Happy Red Hackle Day

Today is Red Hackle Day! This annual celebration on 5 January commemorates the award to The Black Watch (3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, 3 SCOTS) of the right to wear the Red Hackle in their caps.

The Black Watch at Quatre Bras, 1815, by William Barnes Wollen. Note the red hackles in their caps

The Black Watch at Quatre Bras, 1815, by William Barnes Wollen. Note the red hackles in their caps

Forward! 42nd Highland (Black Watch) at the Battle of Alma, 1854, Crimean War. Note the red hackles

Forward! 42nd Highland (Black Watch) at the Battle of Alma, 1854, Crimean War. Note the red hackles

The origin of the wearing of the Red Hackle is uncertain. There is evidence that it was worn by the 42nd in North America in the 1770s, however a 19th Century tradition ascribes the award of the Red Hackle to an action at the battle of Geldermalsen in 1795 when the 11th Light Dragoons retreated, leaving two field guns for the French. The Black Watch promptly mounted an attack and recovered the guns.

It was for this action that the Red Hackle was allegedly awarded and on the King’s birthday on 4 June 1795, there was a parade at Royston in Hertfordshire, when a Red Hackle was given to every man on parade. It was not until 1822 that the Adjutant General issued an order, confirming that only The Black Watch would have the privilege of wearing the red “vulture feather” in their bonnets.

In 1919 the Central Committee of The Black Watch Association formalised the date on which the Regiment should celebrate “Red Hackle Day”.

The tradition is carried on to this day.

Date 03/09/11 Location Fort George Invernes-shire Photo by Mark Owens: His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay inspects troops at Fort George today. Photo Caption: DUKE OF ROTHESAY VISITS 3 SCOTS Today [Saturday, 3 September 2011] His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay visited The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland at their Fort George base. The Battalion paraded its new Colours in the presence of HRH and Battalion’s families. The Parade was followed by a BBQ lunch, which led into a number of afternoon activities, encompassing military stands, entertainment for the children, and an inter-company competition. The day provided an opportunity to assemble the Battalion community for the final time prior to 3 SCOTS forthcoming deployment to Afghanistan , and allowed HRH – the Battalion’s Royal Colonel - to meet soldiers and their families. ENDS Note my new DII e-mail address: 2XX-G3Media-Ops-Edin-PIO (Jamieson, Bill Mr) Bill Jamieson Press Officer Army G3 Media and Communications (Based at G3 Media and Communications HQ 2nd Division) 94740 2611 - HQ 2nd Division (Military) 0131 310 2611 - HQ 2nd Division (Civilian) 07900 607919 (Mobile) bill.jamieson678@mod.uk

Date 03/09/11 Location Fort George Invernes-shire , Photo by Mark Owens: His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay inspects troops at Fort George today.
Photo Caption: DUKE OF ROTHESAY VISITS 3 SCOTS, Today [Saturday, 3 September 2011] His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay visited The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland at their Fort George base. The Battalion paraded its new Colours in the presence of HRH and Battalion’s families. The Parade was followed by a BBQ lunch, which led into a number of afternoon activities, encompassing military stands, entertainment for the children, and an inter-company competition. The day provided an opportunity to assemble the Battalion community for the final time prior to 3 SCOTS forthcoming deployment to Afghanistan , and allowed HRH – the Battalion’s Royal Colonel – to meet soldiers and their families.

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