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Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)

   The 1st Battalion was despatched to France in May 1940 and forced, under the assault of the German blitzkrieg, to withdraw to Dunkirk. Along with most of the 51st Highland Division, it was ordered to surrender at St Valery.

In August 1942 the re-formed 1st Battalion along with the 5th and 7th Battalions arrived in North Africa as part of 51st Highland Division in time to take part in the battle of El Alamein, the turning point in the war. This was followed by pursuit across North Africa with hard-fought victories at Mareth and Wadi Akarit, and the entry into Tripoli. Still under the 51st Highland Division, the 1st Battalion Black Watch was part of the invasion of Sicily. After heavy fighting by the 1st Battalion at Gerbini and by all at Sferro, Sicily was conquered.

The 1st, 5th and 7th Battalions, still in the 51st Highland Division, were all landed in Normandy on or shortly after D Day, 6 June 1944. All three battalions were employed in the operations to stem the last German offensive into the Ardennes in January 1945. It then fought in the battles of the Reichswald Forest on the Dutch-German? border, with the 1st Battalion being the first Allied troops on German territory.

   When war broke out with Germany in September 1939 the 2nd Battalion Black Watch was already on active service in Palestine and was to be deployed in a successful rearguard action against overwhelming Italian forces in Somaliland in July 1940. It was then sent to Crete to help defend the island from the anticipated German invasion.

In 1941 German paratroopers descended on the 2nd Battalion at Herklion, eventually forcing the withdrawal of the garrison. It was next fought in Tobruk, and then was sent to India in 1944. The 2nd Battalion was trained for the Second Chindit Expedition, divided into two columns. It spent 5 months behind Japanese lines disrupting communications, supplies and reinforcements. Supplied by air drop, they attacked and ambushed enemy columns in thick jungle, heat, disease and the monsoon. The 2nd Battalion ended the war training as a parachute unit for the planned invasion of Malaya.

   The 4th Battalion Black Watch had been sent to France and along with the 1st Battalion was caught in the German assault of May 1940, first fighting on the Maginot Line, then between the Somme River and Dieppe. It withdrew to Dunkirk and was successfully evacuated from France to Southampton. In July 1940 it went to Gibraltar, returning in 1942 to England, where it remained until the end of the war.

   The 5th Battalion, Black Watch was part of the 51st Highland Division, captured at St Valéry, June 1940. It was reconstituted in Britain around the 9th Scottish Division. The remnants of the 1st Battalion were rebuilt and joined the 5th and 7th Battalions, going to Egypt in June 1942. The Battle of Alamein, 23rd October 1942 engaged all three Black Watch battalions. The 5th Battalion was withdrawn from the front in November and was part of the forces pursuing the retreating Axis forces past Benghazi and Tobruk. Battles took place at Mareth, Wadi Zigzaou, Wadi Akarit, ending with Sfax, 9th April 1943.

The 5th Battalion saw no more action in North Africa, moving to Algeria and training in amphibious landings for the invasion of Sicily, 10th July. From July until October 1943 the 5th battled and skirmished its way across Sicily and Italy. It was then sent back to Britain for training for the invasion of France. On 6th June 1944, it landed on Juno Beach, moving across northern France and Holland to the lower Rhine. It followed the 1st and 7th Battalions shortly after they had led the attack into Germany itself through the Reichswald on 8th February 1945. It crossed the Rhine on 22nd March under severe shelling, engaged in house-to-house fighting in Rees, and further actions until VE-Day.

   The 6th Battalion went to France as part of the 51st Highland Division, January 1940, and soon after transferred to 12th Brigade of the 4th Division. It was north of Brussels when ordered to withdraw, stopping southwest of Menin, and continuing on to Dunkirk. Survivors of the battalion were evacuated to England. The 6th reformed on the Isle of Wight as front line invasion defence. It remained in Britain until 1943 when it sailed to Algiers (March 1943).

In April the 6th Battalion moved forward to west of Tunis, holding Djebel Rmel until being relieved by US troops. The 6th then continued on through several battles with bayonets, German air bombs, infantry and tanks, ultimately forcing the 6th to withdraw from Sidi Mediene 1st May. With reinforcements from the Royal Berkshire Regiment, the 6th continued with the war in Tunisia: Germans were overcome, Italians surrendered. By the end of 1943 it was in Egypt for training in amphibious landings. The 6th Battalion landed at Naples 6th March 1944. It held the front line south of Cassino, then relieved a French unit east of Cassino. From early April to May 17th, Cassino was a heavy and close battle until the Germans pulled back towards Rome. On 5th of June the battalion started their march to Florence, passing through Rome and re-encountering German resistance south of Florence. This overcome, the 6th eventually moved north for a last battle on the outskirts of Forli, 7th November 1944.

From Forli, the battalion was sent to Palestine via Taranto in southern Italy, however it was diverted to Greece (within the 4th Division) against the ELAS, irregular Greek communist forces and an incipient civil war. After VJ-Day and still in Athens, the battalion was disbanded.

   After the capture of the 51st Highland Division at St Valéry in June 1940 it was decided to reconstitute it in the UK around a nucleus provided by the 9th Scottish Division. Less than thirty members of the old 1st Battalion were available, but it was rebuilt and joined by the 5th and 7th Battalions which had not yet gone overseas.

7th Battalion arrived in North Africa in early 1943 as part of 51st Highland Division taking part in the battle of El Alamein, followed by the pursuit across the North African desert through Mareth and Wadi Akarit ending with a triumphant entry into Tripoli.

The 7th Battalion trained in amphibious landings in Algeria, using them in landing in Sicily in early July. It suffered severe casualties at Adrano at the end of July before German withdrawal to the north. The battalion with the rest of the 51st Division landed on the Italian mainland and six weeks later was moved to Britain to prepare for the D-Day? operations in Normandy. The 7th Battalion suffered many casualties in the Bois de Bavent, and after the fall of Caen on 11th July was engaged in the push north to close the Falaise Gap. St Valéry, Le Havre, Dunkirk, the sites of previous defeats in 1940, were all passed through with little German resistance. In February 1945 the battalion was part of the attack through the Reichswald, leading to continuous action under German artillery attack. It crossed the Rhine on 22nd March 1945 under severe shelling, the last major engagement before VE-Day.

   In World War II, the 8th (Training) Battalion was a Home Service territorial battalion that did not serve overseas. In August 1941 is was amalgamated with the 9th Battalion training reinforcements for other units, including the 6th Battalion in North Africa.

   The 9th Battalion was formed for Home Service in November 1939 from volunteers aged between 45 and 55 who had previously served in the forces, and later, in 1940, it included a Young Soldiers Company consisting of volunteers under call-up age. Its duties after Dunkirk were the protection of airfields and other vital points such as the Tay Bridge. In August 1941 it was amalgamated with the 8th (Training) Battalion.

   The 10th Battalion Black Watch was raised in 1940. It was part of the Orkney and Shetland Defence Force before moving to mainland Scotland and northern England as a training battalion providing overseas reinforcements.

   1st Tyneside Scottish Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) was created by transferring 12th (Tyneside Scottish) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry on 1st February 1940 from the DLI to the Black Watch. The Battalion remained, part of the 70th Infantry Brigade.

The Battalion was disbanded at the end of August 1944 and the troops transferred to other units when 70th Brigade was disbanded to provide reinforcements for other Units.

1st Feb 1940 Redesignation

7th Feb 1940 Scare

10th Feb 1940 Conference

14th Feb 1940 Recruitment

15th Feb 1940 Visit

21st Feb 1940 Visitor

28th Feb 1940 Air Defence

29th Feb 1940 Demonstration

3rd Mar 1940 Excerise

4th Mar 1940 Course

6th Mar 1940 Air Defence

8th Mar 1940 Conference

16th Mar 1940 On the Range

20th Mar 1940 On the Range

24th Mar 1940 Orders

26th Mar 1940 Lecture

27th Mar 1940 Orders

28th Mar 1940 Orders

29th Mar 1940 Orders

8th May 1940 Construction Work

9th May 1940 Alert

10th May 1940 Alerts

14th May 1940 Move

17th May 1940 On the Move

18th May 1940 Enemy Active

19th May 1940 In Defence

20th May 1940 On the Move

21st May 1940 On the Move

22nd May 1940 Recce

23rd May 1940 In Defence

24th May 1940 In Defence

25th May 1940 Situation Unclear

26th May 1940 Recce

27th May 1940 Enemy Active

28th May 1940 Withdrawal

1st Jun 1940 Arrival

2nd Jun 1940 Reorganisation

4th Jun 1940 In Camp

8th Jun 1940 Reorganisation

9th Jun 1940 Reorganisation

10th Jun 1940 Leave

13th Jun 1940 On the Move

18th Jun 1940 Leave

19th Jun 1940 Reorganisation

19th Jun 1940 Entertainment

21st Jun 1940 Reorganisation

23rd Jun 1940 Orders

24th Jun 1940 Recce

26th Jun 1940 Reinforcements

27th Jun 1940 Appointment

30th Jun 1940 Reorganisation

6th July 1940 On the Move

24th July 1940 Defence

10th August 1940 The Battle for the Tug Argan Pass

12th Aug 1940 Reinforcements

13th Aug 1940 Visit

28th Aug 1940 Orders

30th Aug 1940 Reliefs

1st Sep 1940 Visit

4th Sep 1940 Training

7th Sep 1940 Alert

9th Sep 1940 Alert

9th Sep 1940 Alert

11th Sep 1940 Preparations

16th Sep 1940 Defences

20th Sep 1940 Restrictions

22nd Sep 1940 Stand to

23rd Sep 1940 Alert

26th Sep 1940 Preparations

27th Sep 1940 Inspection

28th Sep 1940 Inspection

30th Sep 1940 Preparations

9th Oct 1940 Poor Weather

10th Oct 1940 On the Move

10th Oct 1940 On the Move

17th Oct 1940 Advance Party

20th Oct 1940 On the Move

8th Jun 1944 Radar Station

10th Jun 1944 Attacks

11th Jun 1944 Attack Fails

12th Jun 1944 In Action

If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.

