They were later reformed from reserve units of the 9th (Highland) Infantry Division and fought at the Battle of El Alamein and the Allied invasion of Sicily. After the war, in 1948, the two regular battalions were merged into one.
The regiment won honours after the Second Battle of the Hook during the Korean War in November 1952. They were subsequently involved in peacekeeping and counter-insurgency in various parts of the world, such as the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya and Malayan Emergency. Such actions were similar to those for which the regiment was raised 250 years earlier. In 1967, the regiment lost its Territorial battalions, which were amalgamated into the 51st Highland Volunteers. The Black Watch was the last British military unit to leave Hong Kong in 1997, and it played a prominent role in the handover ceremony.
The Black Watch Regiment served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles as part of Operation Banner. The Black Watch was frequently a major target of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).
During the 2003 Iraq War, the Black Watch fought during Operation Telic in the initial attack on Basra, and during its deployment, the unit suffered a single fatality. The following year, the Black Watch was dispatched to Iraq again, as part of 4 (Armoured) Brigade. On 12 August, a soldier from the regiment was killed as a result of an improvised explosive device (IED). In October, the Black Watch was at the centre of political controversy after the United States Army requested British forces to be moved further north, outside of the British-controlled Multi-National Division (South East), to replace forces temporarily redeployed for the Second Battle of Fallujah. Despite objections in Parliament, the deployment went ahead. Based at Camp Dogwood, located between Fallujah and Karbala, in an area later dubbed the "Triangle of Death", the Black Watch came under sustained insurgent attack from mortars and rockets. On 29 October, during the journey to their new base, a Black Watch soldier was killed in a road accident. On 4 November, three soldiers and an interpreter were killed by a car bomb at a check point, and on 8 November, another soldier was killed. The high-profile nature of the deployment caused a magnification of these events back home in Britain.
Under a plan devised by Lieutenant General Alistair Irwin and approved by General Sir Mike Jackson, on 16 December 2004, it was announced that the Black Watch was to join with five other Scottish regiments – the Royal Scots, the King's Own Scottish Borderers, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, The Highlanders and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland, a single regiment consisting of five regular and two territorial battalions. The measure, which reflected recruiting difficulties and the inefficiencies inherent in maintaining a number of relatively small separate units, took place on 28 March 2006.
These plans encountered considerable opposition from a well co-ordinated campaign backed by politicians, retired soldiers and the Scottish public. It was claimed by proponents of the plan that the establishment of a large regiment would improve conditions of service for serving personnel. As with the other former Scottish regiments, the Black Watch will retain its former name as its primary identifier, with its battalion number as a subtitle. Therefore, the regiment is now known as The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland; in addition, the battalion is also permitted to retain its most famous distinction, the red hackle on the Tam o'Shanter. The Black Watch's primary recruiting areas are in Fife, Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross, with the Battalion Headquarters and regimental museum located at Balhousie Castle, Perth. The Battalion is currently on Operational Commitments on Op Herrick Afghanistan.
On 24 June 2009, it was reported that elements of the battalion numbering about 350 troops carried out one of the largest air assault operations of the NATO troops in Afghanistan, named Operation Panchai Palang (Panther's Claw), by deploying into and attacking a Taliban stronghold located near Bābājī (باباجی ), north of Lashkar Gah. The operation commenced on 19 June just before midnight. After a number of combat engagements with the insurgents, the soldiers of the battalion secured three main crossing points: the Lui Mandey Wadi crossing, the Nahr-e-Burgha canal and the Shamalan canal. Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Cartwright, Commanding Officer of The Black Watch battalion, was reported saying that this operation established a firm foothold in what was the last remaining Taliban area controlled in the southern Helmand province. The location of the Taliban force in the area had allowed it to conduct attacks on the A01 highway, a major national route connecting Kandahar and Herat. During 22 June, troops of the battalion also "found 1.3 tonnes of poppy seed and a number of improvised explosive devices and anti-personnel mines before they could be laid." Analysis by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation revealed the haul to be of mung beans, not poppy seed.
- Robert Munro, the original Black Watch commander, Colonel Sir Robert Munro
- Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales, Australia from 1810 to 1821. An inscription on his tomb in Scotland describes him as "The Father of Australia".
