1 SCOTS waves bye to the Borders

It will be a poignant day in Hawick on Saturday morning when 200 soldiers from the local infantry regiment waves goodbye to the Borders – for now at least.

1 SCOTS, otherwise known as the 1st Battalion (Royal Scots Borders), The Royal Regiment of Scotland, is being rebased to Northern Ireland later this summer.

The battalion will swap its Dreghorn Barracks home in Edinburgh for accommodation in Belfast, in a move which has caused massive upheaval for service families.

Ministry of Defence bosses say there are solid military reasons for the switch.

But it is a heart-breaking wrench, not just for the families involved, but also for the local communities which pride themselves on having local soldiers based in their midst.

The battalion’s antecedent regiments, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the Royal Scots, both have strong links to this region and our country’s capital.

Whitehall mandarins might consider ours an outdated and sentimental view that has no place in modern military planning.

But there will come a day when they and their political overlords arrogantly march across the ever-thinning line that links regiments with the regions they recruit from – and the so-called “golden thread” of tradition they promised to retain under previous changes will disappear into the history books forever.