In a hugely welcome symbolic gesture, Councillor William Petrie, Provost of Argyll and Bute, has re-conferred the freedom of Argyll and Bute on the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
Councillor Petrie presented the battalion with a new pipe banner to mark the honour at a ceremony at the council chambers at Kilmory.
The event happened on the same day as the raising of the Armed Forces flag on Lochgilphead’s front green to mark the first Armed Forces Day. The ceremony was led by the Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, Kenneth MacKinnon Esq RD WS and Provost Petrie.
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was first awarded the freedom of Argyll and Bute by the then district council in 1979.
However, it has since become part of The Royal Regiment of Scotland – with the official title of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (5SCOTS).
The change of status, said Provost Petrie, meant it was appropriate to re-confer the honour on the battalion.
‘The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders have always been close to the hearts of everyone in Argyll and Bute and it is important that the council recognises their modern identity and affords them the same honours as they used to have in their previous one’, the Provost said..
‘I am delighted to have been able to present the regiment’s Major Kerr and Captain Howe with a new pipe banner, and it is of course an honour to have been able to join with them and the Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute to raise the Armed Forces flag later in the day’.
This gesture comes supportively at a time when the battalion is under very threat with the coming cuts to the Defence budget. It is known that the Royal Regiment of Scotland is under scrutiny for the possible loss of one or more battalions – and the Argylls are in the frame.
The re-conferring of this honour reminds Argyll of its historic affiliation with this former regiment and should focus its attention of fighting for its survival, should that shortly become necessary.
The photograph, top, shows the Provost, William Petrie (left) with, on his right, the Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, Kenneth MacKinnon, Major Kerr and Captain Howe of The Argylls, at the top of the stairs in the old part of the Kilmory HQ of Argyll and Bute Council.