Those known to have served with

Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Alger James Alfred.
  • Austin William.
  • Bage Thomas Philip Fisher. Pte.
  • Baggs Charles Herbert. CSM
  • Ball George.
  • Barty John. Pte. (d.9th May 1940)
  • Blackmore Frank. Pte. (d.7th April 1943 )
  • Blake George Albert. Pte. (d.25th June 1944)
  • Bowden William Leonard.
  • Brace Frederick James.
  • Brett Thomas Patrick. Cpl.
  • Bricknal Dan. Pte.
  • Brown Leonard.
  • Brydon George Young. Pte.
  • Cameron James McGarry. Sgt.Maj.
  • Cameron James MacCowan.
  • Clark James Gavin.
  • Clark Jimmy.
  • Cohen Isadore .
  • Colville David. Pte. (d.26th Jul 1943)
  • Cooper Robert.
  • Crabb John Wilson. Pte.
  • Cruickshank Robert .
  • Cunliffe Jack. Pte. (d.9th July 1944)
  • Dalby Harry.
  • Dalby Harry. Pte.
  • Dalby Harry.
  • Davidson David.
  • Davies Evan. (d.11th July 1944)
  • Devlin James McCard.
  • Draine James. L/Cpl. (d.23rd March 1945)
  • Duncan Samuel Campbell. Pte. (d.28th October 1942)
  • Farmer Kenneth John. L/Cpl. (d.25th Oct 1944)
  • Fenton David. Sgt.
  • Ferguson John. (d.25th July 1944)
  • Forbes Edward. Pte.
  • Furlong William. Pte. (d.20th May 1940)
  • Gardner Douglas Henry. Cpl.
  • Geraghty Hugh Michael. Sergeant
  • Gillen Louis. Pte.
  • Gillen Louis. Pte.
  • Grant Ernest Gavin. Pte.
  • Gray Alexander. Pte. (d.7th Apr 1943)
  • Hands William James. Sgt.
  • Harrison Norman.
  • Hill Andrew Steele. Pte.
  • Hoey James. Pte.
  • Hulls Thomas Herbert. Cpl.
  • Hunter Henry. L/Cpl. (d.11th June 1940)
  • Hutchison Andrew Dalgetty. Pte.
  • Inglis James Thomas. Pte.
  • Innes Douglas Lloyd.
  • Jalsevac John.
  • Jennings Albert. Gnr.
  • Johnson David H.. Pte.
  • Keen Augustus. Sgt.
  • Kelly Joseph. Pte.
  • Kirk Robert Gourdie. Pte.
  • Lee George. Sgt.
  • Macfarlane Duncan. L/Cpl. (d.13th Oct 1943)
  • Manto Herman Carl.
  • McArthur William Duncan.
  • McArthur William Duncan.
  • McGurk Charles. Pte. (d.10th to 13th June 1940)
  • McIntyre John Stirling. Pte. (d.31st Jan 1941)
  • Mitchell T..
  • Moore Peter Havers.
  • Morrell Bernard Dolan. Pte.
  • Murphy Sean John. Gnr.
  • Naylor Gilbert Richard. Pte.
  • New William Henry . Pte. (d.19th July 1943)
  • Nisbet Andrew. Pte.
  • Palmer Benjamin R. Sgt.
  • Parker Richard. Pte. (d.13th Dec 1942)
  • Peddie Williamson.
  • Powrie Ernest Peter. Pte. (d.26th March 1945)
  • Rodgers Francis. Pte.
  • Ross Richard. Pte
  • Routledge Phillip Cameron. WO.
  • Rowan-Hamilton Angus David. Lt-Col.
  • Savill Arthur James Stanley .
  • Shann Cliff. Lt.
  • Sharp James Low. Cpl.
  • Smith Thomas Parker. Pte.
  • Standage Walter Flanders. Pte.
  • Stanners William Horace James. Cpl
  • Stewart William Sangster. Lt.
  • Taylor Leonard James. RSM.
  • Thomas Wilfred.
  • Thompson Andrew Mitchell. Pte.
  • Thompson W. Robert. Pte.
  • Todd Ian Menzies. Lt.
  • Todd Ian Menzies. Lt.
  • Wakefield Philip Clive. Private (d.13 Nov 1944)
  • Walton William.
  • Watson David. Sgt.
  • Watson James. Pte. (d.9th Apr 1945)
  • White David. Pte.
  • Whitwell .
  • Whyte Charles.
  • Wilson Thomas. Sgt.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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There are 2 pages in our library tagged Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

Access our library

"Geordie" Whitwell Black Watch

I was captured at Anzio and eventually transported to Stalag 4b at Mulberg. Two incidents spring to mind apart from the general starvation.

A German plane one day straffed the prisoners walking around the compound and coming in far too low struck and Airforce corporal (I think his name was Brown) killing him.

Another when one of the prisoners crawled through the broken fence between two compounds to retrieve a football and was wantonly shot dead by one of the guards. One name of Blondie who then took off chased by a mob of prisoners who would have torn him apart had they caught him. I understand that he eventually copped his just deserts.

I then was transferred with others to Stalag 357 at Fallingbostel and vividly remember having a luger shoved up my nose by one of the guards aptly called The Bull when lying in bed when I should have been on roll call. I was one of the lucky ones who was in the last party to leave the camp when the allies were approaching and which the Germans failed to get over the Elbe and sent back under their own devices to the camp. We were eventually relieved by The Royal Scots and flown back to England in Dakotas. The Man of Confidence was named Dixie Dean an Australian Airforce warrant officer and a great guy. Died about ten years ago here in Sydney Australia. I understand that the idea for Hogans Heroes was based on Dixie's sabotage work.

My muckers were Middy Middleton (Green Howards) Jeff, Taffy, Wally and Sailor and I still have the birthday card they made for me on my 21st Birthday. Sorry that I lost touch with them when the war finished as they looked after me as compared to them I was a know more about this Stalag.

Geordie Whitwell

William Duncan McArthur Black Watch 51st Highland Division

My father William Duncan McArthur was a prisoner in Stalag XXA. I have his dog tags and his number is 15369. He came from Dundee and he was a Dundee weaver.

He was a piper in the Black Watch which was part of the 51st Highland Division. He was captured at St Valery during the retreat to Dunkirk as his division was fighting a rearguard action to assist in the evacuation of Dunkirk. He was Lord Ogilvy's Batman. He died when I was five and thus I have only dim memories of him now that I am 47 and have a family of my own.

I have heard several stories of him. He was once working as a farm hand when he saw a Nazi Sergeant beating a Jewish woman with his rifle butt. My father became enraged and chased the Sergeant with a pitchfork with the intent of killing him. He was brought before the authorities of the camp to be executed but he explained that he could not understand the German language and what the Sergeant was saying and so his life was spared. This excuse saved his life.

On another occasion whilst in the camp, 17 camp inmates were desperate to contact their families at home to inform them that they were not dead. They all wrote their names and addresses on any material they could find such as cardboard, paper, bark or leaves. They did not know how to get the addresses to the outside world so my father stuffed all of the bits of paper and bark into his boot and threw it over the camp fence. A postman found the boot and delivered it to the French Underground and it was finally delivered to my mother who notified the families of their loved one's presence in the camp.

He remained in the camp for the whole war. Once he was home from the war, he weighed only 6 stone. His legs were so badly ulcerated that the medical authorities wanted to amputate both legs. My mother forbade this and over a long period of time, tended him and saved his legs.

At his funeral in Sydney, Australia in 1965, a man came to the funeral whom none of our family and friends recognised. Once he was approached he stated that "Bill McArthur saved my life and so I have come to pay my respects".

If anyone knew of my father, especially in WW2 please contact me.

Alexander McArthur

CSM Charles Herbert Baggs 2nd Battalion Black Watch

My grandfather, CSM Charles Herbert Baggs, 2nd Battalion Black Watch, was held in Stalag 383 from 1940 until 1945.

John Ross

William Duncan McArthur Black Watch 51st Highland Division

My father William Duncan McArthur was a prisoner in Stalag XXA. I have his dog tags and his number is 15369. He came from Dundee and he was a Dundee weaver.

He was a piper in the Black Watch which was part of the 51st Highland Division. He was captured at St Valery during the retreat to Dunkirk as his division was fighting a rearguard action to assist in the evacuation of Dunkirk. He was Lord Ogilvy's Batman. He died when I was five and thus I have only dim memories of him now that I am 47 and have a family of my own.

I have heard several stories of him. He was once working as a farm hand when he saw a Nazi Sergeant beating a Jewish woman with his rifle butt. My father became enraged and chased the Sergeant with a pitchfork with the intent of killing him. He was brought before the authorities of the camp to be executed but he explained that he could not understand the German language and what the Sergeant was saying and so his life was spared. This excuse saved his life.

On another occasion whilst in the camp, 17 camp inmates were desperate to contact their families at home to inform them that they were not dead. They all wrote their names and addresses on any material they could find such as cardboard, paper, bark or leaves. They did not know how to get the addresses to the outside world so my father stuffed all of the bits of paper and bark into his boot and threw it over the camp fence. A postman found the boot and delivered it to the French Underground and it was finally delivered to my mother who notified the families of their loved one's presence in the camp.

He remained in the camp for the whole war. Once he was home from the war, he weighed only 6 stone. His legs were so badly ulcerated that the medical authorities wanted to amputate both legs. My mother forbade this and over a long period of time, tended him and saved his legs.

At his funeral in Sydney, Australia in 1965, a man came to the funeral whom none of our family and friends recognised. Once he was approached he stated that "Bill McArthur saved my life and so I have come to pay my respects".

If anyone knew of my father, especially in WW2 please contact me.

Alexander McArthur

Wilfred Thomas Black Watch

I am looking for any one who can help tell me anything about Stalag Va, my father, Wilfred Thomas was a prisoner there,he was in the blackwatch. I have photos of him there and letters. I would also like to know if there are any trips to this camp.

