AMONG the first spectators to bag their pitch for last Thursday’s Homecoming Parade was former Black Watch soldier and Royal chauffeur Arthur Barty and his wife Jenny from Old Windsor, Berkshire.
By chance they were visiting friends in Ballater last week when they found out the Duke of Rothesay was to take the Royal salute, and they had no hesitation in extending their Scottish stay by a day to take in the spectacle.
For Arthur it was a chance to welcome home the regiment he served with for 14 years, to meet up with former comrades, and to re-kindle his memories of working with the Royal family.
And there was another special reason for revisiting the county town - for it was in July 1965 that he marched through the town with his Regiment when The Black Watch was given the Freedom of Forfar - and the Duke of Rothesay’s grandmother- Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother - took the Royal salute on that occasion.
Speaking as last minute security checks were carried out around the Town and County Hall, Arthur said he was delighted to be back in Forfar - it was just too good an opportunity to miss.
Proudly displaying the Black Watch emblem on his jacket he told the “Dispatch”: “I was here in 1965 when the Queen Mother took the salute here.
“I just wanted to be here as a spectator to welcome home 3 Scots and hopefully catch up with old friends.
“However, I am sad the Black Watch is no longer a regiment in its own right but is now part of 3 Scots as various regiments have been removed.”
Arthur, who hails from Alyth, started his Black Watch career in Perth before serving in Cyprus.
He returned to the Warminster School of Infantry in 1962 and then served in Malta, Ireland and Germany, returning in 1966 to the Dreghorn Camp where he served as regimental police staff.
He carried out Royal guard duty for the Queen’s Guard at Ballater in 1968 for 11 weeks before returning to Kirknewton, then Dundonald Camp in Troon and finally Colchester in 1973.
He ended his Black Watch career in December, 1974 in Ireland.
Arthur was delighted the Duke of Rothesay was to take the Royal salute as he was second chauffeur to the Queen Mother for 27 years. He said: “I went to London for the interview and was offered the job, doing anything and everything.
“I was also offered the job as verger to the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Windsor Great hall from May 2003 to February 2012.
“We only heard about the parade yesterday when staying with friends and didn’t hesitate to stay on. It brings back memories of marching through Forfar in 1965 when the Queen Mother was here to take the Royal salute.”