Right Royal welcome

THE centre of Forfar came to a stand-still last Thursday morning when soldiers from three Scottish regiments proudly paraded through town to be met by the Duke of Rothesay, who took the Royal Salute.

Proudly wearing combat fatigues, complete with the symbolic red hackle, the Duke arrived at the Municipal Building shortly after 11 am before emerging from the front of the Town and County Hall.

Among local dignitaries were the Lord Lieutenant of Angus, Mrs Georgiana Osborne, and Angus Provost Mrs Ruth Leslie Melville.

The hardy crowd who braved the cold and the rain were not left disappointed as some 300 Black Watch personnel and their comrades from the 51st Highland 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and The Queen’s Own Yeomanry paraded from Chapelpark Primary School, down East High Street to The Cross.

The parade included the Pipes and Drums and Regimental Band and marked the homecoming of 3 SCOTS. It also recognised the battalion’s strong links with the area.

They were welcomed with spontaneous applause from the crowds in what was described as a “jubilant atmosphere” filled with pride for the soldiers returning from a successful six-month tour of Afghanistan.

As Royal Honorary Colonel the Duke delighted the crowds with an impromptu walk-about, visiting D & A Kennedy the butchers and speaking to staff outside Boots the Chemist.

He also made a visit to David Irons and Sons where he met up with the shop’s owner, the Earl of Strathmore, before attending a reception at the Royal British Legion where he met service personnel from each regiment as well as members of The Black Watch Association.

He then presented soldiers from The Queen’s Own Yeomanry with operational medals. The soldiers, who returned to their permanent base in Fort George, near Inverness, held a series of parades to thank families and friends, and local communities for the support they received while on deployment in Afghanistan.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Fenton said: “I would like to thank the people of Scotland who offered extensive support to the battalion. Families and friends have been very supportive as have the people from the local communities. They sent so many parcels and messages of support that it gave the soldiers a real boost to know that so many people cared.”

From early morning on-lookers gathered to bag the best vantage point. Among the first on the scene was former Black Watch soldier Arthur Barty and his wife Jenny from Old Windsor, Berkshire, who extended their stay in Scotland to show their support to the troops.

For the full story turn to page three.