[Up] [Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Black Watch Bagpipe Tour

New York (Jan. 16) - Gerry Coleman, director of political
education for the Irish Northern Aid Committee, has called on all
supporters of peace with justice in Ireland to protest the upcoming
U.S. tour of "The Black Watch," a British Army regiment that has
done 11 tours in the north of Ireland and is responsible for nearly
a dozen deaths of Irish nationalists.

"Most Americans see the Black Watch as simply a bagpipe band,"
said Coleman, "but they are something very different to the people
of British occupied Ireland."

The British Army pipe band will begin its U.S. tour in Orange,
Texas, on January 17, and travel around the country, ending its
tour in West Palm Beach, Florida, on March 24. Noraid units around
the country are already planning protests at a number of venues.

The Black Watch has served in a number of areas where British
interference has left local residents with less than pleasant
memories, including Kenya, Cyprus, Hong Kong and Ireland.

A Reuter's news story published in a Hong Kong newsletter in
February of 1997, noted how the Black Watch had arrived back in
the tiny Chinese island, where it was the "resident infantry
battalion of the Hong Kong Garrison from January 1993 until
August 1994."

The article quoted Pipe Major Steven Small saying, "It's good to
be back," and then went on to say how Small, "splits his time
between cradling a machine gun and the bagpipes."

Coleman said he was outraged to learn of reports that the Black
Watch may play at the White House.

"The Black Watch is a military force within the British Army.
It would be a grave injustice to the memories of those killed by
this military force to see these soldiers at the White House," said

"This force is responsible for the deaths of nearly a dozen Irish
people, including a number of whom were shot by snipers during the
infamous "Falls curfew" in July of 1970, when photojournalist
Zbigniew Uglik was killed by the Black Watch and his body was
mutilated by soldiers. On October 29, 1971, the Black Watch also
killed Michael McLarnon while he was standing in his doorway in
north Belfast," said Coleman.

"Maura Meehan, 30, and her sister Dorothy, 19, were shot dead on
October 23 of the same year while traveling in a car. The Army said
it was an accident and claimed the two women were 'dressed as
terrorist,' but an inquest found differently. No one was prosecuted
in their deaths and 12 years after the fact, the British Army paid a
claim of 1,200 pounds to the family," said Coleman.

"I urge everyone to show their disdain for this British Army
regiment by protesting their visit to America," said Coleman.


Date City Venue

1/17/98 Orange, TX Lutcher Theater for Perf. Arts
1/18/98 Houston, TX Summit Arena
1/19/98 Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center
1/22/98 Phoenix, AZ America West Arena
1/24/98 Inglewood, CA Great Western Forum
1/26/98 Bakersfield, CA TBA
1/27/98 Sacramento, CA Arco Arena
1/28/98 San Jose, CA San Jose Civic Auditorium
1/30/98 Portland, OR Rose Garden
1/31/98 Seattle, WA Mercer Arena
2/01/98 Vancouver, BC General Motors Place
2/02/98 Spokane, WA Spokane Arena
2/03/98 Boise, ID Boise State University Arena
2/04/98 Rexburg, ID Hart Auditorium
2/05/98 Ogden, UT Dee Events Center
2/07/98 Lincoln, NE Lied Center
2/08/98 Sioux City, IA TBA
2/10/98 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
2/12/98 Rosemont, IL Rosemont Arena
2/13/98 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
2/14/98 Detroit, MI Joe Louis Arena
2/15/98 Midland, MI TBA
2/15/98 Clinton Tnship, MI Macomb Center for the Arts
2/15/98 Midland, MI Midland Center for the Arts
2/17/98 Dayton, OH Ervin J. Nutter Center
2/18/98 Nashville, TN Nashville Arena
2/19/98 Danville, KY Newlin Hall
2/20/98 Columbus, OH TBA
2/22/98 Akron, OH Edwin J. Thomas Center
2/23/98 Port Huron, MI McMorran Theater
2/24/98 Kitchener, ON Kitchener Memorial Auditorium
2/25/98 Toronto, ON Varsity Arena
2/26/98 Ottawa, ON Civic Center
2/28/98 Worcester, MA Centrum Centre
3/01/98 Boston, MA Fleet Center
3/03/98 Portland, ME Cumberland Civic Center
3/04/98 Providence, RI TBA
3/06/98 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
3/07/98 Fairfax, VA Patriot Center
3/08/98 Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia Spectrum
3/08/98 Hershey, PA Hershey Park Arena
3/09/98 Bethlehem, PA Stabler Arena
3/10/98 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Arena
3/11/98 Winston Salem, NC Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum
3/12/98 Greenville, SC Peace Center for the Arts
3/13/98 Birmingham, AL Leslie S. Wright
3/14/98 Pensacola, FL Pensacola Civic Center-Arena
3/15/98 Tallahassee, FL Civic Center
3/16/98 Jacksonville, FL Moran Theater
3/18/98 Daytona Beach, FL Ocean Center
3/19/98 Lakeland, FL Lakeland Center
3/20/98 Melbourne, FL Maxwell King Center
3/21/98 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
3/22/98 Sarasota, FL Van Wezel Center
3/23/98 Naples, FL Philharmonic Center for the Arts
3/24/98 West Palm Beach, FL Kravis Center

