Veterans hear Belfast progress

KOSB Reunion dinner.
KOSB Reunion dinner.

How local Borders soldiers are settling into their new home in Northern Ireland was the subject of the main speech at a special reunion dinner.

Captain Greig Ramsay, of The Royal Scots Borderers (1st Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland), travelled to Peebles last week from the battalion’s base in Northern Ireland.

Capt Greig Ramsay, left, with Brigadier Allan Alstead at the KOSB reunion dinner

Capt Greig Ramsay, left, with Brigadier Allan Alstead at the KOSB reunion dinner

The occasion was a reunion dinner of veterans who had served with one of the battalion’s antecedent regiments, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, during the 1950s crisis in what was then Malaya. Captain Ramsay gave an update on how the battalion’s summer move from Dreghorn barracks in Edinburgh to Belfast had gone.

The dinner, held in Peebles Hydro, was attended by 122 veterans and guests who were all piped into the hotel’s dining room by four members of the Bunyan family – David, Andrew, James and Julie. David is a former pipe major in the KOSB.

They played a selection of music ending with the regimental charge, The Standard on the Braes of Mar, as diners took their seats.

Chairman for the evening, Brigadier Allan Alstead, a former commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, KOSB, then welcomed everyone, with a special mention for Bob and Alice Kernaghan, who had travelled all the way from France to attend.

Grace was said by the Very Reverend Dr Jim Harkness, who had been a chaplain with the KOSB in Aden.

After the dinner, toasts were made to The Queen and His Majesty The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (The King of Malaysia).

The toast to the regiment was then given and the pipers all played the regimental march, Blue Bonnets o’er the Border.

Rev Harkness gave the toast to absent comrades and the pipers played The Flowers of the Forest.

Capt Ramsay then spoke, telling everyone that the move to Palace Barracks, at Holywood, Belfast, had gone very well and that the battalion had been made very welcome by the local people.

The evening concluded with a prize draw, followed by an excellent half-hour of entertainment from Raymond Carse and his accordion.

Finally, a vote of thanks was given by John Smail before diners dispersed into the ballroom for further reminiscences.