Black Watch annual dinner

THE ANGUS branch of The Black Watch Association will hold its annual dinner in the Royal British Legion Scotland clubrooms in Forfar tomorrow (Saturday) evening.

The branch held its first dinner in October, 1999, the year it was reformed.

It was its first formal event and, as it was held in October of that year, it was named ‘The El Alamein Dinner’ to honour the famous battle which began in October, 1942.

A spokesman for the branch said: “This being the 70th anniversary we aim to make this year’s event special. Major Ronnie Proctor will give a talk on the battle and Mrs Georgiana Osborne, Lord-Lieutenant of Angus, will also give a speech.

“At that first dinner we had several members who actually took part in the battle. Sadly they are no longer with us but they will be in our thoughts on the night.

“We have, however, located a survivor of the battle who lives in Gourdon and are hopeful he will be able to join us.”

The battle began on October 23, 1942, with a massive artillery salvo which lasted two days. It ended on November 4 in victory for the Allies - albeit at great human cost to both sides.

Field Marshal Rommel ordered his Afrika Korps to retreat westwards and they finally succumbed to the superior forces of General Montgomery’s 8th Army in May, 1943.

The 1st, 5th (Angus) and 7th (Fife) Battalions of The Black Watch, as part of the 51st Highland Division, played a key role in the battle.

The victory at El Alamein was significant to the outcome of the Second World War. It was the first major victory for the Allies and proved to be the turning point in the war.

At a victory parade in Tripoli, led by the massed pipes and drums of the 51st Highland Division, Winston Churchill took the salute.

Many of the men who fought at El Alamein continued in the long and difficult advance through Sicily, Italy and all the way to overall victory in 1945.

The spokesman continued: “We owe them a huge debt. At the Angus Branch of the Association we are always ready to welcome new members.

“We meet on the second Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Strathmore TA Centre, Forfar, which is located at the junction between Brechin Road and Castle Street.

“If you served with the Black Watch, be it regular, national service or TA, we would like to see you.

“We have several social events throughout the year and keep up to date and support The Black Watch Battalion which is currently based at Fort George.

“Our members come from all corners of Angus and beyond. Why not come along to our next meeting and find out what we are all about?”