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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space…

Perth & Kinross

Rare chance to see The Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch play in heartland

February 25 2014

They have marched into the heat of battle and brought tears to eyes at some of the most dramatic moments of world history. Now the Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, will play at The Black Watch Castle and Museum in Perth for one night only on Tuesday May 13. The band is keen to support the heritage of The Black Watch and all funds raised from the concert will be in aid of the conservation and exhibition of the Sid Lunn medal collection. Music has been an important part of the life of The Black Watch from the earliest days and integral to the lives of Highland soldiers in particular. Played into battle, the sound of the pipes raised the spirits of the Highlanders and put fear into the hearts of the enemy. The Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch has also travelled the world performing at tattoos, festivals and celebrations. In recent years, the band has toured extensively throughout Canada and the United States and, in 1963, it played at the White House for US President John Kennedy. The honour came just eight days before his assassination and the band then found itself invited to undertake the mournful task of playing at his state funeral. Against such a historic background, it is something of a rare opportunity to see the pipes and drums play at their regimental home, at the heart of their regimental area. The event will help support the refurbished and extended museum by enabling work on the Sid Lunn medal collection, which consists of the medals of Black Watch soldiers from throughout the regiment’s history, collected by Mr Lunn during his life and donated to the museum in 2006. Originally from Wakefield in Yorkshire, he joined the 5th Battalion The Black Watch in October 1941. He served with the regiment throughout the second world war, in North Africa where he was wounded at the battle of El Alamein Sicily and North West Europe. In 2002, he entered the Royal Hospital Chelsea as an In Pensioner and died on March 25 2006, at the age of 84. Booking for the concert is essential and tickets should be secured in person from The Black Watch Castle and Museum or by calling 01738 638152.


Queen visits army barracks to present pipe banner

July 5 2013

The Queen has visited an army barracks to present a pipe banner to the Royal Regiment of Scotland. She viewed a parade led by the regimental band before presenting the decorative flag at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh. The new banner will be carried when the band plays at high-profile events and state occasions. The queen, who is colonel-in-chief of the regiment, previously presented colours to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions of the regiment in Edinburgh two years ago. The 4th Battalion, which was serving in Afghanistan at that time, received its colours at a later date. Colours from all seven battalions were presented, in what Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Graham described as a “historic occasion”. He said: “To take part in the parade makes this occasion truly unique and historic.”

Perth & Kinross

Black Watch timepiece sells out in three days

December 21 2013

A commerorative Black Watch timepiece created to help raise funds for veterans has sold out in just three days after being featured in The Courier. The limited-edition piece was created by master watchmaker Robin Devine and features the historic regiment’s badge and tartan. It honours squaddies from what is now known as the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS). Robin, of Toronto-based Time is Ticking, said the entire stock was snapped up by former Black Watch soldiers from around the globe. To keep up with demand Robin has been working until 4am packaging and posting all 70 of the timepieces herself. Robin attributed demand to an article which featured in The Courier last month. She said: “The watches only sold because of The Courier article that is an absolute fact. “People sent out the article all over the world. People were calling Toronto all day from the time the article came out until the watches had been sold.” Robin said many buyers told her of their memories of serving in the regiment, which dates from 1739. “The people in Scotland had such wonderful stories to tell about how much the watch meant to them,” said Robin. “There were some elderly veterans who had never used a credit card and for them to call Toronto to a far off country and to someone they didn’t know really tells you how important the watch was to them. “I feel like the watch is helping to keep the history of the regiments alive in a way that can be publically displayed.” Robin hopes to have a similar success with a watch celebrating the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, which traditionally recruits from Stirlingshire. Profits from the watch, which is available through the regimental museum or through the Time is Ticking website, will go to veterans.


