Explore the Black Watch Museum
Located in Balhousie Castle on the north side of Perth, Scotland, the Black Watch Museum presents an in depth history of Scotland’s oldest Highlands Regiment in a manner that is interesting and informative. Lacking sufficient military forces, the Black Watch was formed from members of loyal clans in the wake of the 1715 Jacobite Uprising. The name Black Watch refers both to the dark colors of their tartan and the role that they played at that time in maintaining order and keeping on the watch for crime.
The Black Watch Museum’s extensive collections are split into seven periods of time, with each being displayed in a separate room. The room devoted to the period of the First World War includes a life-size replica of a Black Watch soldier, poised and ready for action in a trench at night. Items on display include a large collection of medals awarded to soldiers of the regiment, along with weapons, maps, pictures, personal objects, sculptures and an audio-visual presentation that provides insight into that tumultuous time in history. There is also a Memorial and Roll of Honor to those who fell in battle. Around 50,000 soldiers served in the Black Watch between 1914 and 1918, with approximately 8,000 losing their lives and a further 20,000 or so being wounded.
Many of the objects on view have been donated to the Black Watch Museum. These include the life-size figure standing at the foot of a staircase in the museum, which has been dubbed “The Silent Highlander”. For around 100 years this life-like figure stood outside a tobacconist on a busy London street, before finding a home in the museum. An eye-catching stained-glass window depicting three soldiers in battle, with one of them wounded, was donated to the museum after being a feature for many years in a pub in Edinburgh. These are but a few of the fascinating objects visitors will find in the museum.
Many agree that the First World War signaled the end of an era and ushered in a new one characterized by violence and warfare. While that may sound dramatic, a look at the Memorial and Roll of Honor for those who died in the First and Second World Wars, or the Memorial to soldiers killed more recently in Iraq bears testimony to that statement. The Regiment’s Honors on display in the reception area of the museum details just how often the Black Watch has been involved in battle in a host of locations around the world, including Iraq, Baghdad, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Korea, Kenya, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and the Balkans, further underscoring the fact that we live in turbulent times. The Black Watch Regiment is now the 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, and continues to uphold its legacy of defending those who cannot defend themselves.