Military History Tours On Tour - Boer War 110th Anniversary Tour Extension - 9 June 2012
Today those who extended to see the Transvaal Scottish medal presentation parade descended into a different world. Here on a different continent was a Scottish parade. Tartans, sporrans and brown berets with pom poms, almost like A Company 2/17 RNSWR. The colours presentation parade had been cancelled, this was a medal presentation parade. Very small, only the medal or other commendation recipients. As an outsider, one could only notice the differences. Once the march on and band troop was concluded a code of conduct was read. It almost took the form of the oath one took when you become a soldier; ‘twas amazing to me to see soldiers reminded in such a way. The salute was also unfamiliar, straight up and down with the palm vertical, arms swung during the inspection. Badges of rank were hard to follow, the crown replacement at the base, and three grades of WO1.
The soldiers were implacably turned out, and had faultless drill. The band played the traditional Scottish airs with precision.
After the parade, we were invited to refreshments and shown the Regimental Headquarters and museum. The RHQ building is an extensively restored gentleperson’s residence, and the memorabilia collection superb. I understand it is commercially sponsored. I thanked the CO (unfamiliarly called ‘Officer Commanding’) Lieutenant Colonel Smythe very much for his hospitality.
Thence back to our hotel on one of the great South African freeways and into a magnificent African sunset.