Brigadier’s support for relatives wearing regimental badges

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AN ex-commander of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers says he has no problem with relatives of soldiers wearing regimental badges on Remembrance Sunday.

Brigadier Allan Alstead, who is also a regimental trustee, was responding to criticism concerning this year’s Remembrance Sunday parade in the town. And his views have also been echoed by Hawick’s Jim Coltman, secretary of the 4th Border Battalion KOSB 1939-1945 Old Comrades.

The pair have responded to a letter in last week’s Hawick News, in which local resident Alex Burgon wrote he was concerned to see the number of people, whom he said were “obviously not entitled”, wearing the KOSB badge. Citing what he said was Defence Act protocols regarding the wearing of badges, he added: “I would appeal to all those who consider putting the KOSB badge in their glengarries to have some respect and observe the sanctity of those who gave their lives for your benefit and perhaps wear a clan or some other badge.”

But Brigadier Alstead took a different view, agreeing those sporting KOSB badges may well have included relatives of now deceased former soldiers. “Those who served in the KOSB are becoming fewer and fewer as the years go on, so I’d personally welcome relatives wearing the KOSB badge as it keeps the memory of the regiment alive - just so long, as the writer [Mr Burgon] suggests, it is done with respect and to honour those who have fallen.”

Mr Coltman told the Hawick News he is also not offended by non-soldiers wearing the badge. “I don’t think it does any harm”, he stated. “Since the regiment no longer exists, it keeps its memory alive. I have no problem with sons, daughters, whoever wearing the badge. What I don’t like is people running around with them on who have no connection to the badge at all. But for anyone with an attachment to the regiment, the wearing of badges should be welcomed.”

Highlighting an example, Brigadier Alstead added: “Many people at the Cenotaph parade in London wear medals from family members.”