OLD soldiers might, as the song goes, just fade away but there is one old regiment that just refuses to march off into the mists of history. The Cameronians.
Last Sunday, in a famous field just outside Douglas, the survivors of ‘Clydesdale’s Own’ regular army unit mustered once again, as they do every year at this time, with their friends and families to commemorate a glorious history of service and sacrifice, dating back to the day in 1689 that the regiment was founded on that very spot.
Some ignorant of the Cameronian story might have been surprised that this traditional annual Conventicle of the unit continues to be such a strong tradition in the year 2014, given that the regimnent officially ceased to exist 46 years ago!
However, those who DO know that story know that it would take more than a little matter of official abolition by the Government in 1968 to finally wipe out the The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
After all, others had tried that before and failed, Napoleon, the Boers, the Kaiser and Hitler among them.
Needless to say, Sunday’s dreich weather was almost ignored as the assembly marched from the Old Kirk in Douglas to the field where the Earl of Angus first raised this band, fired up by Covenanting faith and verve.
In a way, the Cameronians should have had a history far, far shorter than they ended up having, initially being formed to deal with what was a national emergency.
However, the British state found that, almost by accident, it had one of the finest fighting units in the world at its service and called on it again and again for almost 300 years to come to the nation’s aid.
On Sunday, the words of one poetic Cam were recalled:
“I will join them at the muster
Fort I’m living in the past
I’m an old, old Cameronian
Proudly marching to the last.”
The pictures featued in our slideshow of the event were taken by freelance photographer Andrew Wilson.