Thursday, 25 November 2010

On this day in Scottish military history #11: 1960 - The farewell parade of the Seaforth Highlanders

The Seaforth Highlanders (Duke of Albany’s, Ross-shire Buffs) held their final parade fifty years ago today. General Sir James Cassels, the Colonel of the regiment, took the salute in Munster, Germany. On the same day the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders paraded at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh for the last time. Both regiments would merge in early 1961 to become the Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons). The Queen’s Own would disappear only 33 years later when they merged with the Gordons to become The Highlanders in 1994. Only 12 years later in 2006 they became 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland. At every stage the regimental tradition has been that little bit diluted.

On a happier note on the other side of the world the Seaforth name and uniform still survives in Vancouver, Canada. In fact this Saturday sees the Seaforths of Canada celebrate the 100th anniversary of their raising as the 72nd Militia Regiment on the Canadian establishment.

The 72nd Militia was formed in November 1910 from the Scottish community in Vancouver and in 1912 took the uniform and name of the British 1st Bn Seaforth Highlanders which prior to 1881 had been the 72nd Highlanders.

The Seaforths of Canada provided a large contingent to the 16th Canadian Scottish battalion when it was raised in 1914, including the Scots-born Piper Richardson V.C.
Later the 72nd Bn CEF was composed of Canadian Seaforths and a large number of them were Scots born too.

In the Second World War the Seaforths of Canada served in Sicily, Italy and North-West Europe.

Recently they have proudly worn their stag’s head badges in Afghanistan whilst serving with Canadian Forces on ISAF duties.

In two days time the regiment will receive new colours and have invited former members and fellow Vancouverites to help celebrate their birthday with a party.

Whilst the regiment they took their name and uniform from has long gone at least they are still going strong across the Atlantic. I’ll end with an old Mackenzie motto which was used by the original Seaforths:

Cabar fèidh gu bràth – The stag’s horns for ever.

(Text by Adam Brown)

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