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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
'Super regiment' badge under fire
'Super regiment' cap badge
The new badge has faced intense criticism
The cap badge for Scotland's controversial "super regiment" has been unveiled under a barrage of criticism.

The badge will be worn by all battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland when it is formed next spring.

Scotland's most senior serving Army officer said the new regiment needed something "simple and stylish" as it moves into the future.

Major General Euan Loudon said there were plans to keep aspects of the original regiments' identities.

He declined to go into specifics but said it was hoped that the wearing of different regimental feather hat hackles could go on under the new system.

As we were going to have a new regiment, we needed to have a new symbol
Major General Euan Loudon

"We couldn't possibly take a little bit of everything from everybody as it would end up, I suspect, looking like a dog's breakfast," he said.

"We were all very clear that what we had to take forward was some identifiable aspects of the past that help give some meaning to 'the golden thread'.

"The serving community was very clear that as we were going to have a new regiment, we needed to have a new symbol which should be simple and stylish so it was something the soldiers could rally round.

"I believe the battalions will go forward as strong battalions with identifiable features as well as being a strong new regiment."

The new cap badge incorporates two of Scotland's most recognisable symbols, the Saltire and the Lion Rampant.

It has been given Royal Assent by the Queen and incorporates the motto "Nemo Me Impune Lacessit", which means No-one Assails Me with Impunity.

It is time the government stepped in to take control of what is fast becoming a tragic farce in the making
Jeff Duncan
Save the Scottish Regiments

Under proposals for the UK's infantry announced in December, the UK Government said the King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Royal Scots would come together to form one battalion of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland.

It would be merged with battalions of the Black Watch, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Royal Highland Fusiliers and the Highlanders.

The move sparked heavy criticism and led to a series of protest marches across Scotland in a bid to have the decision reversed.

Jeff Duncan, of the Save the Scottish Regiments Campaign, said Maj Gen Loudon's announcement was in direct conflict with government assurances given last year.

He claimed research carried out by the pressure group had shown a "general consensus of great dislike" for the new badge among the regiments.

"It is time the government stepped in to take control of what is fast becoming a tragic farce in the making and listen to those with decades experience in the regiments - men whose positions vary from privates to generals," he said.

"The alternative is to watch recruitment in Scotland continue to fall at a time when the country needs more infantry personnel than ever before."

Regimental cap badges
Scotland's regiments are set to disappear in their current form

Scottish National Party Leader Alex Salmond said: "It is tragic that our historic Scottish regiments should be stripped of their cap badges and stripped of their identities.

"Amalgamating the regiments will destroy the all-important local links which have meant so much to families and communities across Scotland.

"The government seem oblivious to the contributions Scotland's regiments have made throughout history.

"Even at this stage I am calling on (Defence Secretary) John Reid to think again before he carries through this act of governmental vandalism and destroys something that will never be recreated."

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said: "Scrapping the six Scottish regiments was a political decision.

"First they scrapped the names, then they banned the trews and now they've even removed the cap badges. So much for all the bluster about the Scottish Six retaining their identities.

"Labour has decimated our proud regiments and should be ashamed."


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