by Caroline Getley
Prior to the hugely entertaining week which I spent at The Black Watch Castle and Museum, I felt fully prepared thanks to Rebecca who kept me informed as to what to expect and what the week would entail. I immensely enjoyed every part of the week and I am very grateful for the diversity of my timetable as devised by Rebecca.
Everyone whom I met was incredibly generous in sharing their knowledge and time so I was able to get as much out of my week as possible. The knowledge ranged from The Black Watch Regiment’s history to the dishwashing process in the Café not excluding the labelling system in the shop and the petty cash count in the office. The week shed light on all the aspects of this organisation; however, I particularly enjoyed working with the
archives and finding a variety of historical documents such as photos, programmes and medals.
On one evening I was lucky enough to hear a very interesting lecture, as given by the inordinately clever archivist, Richard, about the First World War records which were recently released by the National Archives. This gave a greater insight into the broader history of the time but also contextualised The Black Watch’s role during this period.
Throughout the week I was struck by the dedication of all the members of the organisation to preserve the history of The Black Watch while making it accessible to everyone who visited by bringing it to life, for example by using the ‘Handling Collection’ to interact with the younger visitors.
Daily memorial services were held in honour of those members of The Black Watch who had died on a given day during the First World War and these were greatly moving. Each Black Watch serving soldier is remembered with a cross and a poppy which were placed on the memorial wall. The sheer number of crosses helped to visualise the lives lost, as a written number can be hard to comprehend.
I am very grateful to The Black Watch Castle and Museum for this opportunity which has widened my interest of history and helped to develop this more specific area of military knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed my week.