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Black Watch

Discussion in 'What Granddad did in the War' started by Ricky, Apr 30, 2022.

  1. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Alexander Haig, my maternal Grandfather (who died when i was 8) was in the Black Watch during WW2. I know that he spent a lot of the war in the Gibralter garrison - my mum showed me a box of momentoes of his stay there, including pamphlets of theatrical productions put on by the troops. Sadly the box went to my uncle, so I don't have access to it now.
    Family legend says that he was in France during the German invasion, and also that he fought in NW Europe post D-Day. I've heard it said that he was at Dunkirk and D-Day, though I'm sceptical.

    I've tried tracing the history of his unit but details are frustratingly sparse, at least to me. Any pointers on finding out exactly where & when he / his unit was? Other than digging through the archives at Kew, which is currently tricky to find time for
     
  2. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    If you post what information you have I'm betting there are folks on here who can help you fill in a lot of blanks. Unfortunately I'm not one of them.
     
  3. Riter

    Riter Well-Known Member

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    Contact the Regimental Museum. If you know his battalion, they should be able to figure out where it served. BTW, the 1/42 and 2/42 were largely responsible for the British victory over the American Indians at the Battle of Bushy Run, 1763 (near Pittsburg/Fort Pitt/formerly Fort Duquense) in Pennsylvania.

    Museum - theblackwatch.co.uk

    Also try WW2Talk.com Plenty of folks there are very informed about the British Commonwealth forces.
     
  4. Owen

    Owen O

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    4th Bn The Black Watch was in Gibraltar from 40 to 43.
    There is this memorial to them.

    Visit Gibraltar


    If you know your Grandfather's date of birth and/or his Army Number you can apply for his service records.
     
  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    #
    You need to get his Service Rwcord, which will be released to Next of kin - and grandchild may be good enough. Are any of his children still alive?) This will cost £30 and may take a couple of months. This will list his postings and units. He might well have been ppsted between different battlaions or even to another Regiment. Details hereGet a copy of military service records

    The 1st and 4th Battlaions served in France. The 1st Battlaion was captured at St Valery en Caux. The 4th Battalion seems to have escaped St Valery and was evacuated from Dunkirk. It was then part of the Gibraltar garrison until 1943 when it returned to the Uk for the rest of the war. The 1st 5th and 7th battlaions were part of the reformed 51st Highland Division and served in North SAfrica from El Alamein to Tunisia then Sicily and North West Europe.

    It is plausible for your grandfather to have served in the 4th battlaion and be posted to one of the other Black Watch Battlaions in 51st Highland Division to replace casualties. but you need to check hsi service record.
     
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  6. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone. My mum is happily still alive, so getting a service record should be fairly simple.

    If/when it happens I'll update here with what I find
     
  7. sonofacameron

    sonofacameron Member

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    The remnants of 4th Battalion Black Watch, escaped as part of 'Ark Force' from Le Havre over the nights of 11/12 June and 12/13 June.
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Curious. 51 Division was detached from the BEF and served with the French, including fighting in the battle of Abbeville south of the Somme the first few days of June. By then the German advance had already reached the Channel coast (May 20). The Dunkirk evacuation concluded June 4, the day before the second phase German offensive got underway, eventually forcing 51 Div back to St. Valery. 4 Black Watch must have been separated from the division in mid-May.
     
  9. sonofacameron

    sonofacameron Member

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    No, they were not. From History of 51st Div attached.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Just a minor update, after a chat with my mum.

    Her brother and his son have spent some time researching family history, and as his son was in the army it is likely that he got hold of Grandad's service record. She is going to ask and i will update when I hear.

    Grandad was definitely at Dunkirk, because he told the family he was, although he wouldn't say more than that. Mum has heard a few stories from his time in France, although she doesn't know if that was pre-Dunkurk or post-D-Day

    According to what my Grandma said, he was a sergeant, but was frequently busted back down for 'climbing over the wall' when in the UK (I assume nipping out of base to go to the pub). Apparently he was always either flaunting or hiding his sleeves, depending on whether he was back at sergeant or not!
     

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