Hearty welcome home for The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards ahead of Leuchars move

April 4 2014

The regiment which will occupy the Leuchars airbase has returned “home” in triumphant fashion. Around 200 soldiers from The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SCOTS DG) took part in a Homecoming Parade in Glasgow to mark their recent return from operational duties in Afghanistan. In keeping with tradition dating back hundreds of years, the soldiers paraded through the streets of Glasgow to show thanks for the support members of the public have given them and celebrate with the Scottish community. Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ben Cattermole said: “It is a tremendous honour for the regiment, having returned in February from Afghanistan, to conduct Homecoming Parades in Edinburgh and Glasgow. “I also hope that in doing so, we can in a small way show our gratitude for the enormous support offered by the people of Scotland during our deployment. “These parades also mark the beginning of a new and exciting journey for Scotland’s Cavalry. This year, we convert from being tank soldiers to light cavalry, fully integrated with the yeomanry and also prepare to return home to Scotland. “After 20 years in Germany, this move marks a significant change for the regiment and promises outstanding opportunities for the regiment and our families.” Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, who as Lord Lieutenant took the salute at the homecoming parade, said: “Glasgow is proud of its military and it is always a pleasure to welcome our men and women safely back home. They face dangers we cannot begin to comprehend. We are all in their debt for their courage and professionalism.” Scotland’s most senior and only cavalry regiment returned to their permanent base in Fallingbostel, Germany, in February 2014 after spending six months deployed in Kabul. Following another parade, the unit will return to Germany to prepare for significant changes. Under Army 2020 restructuring, the regiment’s role will change from a heavy cavalry regiment with Challenger 2 battle tanks to a light cavalry regiment using Jackal armoured vehicles. It will then prepare to move from Germany to RAF Leuchars in 2015.


Duke of Kent visits his old regiment at Leuchars base

March 24 2016

The Duke of Kent met soldiers in his old regiment when he visited Fife. Prince Edward, Deputy Colonel in Chief of the Royal Scots Dragoons Guard, toured the new home of SCOTS DG at Leuchars Station. He also heard about its new role as the UK’s lead light cavalry battle group and saw the Jackal armoured vehicles which have replaced the regiment’s Challenger 2 main battle tanks The Duke, who served with the army for more than 20 years until 1976, also officially opened the new corporals’ mess and had lunch with military personnel and their families. Commanding Officer Colonel Dominic Coombes said it was exciting to welcome him to Leuchars for the first time since the regiment’s arrival last year. He said: “For him it’s like coming back to the family. “Of course, the army has changed a lot since he was in it so we brought him up to speed with what we do now and what our role is as light cavalry. “As a retired regimental officer he has a wonderfully intimate understanding of the regiment. “It has been great to introduce His Royal Highness to the place in which the serving regiment is very happily settled and to show him what we have achieved since moving here.” The duke chatted with soldiers, including Lance Corporal Kyle Tibbles, Trooper Andrew Burgen, who is part of the Waterloo Troop ceremonial squadron formed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and Lance Corporal Andrew Nairn, of the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry reserve unit based in Cupar. Lance Corporal Tibbles said: “He was intrigued to hear about what we have been doing.”

