Monday, 27 October 2008
Ayrshire welcomes our soldiers home from Afghanistan
FOUR HUNDRED officers and soldiers from the Royal Highland Fusiliers the Second Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Glasgow and Ayrshire’s local regiment, paraded through the town of Ayr today, Monday 27 October 2008, to mark their homecoming from active service in Afghanistan.
[CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]
South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan said: “I was extremely honoured and humbled to take part in the parade acknowledging and paying tribute to the soldiers who have served their country and selflessly put themselves at risk in order to protect others.
“Many people from South Ayrshire have a friend of relative who has served in the military in the past, is serving, or plans to do so in the future. I admire Forces personnel who are willing to risk their own life in order to protect us and others. Sadly, some soldiers return from active service injured, and some do not return, having paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“It is important to remember that the families of serving personnel need our support as well as the soldiers, as they are the ones left worrying at home. Support Our Soldiers is a relatively new project spearheaded by myself and Agnes Hunter to provide support for families of serving personnel, and I would encourage any military families to make contact with this group.”
[Pictured: Hundreds of people lined Ayr’s High Street to see Provost Winifred Sloan and Major General W. E. B. Loudon CBE take the salute. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]
The parade started at Pavilion Road in Ayr and finished at Ayr Town Hall, where a private medal presentation ceremony took place before the Regiment, their families and other guests, followed by a lunch hosted by Provost Sloan.
John Scott MSP for Ayr commented: “It was absolutely fantastic to see these men and women safely home. It was a very emotional moment for me, but far more importantly for their families who must be filled with pride at the sight of these soldiers who so proudly and bravely serve the interest of this country and protect us on the frontline from terrorism.”
“I’m full of admiration for the bravery of our armed forces, and it was great to see this parade happening in Ayr.”
The Royal Scots Fusiliers and Royal Highland Fusiliers
The regiment which would become the Royal Scots Fusiliers was raised by the Earl of Mar in 1678. During the course of its history it became closely associated with Ayrshire, and when the army’s regiments were assigned a particular recruiting area in 1873, the Royal North British Fusiliers, as it was then known, became Ayrshire’s county regiment, with its headquarters and depot at Ayr Barracks. In 1881 it was renamed the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
In 1942, at the height of the Second World War, Ayr Barracks was renamed the Churchill Barracks in honour of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who had for a time commanded the 6th Battalion of the RSF during the First World War.
Several sets of the Regimental Colours, those carried from 1828 until 1950, hang in the Auld Kirk of Ayr.
In Burns Statue Square is a monument with statue commemorating those of the regiment who died in colonial campaigns, especially in South Africa, from 1879 to 1902.
In the gardens at the rear of the County Buildings is the Royal Scots Fusiliers War Memorial, with a statue commemorating those who died in the Second World War.
In 1946 the RSF were presented with the Freedom of the Royal Burgh of Ayr.
In 1959 The RSF and the Highland Light Infantry were amalgamated to form The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret’s Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment), continuing the traditions of both these regiments.
On 13 May 1959, the Royal Highland Fusiliers were presented with the Freedom of the Royal Burgh of Ayr, Princess Margaret being present to receive the Freedom Scroll on behalf of the regiment.
As the new regiment had its headquarters in Edinburgh, activity at the Churchill Barracks in Ayr was much reduced. Military use of the barracks finally ceased in 1965, and the buildings were demolished two years later.
On 28 September 1969, a Royal Highland Fusiliers tenth anniversary service was held in the Auld Kirk of Ayr.
In 2006 the Scottish infantry regiments were amalgamated to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and the Royal Highland Fusiliers now became the 2nd Battalion of that regiment, but retained their title, their pipe, drum and bugle band, and the white hackle on their caps.
Royal Highland Fusiliers
South Ayrshire Council
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