- Bernard Fergusson, Baron Ballantrae, the last British-born Governor-General of New Zealand
- Alfred Anderson, Scotland's last surviving World War I veteran (d. 2005)
- James Anton, late Quartermaster-Sergeant of 42nd Royal Highlander and author
- Jim Baxter, Scottish footballer
- Fergus Bowes-Lyon, older brother of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
- Duncan Campbell, Scots nobleman and British Army officer
- Harold Davis, Scottish former professional football player
- Henry Davie, Liberal Member of Parliament for Haddington
- Adam Ferguson, Scottish philosopher, social scientist and historian
- Stewart Granger, actor
- J. B. S. Haldane, British-born geneticist and evolutionary biologist
- Christopher Logue, English poet
- Fulton Mackay, Scottish actor
- Gillean Robert Maclaine, the 25th hereditary Chief of Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie
- Major Ian Stanhope Murray
- Eric Newby, English travel author
- Simon Ramsay, Conservative politician and colonial governor
- Neil Ritchie, British Army officer during the Second World War
- William Rose, screenwriter
- Frederick Guthrie Tait, Scottish soldier and amateur golfer
- Rory Stewart, Scottish diplomat, Harvard Professor and Conservative MP
- Arthur Wauchope, British soldier and colonial administrator
- Archibald Wavell, British field marshal during the Second World War
Recipients of the Victoria Cross
All of the Black Watch servicemen listed below were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
- Francis Edward Henry Farquharson, Indian Mutiny Lucknow, 9 March 1858
- John Simpson, Indian Mutiny Fort Ruhya, 15 April 1858
- Alexander Thompson, Indian Mutiny Fort Ruhya, 15 April 1858
- James Davis, Indian Mutiny Fort Ruhya, 15 April 1858
- Edward Spence, Indian Mutiny Fort Ruhya, 15 April 1858
- William Gardner, Indian Mutiny Bareilly, 5 May 1858
- Walter Cook, Indian Mutiny Sissaya Ghat, 15 January 1859
- Duncan Millar, Indian Mutiny Sissaya Ghat, 15 January 1859
- Samuel McGaw, Ashanti War Amoaful, 31 January 1874
- Thomas Edwards, Egyptian Campaigns Tamaai, 13 March 1884
- John Ripley, First World War Rue du Bois, 9 May 1915
- David Finlay, First World War Rue du Bois, 9 May 1915
- Charles Melvin, First World War Istabulat, 21 April 1917
- Lewis Pugh Evans, First World War Zonnebeke, 4 October 1917
More information about these VC Holders can be found at the  website.
- [combined battle honours of 42nd Regiment and 73rd Regiment, plus:]
- Guadaloupe 17591, Martinique 17621, Havannah1, North America 1763–64, Mysore5, Busaco³, Salamanca4, South Africa 1846-476, 1851-2-36 Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt 1882 '84, Kirbekan, Nile 1884-85, Paardeberg, South Africa 1899–1902
- The Great War [25 battalions]: Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914 '18, Aisne 1914, La Bassée 1914, Ypres 1914 '17 '18, Langemarck 1914, Gheluvelt, Nonne Bosschen, Givenchy 1914, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Festubert 1915, Loos, Somme 1916 '18, Albert 1916, Bazentin, Delville Wood, Pozières, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Thiepval, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Ancre 1916, Arras 1917 '18, Vimy 1917, Scarpe 1917 '18, Arleux, Pilckem, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917 '18, St Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Rosières, Lys, Estaires, Messines 1918, Hazebrouck, Kemmel, Béthune, Scherpenberg, Soissonnais-Ourcq, Tardenois, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Épéhy, St Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Courtrai, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914–18, Doiran 1917, Macedonia 1915–18, Egypt 1916, Gaza, Jerusalem, Tell'Asur, Megiddo, Sharon, Damascus, Palestine 1917–18, Tigris 1916, Kut al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Mesopotamia 1915-17
- The Second World War: Defence of Arras, Ypres-Comines Canal, Dunkirk 1940, Somme 1940, St. Valery-en-Caux, Saar, Breville, Odon, Fontenay le Pesnil, Defence of Rauray, Caen, Falaise, Falaise Road, La Vie Crossing, Le Havre, Lower Maas, Venlo Pocket, Ourthe, Rhineland, Reichswald, Goch, Rhine, North-West Europe 1940 '44–45, Barkasan, British Somaliland 1940, Tobruk 1941, Tobruk Sortie, El Alamein, Advance on Tripoli, Medenine, Zemlet el Lebene, Mareth, Akarit, Wadi Akarit East, Djebel Roumana, Medjez Plain, Si Mediene, Tunis, North Africa 1941–43, Landing in Sicily, Vizzini, Sferro, Gerbini, Adrano, Sferro Hills, Sicily 1943, Cassino II, Liri Valley, Advance to Florence, Monte Scalari, Casa Fortis, Rimini Line, Casa Fabbri Ridge, Savio Bridgehead, Italy 1944–45, Athens, Greece 1944-45, Crete, Heraklion, Middle East 1941, Chindits 1944, Burma 1944
- The Hook 1952, Korea 1952–53; Al Basrah, Iraq 2003
1. awarded 1909 for services of 42nd Regiment.
2. awarded 1914 for services of 42nd Regiment.
3. awarded 1910 for service of 42nd Regiment.
4. awarded 1951 for service of 42nd Regiment.
5. awarded 1889 for service of 73rd Regiment.
6. awarded 1882 for service of 73rd Regiment.
