* Serious questionmarks over the official version of one the British Army's most dearly held legends - The Real Mackay?

** Read about the veterans of Wellington's Army lured into misery in the Canadian Wilderness in a new article called  Pension Misery

*** It's been a while since I posted a new article. This one's called Temptation

**** Read about how the most Highland of the Highland regiments during the Second World War fared in the Canadian Rockies - Drug Store Commandos.

***** January 2016 marks the centenary of Winston Churchill taking command of 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Western Front. How did the man who sacked so many British generals during the Second World War make out in his own most senior battlefield command? Find out by having a look at Churchill in the Trenches .  

****** We now have a  Guide to Scottish military museums on this site.  

******* Just weeks before the outbreak of the First World War one of Britain's most bitter enemies walked free from a Canadian jail  - Dynamite Dillon

******** Click to read - - Victoria's Royal Canadians - about one of the more unusual of the British regiments.

********* It has been a while since I've posted an entirely new article. Jungle Jail takes a look at what happened to the soldiers of the Highland Light Infantry and their families after the regiment was captured in Argentina in 1806.

********** Read an article about the Royal Scots and their desperate fight against the Bolsheviks on Armistice Day 1918 - Forgotten War

*********** The 2016 Book of the Year Award has just been announced. See Book of the Year

************No-one has got back to me with a German source for the claim that the kilties during the First World War were known as The Ladies from Hell . See My Challenge to You

************ *A map showing the old Scottish regimental recruiting districts can now be seen by clicking Recruiting Area Map .

************** The Fighting Men 1746  article now includes the estimated strengths of the Jacobite clan regiments which marched into England in 1745 See Clan Strengths

************* ** I've posted a fresh article - Scotland’s Forgotten Regiments. Guess what it's about.  

*************** The High Court Hearing in London in May 2012 attracted a lot of visitors to this site. So, I've decided to keep the link to my latest article on the massacre in the Blog section. See Batang Kali Revisited

The Wringing of the Hands
So, all the World is doing about the ethnic cleansing of northwest Burma is wringing its hands. The Rohingya crisis has also woken the international community up to just how dreadful Aung San Suu Ky truly is. It must be clear to even the dimmest that Aung actually approves of driving the Muslim population out of Myanmar and has no intention of calling a halt to the Burmese army's murder and house-burning campaign. What disturbs me is the lack of international action. I'd like to think the inaction is due to some kind of realpolitik and not wanting to give over control of Myanmar to the Chinese by destabilizing the Burmese military. But it's important not to forget that the Burmese military is not really a fighting force - its lacklustre performance against non-Burmese insurrections since World War Two clearly shows this - but a multi-billion pound business empire. Could it be that the lack of international intervention, economic sanctions perhaps, has more to do with financial considerations rather than the balance of military power in south-east Asia. The mass displacement of the Rohingya has a lot to do with enriching the Burmese military through landgrabs and other asset seizures.  A sad footnote is that the non-Burmese minorities that the military is so keen to crush, the Rohingya, the Karens, the Shans, etc, were all on the anti-Fascist side in the Second World War. The Burmese military, led by Aung's father, only turned against Imperial Japan when its defeat was certain. Follow the money if you really want to understand what is going on.

Shameless Plug #9 - With Wellington was among the books recommended as an excellent Christmas present by the prestigious The Society for Army Historical Research.  There was another mysterious surge in sales of With Wellington last summer. At the end of May it was the third best selling book about the Peninsular War on the website of one of Britain's biggest booksellers and Number Eighteen in the table for all Napoleonic books.  Last December's  sales surge turned out to be a combination of the venerable Scots Magazine declaring it Book of the Month in its January 2015 edition and a highly  favourable review in the Napoleonic Association's newsletter. Scots Magazine's reviewer, nature writer and author, Jim Crumley, declared "I don't much care for military memoirs, but I could not put this one down". Other reviewers have been equally enthusiastic - "If you are interested in the memoirs of British soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars this book is a MUST!... You don't get many Napoleonic memoirs as good as this" and "It is the most candid memoir of the British Army I have ever read... does not pull any punches ... highly entertaining, but also thought provoking..." To have a look at the full reviews check out more about With Wellington  

What do you think? Please feel free to Comment 

Courage Squandered
So, the latest figures show 70% of British Army officers were privately educated. Something like 7% of Britons are privately educated. Does anyone else agree that is a terribly shallow talent pool to select leaders from? Those who believe brains and talent are inherited, along with all that money to pay for private education, need only look at the number of family large businesses which collapse by the third or fourth generation. And yet we trust our defence and our children's lives, those of youngsters who choose to join the armed services at least, to the a group of people whose only common qualification is wealth. That works if the the whole point is to make sure that our military leadership has a massive stake in the status quo and therefore a military coup highly unlikely. If, however, the future existence of the country is at stake, maybe it's not really the way to run our defence. Brains rather than breeding could be the way to go. Some may say, well, 70% still leaves 30% who were not privately educated. True, but I suspect that the 30% who are state educated are mainly going into the parts of the army in which the ability to successfully walk and talk simultaneously without falling over is part of their job. OK, that's an exaggeration but that chances of encountering a competent infantry officer below the rank of Major are less than 50-50:- all too often way less than that. And the officers who go into the more technical parts of the army very seldom reach the sort of high ranks at which they could make a real difference to how operations are planned and conducted. And because of that young Britons who choose to serve in the military but who are not privately educated will continue die unnecessary deaths. 

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