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THE BLACK WATCH (R.H.R.) OF CANADA

 


Cap Badge, Shoulder Titles and Collar badges of the Black Watch of Canada
(Credit for photographs of the badges goes to Clifford Weirmeir, with his splendid website about the Irish regiment of Canada)


the Black Watch could also wear this Red Hackle
instead of the metal Cap Badge

Tartans worn by the Black Watch


Left: 42nd. tartan as worn by all Black Watch soldiers and the drummers of the Pipe band,
and Right: The Royal Stewart as worn by the Pipers

Pipers of the Black Watch (R.H.R.) of Canada Pipe Band during the 1925 St. Patrick's Day parade in Montreal.

The Queen Mother inspecting the Black Watch (R.H.R.) of Canada, in England, August 1940.

Source:Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4232587

Source of the following history: Harold A. Skaarup

The Second World War

The 2nd Battalion was called out on service on 26 August 1939 and details of the battalion were placed on active service on 1 September 1939, as the 2nd Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, C.A.S.F. (Details), for local protection duties. These details were disbanded on 31 December 1940.

The regiment mobilized as the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, C.A.S.F, on 1 September 1939. This unit, which served in Newfoundland from 22 June to 11 August 1940, embarked for Great Britain on 25 August 1940. Three platoons took part on the raid on Dieppe on 19 August 1942. On 6 July 1944, the battalion landed in France as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, and it continued to fight in North West Europe until the end of the war. The overseas battalion was disbanded on 30 November 1945.

The regiment subsequently mobilized as the 2nd Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, C.A.S.F., on 18 March 1942. This unit served in Canada in a home defence role as part of Atlantic Command until it was disbanded on 15 August 1943.

The 1st. Battalion Black Watch, in which Bill Magennis was the Pipe Major, was brigaded with Le Régiment de Maisonneuve and Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal of the 2nd Canadian Division, however the Fusiliers Mont Royal were replaced by The Calgary Highlanders in the 5th Brigade in 1940.

The 1st. Battalion suffered more casualties than any other Canadian infantry battalion in Northwest Europe according to figures published in The Long Left Flank by Jeffrey Williams.  Disaster seemed to follow the unit;

On the voyage to France on the day of the Dieppe Raid, casualties were suffered by the unit during a grenade priming accident onboard their ship, the H.M.S. Duke of Wellington.

During the Battle of Verrières Ridge on 25 July 1944, 325 men left the start line and only 15 made it back to friendly lines, the others being killed or wounded by well entrenched Waffen S.S. soldiers and tanks.

On 13 October 1944 - known as Black Friday by the Black Watch - the regiment put in an assault near Hoogerheide during the Battle of the Schelde in which all four company commanders were killed, and one company of 90 men was reduced to just four survivors.

 


Private E. Eastle of The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada wearing the Red hackle on his khaki bonnet,
at the grave of his brother, who was a member of The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry of Canada.
Ossendrecht, Netherlands, 26 October 1944.

Burial of 55 infantrymen of "A" Company, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, Ossendrecht, Netherlands, 26 October 1944

Photograph 1: H/Captain Father B.W. Kenny officiating at the burial of 55 infantrymen of "A" Company, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, Ossendrecht, Netherlands, 26 October 1944. Bell, Ken., Photographer

Photograph 2: Pipe Major Hector McDonald, Piper Duncan (Picket) W. MacDonald* and Piper Willie .J. Hannah at the burial of 55 infantrymen of "A" Company, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, Ossendrecht, Netherlands, 26 October 1944.following the fighting at the Battle of Antwerp in October of 1944.

Photograph 3: Dutch civilians attending the burial of 55 infantrymen of "A" Company, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, Ossendrecht, Netherlands, 26 October 1944.

 http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.mcdonell/3.31.41.3.2/mb.ashx

*BIOGRAPHY of Piper Duncan (Picket) W. MacDonald: World War II began and Duncan went overseas to serve his country. He enlisted as a foot soldier, but when it was discovered that he could play the bagpipes, Duncan was assigned to the band of the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch Regiment. While there, he had the honour of playing for the Queen Mother and, along with two other pipers (Hector MacDonald and Willie Hannah), the distinction of playing a lament at the burial of 55 members of the Black Watch following the fighting at the Battle of Antwerp in October of 1944.
Duncan returned to Canada five days before V-E Day and marched in the Victory Parade.

He continued his piping and belonged to the S.D.&G. Pipe Band and the Royal Canadian Legion Pipe Band. As a member of these bands, he took part in many parades held throughout the counties and with the S.D.& G., played at the Glengarry Highland Games. In addition, he piped for weddings, funerals, fairs and dancing competitions. Unfortunately, in the early sixties, he was forced to give up playing the pipes when he contracted emphysema.

 


A Black Watch, 2nd.Canadian Infantry Division. Bren team at Holten, Holland, 08Apr1945.


Infantry of the Black Watch of Canada (Royal Highland Regiment) crossing the river Regge
south of Ommen, The Netherlands, on 10 April 1945.