(2) what assessment his Department has made of the merits of proposals to introduce a single colour of hackle for all Territorial Army soldiers in the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Since the formation of the large, single-cap badge The Royal Regiment of Scotland, the separate identities of its antecedent regiments have been preserved in a number of ways, not least by including them prominently in the battalion titles, for example; The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Preservation is further illustrated by the retention of golden threads in uniforms and accoutrements such as the Black Watch red hackle and the Highlanders' blue hackle.
The identities of the regiment's battalions are very clear and easily understood by its officers and soldiers and the wider community in Scotland. The regiment places great importance in its heritage and uses its history to inspire and nurture its new recruits and current members; the regimental history taught to its soldiers is captured in a handbook which is given to all new recruits. The Army ensures that regimental traditions, heritage, cultures and local connections continue through the excellent relations between its retired soldiers, the serving community, and the outstanding support from the local communities associated with their antecedent regiments.
There are no plans to introduce a single colour of hackle for all Territorial Army (TA) soldiers in The Royal Regiment of Scotland as this would run contrary to the traditions of infantry regiments in Scotland.
However, 52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (6 SCOTS) currently wear either a black or white hackle while 51st Highland, 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (7 SCOTS) wear a variety of colours—each colour representing one of the former Scottish infantry regiments.
This variety of head dress (within a regiment, battalion, and in some cases a company) is as a result of the reorganisation of the infantry structure. It is very unusual in the British Army and contrary to normal regimental integrity.
Therefore, the regimental headquarters of The Royal Regiment of Scotland is currently considering proposals from each of the two TA battalions to have their own unique and distinctive hackle to establish their own identities, which will then be consistent with the other five Regular Army battalions in The Royal Regiment of Scotland, each of whom wear their own single coloured hackle.