Ex-soldiers urged to be more active to save legacy

Minden Day at Berwick Barracks.
Minden Day at Berwick Barracks.

Colours bearing the battle honours of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers are likely to be laid up in a special ceremony at next year’s Minden Day commemoration parade.

And veterans of the KOSB were delivered a battle cry by former commanding officer Brigadier Andrew Jackson at this year’s parade at Berwick Barracks on Saturday.

Forced by the UK government into a shotgun wedding with the Royal Scots in 2006 to become the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Brigadier Jackson warned that they would have to take a more active role to preserve their regimental association.

Under the latest round of Westminster’s military cutbacks, the Ministry of Defence will stop paying for association staff based at Berwick Barracks. There were three staff at the start of the year, that is now down to one and by the end of the year there will effectively be no staff on the payroll to manage the association’s affairs.

In a call to arms, the brigadier told the former soldiers they would have to play a more active part in keeping the regimental legacy alive.

Ed Swales, who led a successful campaign to ensure the last colours of the KOSB will be laid up at the barracks, told TheSouthern: “There is no doom and gloom. We had about 250 ex-KOSBs marching and as many again watching. Before 2006 there would not have been as many. And hardly a month goes by that you can’t attend a KOSB function.”

And he revealed that the final colours of 1st Battalion KOSB could be laid up at next year’s ceremony.

Mr Swales led the fight to have the colours taken to Berwick instead of either Edinburgh Castle or the Canongate Kirk on the city’s Royal Mile. And the plan is that the service will be held on the actual anniversary of Minden Day next year – Thursday, August 1.

Minden was a battle honour won in Germany in 1759. During the fight, soldiers from the regiment pinned roses to themselves to help with identification in the heat of battle.

On Saturday, Brigadier Jackson presented roses to the officers on parade and to the pipe bands. The officers then presented roses to the other ranks.

The brigadier was joined on the saluting platform by Guildhall Mayor John Robertson and Sheriff Robert Dalgliesh.