Perth & Kinross

‘Incredible’ response to Black Watch Museum revamp

June 26 2013

Poignant reminders of glories past and lives lost adorn every wall and fill every cabinet in Balhousie Castle. Over more than 300 years The Black Watch has carved out a reputation as one of the world’s finest fighting forces, earning honours in conflicts and theatres of war around the globe. As far back as 1745 then known as the 43rd Regiment of Foot the regiment saw action against the French at the First Battle of Fontenoy. Since then, in the Americas, West Indies, India, Crimea and South Africa in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, during the war in Europe and, most recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands have made the final sacrifice in its colours. Those behind the £3.5 million rejuvenation of the regiment’s spiritual home hope there will be many thousands keen to hear their gallant story. And with more than 400 passing the Black Watch Muesum’s doors as it opened to the public for the first time in 12 months on Tuesday those hopes appear set to be met. Arriving just seconds after 9.30am were Denis and Esther Platt from Eccles in Salford, who were given a warm welcome by Black Watch Museum Trust chief executive Alfie Iannetta. Mr Iannetta admitted he was stunned by the response and is already considering new staff for the attraction. “All I ever wanted was to see something created that would carry on The Black Watch name forever,” he said. “This is what we have been dreaming about for the past five years and I am hugely proud of what we have delivered here. “The important thing now that the museum is reopened is that people now come here and enjoy it. “Our first visitors arrived the moment we opened the doors and we’ve since welcomed around 400 people. It’s been incredible and way beyond any expectations we had.” The museum also welcomed its first school visit, with youngsters from Ceres Primary School enjoying a guided tour. They also became the first to make use of the museum’s new classroom, where they undertook a project on the Second World War. Meanwhile, the new caf was filled with happy eaters, who sampled a menu created through consultation with previous visitors and filled with nods to military life, such as the regimental breakfast. “I couldn’t be any happier with the reopening,” Mr Iannetta said. In addition to an extended educational outreach programme, a series of special exhibitions will be mounted, with the first entitled The Sword and the Pencil. Learning and audience officer Rebecca Berger said: “Our first special exhibition will highlight artworks from the museum’s large collection of prints, photographs, sketches and watercolours.” * Stunned museum staff discovered a haul of antique newspapers after opening a soldier’s rucksack which had been untouched for half a century. In preparation for the reopening of The Black Watch museum, curators opened the bag belonging to Major Sir Peter Halkett and discovered the precious haul. Some of the newspapers stuffed inside were more than 150 years old, with the most recent from 42 years later in 1900. The earliest is a copy of The Field, the Country Gentlemen’s Newspaper, dated Saturday March 27 1858, and the latest is a copy of the Times, dated Friday January 5 1900. The regiment, which became a battalion under recent army reforms, is mentioned in the 1900 paper in a letter written to the editor. Although the knapsack has been in the collection for a number of years, this is the first time the contents have been seen since they were originally placed inside. Halkett carried the bag as a lieutenant, and later a captain, in the 42nd during the Crimean War. Emma Halford-Forbes, the museum curator, said the find had come as a complete surprise, despite the familiarity of the object. She said: “The knapsack was used in the Crimean campaign and it was part of his kit. We assume he put the newspaper in to keep its shape when it didn’t have his kit in it any more. “We’ve had the object for 50 years and it was really interesting that nobody had noticed before.” Major Halkett was originally from Pitfirrane, which is now a part of Dunfermline. He fought at the battle of the Alma in the Crimea, carrying the colours which are also now housed at the museum a moment which is immortalised in a painting by military artist Robert Gibb, entitled Alma: Forward the 42nd. Find out more at www.theblackwatch.co.uk


Revitalised museum to take fresh look at one of Scotland’s most famous fighting forces

April 15 2017

One of Scotland’s best loved military museums is to undergo a stunning £3.75 million transformation. For many years the history of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders has been celebrated at Stirling Castle. Based in the A-listed 15th Century Royal Palace known as The King’s Old Buildings, it already attracts around 185,000 visitors each year. However, the trustees hope to update the museum and provide an all new presentation and interpretation of the regiment’s history fit for the 21st century. Backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a successful £2 million Thin Red Line Appeal fundraising drive — backed by the Earl of Strathearn, Prince William — heritage design consultants PLB Ltd will take on that task. They have been challenged to place one of Scotland’s greatest regiments more firmly in the context of the nation’s history. © SuppliedPrince William next to the famous “Thin Red Line” painting at the Museum of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Stirling Castle. The museum will also shine a new light on the communities and families who, across the centuries, have nurtured its fighting men. It will give pride of place to the Argyll’s priceless collection of militaria, artefacts and archives and look at wider themes such as empire, the rise and fall of heavy industry and the changing role of the Scottish soldier from the Highland Clearances to peacekeeping in Northern Ireland. Trustees hope the modernised museum and expanded exhibit space will help attract an extra 28,000 visitors each year. Colonel AK Miller, project director, said: “We selected PLB from a strong field of specialist companies on the strength of their imaginative ideas for developing the museum, exploiting the extended gallery space and ensuring improved physical and intellectual access to the history The Argylls, one of Scotland’s greatest Highland Regiments, in war and peace. “PLB understood our desire to tell the Argylls’ story in the wider context of Scotland and the UK and a keen understanding of the very diverse audiences that visit Stirling Castle and the need to entertain and enlighten.” © SuppliedColonel AK Miller considers plans for the museum with PLB’s Jamie McCall. Jamie McCall, creative director of PLB, added: “PLB has successfully completed projects for various military museums, including the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset. “This commission challenges us to explore the history of the regiment and present their story through an interactive and thought provoking museum, one which attracts audiences of all ages from all nations.”

