Royal visit for Black Watch homecoming

FORFAR is gearing up for a real Royal welcome next Thursday when Prince Charles takes the salute to mark the end of The Black Watch’s successful six month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

At the time of going to press on Tuesday (yesterday) it was confirmed Prince Charles will attend the parade and will present medals to a number of soldiers during the homecoming parade.

A spokesperson for the heir to the throne confirmed the Prince of Wales will be in Forfar for the homecoming parade as Royal Colonel of the Black Watch and 51st Highland, and Royal Honorary Colonel for the Queen’s Own Yeomonry.

She said: “The Prince of Wales does a lot for the Armed Forces. We would like to encourage as many people as possible to turn out to thank the troops during their homecoming parade.”

Details of the route to be taken and exact timings have yet to be finalised but it is expected the parade will take place “late morning”. Full details will appear in next week’s Forfar Dispatch and on our website.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed last week the six-month tour of duty by The Black Watch in Afghanistan had ended - without casualties. The last of the 500 soldiers of 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3SCOTS) joined comrades in the relative safety of Camp Bastion. The battalion took up residence in a base at Lashkar Gah in September, from where they have been responsible for numerous patrols and maintaining a presence on the streets. Working with Afghan security forces, they have passed on their training in preparation for the handover of control. The “transition” will ultimately result in the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) taking responsibility for security.

As well as the march through Forfar the troops will also march through Kirkcaldy next Thursday and Dundee and Perth on Friday, April 20.

Supporters turned out in force in July 2006 to applaud The Black Watch soldiers as they marched through Forfar after receiving the Freedom of Angus, with crowds of thousands lining the streets.