The History of V Company
In the mid to late sixties the UK suffered an economic crisis and part of the Government’s response was to launch, in 1965, a defence review was undertaken by the then Labour Government.
The main purposes of the review were to bring defence expenditure into balance with the nation’s resources, reduce overstretch, and reduce overseas expenditure resulting from the deployment of forces. At the time defence spending was approximately 7% of GNP. The main thrust of the overall review was the achievement of substantial savings through the cancellation of major equipment orders, including further aircraft carrier construction and a number of domestic aircraft programmes, and the reorganisation and reduction of the Territorial Army (T.A.) by almost half.
As a result the majority of T.A. Infantry Battalions were reduced to Company strength and, consequently, 1st Battalion Liverpool Scottish, Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, (T.A.) was disbanded and, in April 1967, The Liverpool Scottish were re-constituted as V (The Liverpool Scottish) Company, 51st Highland Volunteers AVR II with Battalion HQ based in Perth.
V (The Liverpool Scottish) Company
The company adopted the Highland Brigade bonnet badge (a stag's head upon a saltire) worn on a cloth Forbes tartan background and continued to wear the blue hackle of The Queen's Own Highlanders. The Forbes tartan kilt (as with all other forms of dress) was retained. On leaving Fraser Street, a new HQ for the Territorial company was established at the TA barracks in Score Lane in Childwall (a Liverpool suburb) which had previously been Signal House. It was renamed Forbes House. The Liverpool Scottish tradition was thus blended for the next twenty five years with that of the famous 51st Highland Division. An article 'Saturday Night Soldiers - The Territorials to 1973' was written by the second commanding officer of the Highland Volunteers, Lt. Col. the Hon. W.D. Arbuthnott, Black Watch. Some of the history of Forbes House previous to the arrival of the Liverpool Scottish can be found at the website of 42 Signal Squadron TA.
R (King's/Liverpool Scottish) Battery, West Lancashire Regiment RA AVR III was also raised at Forbes House. In 1969, R Battery was disbanded. An account of R Battery has been written by Lt Col Tony Moore (see bibliography). In 1967 V Company continued to serve with the newly formed 1st. Battalion, 51st. Highland Volunteers when the Highland Volunteers split unit to battalion.
Excitement at Annual Camp - the Akamas Penisula, Cyprus.
In 1974, whilst V Company was attending its annual two weeks training in Cyprus, the government of Archbishop Makarios was overthrown by Greek nationalists. V Company was on exercise in the far west of the island at an isolated location in the Akamas Peninsula. This area was outside the Sovereign Base Areas (which are British Sovereign territory . After some days of considerable uncertainty, punctuated by forest fires and the arrival of British service families stranded in the area together with resupply by sea, the company was evacuated through the Greek areas around Paphos to the British Sovereign Base Area at Akrotiri. There they witnessed some of the civil strife which broke out between the two communities in Cyprus when the Turkish Army invaded the north of the island.
The pipe tune "The Evacuation of Cyprus 1974'" is believed to be composed composed by P/M RS Burns and is be found at page 39 of the Royal Scots Standard Settings (Paterson) - information courtesy of Major Richard Powell FSA Scot.
V (The Liverpool Scottish) Company at the Menin Gate: Colours were presented to the 1st. Battalion, 51st Highland Volunteers by H.M Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, on the North Inch at Perth in 1986. A guard was found by V (The Liverpool Scottish) Company. There colours were laid up in Perth in June 2012.
Apart from remaining a well-trained and well recruited infantry company, V Company remained conscious of its history and during the 1990s made made several visits to the battlefield of Hooge near Ypres (Ieper). On the occasion shown here the company had marched from Hooge down the Menin Road to enter Ieper by the Menin Gate for the Last Post Ceremony. The colours on parade are these of The Liverpool Scottish.
Change of Battalion
In September 1992, V Company marched off the square at Otterburn as the Champion Company and bade farewell to Lt. Colonel David Thorneycroft and the 51st Highland Volunteers. Subsequently in October 1992, the Company was transferred and re-designated as V (The Liverpool Scottish) Company, 5th/8th. (Volunteer) Battalion, The King's Regiment with battalion HQ at Warrington under the command of Lt. Colonel Martin Amlôt. The Company gave up the Highland Brigade badge and returned to the bonnet badge of the 10th (Scottish) Battalion of the King's (Liverpool) Regiment, first introduced in 1908 until replaced by the Liverpool Scottish version of the Cameron badge in 1937. The blue hackle continued to be worn.
5th/8th. (Volunteer) Battalion, The King's Regiment
V Company enjoyed a successful debut in the new battalion, winning the Champion Company banner in their first year. In 1998 the Ashton Trophy was first awarded. This was as a result of a bequest of Harley Watson in memory of his Great War friend, Charles Norman Ashton. In 1999; past and present members of The Liverpool Scottish said farewell to Forbes House, their HQ, as a result of the reorganisation of the Territorial Army and the disbandment of the Liverpool Scottish company.
A list of the Commanding Officers and the Company sergent-majors are lised below
V(The Liverpool Scottish) Company 1st Bn 51st Highland Volunteers (1967-1992)
|Maj||J C Bateman||Jim||1967-69|
|Maj||C G Davidson||Graeme||1973-77|
|Maj||I L Riley||Ian||1977-80|
|Capt||M Gavin||Mike||0ct-Dec 1985|
|Maj||K R Hastie||Keith||1985-1988|
|Maj||J A Storr||John||1988-90|
|Capt||D R McNeil||David||1990-91|
|Maj||C T J Harris||Chris||1991-92|
|Company Sergeant Majors|
|WO2||L N Ralph||Lenny||1969-74|
|WO2||E E Stinson||Eric||1974-76|
|WO2||T C Lynch||Tommy||1976-80|
|WO2||A J Blundell||Jimmy||1980-84|
|WO2||F W Bates||Freddie||1984-86|
|WO2||G S Green||Geoff||1989-90|
|WO2||T A Smith||TAS||1990-92|
V(The Liverpool Scottish) Company 5th/8th Bn The Kings Regiment 1992-99
|Maj||C T J Harris||Chris||1992-93|
|Maj||G S Green||Geoff||1993-98?|
|Company Sergeant Majors|
|WO2||T A Smith||TAS||1992-93|
The above lists were provided by Roy boardman and some of the dates need confiming. Roy is in the process of gathering information to expand this brief history.