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This website has brought me into contact with a lot of interesting people. It’s even resulted in contact with long lost relatives on the other side of the world being resumed.

There’s a website I’d like to direct those of you interested in Scottish soldiers to. It’s a priceless archive of photos being built up by a former soldier in the Cameronians called Ed Boyle. Ed served with the Cameronians in the early 1960s and his website not only includes his own photos from that time but also those of several other members of the regiment that was disbanded in 1968. They provide not only a fascinating snapshot of army life in the 1960s but also document some pretty amazing haircuts.Ed's work on his website is a timely reminder of the regimental tradition and it's strengths. The Cameronians were disbanded more than 40 years ago and yet once a Cameronian, always a Cameronian. Of course a battalion's only as good as the men in it at any given time. A bad Lieutenant Colonel or Regimental Sergeant Major can do damage which can take years to repair or which may never be repaired. But regimental history and tradition can often form a solid base on which to build today's success and reputation. Persuading men to put their own best interests and self-preservation instincts aside is a complex thing and I don't think a load of pencil pushers in Whitehall actually understand all the factors. Yes, the other members of a man's section are an important factor, perhaps the most important. But when they're nearly all lying dead or unconscious, that's when the old "The Royal Scots-KOSB-HLI-Royal Scots Fusiliers-Gordons- Cameronians- Seaforths-Black Watch-Camerons-Argylls-Scots Guards-Greys NEVER surrender/retreat" thing can kick in.A few blogs ago I speculated that the 4th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland might be facing the axe in the latest round of defence cuts. The Highlanders, who inherited the traditions of the Seaforths, Camerons and Gordons, didn't seem to have the friends in high places who protect the 3rd Battalion (Black Watch) and 5th Battalion (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders). But I see that it could well be the Black Watch, suffering from poor recruitment, who may be on the chopping block. In the very very olden days Whitehall took the emotion out of these decisions by opting for a last-in first out approach which disbanded the youngest regiment first, regardless of its fighting record. A team's only as good as the side it puts on the field, and you don't automatically win the Scottish Cup just because your team's called Celtic or Rangers. Perhaps if there are indeed, and it's debatable, too many teams in the Royal Regiment of Scotland League, the fairest way to sort that might be by the numbers rather than by some sort of battalion beauty contest. Ninety-one and Ninety-three are the highest in this case. {Which is what happened, the 5 Scots being reduced to company strength and assigned to ceremonial duties}  Anyway, here's the link to Ed's website.


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