Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders colours laid up in Stirling Castle

The Daily Record has an article on the location of one of the "retired" sets of colours from Saturdays ceremony.

The brave men of 5 Scots, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, were out in force at Stirling Castle for a major ceremony to mark the “laying to rest” of regimental colours.

It marked a change in role - from combat to ceremonial - for the men who recently completed a six month tour in Helmand Province.

The sweltering heat in Stirling yesterday was made all the more difficult to bear as the men wore the Argylls No 1 ceremonial dress for the occasion.

And after completing the march and “handing over” ceremony, they took the opportunity to relax with an ice cream on the castle terrace.

The Record last met the men, who serve with A Company, 5 Scots, at Patrol Base Chilli in Helmand during their Afghan tour.

Yesterday, they spoke of re-adjusting to life back home in Scotland.

L/Cpl Eddie Buntine, 24, of Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, said: “It was a good tour in Helmand but we are all glad to be back safe and sound.

“Everyone made it back - albeit with a few cuts and bruises and other injuries.

“The boys did a great job and worked very hard out there - but obviously it was a great moment to finally make it back home.”

Company Sergeant Major Allan Cunningham said: “Today marks the final laying up of the old Argyll colours.

“It’s the last time they will be escorted by troops although they will be on display to the public at the castle.

“The boys had a hard but rewarding tour in Helmand but we have now moved on from Afghanistan for re-training for their next role as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade.”

Major Neil Brown, commanding officer of A Company, said: “Thank you to A Company for all the hard work they have done over the last fortnight, in which they have retrained from ground-holding infantry soldiers who operated in Afghanistan to a those carrying out a period of ceremonial duties.

“I applaud their self-discipline, patience and style on parade - the Scottish soldier continues to inspire.”

Around 100 A Company men attended a service yesterday morning at the church of Holy Rude in Stirling a short distance from the castle.

The colours were then ceremoniously handed over by the battalion’s commanding officer, Lt Col Adam Griffiths MBE, to Col Bruce Russell, representing the former colonels of the Argylls.

The colours will be displayed at the Argylls’ regimental museum at Stirling Castle, alongside exhibits including uniforms, weapons, paintings, medals and regimental silver.

Yesterday’s ceremony followed the presentation by the Queen of new Colours to The Royal Regiment of Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday.

The flags, which are of huge symbolic importance, were presented to the Argylls by the Queen in 1996.

They have accompanied the Argylls, now 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, on tours to Iraq, Bosnia and Northern Ireland - and returned from Afghanistan in April, where they were kept at the army base in Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province.

Colours are normally presented only every 20 to 25 years, and carry mention of battle honours - a decisive battle in which the regiment played a crucial role.

Yesterday’s “laying up” event at Stirling Castle marked the end of an era as the Argylls became 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland on its formation five years ago.

It means the colours retired yesterday were the last to be presented to the Argylls as a regiment.

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