In the spirit of the 2012 Olympics, August’s object of the month is the Durand Cup, one of The Black Watch’s many sporting trophies. The Durand football competition was the oldest military football tournament in British India; it was introduced in 1888 at Simla by Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, who at that time was Foreign Secretary to the Indian Government. The tournament began as recreation for troops stationed in India and demonstrates the importance of British troops in the spread of football around the world in the late 19th century.
The Durand Cup was presented to The Black Watch after the Regiment won the tournament for three consecutive years, from 1897 to 1899. The Regiment later went on to win two further Durand finals in 1911 and 1920.
For many years sport has had a prominent place in Regimental life, playing a key role in developing teamwork, physical fitness and robustness in those who take part. Though it is not possible to say when exactly sport became a regular part of life in the Regiment, the earlier photographs and prizes in the Museum collection are from the late 19th century. Football has always been a core sport in the Regiment, and at times there have also been cricket teams, polo teams, hockey teams, and rugby teams (there is still a Regimental rugby team today). The prizes, medals and photographs housed at the Museum show that other popular sports included athletics, shooting, boxing, and tug of war.
Captain Sir Andrew Ogilvy-Wedderburn of The Black Watch actually competed in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The 1980 issue of The Red Hackle Magazine recorded that “Captain Sir Andrew Ogilvy-Wedderburn was competing in the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. He was a brakeman of one of the 4-man bobsleigh teams and his team came 15th.”
Today sport is still very much alive in the Regiment. Inter-Platoon and inter-Company sporting competitions, which have been taking place since about the 1950s, continue to take place every year. The Senior and Junior Marindin football competitions (named for Major General AH Marindin) and the Maxwell Shield are just a few of the competitions in which The Black Watch takes part.