Perth & Kinross

VIDEO: Troops and veterans gather at home of The Black Watch for Armed Forces Day

June 23 2015

Veterans and serving soldiers gathered at Balhousie Castle, home of The Black Watch, for a ceremony to mark Armed Forces Day. As a nod to the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, among those gathered were members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The regiment is descended from the Royal Scots Greys, a cavalry regiment known for its exclusive use of grey horses. The parade into the castle grounds was led by five of the regiment’s mounted troop, including Second Lieutenant Mike Houstoun. As part of the ceremony a special flag was raised above the castle to the tune of Highland Laddie played on the bagpipes by Pipe Major Alistair Duthie, piper to the Provost Liz Grant. Mrs Grant thanked those present, saying: “it is our opportunity to take a moment and remember those men and women of our armed services, who yesterday, today and tomorrow serve their country at home and abroad many of whom will be asked to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep us all safe.” Quoting from the Order from the Service of Remembrance, the Rev Andrew Patterson said a prayer to all those “gathered from the storm of war” and gave thanks to those who “defend the Queen’s peace against all who threaten the Commonwealth and her peoples”.]

Angus & The Mearns

Passchendaele heroes added to Dundee war roll

August 10 2017

Three members of a Dundee family who survived the Battle of Passchendaele have been added to the city’s roll of honour. The Great War Dundee Project is the story of the 30,490 men that left the city to fight in the first world war and of the people left at home. Dundee gave 63% of its eligible men to the armed forces and the directory was updated following Saturday’s Courier article about the role the city’s Johnston brothers played in the war. Of the five Johnston brothers, Frank, Walter, David and Peachy were artillerymen, and the fifth, John, was an army doctor. Frank and Walter’s entries have now been updated while David, Peachy and John have now had entries created in the returnee section of the honour roll. © SuppliedWalter, left, and Frank, pictured in 1917. Gary Thomson from the Great War Dundee Project said: “Following Saturday’s Courier article on the five Johnston brothers who served in the war, with both Frank and Walter paying the ultimate sacrifice and the fact that Frank, for reasons unknown is not recognised as a casualty of war, the Great War Dundee Project has updated the entries for both Frank and Walter on the new roll of honour. “Dundee paid a high price for her war efforts. By the armistice, over 4,000 men had made the ultimate sacrifice. “Their names are recorded in the city’s original roll of honour, a simple alphabetical list of names, ranks and regiments. “Over the years mistakes and omissions have been discovered by families viewing the list resulting in handwritten corrections to the record.” © SuppliedWalter, left, and Frank Johnston, pictured at Balgray Farmhouse in Dundee. Mr Thomson said one of Great War Dundee’s main objectives is to produce an “inclusive, fully searchable online roll of Dundonians who contributed to the war effort” and in doing so honour the men and women who lost their lives and those who survived. He added: “Due to the fact that Frank was not recognised as a casualty his entry on the original Dundee Roll of Honour was very sparse with only his name and regiment listed. “Saturday’s article allowed us to contact Frank’s relative who provided us with a fantastic amount on information about Frank and Walter which have been added to their entry. “Not only that but the three brothers who survived, David, John and Peachy have now have entries created, in the returnee section of the honour roll. “It is thanks to people like Douglas that these entries now have added information and photos.” Frank is believed to have been wounded in Flanders in 1917 and he endured a prolonged and difficult death in November 1919 in a private nursing home in Dundee as a result of his injuries. The family have been unable to provide sufficient independent corroboration that he died directly of his war wounds as his army records have not survived. Frank’s great nephew Douglas Norrie from near Arbroath is trying to find documentary evidence to correct this. David and Frank were both with the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) and their batteries of large long range howitzers were deployed at Corps level and primarily used to attack specific enemy targets, particularly enemy artillery. Walter and Peachy served with the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) with their respective brigades being attached to infantry divisions and their smaller, highly portable field guns being used in support of infantry. The fifth of the brothers, Captain (Dr) John McPherson Johnston was a doctor and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and was awarded the Silver War Badge after being discharged with TB.