Crowds line streets for Gordon Highlanders veterans’ parade

The Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross

Veterans of the Gordon Highlanders have taken part in what is likely to be their final major parade to remember those who received the Victoria Cross while serving in the historic regiment.

People lined the streets in Buckie, Moray, to watch a pipe band lead the parade through the town to the unveiling of a memorial plaque.

A total of 19 soldiers serving with the regiment were awarded the Victoria Cross, the UK’s highest award for gallantry.

During the First World War, the famous regiment was said to have lost more than 8,000 men.

Eight battalions of the Gordon Highlanders also fought during the Second World War, with men serving in Normandy, Africa and Singapore.

In 1994 it was merged with other regiments to form the Highlanders.

Retired regimental major Grenville Irvine-Fortescue told BBC Scotland: “Some people are concerned that this may be the last big gathering, I think of its size it will be.

“Everybody is getting a little bit older, and gathering everybody together for one big event where we are all still fit enough to march and enjoy the occasion and treat it with the dignity that such an occasion is due, it’s really going to be the last opportunity we have.”

While the parade was taking place, a team from the Royal Regiment of Scotland and other Scottish military groups completed a 600-mile cycle to Ypres in Belgium, where they are taking part in the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

The team of 18 left from Perth on July 19.

Regimental Sergeant Major of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland Kevin Stacey said: “I am deeply proud to come from an Army family, with my grandfather, uncle and father all having served in The Black Watch.

“Between us we have over 100 years’ continuous unbroken service, with each reaching the rank of regimental sergeant major.

“It is important that we do this journey on this, the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, to show our respect to those who fought in the battle, especially to those fallen soldiers and to our modern-day veterans that have gone before us.

“All have fought hard for our freedoms, with some paying the ultimate sacrifice.”