Scottish War Blinded Member Ian Watson Recalls Time in the Black Watch

Posted: 14/07/2015 | Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded member Ian Watson has shared some images from his time in the Black Watch Regiment.

Ian signed up in the spring of 1948 who vividly remembers the trip to the Troop Office which was then on Princess Street. He completed his training as part of a Highland Group Training Battalion at Fort George in the autumn of 1948.

Scottish War Blinded Member Ian Watson in the Black WatchHis initial posting was to Trieste as part of Defence Platoon to safeguard against potential unrest between Yugoslavian and Italian claims to the territory. Ian’s next posting took him to Germany amidst growing Cold War tensions. He spent the next five months at bases in Duisburg and Berlin.

In June 1952, Ian and the regiment, codenamed ‘Newmarket Blue’ arrived in Korea to support the Southern Republic of Korea repel the invasion from the North Korea People’s Army.

Ian said:

“It was a very tense time, we lost quite a few from the regiment, and their names are on the Korean Memorial in Bathgate. We supported one and another and you focused on what you had to do.”

On returning to the UK a year later, Ian left the regiment to take up employment in heavy industry in West Lothian.

It wasn’t until Ian had retired and developed a significant visual impairment did he come into contact with Scottish War Blinded.

Ian describes becoming a member:

“I met Sharon at the Eye Department at St John’s Hospital, Livingston. She asked whether I had served in the Armed Forces and had a significant visual impairment. I then met Dawn, my Outreach Worker, who organised a visit to the Linburn Centre. I was very impressed with the experience and made to feel very welcome.”

When asked what activities Ian has enjoyed doing so far, he said:

“I’ve really enjoyed learning about IT, made a bird table in the Workshop and painted a picture of ‘The Flying Scotsman’ in the Art room. I’ve been on several outings including the Royal Yacht Britannia, the John Grey Centre Museum, 4x4 driving and the Boness Railway.”

Asked what advice he would give to anyone else who has served in the armed forces and lives with significant sight loss, Ian responds:

“I’d say definitely take the step towards becoming a member. It’s made a hige change to my life through meeting new people and doing things I thought I’d never do."

If you know a veteran of the Armed Forces with significant sight loss, no matter when it occurred, guide them to us