Today is Red Hackle Day. This annual celebration on 5 January commemorates the award to The Black Watch of the right to wear the Red Hackle. Originally thought to be as a reward for their achievement at the Battle of Geldermaisen in 1794, in fact there is evidence to show that the Red Hackle was worn by the Regiment during the American War of Independence 1775-1783.
The idea behind the modern day celebration was to highlight the importance of the role of the ordinary soldier without whose support officers would not be able to achieve their goals.
The pattern for the day would start with soldiers being brought tea, liberally laced with whisky, known as “Gunfire”. by an officer or senior NCO. At 10am there would be games between officers and NCOs then at 1pm the officers would parade to the cookhouse and proceed to serve lunch to the soldiers. The day would end at 7pm when senior ranks would be invited to the Officers’ Mess for drinks and a buffet.
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