Hazel Sewell

Harry Dalby 1st Battalion The Black Watch, 51st Highland Division

My late grandfather Harry Dalby was a POW in Stalag XXA. I have had his prisoner of war records translated and they give 2.K Batlingen, Batlingen 20 and Reigersfeld as work camps.

My grandfather, while in one of the camps, had what can only be described as a large hankie or part of a sheet with his Battalion's badge and two soldiers in highland dress on either side of it. This was drawn in ink we were told. It also has HE YDEBRECK written on the top of it which I believe is Batlingen. We have no idea who made this for him so if anyone has any idea or info I would be very greatful.

He was in the 1st Battalion The Black Watch, 51st Highland Division captured St.Valery 16/6/40.


Sgt. Augustus Keen Black Watch

My Father, Gus Keen, was a pre-war Territorial and became full time in 1938. Initially in the Artillery he was seconded north to a Training Camp on the racecourse at Troon, attached to the Black Watch. Because he was an experienced driver, rare in the 1930's, he quickly rose through the ranks and became a small arms and drill instructor.

My mother never let him forget how she could hear him shouting at new recruits across the barrack square (she always said it was a mile, but I doubt it) and how on one occasion she wheeled my brother, in his pram, right up to him on the parade ground to tell him not to shout so much!

He was promoted Sergeant Major and transferred to Northern Ireland with an Ack Ack unit where he became a Spotter. His job was to go up in a Lysander aircraft, fly over Liverpool,Cardiff or Bristol- wherever the raid was coming in- and tell the gunners on the ground what height the bombers were at to set their fuses to the reuired height. On one occasion the plane ran out of fuel and they landed in a field near RAF Locking, Weston-super-Mare, and had to walk to the air station to request fuel. The Duty Officer asked my father if he wanted to go back with the 19 year old pilot or make other arrangements. He went back to N Ireland by train and ferry! He never liked flying after that and after the war never went in an aeroplane again.

Although never wounded, he played football for his regiment and had to have his cartliage removed, for which he received a war pension until his death in 1999. As a small boy in the 1950's I can remember his silver topped cane which he used when he became an Acting RSM with the Black Watch towards the end of the war. This site certainly prompts some good old memories.

Vernon Keen

Leonard Brown Middlesex Rgt

Len was my grandfather and I remember being fascinated by the stories he told me as a child. I know he was at Dunkirk and my mum says he was also involved in the D-day landings. He died when I was 19 so I didn't get the chance to ask him for any more information, so with the little mum and I can remember and some research on my part, here is what I have been able to piece together. Presumably, being from Tottenham he would have served with the Middlesex regiment, but mum says that he had something to do with the Black Watch. Odd I thought for a Londoner, but it turns out that the 1/7th battalion of the Middlesex served as a support unit to the Black Watch in Normandy. This would tally because we know that Len was a cook in the Army and at D-day. I remember him telling me about some of his experiences in the war, including training with broom handles as rifles and finding soldiers who had been gassed and died on the spot, all sat around their camp still with playing cards in their hands, tea etc, a haunting image. However, I am not really sure if he was talking about British soldiers during the Dunkirk retreat or Germans they encountered after the Normandy landings, my memory is a little hazy. He also showed me some photographs and I recall them being pictures of the devastation he saw whilst in France and I think he may have gone to Germany, photos of streets with corpses lining them, wrecked buildings, vivid stuff for a young boy, I think this is why I remain fascinated and in awe of the war and my grandads part in it. I also remember him telling me that he came home in some kind of amphibious craft! My active childhood imagination always assumed he meant an American DUKW, but this is unlikely if he was talking about Dunkirk because the Americans had yet to enter the war and would a DUKW have been able to cross the channel?! . Perhaps he meant D-day and I misunderstood the home part, or he could have been talking about a different vehicle. If anyone knows more and could help me fill in the gaps, I would be grateful to hear more.

Mark Brown

Robert " " Cruickshank Black Watch

My father, Robert Cruickshank, served in The Black Watch during WW2 in North Africa. During that time he and 19 other servicemen built a Church called “St Margarets Church of Scotland“ Abbassia. My father died while I was quite young , so I don’t know the detail behind this remarkable story. I have clippings from the “Scottish Field” December 1944 and the “Burning Bush “ September 16th 1944 and some personal photos, know he spent some time at El Abbassia Hospital but that’s it. Can anyone help fill in the gaps?

Eric Cruickshank

Pte. Ernest Gavin Grant 1st Btn. D Company The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)

Any info on Ernie Grant? He was wounded at St Valery with The 51st Highland Division and captured. He was also shot at some other point whilst a POW.

He remembered being liberated by the Americans and working in the salt mines. If any one remembers him or any stories please get in touch

Alistair Duthie

Cpl. Douglas Henry Gardner The Black Watch

My father 'Harry' Gardner fought in the Second World War in The Black Watch. He signed up when he was 17 and joined a local regiment but they lost a lot of tro0ps and were merged with The Black Watch. He did not talk much about the war and it was hard to get informaton out of him but I do know he served in Egypt (he hated the place)and he was in the D-Day landings.He also had the choice to be 'Mentioned in Dispatches' or have the weekend off instead,he took the latter! He rose to the rank of corporal and when crossing the Rhine he got shot in the back of the neck and the bullet came out of his cheek. Luckily it missed all of his vital organs. He was also shot in the leg while running back for help. For this he lost his stripes! He was discharged from the Army as A1 Fit and didn't get a penny compensation,though they said if he stayed in he could become a Sergeant, he told them where to go!! He died in 1997 and to me he was a hero.

Steve Gardner

L/Cpl. Kenneth John Farmer 7th Btn. The Black Watch (d.25th Oct 1944)

This was my Uncle Ken. I do not have a lot of information on him as my family fragmented when my parents divorced when I was 9. I was always in awe of my hero uncle who died at the age of 19 in a place called Halschewater in the Netherlands on 25/10/1944. He was one of only two 7th batallion members recorded killed that day. The other was CPL Harold Dawson 2885672 who was 27. I never really got any details from my mother about his short military career other than he was a "Leading sniper of eight" whatever that meant. He is buried in Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery grave # 179 in plot KK he is there with a lot of aircrew that had died during the many operations from 1940 onwards. His comrade in arms Cpl Dawson was returned to Aberdeen and laid to rest by his family. I have two children of my own now and I tell them often of their great uncle who went to war and never came home. I look at my son who is now the same age as Ken Farmer was when he served and I shudder to think of what my Grandparents and Mother had to deal with when they heard their first born had died. I will always be proud to carry his name and I will ensure he is never fogotten by my clan. Rest in Peace Ken, you saved us all!

Ken Eaton

Pte. Robert Gourdie Kirk 1st Btn Black Watch

Private Britcher is a relative of my wife's. All we know about him is that he was killed near Dunkirk and lies buried there. If anyone can give me some information regarding his death and service it would be gratefullly received especially as this month is the 70th anniversary of that terrible day. It would be good for us to remember him.

Lt. Ian Menzies Todd 5th Btn. Black Watch

I am looking for information about my father, Ian Menzies Todd, who served during WWII in the 5th Battalion Black Watch of the 51st Division in Montgomery's 8th Army. Could anyone help me or give me a lead? I would be very grateful.

Shane Todd

Pte. Louis Gillen Black Watch

My father, Louis Gillen,joined the Ulster Rifles and was at El Alamein with the Black Watch. He was captured in Italy. I don't know where he was held, but he managed to escape and was re-captured again approx 12 months later. He was taken to Stalag XI A where he remained until the end of the war. I would love to hear what life was like there as my father never really spoke about it. Sadly he passed away in 2003 aged 81yrs.

Leonie Dooris

Pte. David White Black Watch

I am trying to get information on my uncle , David White. He was a Prisoner in Stalag XX and I think he was in the Black Watch. He has now passed away and there are no members of his direct family left. I would love to have some info, if possible.

Tom Priestley

Cpl. Thomas Herbert Hulls 4th Btn. The Black Watch

I'm looking to find out about my dad, Thomas Hulls. I know he served with the Black Watch and was in Palestine in 1945, I think with the 4th battalion, but other than that I don't know. I would love to know more and would be very grateful if anyone could help me.

Roland Hulls

Sgt. William James Hands 3rd Battalion. Black Watch

My father was Sergeant William James Hands of the 3rd battalion Black Watch Tyneside Scottish. He was a prisoner of war for 5 years, first at Thorn in Poland and then marched to Hohenfels in Bavaria at Stalag 383. I have a 3 year diary which he kept also various photographs including some of his dance band "Bill Hands and his Blue Rhythm Boys".

Mavis Collins

Douglas Lloyd Innes Black Watch

My Grandad was in the Black Watch and was a POW at Stalag. He recently passed away and I have been given his diary which records the last few days of their imprisonment then the journey to their freedom.

Private Philip Clive Wakefield 6th Battalion Black Watch (d.13 Nov 1944)

Phil was my granddad's brother - he was only 21 when he was killed in Italy. He is buried in Cesena and from research it appears the 6th Batt were involved in terrible battles in the towns and villages around this part of Italy. I've always been aware of Phil and where he was buried but have really only just started looking into his battalion's role in the war.


Pte. James Thomas Inglis Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

My Grandfather died before I was born and I Know that his family came from Gretna in Dumfrieshire, have been searching his army records for several years. Recently I have found that he joined the Blackwatch in 1939 and was then transferred to the Royal Fusiliers with whom he was sent on the British Expedition to France, he was posted from there back to England and then to Iceland where he was posted for two years before being sent back to Kingston in the UK for a further two years before being posted on the British North African Force.

My grandfather was in the army for a total 7 years. In 1952 he emigrated to America and settled in New Jersey where he passed away in 1964 aged just 46. I would love to hear first hand accounts from anyone who may have served in the same Regiments or who served in the same places as my grandfather

Sharon Meek

Charles Whyte The Black Watch

L to R: Rear - Whyte, Smythe, Love, Unknown, Serivens. Mid - Green, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Lake, Unknown, Unknown. Bottom - Unknown, Unknown, Alexander, Smith, Unknown, Unknown.

