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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Soldiers' families tell of worry
A soldier from One Company Black Watch holds his rifle
The Black Watch have been on patrol in the south of Iraq
The families of Black Watch soldiers based in Iraq said it would be a step too far to send British troops to support US efforts around Baghdad.

One father of two soldiers, James Buchanan, from Arbroath, believed it was time for UK troops to withdraw.

And Rob Scott, from Fife, whose grandson serves with the regiment, said the developments were "disgusting".

The Americans asked for British assistance in the Baghdad area on 10 October.

The Perth-based Black Watch, currently in Basra, may be asked to perform the role.

Mr Buchanan's sons, Gary, 32, and Craig, 27, fought in the war in the Middle East.

One son remains in Iraq, the other is back in Britain for the time being.

Mr Buchanan told BBC News Online Scotland of his constant worry for his children, who followed him into the Army.

The widower said he was now distrustful of any official information coming out about Iraq and added: "The government have been lying through their teeth, they have already lied, so they will probably lie again."

James Buchanan
They went out there two years ago to do a job and they have done a job, but it is now time to leave
James Buchanan
Father of two soldiers
Gary and Craig are both married, with their wives living in Warminster, the Black Watch's English HQ.

Mr Buchanan, who said he was very proud of his children and the work they have done in Iraq so far, believed it was time Prime Minister Tony Blair "brought the troops back home".

"They went out there two years ago to do a job and they have done a job, but it is now time to leave," said the 56-year-old.

Mr Scott said he was convinced his grandson, Private Charles Scott, 18, would be sent north to Baghdad.

The 61-year-old former Black Watch warrant officer, said: "It's bloody disgusting the lies this government is telling our boys and morale is just going through the floor.

"We're having to go north to clear up the muck the Americans have left behind because they're so pathetic."

Mr Scott, five generations of whose family have served in the historic regiment, warned of an electoral payback for Chancellor Gordon Brown in his constituency of Dunfermline East, part of the Black Watch's recruitment heartland.

'Best in the world'

Mr Scott, a former Labour councillor, said: "I wrote to Gordon Brown about my fears of body bags of Black Watch soldiers coming home to Fife and he responded saying: 'Your comments are noted.'

"I think that's disgusting when lives are at stake. He'd better watch out because the Black Watch families are going to be after him at the next election and he might just come to regret that."

Mr Buchanan said that for the last two years he had dreaded the phone ringing in case it was the Ministry of Defence to tell him something had happened to his children.

He added the uncertainty of not knowing what might happen next had left his nerves shattered.

The former Royal Corps of Transport warrant officer suffered a stroke two years ago and the constant worry of having two sons in the Army has continued to affect his health.

Mr Buchanan said what was adding to his anger and worry was the thought that the Black Watch regiment could be disbanded to fulfil defence cuts.

"Why is the Black Watch being targeted, they are the best in the world?" he asked.



SEE ALSO:
Army deployments 'not political'
18 Oct 04  |  Scotland
Profile: Black Watch
18 Oct 04  |  Scotland


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