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Dire Prediction

The senior officers in the Royal Regiment of Scotland would perhaps take some comfort from the introduction to to an 1878 book I came across recently about the British regiments. The author, a former army officer, was lamenting what he believed was the destruction of the regimental system by the 1873 Cardwell Reforms to the army. They linked regiments together for training and recruitment purposes. In fact the 1873 and subsequent 1881 Childers Reforms, which created two battalion regiments with clearly defined recruiting areas, proved to be the foundation of what are now as the "historic Scottish regiments" which were amalgamated into the Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2006. Actually, it was the First and Second World Wars, and National Service, which saw tens of thousands of civilians put in the tartans of their "local" regiments and cemented the link between specific regions and army units. At the moment, the four remaining front-line regular battalions of the RRoS, still carry names rather than simply being referred to by number. But  only the Black Watch, the 3rd Battalion, still bears a name that veterans of the Second World War would recognise. It is no secret that senior civil servants and military men would prefer to see the end of the individual battalion names and want them referred to by their numbers. Some battalions are keener than others to retain the traditions of their predecessor regiments. Others buy into the whole creating a tradition for the RRoS, if that is not a contradiction in terms. It is a balancing act. But just the jeremiahs of 1873 were wrong, let's hope their 2006 counterparts are also proven mistaken. By the way, 1873 reforms linked: - The 26th Cameronians and the 74th Highlanders; the 42nd Black Watch and the 79th Camerons; the 71st HLI and the 78th Ross-shire Buffs; the 72nd Duke of Albany's and the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders;  the 73rd Highlanders and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry; and the 92nd Gordon Highlanders and the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders. 


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