My grandfather was called Charles Whyte, we have discovered some photos which, I assume, he took throughout his career. We know he was in the RMP and the Black Watch. We also know he served in Greece, where he was captured. The story, as far as I can remember, is that he and his colleagues took control of a town which quickly became surrounded by the enemy. Their only means of escape was a Royal Navy ship that was close by. The boat didn't dock to save them, leaving my grandfather and his colleagues to be captured. He was then sent to a prisoner of war camp. Another story is that once the war was over and they were released, my grandfather and his friends helped a Russian ex-prisoner escape the area as the Germans were looking to kill any Russians they found. The pictures we have relate to Stalag XVIII A, Stalag 383 and his time in Palestine and Buddon camp in 1933. I have attached scanned copies of some of the photos. Some of them have writing on the back but unfortunately most do not. If you can help identify some of the places or some of the people in the photos that would be great but mainly I just want to share them.

Robin Poole

Sgt. David Fenton Black Watch

David Fenton was an uncle of mine and was a prisoner in Hohen Fels during WW2, serving with the Black Watch he was captured in Crete. My mums uncle, Dan Bricknal was also with the Black Watch and a POW with David, after they were released they never met again till my parents wedding day where David was my father's Best Man. He was still in the Black Watch as CQSM.

Ron Fenton, Jr.

Pte. Dan Bricknal Black Watch

Dan Bricknal was my mother's uncle, he served with the Black Watch and was held as POW in Hohen Fels along with my father's brother David Fenton. After they were released they never met again till my parents wedding day where David was my father's Best Man. He was still in the Black Watch as CQSM.

Ron Fenton

William Leonard Bowden Black Watch

My Father, William Leonard Bowden, was in the Black Watch and I know he was a POW and am pretty sure that firstly he was captured at Dunkirk and was then in Stalag XXB. I know he was a POW for the whole of the War and did not return home until 1945. Sadly, he died at the start of 1953 and I never asked my mother much about his war time experiences and suspect she might not have wanted to speak about them anyway having been widowed after only seven years of marriage. One thing I do have is a little New Testament Bible which is stamped with the Stalag number and had been presented by The Ecumenical Commission for The Chaplaincy Service to Prisoners of War and it then has a brief address in Geneva. I am assuming that all POWs were given these and that it was his

If anyone has any knowledge about his experience during the War I would be most grateful although I know now it is rather late to be asking!

Elizabeth N McGillivray

Robert Cooper Black Watch

I am trying to find information in respect of my step brother, Robert Cooper of the Black Watch, who died in the Second World War. Up till now I am unable to find out where he died or where he has been laid to rest, please any help would be welcome.

Margaret Cooper

Pte. Walter Flanders Standage Black Watch

My father, Walter Standage, never spoke of his time as a POW and sadly he died in 1978 before I became interested in genealogy and discovered the information I now have on his life and his war years. From research I do know he was captured on 16th June 1940 (uncertain yet exactly where captured or the circumstances - maybe someone can enlighten me) and was in Stalag XXa 35 - Torun and released after VE day 1945.

My mother was notified in August 1940 of his capture and there is a press cutting from the South Wales Echo of this information as apparently another POW in the same Stalag, one Private Hughes was in the same regiment and from the same street back home.

I found the reading of this web page very interesting, enlightening and helpful to understanding some of what he may have endured. I enjoyed reading others memories and viewing the photo's - sadly my father did not seem to be amongst them. I have many photo's of my father's army days but they appear to be more from his time at various postings / camps rather than anything remotely 'Stalag' - only one seems feasible, a group in front of a large wooden hut.

Yvonne Flanders

Pte. James Hoey Black Watch

My Dad was a prisoner of war during WW11 at Stalag 20b, Marienburg or so we thought. There are some stories that say it wasn’t in Marienburg but in Willenburg. His name was Private James Hoey, he was in The Black Watch. I wish I had asked him questions when he talked about it. Unfortunately, he died in 1999 and I am trying to research as much about him as I can. So if anyone knew my Dad or can tell me when and where he was captured or knew of anyone who served with him, I'd love to hear from you.

Janette Lee

Pte. Thomas Parker "Jim" Smith Black Watch

My Dad, Thomas Smith was held at Stalag XXB but like many did not talk about it much. He was wounded by a grenade so probably spent some time in medical care, loosing the sight in his right eye and wounds to right arm and leg He did tell some funny stories like the one about the potato that made noises.... familiar to anyone?

Tricia Anderson

Pte. Louis Gillen Black Watch

My father, Louis Gillen, was captured after the North African Campaign. He was captured in Italy but managed to escape twice. He joined the army with the Ulster Rifles but was attached to Black Watch in 8th Army. He was eventually captured and sent to Stalag 11a in Altengrabow. He remained there until they were liberated. He passed away in 1983. He was a wonderful man. Does anyone have any information on him as I would be delighted to hear anything.


L/Cpl. James Draine 1st Battalion Black Watch (d.23rd March 1945)

My Great Uncle Jimmy Draine was a regular soldier from the age of 18, to 31 years old at his death. He fought in all the major battles and died at Speldrop/Klein Esserdren crossing the Rhine on the 23 March 1945 on their way to final victory. He served with Major D. Johnstone, 1st Battalion Black Watch and was on the forward Company on the night of 23rd of March 1945 when himself and others got a direct hit from a shell and died. He is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

Stephen Craig

Pte. James Watson 5th Btn. Black Watch (d.9th Apr 1945)

I have managed to get my uncle, James Watson's service records. He joined the TA went for training PTW Perth, his records show he was relegated to Class W(T) (Can anyone explain the meaning of this?) He joined the 5th Battalion Black Watch and was one of 5 men killed in Schuttorf on 9th April 1945. It would be good to hear from anyone on the subject.

James Brearley

Isadore "Bobby" Cohen Black Watch

My Dads brother Bob, we believe enlisted as Isadore Cohen, but possibly changed his name to join, first name maybe Robert, nickname Bobby. We are looking for his army number but dont have it at the moment, can anyone confirm the Black Watch uniform from the photograph and any tips where to go from here. He lived in east end of London and would have joined from there. He was born in Whitechapel and after the war lived in Hamilton hill Austrailia. Thank you in advace for any help you may be able to give.

Robert Page

Lt. Ian Menzies Todd 1st Battalion Black Watch

I am looking for details relating to my father, Ian Todd's service during WW11. Letters I have received and books he has written indicate he served in the 51st Highland Division with the 1st Black Watch. He once told me he was the first person to receive his commission during the African Campaign from General Montgomery. I have very little details and anything anyone could add would be of great help. He also served as Winston Churchill's personal body guard on a number of occasions. He apparently fought at El Alemien but I have very little information. If anyone has any record of his service I would be very grateful. Please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Shane Todd

David "Killer" Davidson 5th Btn. Blackwatch

I only met my father, David Davidson, once when I was about three years old. He died in South Africa about 1968.

David Davidson

Pte. Thomas Philip Fisher Bage 4th Btn. Black Watch

TommyBage 2nd from left

Now we are into the year 2003 there aren't many people left who grew up just prior to the Second World War, and who went through that War, whom we can talk to face to face. At 84 years of age Tommy Bage still clearly remembers what it was like. What happened to him should be recorded, as it is not something we should forget. There is a lot of archive film footage that shows the battles and the destruction that took place but nothing can quite compare to the recollection of the memories of someone who actually went through it. Many young men and women went off to war, and many of them never returned. What some of these young people went through is almost beyond the imagination of most of us today.

This is the true account of the life of that ordinary 'Geordie' bloke, Tommy Bage, who survived the difficult years of childhood like so many others who lived in the poor, industrial areas of Tyneside, but who, in his teenage years, was drawn into a terrifying and destructive war. A war that quickly made the boys into battle-hardened men, and gave those that survived chilling memories that they would never forget.

Tommy was born on the 23 July 1919 and christened Thomas Philip Fisher Bage. His father was George Heslington Bage and his mother was Sarah (nee Clasper). Tommy was the first one of twin boys, his brother Christopher Johnson following behind him into the world. They had an older sister Margaret Smart Bage who was twelve years older than they were. George was in work and Sarah kept house and looked after her family as best she could in those difficult years. They survived through those difficult years when poverty often led to disease that could so easily strike and wipe out whole families. George Bage had been through the Great War with the Durham Light Infantry and had been wounded in action. He was a very quiet, reserved sort of man, and his hearing wasn't very good, perhaps damaged in the war. Little did George and Sarah know, at the birth of Thomas and Christopher, that their twin sons would have to endure the ordeal of a long and bitter war when in the prime of their lives. The lads grew up in the poor, rundown riverside area of South Shields. They attended St. Stephens Junior School and later went on to Baring Street Seniors.

Tommy liked his school and did well in the Higher Grade Exams at St. Stephens gaining a Merit. The staff had encouraged him to go to Westoe Secondary School but his parents didn't want to split the twins up and the opportunity for a better education was missed, something he was to regret for the rest of his life. During his spare time Tommy took part in his favourite sports of football and cricket, and he joined the local Harton Cricket Club, and this led to many enjoyable outings to places like Horden Colliery, Boldon and other Tyneside places. The Harton Colliery Club had a good ground and there was often tea and cakes supplied by members' families for everyone to enjoy. Cycling was another pastime that he enjoyed and Tommy would often cycle to Boldon Colliery to meet friends there. On leaving school Tommy got a job on a building site next to Harton General Hospital where he worked with his dad and brother Chris for two years. He considered this quite a reasonable job that gave him enough money for an occasional visit to a pub, or more often a visit to the local cinema. Unfortunately there was trouble on the building site and all employees were told by the Company to leave. The cinema was where he met his wife-to-be, Peggy Morrison, whom he met there with her sister Jean and their friend Nellie. He promised to meet them again at the cinema to see stars Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald in the film 'Rose Marie.'

