Gordon Highlanders stepping out to mark 225-year heritage

The Gordon Highlanders marching through Aberdeen on their way from their Castlehill Barracks to their new barracks at Bridge of Don, in 1935
The Gordon Highlanders marching through Aberdeen on their way from their Castlehill Barracks to their new barracks at Bridge of Don, in 1935

Veterans are to march through Aberdeen to mark the anniversary of a momentous occasion in their regiment’s history.

More than 100 people who served with the Gordon Highlanders will take part in a ceremony on June 24 to mark the 225th anniversary of the regiment’s first parade through the city.

They will lay wreaths at the memorial on the Castlegate before marching to the Rox Hotel where a dinner-dance will be held to mark the date.

The Gordon Highlanders TA marching down Union Street, Aberdeen, with their colours in 1949

John Murray, 47, one of the event’s organisers, said: “On June 24 itself it will be 225 years since the Gordon Highlanders first paraded in Aberdeen.

“It is an ideal opportunity for us to get some of the regiment’s veterans together to mark the occasion.

“We have around 130 people coming to take part in the parade. A lot of them are the wives and family members of veterans.

“The idea has gone down very well with the guys who are always very keen to do things like this.

“It also ties in quite well with Armed Forces Day, which is happening the following week on June 29.

“With everything going on with the commemorations of D-Day and things like that, I think it’s quite poignant we are doing this.”

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The Gordon Highlanders was formed as a line infantry regiment and continued as an active regiment until the early 1990s when it was amalgamated with the Highlanders.

The regiment was based in the Granite City for more than 100 years.

It was initially based at Castlehill Barracks until 1935, when it moved to Gordon Barracks in Bridge of Don.

It was famously described by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill as “the finest regiment in the world”.

Gordon Highlanders marching along Union Terrace in front of a large crowd in 1939

John, who served in the regiment for a decade from 1987-97, added: “The thing about the Gordon Highlanders is that the camaraderie is still going strong.

“Even though the regiment was amalgamated in the early 1990s, there is still a very strong sense of identity among people who served in the Gordon Highlanders.

“The fact the guys get together and organise things like this is testament to them and how much the Gordon Highlanders has impacted their lives.

“It’s also testament to the relationship veterans have with each other.

“There are guys coming, not just from the north-east, but from all over the world to be part of the march.

“Guys are coming from places like Glasgow, but we also have others coming from as far afield as Ireland and Australia.

“The regiment is something the north-east of Scotland is very proud of and it’s important we keep doing things like this to mark the contribution it has made.”