A FORMER Black Watch commander will bear his grandfather’s sword on parade when he is installed as the Governor of Edinburgh Castle.
Major General Mike Riddell-Webster, the army’s highest ranking reservist, will officially take up one of Scotland’s oldest appointments during tonight’s parade on the Castle Esplanade.
He has been loaned the ceremonial blade, which once belonged to his grandfather, General Sir Thomas Sheridan Riddell-Webster GCB DSO, Quartermaster-General to the Forces during the Second World War.
The sword, which was housed in the Cameronians Museum in Hamilton, was presented to him for the occasion.
“It will be a fantastic honour to carry my grandfather’s sword and a very proud moment,” said the 54-year-old.
His grandfather had previously asked permission that one of his descendants would be granted this honour, but only if there was another general in the family.
The parade will include troops from The Royal Regiment of Scotland, pipes and drums from the regiment and the ceremonial key to the Castle will officially be handed over by The Lord Lyon, King of Arms, the head of all traditional heraldry in Scotland, accompanied by his heralds and pursuivants.
Major Gen Riddell-Webster pledged to “nurture a relationship” between the army and Historic Environment Scotland which manages the Castle.
He will also represent the army at ceremonial events honouring veterans and work to develop the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
“I’m really chuffed to be doing this,” he said. “I think it is fantastic to have retired and to still have something to do with the army – and also to be able to give something back.”
This is the first time the appointment has been held by an army reservist. In modern times, it has been held by the most senior regular army officer in Scotland.
He joins a distinguished list of Governors, which dates back to the 11th century and includes the Dukes of Hamilton, Argyll and Rothesay. There is only one other reservist of as high a rank as the new Governor, Major Gen Ranald Munro, who is currently Deputy Commander Land Forces.
Major Gen Riddell-Webster was commissioned in 1983 and spent most of his career in the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch, now The 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and commanded the battalion during the 2003 Gulf War, when the unit was deployed into Basra. He has also completed tours in Northern Ireland and Kosovo.
He held several senior general staff appointments before leaving the army in 2014 and joining the army reserves in 2015.