The year was 1939 and it looked like war was imminent. Most plans made at that time would be drastically changed in the months ahead. Tommy and Chris were of eligible age for call-up to the armed forces and were very apprehensive about the situation. War was declared and shortly afterwards the air-raid sirens sounded in South Shields for the first time, causing all the people to run for cover in the newly-built Anderson Shelters.

About January 10th, 1940 Tommy was called up into the army and told to report to the Training Camp at Auchengate, Troon, Ayrshire in Scotland. He took the train to Newcastle and then another to Troon were he spent about 12 weeks in training before joining the Highland Light Infantry. He was first of all sent to Ireland to a Transit Camp to join a battalion before being posted to join the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) in Rouen, France. His brother Chris had been called up to the Army Medical Corps (R.A.M.C.) in December 1939.

Tommy joined the 4th Battalion of the Black Watch. Arrived at Dieppe, France for transport to Rouen Transit Camp about March to join forward units. He proceeded to the forward lines to join the 4th battalion, the Black Watch but it was impossible to reach them as the German offensive was in full swing. The best plan was to return to the coast as the allies were virtually unarmed against the German tanks and planes. Allied machine guns had been over-run. An English officer and several N.C.O.'s made the decision to make for the nearest coastal port. Many brave men died trying to stop the avalanche of German forces bearing down on the Allied lines. On one occasion during the retreat stuka dive-bombers attacked fleeing French civilian refugees on a crowded road causing many casualties. The soldiers’ rifles were useless against the planes and Tommy felt completely helpless in the situation. The soldiers were unable to give much assistance, but did what they could using the supplies they had with them. Tommy thought to himself, "This isn't war, it's cold-blooded murder." On their trek to the coast many French civilians supplied what food, wine and water they could spare as the retreating soldiers made a slow march back to the coast. Tired, footsore and very weary they arrived at Dunkirk. Unfortunately the German pincer movement was cutting off their escape route, so the officer decided to try for Cherbourg. The soldiers were very relieved to reach the port, but also saddened to know that the Germans would capture many of their comrades. All remaining vehicles had to be destroyed before the remnants of the army were able to board the ships and boats waiting for them in the harbour. It was with great relief that Tommy arrived back in Bournemouth and on English soil once again. They were sent to a casualty clearing station to rest and then moved first to Perth in Scotland, and then on to Caithness for furthur training.

Tommy embarked once again mid 1940, with the Black Watch, aboard the passenger liner 'Athlone Castle' from Southampton for the Middle East. Two destroyers escorted the liner. Nearing the Spanish coast they were attacked by German long-range bombers using bombs and machine guns. The ship wasn't damaged in the attack but the Captain decided to change course, as the bomber crews would have informed their base of the course that the ship was on. A few days out from Gibraltar the ship came under attack again, this time from submarine torpedoes. The ships officer later informed them that 3 torpedoes had narrowly missed the ship. They disembarked on the Rock to boost the defences, and within a few hours were under attack from Italian planes. The date was well remembered by Tommy as the 23rd July 1940 was his 21st birthday. A convent was hit during the raid and several nuns were killed and a number of others injured. Tommy sheltered in a pillbox as yet another attack took place shortly afterwards and bombs rained down but fortunately little damage was done. At this time there was much German submarine activity in the Mediterranean and many allied ships were lost. The aircraft carrier 'Ark Royal' was one of those casualties. Tommy was on duty on the quayside helping with the casualties and the dead, and heard from those who had survived their journey from Malta as 'a journey through hell.' All this time air raids hampered the rescue operations but they had no option but to see it through.

Back home in South Shields, on much needed leave; Tommy and Peggy decided to get married. So on the 25th March 1943 they 'tied the knot' at St Mary's Church, Tyne Dock in South Shields. Tommy was just 23 years of age and Peggy was 24 (see photo above). Sadly, and disappointingly for Tommy, neither of his parents attended even though they were invited. Guests were Peggy's sister Belle and her husband John Watling along with their daughter Joan. The reception was held at the Green Bar at Tyne Dock and music was provided by Isaac on piano and his wife along with others, and a tea was provided at Peggy's mother's house in Eldon Street, which was just a few minutes up the road. There wasn't to be much of a honeymoon though, as a few days later a telegram arrived from the War Office to report back for embarkation to the Middle East. Tommy delayed and eventually turned up at camp just before his unit was about to leave. He was in big trouble. He had to appear at H.Q. and was punished with 6 weeks loss of pay and 6 months confined on other tasks.

He was soon back into the war and arrived at the end of December 1943 for Myrna Transit camp, Port Said, Cairo via the Suez Canal with the 2nd Battalion Cameron Highlanders. By 1944 Tommy was on Italian soil and going into battle at Monte Casino. This battle was not for the faint hearted. Some divisions of allied troops were almost wiped out in the fierce fighting that took place. The death toll was estimated to be about fifty percent of the allied troops and 20,000 Germans lost their lives. The German army had fallen back to defend a line across the centre of Italy just south of Rome. The allied forces advanced up to that line in January 1944 but were held for months at Monte Casino. This was a mountain top monastery overlooking the route to Rome and it was easy for the Germans to shell anything they could see that moved in the wide valley below. There was also a fast flowing river, the Rapido, separating the two armies and many allied troops were lost in failed attempts to take the German position. Tommy can remember long before he reached this area, the smell and the silence. There was no sign of any natural life and everywhere the trees had been destroyed by the shelling. The transport lorries had to be left behind when they reached the foot of the slopes and the soldiers joined the mule supply train for the rest of their journey. From the H.Q.'s in Reserve they were moved to forward positions, sheltering in bunkers known as Sanger’s. These had been built to protect the men from the relentless mortar shells which rained down on them day and night, for weeks on end, and which caused great loss of life. Tommy and his mates were there to relieve a party of the famous Ghurkhas of the 8th Army, 4th Indian Division. Tommy realized straight away that the Ghurkhas were more used to face-to-face fighting than sitting around being shelled. The weather deteriorated and their positions were covered in thick snow and ice for four weeks. During daylight it was impossible to leave the Sanger as enemy snipers were causing a lot of casualties. Only when darkness had fallen was it possible to move about, but complete silence was important, as enemy patrols were present in the nearby area. Tommy went out under cover of darkness on one occasion when nature called. In the inky blackness he caught his tunic badly on barbed wire, and then two days later he realised he had cut his arm and it had swelled up so much that he had difficulty taking his tunic off. That night his temperature soared and he reported this to his Captain who sent him down to the casualty station to get it seen too. The conditions at the casualty station defied description. Medical orderlies were working non-stop treating the wounded and dying in very poor conditions. An orderly spotted Tommy and he got a doctor to take a look at his arm. He was given an injection that knocked him out. When he came round his arm had been seen too and was bandaged up. The surgeon told him that if he had been only a half-hour later in being attended too he would have lost his arm. He was then transferred to another hospital since he was temporarily unfit for duty.

Later his unit was moved down the mountains, to be relieved by a fresh British Regiment. Arriving back at base camp he discovered that his best friend had been killed by a direct hit on the sanger and also that his company had lost at least a third of its officers and men (45 from 120 full company). Their appearance on arrival shocked even the people there. They had grown long beards and were fatigued and hungry. They were instantly given hot showers; their clothing was destroyed and after a hot drink they were left to sleep, which must have been at least 24 hours. The aftermath of this was diarrhoea, sickness and vomiting amongst the group and some men had to be sent to a special camp in Southern Italy for treatment. After discharge from Rest Camp they went back to normal duties. The town of Casino at the foot of the mountain had been the scene of heavy fighting. Troops from England, New Zealand, France, India, Poland and the U.S. were involved. The Ghurkha Regiment 4th Indian Division made many attempts to take the monastery with heavy casualties. Heavy rain caused the ground to turn into a quagmire and the allied tanks were unable to move and heavy skies prevented the use of aircraft. The conditions for the troops were intolerable. It was cold, wet and the shelling never ceased. Food, water and other essentials were almost gone due to non-arrival of back-up supplies. When the skies did clear hundreds of allied bombers pounded the monastery into rubble. The Germans still fought on but the Monastery eventually fell to Polish troops after fierce fighting, forcing the German forces to fall back to new positions. The allies kept pushing north through the mines and booby traps.

Just past Rome, during an attack on an occupied village Tommy was blown off his feet by a shell. When he regained consciousness he was suffering from concussion and had lost his hearing. A medical orderly was talking to him but he couldn't hear a word. He wrote this down on a piece of paper and showed it to the medic. He was taken to a cave that was being used as a shelter where he was injected with something which knocked him out. Tommy had been in hospital for four weeks when one day he became aware that he could hear a nurse talking. After another four weeks recovering he was sent back into action and finally reached San Marino. He was given traffic duties along with an officer, a sergeant and another private. They were to control the heavy traffic moving to Northern Italy that was pursuing the retreating Tadeschi and Italian Forces. At about this time Italy capitulated and called off the war. After leaving San Marino he embarked on a tank landing craft for Patras, Greece where they were to try and restore order amongst the supporters of rival political parties. The Germans had abandoned a lot of arms in their haste to flee and the rival Greek factions had taken these up.

While Tommy was in Greece hostilities against Germany came to an end. There was much rejoicing in the Greek villages and many parties were held, and to which the 2nd Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders were invited. When he first went to one of these celebrations he was confronted with lots of food on the table but couldn't find a knife or fork by his plate. Seeing the confused look on his face one of the women asked him what was wrong. She said they didn't use knives and forks, and took a large carving knife, sliced off a huge piece of meat and handed it to him to eat with his fingers. While billeted in the barracks he contracted malaria and was removed to a Greek hospital suffering a high temperature. He was laid up for four weeks. British, Greek and other medical people staffed the hospital. Later he made his way to Athens before leaving the Cameron’s, who were heading for Palestine, to travel home to England on board the 'Dunnotter Castle'

After a short break back in England, in January 1946 Tommy was sent to Vienna, Austria for Occupation Duty with the 1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on general duties as an Assistant Store man. While there they occupied a large building for their barracks. Vienna was split into four areas, British, American, Russian and French. When off duty he toured the City to see the wonderful buildings, visited the opera, the huge ice rink and large cinemas. Much damage had been done to the City. He spent a lot of time at the NAFFI cafe and went to a local dance with two of the lads. While there he met a Hungarian girl who worked at the British Headquarters as a typist. She offered to show him round the well-known parts of the City. She told him she was married and had a little boy. Her husband was on the Russian Front but had been reported missing in action. Tommy offered to make enquiries about him but nothing was heard. After six months was up he was demobbed, and made his way through France by train to the coast.

