Page last updated at 01:05 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 02:05 UK

Black Watch vets trace ancestors

Those involved in the project
The veterans will carry out WWI regimental research

Black Watch veterans are to help people across the world find out more about their military ancestors.

Nine Angus-based former soldiers are being taught how to search archives, such as local newspaper casualty lists, notices of wounding and war diaries.

The project will focus on World War I, when more than 50,000 people served in the regiment.

In total, 8,000 members lost their lives and 20,000 were wounded between 1914 and 1918.

It is hoped the genealogy project will also boost tourism in the area - in particular attracting visitors from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Living history

Jock Paton, 75, from Forfar, is one of those who is getting involved in the research.

He served in the Black Watch from 1953 to 1955 in Kenya and Berlin and has memories of having his vehicle shot at and dancing with Princess Margaret.

He said: "They're a great family regiment. I still get phone calls from people who were in with me wishing me this, that, and the next thing.

"It's wonderful to keep up all that time, because often you come out of the Army and that's you forgotten about.

It'll maybe keep the memory alive of what happened to this country in the earlier years and why they're living such a good life today
Jock Paton
Black Watch veteran

"It's really interesting because the names that I'm recognising - their offspring are still going about Forfar yet."

Secondary schools in Angus will also be getting involved in the project, with pupils tracing the history of Great War soldiers named on their school memorial.

Mr Paton said: "It'll maybe keep the memory alive of what happened to this country in the earlier years and why they're living such a good life today."

Fraser Brown, from the Black Watch Museum in Perth, said: "We've launched this initiative in response to the increasing level of inquiries we're receiving at the museum from people looking for information about their Black Watch ancestors.

"Regimental ancestry is a very specialised field, but it can be extremely rewarding for the family historian, given the wealth of records and archival material at our disposal."

Gillian Harrower, from the Angus and Dundee Ancestral Tourism Initiative, added: "Many families in Angus have a connection to the Black Watch.

"Given that there are estimated to be around 2.5 million people worldwide with Angus and Dundee ancestry, we anticipate that this new service will be extremely popular."

The service will begin at the end of May.


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