Before and after the Second World War, the Australian Militia, later renamed the Citizen Military Forces (CMF), included the 30th Battalion, New South Wales Scottish Regiment. This unit was affiliated with the Black Watch, wearing the kilt, beret with red hackle and badge of the parent regiment in Scotland. A Scottish Black Watch officer was seconded from the British Army to serve as a permanent cadre with the NSW Battalion. The regiment was popular and was probably the only CMF unit at full strength with a waiting list for entry. With the reorganisation of the CMF following the introduction of compulsory National Service in the early 1950s, conscripted recruits were made to join existing CMF units alongside the volunteer part-time soldiers of the old CMF; consequently, 30th Battalion became fully manned with National Servicemen, and it was disbanded as the CMF of this period lost all its volunteers who did not wish to serve alongside conscripts. Compulsory National Service was made more selective in 1957 with greater stress on skills rather than numbers, with the system completely ending in 1959; however, it had effectively caused the demise of the old CMF due to the shifts in manpower that the scheme had caused and the changed administrative conditions under which the old CMF (and some other branches of the Armed Forces) had previously operated.
Canada (from 1862) has its own Black Watch, being raised as the 5th Battalion of the Canadian Militia, being renamed by 1914 as the 5th Regiment (Royal Highlanders of Canada). It adopted its current title, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, prior to the Second World War, in which it served in the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division from mobilisation in 1939 to 1945. As part of the 5th Canadian Brigade, the Regiment's 1st Battalion landed in Normandy in July 1944 and participated in major combat actions afterwards including the fight for the Channel Ports, the Battle of the Scheldt, Operation Market Garden, the Rhineland, and the final battles of the war east of the Rhine River. Three battalions of the Black Watch (RHR) of Canada also served in Canada, two in the Regular Army, the other as a Reserve unit. Between 1953 and 1970, the Regiment had two battalions on the order of battle of the Regular Force, with a battalion in the Militia. The Regiment reverted to a one-battalion Militia unit in 1970 and remains in that status today.
- Australia - The Royal Queensland Regiment
- Australia - The Royal New South Wales Regiment
- Canada - The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
- Canada - 42nd Field Artillery Regiment (Lanark and Renfrew Scottish), RCA
- Canada - The Prince Edward Island Regiment (RCAC)
- New Zealand - The New Zealand Scottish
- South Africa - Transvaal Scottish Regiment
- British Royal Navy – HMS Montrose
When wearing the kilt, it is customary for troops to "go regimental" or "military practice", wearing no underwear. In 1997, a Black Watch soldier received wide press exposure because of windy conditions during a military ceremony in Hong Kong.
The Black Watch on Parade at Gibraltar
- from regimental number – 42
- Black Watch. Parker, John. Headline Book Publishing 2008. ISBN 0-7553-1348-8, pages 13–14
- The Invention of Scotland. Trevor-Roper, Hugh. Yale University Press 2009. ISBN 978-0-300-13686-9, p.205
- Mutiny of 1743
- Black Watch Origins
- Black Watch. Parker, John. Headline Book Publishing 2008. ISBN 0-7553-1348-8, pages 14–15
- "3 SCOTS launch massive air assault, UK MOD". Mod.uk. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
- NATO Troops Stage Air Assault on Taliban Stronghold in Southern Afghanistan, Catherine Maddux, VOA News VOA | NATO Troops Stage Air Assault on Taliban Stronghold in Southern Afghanistan | News | English Archived 25 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- UK Troops In Huge Air Assault On Taliban, SkyNews, UK Archived 24 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- British Forces Target Taliban Stronghold, Quqnoos.com[dead link]
- Boone, Jon (30 June 2009). "Opium crop haul just a hill of beans, admits MoD". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- Army 2020 Update
- Terry Copp (31 October 2007). The Brigade: The Fifth Canadian Infantry Brigade in World War II. Stackpole Books. pp. 11–. ISBN 978-0-8117-3422-6. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
- "When a blue moon has more to do with the wind-chill factor". The Sunday Herald. 14 January 2001.
- "Scots tradition hit by cover-up ruling". The Times. 2 August 2004. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
- Anton, James (2007). Royal Highlander : a soldier of H. M. 42nd (Royal) Highlanders during the Peninsular, South of France and Waterloo Campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. [U.K.]: Leonaur Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84677-223-8.
- Durie, William (2012). The British Garrison Berlin 1945 - 1994 : a pictorial historiography of the British occupation. Berlin: Vergangenheitsverl. ISBN 978-3-86408-068-5.
- Charles Grant; Michael Youens (15 June 1971). The Black Watch. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85045-053-8.
- James Grant. The Black Watch or, Forty-Second Highlanders. Elibron.com. ISBN 978-1-4021-7481-0.
- Schofield, Victoria. The Highland Furies: The Black Watch 1739–1899. Quercus Publishing. ISBN 9781849169189.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Black Watch.|
- 3 SCOTS on British Army website
- Forward The Forty Twa Black Watch Forums
- The Black Watch Website
- The Black Watch Forums
- blackwatchcanada.com[dead link]
- Twa Recruitin' Sergeants
- The Gallant Forty-Twa
- Wha Saw the Forty-Second?
- Black Watch (play) at the National Theatre of Scotland website
- www.51hd.co.uk – The Official Website of the 51 Highland Division
- British Army Locations 1945 on[dead link]