Tommy arrived at Market Rasen in England and shortly afterwards decided to celebrate in a local pub with his mates. When they went in to the pub the landlord saw their uniforms and told them that they could have what they wanted for free. Having consumed quite a considerable quantity of free alcohol they made their way back to their huts to get freshened up. Tommy was at an open window having a shave when the sash window dropped down hitting him on the head. It knocked him out cold. He can only remember coming round with his mates asking him if he was all right. Once cleaned up they then travelled to Scotland. Could anyone really get back to normal after going through years of deprivation and horror? Anyway, Tommy returned to his native South Shields and got himself a job at a timber yard at Tyne Dock and settled down to lead a normal life with Peggy. He was later employed as a Coal Teamer at Tyne Dock Staiths.

Many years later due to a query from his grandson David, Tommy decided to apply for the medals he had never received. After the war had ended he was just glad to be back home and wasn't bothered about getting the medals he was entitled too. He supplied as much information as he could in a letter to the War Office and about four weeks later a parcel arrived which contained The Italian Star, The Defence Medal, The 1939 to 1945 Star and The African Star. Tommy entrusted these to his proud grandson for safekeeping. As well as having the medals Tommy has kept all the documentation he received, such as passes, menus, ship boarding passes, prayer book & First aid booklet.

John Bage

William Austin 2nd Battalion Black Watch

William Austin served with the 2nd Batt. Black Watch. Does anybody have any information on this man? If so, please contact me.

Michael Austin

Lt-Col. Angus David Rowan-Hamilton MC Black Watch

S. Flynn

Pte. Gilbert Richard Naylor Sherwood Foresters

Last year my wife and I visited Anzio to see where her father, Gilbert Richard Naylor, had been captured during the war, and subsequently obtained his service record.

He invaded Italy at Anzio on Feb 29th and was captured on 1st Mar. 1944. He was in the Sherwood Foresters having one month earlier been transferred from the Black Watch. He spent the remainder of the war in Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf. During his time there he wrote quite a few letters home and one of them came our way quite recently. It is basically about a photo, of my wife as a 2 year old that had been sent to him, we also now have the photo which he carried with him. My mother-in-law still has all the letters but they are obviously of a personal nature and we have declined to read them.

He was in Arbeits kommandos E30 but I do not know what town it was near. All we know about his time there is that he worked on the night shift at a cement factory and on Sundays he liked to go on a walk to a nearby river because it helped with the boredom. I got the impression that this was not a high security camp as they were escorted to work but on the return had to waken the guards so as to get back into the camp. He still remembered the German language that he had learnt and had no hard feelings against the German people. He said that the locals were not much better off than the POWs but that they did give them bits of food. We think that he was on the march east in '44 but he did not talk about it. The family had a German army back pack that had deer fur on the flap, he said that he acquired it on the march, but we thought that he meant between Anzio and Lamsdorf not knowing about the march in '44.

Trevor Taylor

Pte. George Albert Blake 7th Btn Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) (d.25th June 1944)

George Albert Blake died aged 28, he was the son of Percy and Elizabeth Ann Blake (nee Young) of Jarrow and husband of Lilian Blake (nee Waggott) of Jarrow.

George is buried in Ranville War Cemetery.

Vin Mullen

Pte. William Furlong 1st Btn. Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) (d.20th May 1940)

William Furlong who died aged 20 was born in Jarrow in 1919. He was the son of Charles and Annie Furlong (nee Anderson) of Jarrow.

William is buried in Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen

Pte. Richard Parker 7th Btn. Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) (d.13th Dec 1942)

Richard Parker, son of Thomas W. and Mary Jane Parker (nee Jefferson) was born in Hebburn, County Durham, Great Britain in 1919. He was the husband of Jane Parker (nee Scott), also of Hebburn. Private Parker died aged 23 during the Western Desert campaign in the minefields of the village of Mersa Brega. He is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery in Libya, and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance to Jarrow Town Hall, Tyne and Wear, Great Britain.

Vin Mullen

Frederick James Brace 4th Btn. Black Watch

Originally from Bristol, Frederick Brace served with the Black Watch 4th Battalion

Andrew Brace

Pte. David Colville 5th Btn. Blackwatch (Royal Highlanders) (d.26th Jul 1943)

We have just found the documents attaining to David Colville's death, aged 30, in Sicily. No-one in the family had ever met him, but all knew of him. We also have his four campaign medals from the 8th Army. He served from 1939 until 1943 when he was killed in action. It is very sad but we do not have a photograph of him and there are no members of the Colville family alive.

We visited his grave in Catania War Cemetery in February this year and it very moving indeed. If by any chance anyone has any photos we would appreciate a copy. We would appreciate any more information about him or his friends.

Roberta Craig

WO. Phillip Cameron Routledge Black Watch

My father, Phil Routledge, served with the Black Watch during the WW2. He was a regimental boxer, that was until he met my mother in Perth, Scotland. He was a WO at the Battle of El-Alemein. On the third day of the battle he was leading a charge in the desert, when a German 88mm shell landed under his feet. He survived with leg injuries but his men caught the shrapnel. For the rest of the war he served in Officer Selection all over the Middle East. He died in 2001.

Dr Lewis Moncrieff

Pte. Andrew Nisbet Black Watch

My father Andrew Nisbet who is now 94 years old and lives in Kent. He joined the army in Glasgow in 1937 when he was 17 years old. He served with the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) and was stationed at Fort William in Scotland. In 1939 he was sent to France to fight and was captured at the age of 19 years. His pow no is 981 He spent the war in prison camps in Germany and Poland. For three years he was working down the coal mines at E 209 Bobrek. He was also on the long march luckily he was in the groups of men that westward and was liberated by the Americans. While he was in the coal mines he had dysentery and his nose broken by a German rifle butt.


Pte. John Barty 1st Btn. Black Watch (d.9th May 1940)

My late mother was Ann Hay Barty and 2 of her brothers - John and Robert were in the Black Watch Regiment. John appears in several Rolls of Honour and I have seen him appear in records at Edinburgh Castle, The Black Watch Museum in Perth and the City of Dundee. Robert appears to have died in 1940 in Glasgow from a heart condition. I intend to visit the Choloy Cemetry in the next couple of years.

I am attaching photographs of both of them in uniform (don't know who is Robert and who is John) but can find no trace of Robert having served in the Black Watch. I also have a photograph of my grandfather John Barty in uniform but I do not know the regiment he was in. Is anyone able to help identify the regiment from the photo? I am researching my Scottish Ancestry now and would dearly love to know more about my relatives and the roles they played in the British Army

Neil Tarry

Pte Richard Ross 2nd Battalion Black Watch

My father, Pte Richard Ross, was captured on Crete. From there they were taken to Italy then marched to Germany. He was held in Stalag 1V F Camp C101 which was liberated by the Americans in 1945. He never spoke of his time in the camp so it would be interesting to hear any details.

Rebecca Hislop

James Alfred Alger Black Watch

Jim Alger was my father and I would like to learn more about his wartime service. He passed away in 1993 and my Mum followed ten years later. I know that they were married in June when my father was on a pass of sorts, and that he had to leave for battle the day they were married. I also know that he was in the Black Watch and had something to do with the Commando Memorial in Scotland.

Christina Elizabeth Currie

Williamson Peddie Black Watch

William Peddie, was my granddad, we know he was in the Black Watch. I am looking for information relating to him, if anyone has photos with names. He was from Dundee and ended up at Ridgeways Haulage Company in Dundee

Jeffery Peddie

Sgt. George Lee GM. Black Watch

My father, George Lee, served with the Black Watch during World War 2, landing on D-Day (he hated boats and ships afterwards). I know he fought through France and crossed the Rhine into Germany. He told me he was in the Hartz Mountains and played football for the forces in Germany. Beyond that I don't know a lot apart from the fact that my mother said his commanding officer had said he wished he had 100 more like my Dad! Like many he didn't like to talk about his war experiences much and I had to pry what little I could from him.

He was a professional footballer playing for York City from the age of 14. Following the war he played for Nottingham Forest and then West Bromwich Albion earning a Cup Final cup winners medal in 1954.

Susan Kett

L/Cpl. Duncan Macfarlane Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) (d.13th Oct 1943)

My great uncle, Duncan Macfarlane was captured near St Valery en Caux and was held prisoner in Stalag XXB, Poland. He sent home two letters which I have copies of. He died in the camp in October 1943. If anyone has any information or photographs of him I would love to hear from you. He is buried in Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery, Malbork, Poland.

Anne Brown

Gnr. Sean John Murphy 2nd Battalion Black Watch

I am in the process of researching the history of my father-in-law Sean Murphy who died in May 1993. Any information about his war time service with 2nd Battalion Black Watch would be appreciated and any awards or medals he was entitled too.

Bob Eddington

Pte. Frank Blackmore 5th Btn. Blackwatch (d.7th April 1943 )

Frank Blackmore was born on July 1913 in Moston, Manchester, Lancashire to Frank Ernest and Harriet Alice Blackmore (nee Shirley).

Pte. Francis Rodgers 2nd Btn Black Watch

My Father, Francis Rodgers served with the 2nd Battalion of the Black Watch in 1945. Does anyone have any information regarding his service or any of his battalion?

