General Loudon – Governor of Edinburgh Castle & Better Together supporter – Adds his signature Supporting No in the Referendum
1. General Euan Loudon Keeps Proposed Changes From Soldiers
a. 2003-2005. A series of discussions, (at the highest level) were conducted within the Scottish Regimental heirarchy pertaining to major organisational change, at the time Scottish soldiers were deployed to the war in Iraq and other operational areas. Although there was some dissemination of information at senior levels, this did not include junior ranks in case they became upset.
2. A concerned ex-soldier – Major (retd) Michael Hamilton, wrote to the Scottish Herald- Opening up the Debate to a wider Audience- He was not popular
a. His letter. August 2005. Soldiers are being kept ignorant of Army changes – General Euan Loudon says that sniping from the sidelines dispirits the serving community. So what is General Loudon really up to? Sounding off about tartan, cap badges and the retired Army community. Both expect us to follow the scent of their red herring. The main issues are not cap badges and tartans, important symbols though these are.
b. Soldiers read the Scottish tabloids, not the Scottish broadsheets in which almost all the articles and letters on the changes have been published. If General Loudon had visited the Naafi and local shops in the Falklands (company group of the KOSB), in Colinton near Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh (Royal Scots) , Warminster (Black Watch), Canterbury (The Highlanders), Cyprus (RHF) and Omagh (KOSB) he would know that Scottish broadsheets are not on sale. We have asked men and their families serving there. Recently I asked the newsagent in Colinton how many Jocks bought the Scottish broadsheets. He scornfully said, “You must be an officer. They read the tabloids.”
c. In all Scottish regiments, there is widespread ignorance of the reform proposals. You can meet uniformed Jocks from the Royal Scots in the streets here in Edinburgh. They recently told me, “We are all right, the KOSB are amalgamating with us – we are not amalgamating with them, ” revealing a complete failure to appreciate what is really going on. Questioned about briefings on the changes from officers, they look puzzled and say no one has briefed them. Told that they would soon be wearing the kilt and a different cap badge they laughed and told me to stop taking the mickey.
d. The first main issue is that all ranks are forbidden to speak to the media and even to their own families about the proposed reforms. So let us now challenge the ministers of defence and the Army Board to open the ranks of the six affected Scottish battalions to the media with a guarantee of no victimization and the right to speak with back to the camera with voice disguised. Let them speak the truth. If the majority want their regiments to be abolished, the campaigners will respect their freely expressed wishes and fall silent. We do not fear free speech or the truth. We put no spin on anything. We do not need to.
e. The second main issue is that instead of moving in regimental communities in which wives travel with their friends, and children move en bloc from school to school secure in whole classes, the Scottish infantry and their families will be moved just as frequently but in penny packets from battalion to battalion thus disrupting military teams and the social fabric of whole regimental communities.
f. The Regiments of Foot Guards and the Parachute Regiment have a rather more preferential deal. The Guards are not being required to move from regiment to regiment, and the Parachute Regiment is now garrisoned in Colchester, so that a posting from one battalion to another involves no move of house and school. Jobs for wives are easy to come by in these regiments: try getting a job for your wife in Omagh or Fallingbostel.
g. The third main issue is that the Scottish regiments carry a DISPROPORTIONATE share of operational duties and casualties. Details of deployments and overstretch were published in The Herald on 18 August 2005. Statistics of British Army personnel killed and injured are published on the internet each year, showing deaths by regiment and corps.