Please note: Tour schedule is subject to change (addition &
deletion) and is presented as a work in progress! For ticketing
information, check your local listings or search TicketMaster


Patrick Killman 1970
(Elderly man)

William Burns
(Chatting to neighbors)

Charles O'Neill

Zbigniew Uglik
(Anglo-Polish journalist)

Davis Thompson

Maura MeehanO
(married, age 30)

Dorothy McGuire
(age 19, sister of Maura)

Michael McLarnon

John Copeland

Christopher Quinn

Joseph Parker
(In dance hall)

Patrick Eillott


Zbigniew Uglik was an Anglo-Polish photo-journalist and he
was in Belfast covering the aggro that broke out in what they
call the "Wee Twelfth" the succession of weekend parades that
lead into 12 July.

Uglik arrived just in time to run afoul of the infamous July
3-5 (1970) Curfew of the Lower Falls, which was one of the
first signs of how drastically the British Army's role changed
(from putative "peace-keepers" to blatantly anti-nationalist
cops) under the newly installed British Tory government.

Uglik checked into the posh Wellington Park, on the Malone
Rd., proof that he was a man of means. Few journalists could
afford such digs; the only other one I had personal knowledge
of was Bob Simon, of CBS, who seemed more interested in
nailing chicks than covering the trouble. But poor Zbigniew was
there to work, though too recently arrived to connect with other
journalists and learn how dangerous such work could be.

He changed into genes, dark sneaks and a dark sweatshirt
and naively hiked it over through loyalist Sandy Row to reach
the wide curfew area (unaware Gen. Ian Freeland had declared
it no-go territory for the press). Uglik arrived just in time
to see an unconnected civilian crushed to death under an armoured
vehicle. In a move characteristic of the warm-hearted folks in
the district, just as shooting broke out on that tiny row-house
street, a resident opened his front door and yanked the photog
inside for his own safety.

His ad hoc host tried to convince Uglik to wait out the curfew
as his guest, warning him that the Black Watch were shooting
anyone who ventured out (this was before the Yellow Card
guiodelines, which proved to be a joke anyway). But Uglik was
psyched up at the prospect of capturing the bang-bang on film
and he decided to return to his hotel for special nightlight and
zoom camera attachments. He insisted he'd be all right since
it would be only 300 meters before he'd be back in Sandy Row,
where of course there was no curfew but only loyalists gathered
at the bottoms of their streets to jeer the captive nationalists.

Uglik slipped out through his host's back garden, climbed on
the roof of the outhouse (no indoor plumbing for the trapped
residents of those 19th Century rowhouses, remember) and
belly-scraped over the back wall, figuring he'd drop noislessly
into the pitch-black rear entry way and sprint across to Sandy
Row. Insided, the ex-host's worst fears were realized when he
heard simultaneous bursts of fire from either end of the narrow
alleyway. Army sharpshooters were already equipped with
night-sites by then and Uglik might as well have been trying
to dash across the Grosvenor Rd. in broad daylight.