I have some photographs with information on the back@ Paratroopers - 2nd Black Watch R.H.R volunteers. Dropping into Rawal Pindi 1945. Picture of Dad with 3 other soldiers - taken at Malir swimming pool, Karachi. Picture of Dad - left sleeve insignia looks like airborne Names on back of photographs were Sellars, Cutts, Hart.

Stewart Rodgers

Pte. Ernest Peter Powrie 5th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) (d.26th March 1945)

Ernest Powrie lost his life aged just 18 during action in Germany. His battalion was one of the first to cross the Rhine. What perhaps makes Ernest's death more poignant is that his father also died on active service four days later.

Staff-Sergent Albert Powrie was a WW1 veteran and had volunteered to serve his country in this conflict. He was posted to India and worked as a motor mechanic with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Albert died from burn wounds after an accident, not knowing that his son Ernest had been killed four days earlier. Albert's wife (and Ernest's mother) was Janet Grieve Powrie (nee Boyter). Janet passed away in 1978 and had one surviving son. Her distress at hearing of the deaths of her husband and son only days apart can barely be imagined.

Albert Powrie was my great uncle. I never met him or Ernest (I was born many years after their deaths). I found out about them when researching my family tree. There are some mentions of them in local newspapers of the time and council and parish records etc. Given the nature of the family tragedy, it is important to me that they are remembered. I felt a surge of pride to find out I was related to these heroes and intend to visit Ernest's war grave in Germany in the near future. Hopefully one day I cold also visit Albert's grave in India. I now proudly consider myself to be one of the privileged guardians of their memories and will ensure that my children and grandchildren never forget their sacrifices, and why such brave service personal had to perish.

I am an author and mostly compose short stories and poetry. I have now commenced a more detailed research project around these two men and hopefully this could lead to some widespread publicity around their story. Even though it is a tragedy, it is a fantastic story ion the same vein as Saving Private Ryan. I am finding information quite hard to come by as most of the direct descendants of the men are either unknown to me or deceased. More detailed information around the campaigns of their battalions are mostly unknown to me as well. If anyone one reading this article would kindly like to share any information about Albert and Ernest, or their battalions, I would be most grateful.

Steve Powrie

Lt. Cliff Shann 5th Btn. Black Watch


Photograph taken in April 1944, of the 5th Battalion, The Black Watch. My grandfather Lt. Cliff Shann is on the picture.

X Mcdonald

Pte. Harry Dalby Black Watch

My late grandad, Harry Dalby, was captured at St Valery on 12th June 1940 and became a POW at Stalag XXA.

Michele Carroll

Harry Dalby 1st Btn. Black Watch

My late grandfather, Harry Dalby, was a POW in Stalag XXA. His POW records have been translated and they give 2.K Batlingen, Batlingen 20 and Reigersfeld as work camps. My grandfather, while in one of the camps, had what can only be described as a large hankie or part of a sheet with his battalion's badge and two soldiers in Highland dress on either side of it. This was drawn (possibly in ink). It also has HEYDEBRECK written on the top, which I believe is Batlingen. We do not know who made this for him, so if anyone knows who did or has information about it, I would like to hear from them. He was in the 1st Battalion The Black Watch (51st Highland Division) and was captured at St Valery on 16th June 1940.

Michele Guest

James Gavin Clark Tyneside Scottish Btn Black Watch

My dad, James Gavin Clark of Durham, served in the Tyneside Scottish Rgt. He was in Stalags XXA and XXB, having been captured in 1940. Does anyone remember him?

Malcolm Clark

Herman Carl Manto Black Watch

My grandfather, who was from Canada, served with the Black Watch. He never talked much about the war.


Norman Harrison 1st Btn Tyneside Scottish Black Watch

Norman Harrison served in the 1st Battalion (Tyneside Scottish) Black Watch regiment during WWII. He was from Harmby in North Yorkshire. Norman was in Iceland in about 1940 as I have a picture of him on a bren gun carrier with the logo of a polar bear on the back, the information I found was that they "were reprieved of their post in Iceland and became a major part at the the forefront of the Normandy landings". I would love to find a photo or any information about him or friends. He was wounded by shrapnel in Holland in 1944 and that is about as much as I know unfortunately.


Pte. Jack Cunliffe 1st Btn. Black Watch (d.9th July 1944)

Pte. Cunliffe died on 9th July 1944, aged 36, and is buried at Ranville, I.E.32.

Paul Bailey

Pte. David H. Johnson Tyneside Scottish Btn Black Watch

I'm doing some research into my grandfather, Pte. David H.Johnson, of the Tyneside Scottish. Davey was held at Stalag XXID. Among the materials I found was a 21st Birthday card signed by his fellow prisoners and made by hand, as well as a charming advert for the POW Pantomine of Aladdin at the Kuhndorf Theatre (written by F.E.Cook and L.W Godfrey with Alec Buist and Syd Price helping). My grandad played the Princess.

I've so many names and lists of people that he kept in contact with stuffed into little cigarette tins and German newspapers. Can anyone tell me if Stalag XXID is still standing, if so, it's a place that I'd feel the need to visit?

Gary Brien

Jimmy Clark Black Watch

My father Jimmy Clark was a drummer with the Black Watch? He was captured at St Valery and imprisoned in Stalag XXa. Does anyone have any information on him, any photos would be much appreciated.

S. Clark

Sgt. David Watson MM 1st Tyneside Scottish Black Watch

David Watson was the husband of Mary Isobel nee Gordon.

Mrs. Harrison

George Ball 1st Btn. Black Watch

Looking for anyone who knew George Ball,1st Battalion Black Watch, 2753149, POW No. 5505, Stalag 8b.


Pte. Andrew Dalgetty Hutchison 4/5th Btn. Black Watch

Because my father died in 1956 when I was only six, I never really knew him. With the advent of broadband and the help of army records I have been able to piece together his war experiences. If anyone out there knew him or about him I would love to hear from you.

Brian Hutchison

Peter Havers Moore 1st Btn. Black Watch

My father, Peter Havers Moore, 1st Battalion Black Watch, was captured at Dunkirk in June 1940. We believe he was interned at Stalag VIIIB and would very much like to hear from anybody with any information, however trivial it may appear.

Lesely Moore

Sgt.Maj. James McGarry Cameron 4th Battalion Black Watch

Jim Cameron, a native of Montrose Angus, enlisted at Perth on the 19th May 1924 three days after his 17th Birthday. His father Tommy had been in the Highland Cycle Battalion (Black Watch) during the Great War.

Jim was with the regiment for almost 22 years. He had served in India, Palestine, France, Gibraltar and North West Europe. He returned to France with the 51st in June 1944 and remained in Europe until September 1945. He left the Army in January 1946. He was a Sergeant Major.

He married his wife Mary in Kirkintilloch in January 1940 and was on the French/Belgian border a month later. Mary went on to enlist in the WAAF in March 1941 and was released in September 1945.

Jim as well as being an infantry soldier was a bandsman who went on to become Drum Major. He often related a particular story when asked about frightening experiences during his service days. He stated that he was a drummer boy stationed in a Stirlingshire mining village during the miners strike in 1926. The soldiers often played football with the striking miners and feelings were not that strained. However, a situation developed one day which brought the soldiers into some disagreement with one or two of the miner's wives. Jim was berated and denigrated by one of the women and Jim pleaded his case saying that he was just a drummer boy. The woman who Jim described as a big heifer threatened to take his drumsticks and well you could imagine the rest. Jim says that he retreated in good order. It would be fair to say that Jim as a young man developed a healthy respect for mining communities.

Jim was my father and as a youngster I accompanied him to either a 51st or a Black Watch gathering on the North Inch of Perth. He was always at his best in the company of men he had served with. At functions he would approach the drummer in the live band, give him a few bob to go and get a pint and my dad took over and yes he was very good. He often regaled the company with a song the two recruiting sergeants always in the company of his nephew Chic who had been a sergeant major in the Scots Guards. Chic died in 1982 and I never heard the song again. My father died in 1986. He was survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter.

Allan Cameron

L/Cpl. Henry Hunter 1st. Battalion Black Watch (d.11th June 1940)

We never met our Uncle Henry Hunter, son of Henry and Mary Hunter of Stirling, Scotland. All we know of him was that he was killed in France aged 22, and was laid to rest in Houdetot Churchyard France. RIP Henry. You are still thought of and talked about. Only known picture of Henry is shown, the others in the photo could be Pte O'Shea and Pte Matzger. The other Pte is unknown.

Margaret McAlister

Evan Davies 5th Btn. Blackwatch (d.11th July 1944)

My wife's uncle Evan Davies served with 5th Btn. Blackwatch. We are looking for information.

B. Deeny

Pte. Alexander Gray 7th Btn. Black Watch (d.7th Apr 1943)

Alex Gray was my grandmother's youngest brother, they lived in Edinburgh, Scotland. The story goes, Alex Gray joined up with the Black Watch. During the war Alex, did send a letter to his family, saying he had lost all his mates and all he had left was on his back. He stated they had one more job for Monty and then they would head home. Unfortunately, Alex lost his life from infection of wounds suffered from Wadi Akarit in Tunisia they had fought the battle on the 6th of April 1943.

He did survive the initial battle but was badly wounded, even his own brother Hughie Waugh, did not even recognize him, as his brother was helping the wounded off the truck and Hughie inquired about an Alex Gray. The wounded soldier said: I am Alex Gray. Alex ended up in the triage hospital, his wounds were from barbed wire and his torso was all bandaged up. When his brother Hughie went to see him the next day, Alex told him (or the nurse told Hughie) the military was going to move him to a hospital in Cairo to convalescence. However, the family lost track of Alex and they received a message saying he had died on the battlefield on April 6th, 1943. But his brother said, "He couldn't be I spoke to him on the 6th!" It shows how records and dates get mixed up. But, in retrospect of what his brother said, we believed he died of infection of his wounds, being a hot country and who knows the type of medical care he would have received. Dying of infection or maybe of internal bleeding would have being plausible, our guess he died a few days later.

