115 Years of Unbroken Service

This Remembrance Sunday, people across the UK will mark two minutes silence, to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice. For many, they’ll be thinking of loved ones and forebears and it is these personal connections that make Remembrance still feel so relevant today.

For one man in particular, this Sunday will be a chance to reflect on a truly distinguished family history. Regimental Sergeant Major Kevin Stacey, of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, is the third generation of his family to have reached the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM), all wearing the Red Hackle.

The battalion retains its most famous distinction, the red hackle on the Tam o’Shanter.

An Army family through and through, RSM Stacey’s grandfather, uncle and father all served in The Black Watch. The Stacey family have an unbroken continuous line of 115 years’ service between them, all reaching the distinguished and privileged rank of Warrant Officer Class One Regimental Sergeant Major. Not many military families can say they have provided the UK with four RSMs, let alone four in one single unit.

RSM Stacey was born in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland in 1977 and joined the Army in September 1994. In 1995, he passed out of training and has served in The Black Watch ever since, with deployments in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Malawi.

In August 2004, during a second tour of Iraq, RSM Stacey was very seriously injured by an improvised explosive device which struck his Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle. Young Pte Marc Ferns tragically lost his life in the same incident. Since recovering, RSM Stacey served in Afghanistan in 2012 before rising to Regimental Sergeant Major in 2016.

This July RSM Stacey embarked on the journey of a lifetime to mark 100 years since the beginning of the Third Battle of Ypres — widely known as the Battle of Passchendaele. Along with 17 other cyclists from The Black Watch, they cycled just short of 700 miles to Flanders, departing Crieff in Perth and Kinross on the morning of 19 July and arriving 10 days later. Each day, the team used a war diary from the 6th Battalion The Black Watch 1917 to mark what their forebears were experiencing on their way to the front line in Flanders Fields 100 years before them.

The 16 riders from the City of Edinburgh Universities Officers’ Training Corps, 3 SCOTS and 7 SCOTS, at the Scottish Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium.

RSM Stacey said:

“Remembrance is an important time for myself and my family and I feel incredibly proud to come from a long line of Servicemen.

“We must not forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and just as importantly we must also remember our present day veterans and those currently serving, right up to the present day.

“This Remembrance Sunday, while I stand in silence at the Cenotaph in London, I will be thinking of all the families that have lost loved ones serving this country, especially of Marc Ferns.”

RSM Stacey is just one of thousands of currently serving troops and veterans who will stand beside the Cenotaph in London, a place which has become the central focus for Remembrance. Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November annually to remember the agreement to end fighting during the First World War in 1918. Across the UK, the day is marked by ceremonies at local war memorials in most cities, towns and villages. For more information about the day and how you can take part please visit.