350 Years of Proud Military History Wiped out in a Stroke from a Tory Pen; ARMY CASUALTIES NAMES OF FAMOUS SCOTS REGIMENTS TO BE SCRAPPED
Byline: Stephen Stewart
THE historic names of Scotland's famous regiments are to be axed under Tory plans to shake up the Army.
And at least one of our battalions will be scrapped to save cash.
The Black Watch, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Royal Highland Fusiliers names will disappear in two years.
One infantry battalion - either the Highlanders (4 SCOTS) or the Argylls (5 SCOTS) - is likely to be lost.
The famous tank regiment, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, may also be at risk.
The cuts will see the regular Army reduced from 102,000 personnel to 82,000 by 2022 - their lowest level since the Boer War at the end of the 19th century.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said units that fail to make up all their strength from Britain and have to recruit from elsewhere will be targeted.
He added: "Clearly the Army can't get smaller by 17 per cent without losing some units.
"I can't say to you that there will be no loss of battalions in the infantry as we downsize the Army.
"We have units that are significantly under-recruiting, we have units which are recruiting a significant part of their strength from foreign and Commonwealth countries.
"It is not the case that all Army units as they once did have strong geographical recruitment ties."
ANCIENT Under the new system, the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS), will become simply 3 SCOTS, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders will be 5 SCOTS and the Royal Highland Fusiliers will be known as 2 SCOTS.
The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, who were raised in 1633, will be 1 SCOTS.
The names of the 51st Highland, the 52nd Lowland and the Highlanders will also disappear.
Hammond claimed the historic titles have fallen out of use since Army reforms in 2006.
He added: "The ancient cap badges have largely gone. They are attached in brackets to some unit names."
But Douglas Young, chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, said: "This is a total betrayal of the promises that were made just a couple of years ago.
"We were told that the golden thread of regimental history would survive any changes to the Army.
"That has been totally ignored. It is nonsense to say that units are known just as 1 SCOTS or 3 SCOTS.
"You only have to look at any Scottish newspaper to see that these historic names are used all the time.
"There will be widespread disappointment about this utter betrayal."
Marketing expert Professor Paul Freathy, of Stirling University, said the loss of historic "brands" such as the Black Watch could hinder the Army's efforts to boost recruitment.
He said: "There is great value attached to these historic military names.
"The Black Watch, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Highlanders all have a historic reputation that has taken years to build up. …