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Mar 08. May 2008 – 1 February 2009. National War Museum Scotland, Edinburgh Castle

From a 15th century mercenary to an infantry soldier in today’s army, the National War Museum’s exciting new exhibition covers the bloody and important history of the men on the fighting front of Scotland’s battlefields.

Examining 800 years of clothing, protection, weapons and tactics, Call to Arms highlights four archetypal Scottish fighting men: a 15th century ‘Galloglaigh’ roving mercenary, a 17th century highland warrior fighting for kith and clan, a 19th century Scottish soldier employed by the British Army and today’s soldier tackling the challenges of modern day warfare.

Jonathan Ferguson, Assistant Curator at the National War Museum, said:

“Scotland has always had a fearsome reputation on the battlefield and while technology has unquestionably changed the way warfare has been conducted over the centuries, one thing remains constant: the importance of infantry in any conflict. Call to Arms reveals the lives, weapons and motivations of the ‘boots on the ground’ – your average Scottish fighting man.”

Based in different times but essentially doing the same job, each of the four fighting men highlights the changes in hand to hand combat.

* Active from around 1300 to around 1600, the ‘Galloglaigh’ were a formidable Gaelic warrior elite who exchanged money, land or livestock for their services on battlefields both at home and abroad.

* From around 1500 to 1750 ‘clans’ – groups of families loyal to a chief – would be duty-bound to fight together, taking on other clans, or those from beyond the highlands, for land, honour or to protect their families.

* By the 19th century, joining the British Army meant a steady and secure job and many young Scots took up musket and bayonet to fight for the state in an expanding British Empire.

* Today’s soldiers are involved in battles all over the world but are also called upon to prevent war, or help its victims.

Items on display in the exhibition include an example of the famous broadsword (c1720) known as the ‘Claymore’ which was used to devastating effect in the highland charges.

Also on show will be an example of ‘grapeshot’ – a cluster of small, iron balls which were deadly when fired from a cannon. View the piece of shot that wounded Private David Wishart in 1813 and read the letter to his brother describing the pain of being hit and the military surgeon’s attempts to remove it.

Mar 08. Reforming Britain’s War Powers

17 March 2008


Royal United Services Institute, Whitehall, London
In association with the Constitutional Law Group.

Deploying troops and waging war requires law. Britain’s war powers have been regulated for hundreds of years under the Royal Prerogative. These powers give maximum discretion to government, a minimal role to Parliament and no role whatsoever to the courts. This arrangement is about to change. The Government has initiated a wide ranging review of war powers stating that the existing measures are incompatible with ‘modern democracy’. Creating parliamentary oversight of military deployments without destroying their effectiveness is a highly complex matter.

This conference will explore the different options for change and their impact on decision making and military activity. The wrong change could dramatically alter the way Britain engages its forces.
Among the themes which will be explored are:
* The current legal practice in the UK
* Practice of other leading democracies
* Reform alternatives
* Military and political implications of change

Confirmed speakers and chairmen include:

* Sir Paul Lever KCMG, Chairman, Royal United Services Institute
* The Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, Chairman, House of Commons Defence Committee
* Professor Dawn Oliver FBA, Professor of Constitutional Law, University College London
* Sebastian Payne, Lecturer in Co

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