The Thistle…

Black Watch statue by Alan Herriot, Black Watch Corner, near Polygon Wood, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

Black Watch statue by Alan Herriot, Black Watch Corner, near Polygon Wood, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

…which can sting if disturbed

During the Great War the 25 battalions of the Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) lost 8,960 soldiers and more than 20,000 wounded. Their title, the Black Watch, is derived from the dark colour of their tartan and further honours the regiment’s original role as the watch of the Highlands. The regiment’s Latin motto Nemo me impune lacessit means No one provokes me with impunity.

On 3 May 2014 a bronze statue of a Black Watch soldier, sculpted by Alan Herriot, was unveiled at Black Watch Corner near to Ypres (Ieper), Belgium. The statue is sited on the southwest edge of Polygon Wood where on 10/11 November 1914 the 1st Battalion stopped an advance by the Prussian Guards.

Nine soldiers of the regiment are recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having lost their lives in Belgium 10 November 1914. For the following day, forty-four 1st Battalion soldiers are recorded, forty-one being commemorated on the Menin Gate War Memorial (Ypres). Three soldiers have known graves, Private D. Tunnah (Bedford House Cemetery), Private D. Christison (Bedford House Cemetery) and Lance Corporal A. Page (Tyne Cot Cemetery).

Four soldiers of the Black Watch were awarded the Victoria Cross during the Great War. Of these only one soldier was with the 1st Battalion. Corporal John Ripley, age 47, received the bronze cross for his actions at Rue du Bois, France. Ripley was 47 years of age.

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests was a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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