The only effects the family received of Alex's was an American belt (with the American Eagle on it) with an address of the American, a small money purse, his black watch medal. It was common at the time to swap effects, in order to keep in touch with new friends. The family also, received a picture of his burial site, in a cemetery somewhere in in desert area of North Africa. He was only 23 years old and left behind a wife and one daughter, mother, sister and 2 brothers.

Diane Barcelo

Pte. Andrew Mitchell Thompson 5th Batallion Black Watch

Andy Thompson in Africa with his best friend, a pole name unknown

My Dad, Andy Thompson, served from 1939 until being injured shortly after D Day. He never spoke much about his service. I would love to hear from anyone who might have information about him.

William Thompson

Lt. William Sangster Stewart MID. 2nd Btn. Black Watch

Captured - Bill Stewart - extreme right of picture beside italian guards. Gruppo di prigioneri inglesi catturati a Castelrosso, 5-3-41

Italian Press Reports 1941

Bill Stewart in POW Campo 78 Sulmona, Italy 1941 - 1943

On Tuesday 25th of February 1941, 200 Commandos from the 50 Middle East Commandos landed at Nifti Point, Kastellorizo. Their mission was to capture the island for the Allies and hold it until a garrison of British Army troops arrived in 24 hours time to fortify the island. My father, William Stewart, was one of the 200 Commandos landed that morning. Despite the initial success in capturing the island and freeing the local population, the Italians counter-attacked and landed more than 300 troops from torpedo boats and destroyers.

On Thursday, 27th February, Cpl Bill Stewart was trapped leading his section near the Paleocastro Fort. After attacking the enemy, they were pinned down by heavy machine gun fire from the fort. He was subsequently captured with his remaining men and he was imprisoned as a Prisoner of War in Sulmona, Italy, until 1943.

He attempted to escape three times but was recaptured each time. In October 1943 he was finally successful and escaped to the UK. He was awarded a Mention in Dispatches for gallantry and he was later commissioned as a Lieutenant and he continued fighting until the end of the war.

He returned home in 1945, and in 1961 my twin sister, Frances and I were born. Sadly, my father died in 1983. We salute him and his brave Commando comrades and the courage of the people of Kastellorizo who fought bravely for their home during World War 2. It is a sad footnote that the Submarine, HMS Parthian, which cleared the way ahead for the Commandos to land on Kastellorizo, was sunk in August 1943 off Brindisi. My mothers first husband, ERA, Albert Nunn was killed on board. To William Sangster Stewart, to Albert Nunn, to all the British Commandos killed in action, and to all the Kastellorizans who defended their homes so bravely. Lest We Forget, We Will Remember Them.

Charles Stewart

Pte. George Young Brydon 5th Btn. Black Watch

My dad George Brydon, my hero, who will be 91 this December, is due to be awarded France's highest honour, the Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur next month for his part in the liberation of France during 1944-45 when he was just 18 years old.

He was a soldier in the 5th Battalion, Black Watch and fought through Normandy against the feared Waffen SS, until he was severely wounded by mortar shrapnel trying to reach the River Seine at Mauny, before the Germans could blow the bridges and stop the Allied advance through Northwestern Europe.

He is now one of only three soldiers left in the 5th Battalion The Black Watch, who fought during WWII.

We are who we are today because of their courage and sacrifice.

Gus Brydon

Pte. Charles McGurk 4th Btn. Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) (d.10th to 13th June 1940)

Charles McGurk of the 4th Btn. Black Watch was killed between 10/06/1940 and 13/06/1940.

Pte. Joseph Kelly Black Watch

I know very little about my great uncle, Joseph Kelly, although I do remember him being a funny old man who always seemed a bit of a character. I used to listen to some of the funny war stories he would tell me. This was probably a factor in me joining the British Army. I remember telling him I was joining the army and he seemed very happy for me. He sadly died before he got the chance to see me in uniform. Although I joined the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and had a successful 11 years in this regiment I always had a fondness for the Black Watch and was lucky to serve alongside them in Northern Ireland.

I do know that my great uncle was taken POW during the war, 24-26th March 1943, I still have the document that was sent back to his parents informing them that he was missing, albeit in not very good condition, along with his war medal. I cherish this family bit of history and look back at his efforts in the war with pride. I am not sure which Battalion he served with I seem to think it may of been the 5th but can't be sure. Would love to find any more information on his service.

Ian Young

James MacCowan Cameron Black Watch

James MacCowan Cameron was a Dunkirk survivor. He was born in 1918 in Glasgow, Lanakshire, Scotland.

I am currently looking for his regiment/service number, so I can find out more about his service history and surviving Dunkirk. I know he was in the Black watch. I am told only my granddad and an officer survived in his unit. He was very poorly after his ordeal and passed away in 1971 from cancer.

Zoe Kemp

Pte. Edward Forbes Black Watch

Private Edward Forbes was my dad's half brother and was taken prisoner in 1940. In a letter sent home to his mother it states that he is in Stalag XXB. He remained there until the end of the war.

Although I have never seen the letter, an excerpt from our local newspaper published it, but it was only a few lines to advise the he had met up with a few of the Kirkcaldy lads who were also POWs. The article was published in the Fife Free Press (the local newspaper for Kirkcaldy) in 1990 referring to an article from 50 years ago.

I only ever met him once and I was very young at the time, but remember my mother saying she would often write to him during his days of captivity. Edward Forbes was born 29/01/1913 in Kirkcaldy and died in 1972 aged 59 years.

Arthur James Stanley Savill 7th Btn. Black Watch

Arthur Savill served with the 7th Battalion, Black Watch.

Jonathan Merry

Gnr. Albert "Ginger" Jennings 81st Field Regiment Royal Artillery

Albert Albert joined the 7th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1940 as a Territorial for the duration of the War. In February 1942 he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Highland Regiment and nine months later transferred to the Royal Artillery, from 1945 until 1948 he served with the Royal Military Police.

Albert re-joined the Army in 1949 and served in Egypt and Germany. In 1958 he transferred to the Royal Army Pay Corps, serving in Herford and Verden in Germany, Household Cavalry in London and finally in the Command Pay Office in Singapore. Albert returned to Aldershot in 1967 and died in the Cambridge Military Hospital in 1968.

Robert Jennings

Pte. Bernard Dolan "Benny" Morrell Black Watch

My dad, Bernard Morrell, was a POW in WWII. He was captured in Moselle, France on 13th May 1940. He was then a prisoner of war in German hands.

He arrived at Stalag XXA on 30th of May 1940, his POW number was 5237 (Stalag XXA) and also another POW (Stalag X1B). When he arrived he got moved so many times I am surprised if he was able to keep or make friends with his unit or new POW people like himself. Like I said, his dates are Stalag XXa on 30th May 1940, coming from Dulag XII according to a list dated on 31th May 1940, and two capture cards dated 6th June 1940 and 31st June 1940. Transferred from Stalag XXa to Stalag XIb on 15th March 1941, according to a list dated 18th March 1941. Arrived at Stalag XIb on 17th March 1941, coming from Stalag XXa on the same day (looks like). Again transferred from XIb to Stalag XX on 10th April 1941 according to two lists dated 19th April 1941 and 22nd April 1941. Transferred again to Stalag XX to Stalag XXIa on 15th May 1941. Detained in Stalag XXIa and transferred to Stalag VIIIb on 8th June 1941 according to a list dated 17th July 1941. Arrived at Stalag VIIIb on 16th June 1941 coming from Stalag XXIc/h. Again transferred from Stalag VIIb to Stalag VIIIc on 19th October 1943. Detained in Stalag VIIIc according to capture card dated on 5th December 1943, and a list sent 29th February 1944.

So, there are nine lists issued by the German authorities, then three capture cards and one list sent by the British camp leader to Stalag VIIIc. Out of all the transfers, why or how could anyone make friends or not even know where they going to be staying, let alone all the worry if you are going to survive the POW camps? Why did they transfer him so many times? All I can think of is maybe he was trying to get out or he would not do what he was meant to do. Hope someone can give me a bit of help.

But my poor dad - I can't begin to know what every one of the soldiers went through, so heart-breaking are some of the stories I have read. I do know that one of my relations said that my dad did have terrible nightmares when he came home. May be that is why he drank quite a bit and who can blame him? There was no counselling in his day - it was get on with it, go to work every day - which he did when he got work. So sad for every one of them.

Catherine Morrell

Recomended Reading.

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Black Watch: Liberating Europe and Catching Himmler - My Extraordinary WW2 with the Highland Division

Tom Renouf

As a 19-year old Black Watch conscript Tom Renouf's war began with some of the most vicious fighting of the conflict - against Himmler's fanatical 'Hitler Youth' SS Division. It ended with the capture of Himmler himself and Tom taking a trophy he still treasures - the Gestapo commander's watch. Seriously wounded and later decorated with a Military Medal for gallantry, Tom Renouf witnessed the death and maiming of countless of his teenage comrades and saw the survivors transformed into grizzled veterans. Tom Renouf draws on his own personal experiences - as well as his unique archive of interviews with veterans amassed over twenty years as secretary of the 51st Highland Division Veterans' Association - to paint a vivid picture of the Battle of Normandy, the liberation of Holland, the Battle of the Bulge and many more memorable WW2 events.

To War with the Black Watch

Gian Gaspare Napolitano

First published in an Italian-language anti-fascist newspaper in Switerland in 1944, this remarkable book tells the story of Lieutenant Pinto, appointed Italian liaison officer to the Scottish Black Watch. Based on the author's own experiences as a Black Watch liaison officer, "To War with the Black Watch" is a sharp, witty and moving insight into Scots-Italian relations in the latter part of the Second World War.
More information on:

To War with the Black Watch

Black Watch: Liberating Europe and catching Himmler - my extraordinary WW2 with the Highland Division

Dr. Tom Renouf

'Triumphant . . . A remarkable wartime story' --Tim Newark, FINANCIAL TIMES --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. Book Description * A personal story of the Second World War brought to life against the backdrop of the Black Watch - Scotland's best-known regiment


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