The proud history of the Black Watch will be celebrated with a bronze statue to be unveiled in Belgium next year

THE sculpture of a kilted Highlander, to be erected near the battlefield of Ypres, will commemorate the 8000 members of the regiment who died in the First World War.

A BRONZE statue of a Black Watch soldier will be erected in Belgium next year to remember the thousands from the regiment who died in the First World War. It will be unveiled at Black Watch Corner near Ypres next spring to mark the start of four years of commemorations of the war's centenary. The sculpture, of a kilted Highlander, is being made in Edinburgh and will be the only memorial dedicated to the 8,000 Black Watch officers and soldiers killed and the 20,000 wounded during the war. A clay model from which the bronze will be cast is being unveiled today. Colonel Alex Murdoch, chairman of the Black Watch Association, said: "The site chosen for the statue has been known as Black Watch Corner since the remnants of our 1st Battalion took part in a successful ground-holding action. "Along with other withdrawing British forces, they fought against a numerically stronger force from the Kaiser's Prussian Guard in November 1914. "This action brought to an end the First Battle of Ypres and their heroic stand was to prove decisive because it stopped the German advance to the coast. "If they had broken through to the coast, the war would have been over and lost. It seemed the most appropriate place to erect our monument to the fallen." The statue will stand almost five yards high, on top of a base of Scottish granite, and depicts a Black Watch soldier in fighting uniform from the time of kilt, jacket and bonnet with his Lee Enfield rifle and 18-inch bayonet. It is being created by sculptor Alan Herriot at Powderhall Foundry in Edinburgh. He said: "It is difficult nowadays for us to appreciate the sacrifice made by those young men for king and country. "I feel that it is so important not to allow the passage of time to diminish that memory. The Black Watch is one of the finest regiments in the British Army and I consider this commission to be a signal honour." It is hoped around 200 serving soldiers and veterans will travel to Belgium for the dedication ceremony on May 3 next year. Lieutenant Colonel Roddy Riddell, Black Watch Association vice-chairman, said: "There are a number of memorials across the world to commemorate the sacrifice and endeavours of Scottish fighting formations. "This statue will be a unique and powerful symbol of the fighting spirit of the Black Watch which lives on to this day. "Although the battle at Black Watch Corner in Belgium in 1914 was a bloody and terrible time for the regiment, it is heartening to know that the memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice will live on in Flanders. "It is fitting that 100 years later we still acknowledge that sacrifice." Source: DailyRecord Via: Forces war Records Blog    

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