What happened next horrified the ex-host. The Black Watch
platoon leader -- irked because his greener recruits were so
tight and tentative -- had Uglik's body dragged around front to
the facing street. Then, explaining it was good luck to kick an
enemy corpse, he ordered his men to take turns kicking Uglik's
body up and down the tiny street. By time the officer decided
he'd sufficiently "blooded the troops" the street was full of
blood and tissue, and Uglik's head was nearly kicked free of
his torso.

This is one that's never been taken up with the vaunted,
vigilant International Committee to Protect Journalists. And
for anyone who wants to take it on, I don't see why it still
can't be done almost 27 years later, because Zbigniew Uglik's
name certainly belongs on the CPJ's honor roll of journalists
who were killed while trying to perform their duty to inform.
And it would be interesting to see the Brits to deny an atrocity
that was committed while an entire street of confined people
watched in horror through their darkened front windows.


London Times: Black Watch in U.S. 1998

January 13 1998
Scots pipers bag applause in US

EAT your combined hearts out, Sir Elton John, Oasis and the Spice
Girls. The next British musical sensation to hit North America
will be the pipes and drums of the 1st Battalion, the Black Watch
(Alan Hamilton writes).

The skirling Highlanders leave Scotland tomorrow for a three-month
coast-to-coast tour of 55 cities and expect to play to a total live
audience of 300,000 fans, not to mention appearances on television
and a probable invitation to serenade the Clintons at the White
House. Thirty-three musicians from the Perth-based regiment and
four Highland dancers will undertake the tour, sponsored by
Columbia Records.

The Black Watch was seen internationally last year, when they played
the British colonial power out of Hong Kong, and were the last
British soldiers to leave before the arrival of the People's
Liberation Army. Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Lindsay, Black Watch
regimental secretary, said yesterday that the pipes and drums had
made several previous American tours, and their venues - ice rinks,
football stadiums and others large arenas - were almost always sold

"Obviously there is a large expatriate element, but thousands of
people with no Scottish connection seem to like the sound of the
pipes," he said. Of all Scottish regimental bands which visit
America, there is a particular fondness for the Black Watch. Part
of the secret, he says, is playing American tunes, such as The
Battle Hymn Of The Republic, as well as traditional Scottish

HK97 (Hong Kong Newsletter) : "nobody provokes me without being hurt".
February 19, 1997
Black Watch to see through handover

The Black Watch, Britain's last Army regiment to be stationed in
Hong Kong, began its historic 138-day assignment last Thursday 13
Feb, when it replaced the departing Staffordshire Regiment. For
most of the new troops, the posting is a familiar one. The Black
Watch was the resident infantry battalion of the Hong Kong Garrison
from January 1993 until August 1994.

"It's good to be back -- nice to see the place again," said Pipe
Major Steven Small, who splits his time between cradling a
machine gun and the bagpipes.

"In a time like now, there's quite a bit of high-profile stuff
we'll be asked to do, so we're likely to be busy on both fronts."

Since the end of World War Two, the Black Watch has served in Korea,
Kenya and Cyprus and has conducted 11 tours of Northern Ireland.
Their motto is "nemo me impune lacessit" -- "nobody provokes me
without being hurt". For their first 12 weeks in Hong Kong, the 551
soldiers will rotate through a mix of duties, from guarding
important installations and helping Hong Kong police combat smugglers
to training in the rugged, green hills of the New Territories.

By May 1, two-fifths of the regiment will have returned to base at
Fort George near Inverness, Scotland. The rest will close down the
army's facilities, which will be handed over to China along with the
rest of the colony at midnight on June 30, and drill for the
handover ceremonies. The regiment will parade through the streets of
Hong Kong in their dark kilts and plumed bonnets and stand alongside
Governor Chris Patten and Chinese officials during the historic
change of sovereignty. REUTER