Cock Up at the MOD

 

Bloomberg is reporting an interesting story this morning,

Ministers and civil servants are hurriedly trying to discover how a TA Platoon based in Plockton, Rosshire has remained active 44 years after it should have disbanded. 

2 Platoon, C Company of the 11th Bn Seaforth Highlanders, formerly part of the 51st Highland Division, has been meeting every Wednesday night at the Plockton Drill Hall and on occasional weekends on local landowners estates. The entire regiment was disbanded in 1966 and followed the amalgamation of the regular battalions of Seaforth and Cameron Highlanders in 1961. "The order to disband never reached them, " said the local Provost William Maclean, "Communications in the sixties here weren't what they are today and the lads simply carried on."

The average age of the men at 57 is somewhat higher than that for a normal TA platoon. This is despite the OC, local magistrate and Shorthorn Breeders Champion, Captain Douglas M MacGillivray, continuing to recruit, as older members have passed away. 

Captain MacGillvray is quoted in the Highland News saying, "We thought it odd no one ever came to inspect us or query our annual returns but apparently we were sending them to a long defunct office at what we thought was Battalion Headquarters but it seems it was demolished years ago and is now a Tesco supermarket."

Local crofter, Sergeant Malcolm Macleod expressed enthusiasim at the prospect of being brought back into the military mainstream. "The boys are looking forward to getting rid of the old battledress and gaiters and are raring to go."

The anomaly was brought to the attention of Ministers by the local MP Charles Kennedy, who said, "These men are a testament to the stoic, quiet loyalty and soldiering quality of the Highlander. I urge the Government to treat them properly and redress matters of pay, conditions and equipment." 

Government ministers and officials are examining British and European employment law and the matter of an estimated £6.3m in inflation adjusted back pay, bounties and recompense for expenditure on rations and petrol, previously met by successive Platoon Commanders.

Some observers suggested that the Goverment might try and spin the dreadful embarrassment and investigate the formation of more TA units manned by older personnel.

A source close to the MOD said, "Someone's going to be for the chop over this. On the one hand it's bloody Brigadoon meets Whisky Galore but on the other it's a six and a half million pound cock up. The press will have a field day."