A civilised beginning and a marred end.

On the 30th July 1918 the 9th Battalion the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), part of 47th Brigade 16th Division. Now newly reconstituted at Deal in Kent. There is at least one written reference to the number as 2/9th. The 9th Battalion had absorbed the newly formed 15th Battalion. (1) (2) The Battalion entrained at Aldershot on two trains. The first at mid night and the second half an hour later. De-training at Shorncliffe the battalion marched to a rest camp at Folkestone. Tea was served on their arrival at the rest camp and breakfast at 7 am. Paraded at 9:50 and they embarked for Boulogne shortly after. All in all it seemed a very civilised way to go to war.

On the 11th November 1918 the entry in their war diary, after just over three months in France, announcing the end of the hostilities reads:

Message came by phone hostilities ceased today 11 (A m?) today.

The band accordingly paraded and played outside the battalion HQ where an eightsome reel was formed by the officers present. During the dancing the Divisional General arrived and congratulated the battalion on the successful termination of the war and wished it luck in the future. The Brigadier General arrived later and added his congratulations.

The band eventually visted the coys and reels were danced by the officers and men.

In spite of the drizzle which set in late in the afternoon a bonfire was lit directly darkness set in. The whole battalion was present. Several reels were danced to the light of red ground flares and very lights. The first Peace Operational Order was received at 18:30 hours.

The only thing that marred the general rejoicings was…”

Look away now if you would rather not read the sad part.

I have put the quote from the 9th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) War Diary after the references. It is not for the faint hearted.

You have been warned

1 British Regiments 1914-1918 page 85

2 Battalion War Diary

.The only thing that marred the general rejoicings was the fact that there was a complete absence of whiskey in the Battalion.”

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