Article by: Sgt A Bevington-King
It was 1981 and The Queen’s Own Hussars were in Detmold when the “Black Pig” first appeared. The Squadron leader was Major DJM Jenkins and the SSM was WO2 Colin Strong.
The Squadron had been very busy throughout the year with Exercises in Hohne, Annual Ranges and a KAPE tour to keep the boys busy. However, Sqn life was thriving and the Sqn bar was never too far away neither was the SSM who was a stickler for cleanliness and conducted many inspections in the bar which kept LCpl Ginge Jones busy.
Whilst on leave in the UK with the inspections still fresh in the mind of Ginge, he managed to obtain a money bank that was black and shaped like a pig, this was taken back to Detmold and found its way into the Sqn bar where it was cut in half and had the words “I’m Colin kick me” painted on the side and then subsequently stuck above the Sqn bar.
The money bank or “Black Pig” as it was known was quickly adopted by “D” Sqn as their Sqn Symbol and shortly after it appeared in the bar, instigated by LCpl (Honey monster) Pinch, 1st Troop painted the Black Pig onto their tanks. To ensure that the Pigs were all the same the first template was made by Cpl Steadman of 2nd troop and all other Vehicles in the Sqn were also emblazoned with the Black Pig.
In April of 1981, Sgt David Ingles took his 1st Tp over to “C” Squadron on a temporary attachment for the CAT (Canadian Army Trophy) and, after a slight disagreement with “C” Sqn Leader Maj Bulkely with regards to the Black Pig, Sgt Ingles and his 1st Tp were allowed to keep their Pigs.
This was in part due to the recent loss of the Troop leader Lt “Toby” Wilkinson to injury from a BBQ. He was replaced by Capt “Squeaky” Watts who was in fact “C” Sqn second in command. Upon completion of a very successful Battle run the three Tanks of 1st troop returned to the firing point Proudly flying Black Pigs from the top of broomsticks protruding from the loader’s hatches, Even the troop leader (“C” Sqn second in command) was flying the pig.
Upon leaving the Sqn both Major Jenkins and WO2 Strong were presented with Black Pigs.
The Black Pig became somewhat of a cult within “D” Sqn and in the late 80s and early 90s, some members of the Sqn emblazoned themselves with a Black Pig tattooed on their rear left shoulder.
After amalgamation the tradition continued, Cpl “Ratty” Garner having the Black Pig painted onto the Tanks of 1st troop, again this was shortly followed up by all other vehicles in the Sqn. The black Pig has been painted on many things in many different theatres of operations.
In 1996 the Regiment deployed to Bosnia but sadly there were no requirements for four sabre Sqns so “D” Sqn was spread across the regiment, it was decided however that it was best to keep the troops together so it was Troop attachments to the other Sqns rather than disbandment, this meant that the Black Pig was flying across the entire Battle Group.
During the activation of the fleet of vehicles in BATUS, all of the vehicles were given a dose of the Black Pig. It was not pleasing to those members of the Royal Artillery to find a Black Pig staring at them once they had made the firing guard inside their AS-90s.
The Black Pig also found its way onto the Challenger 2 that sits on display to the public outside the guardroom in Bovington and indeed the T55 at Cambrai Barracks in Catterick.
Today the tradition is still going strong and the Black Pig, as well as being on all vehicles of ‘D’ Squadron can also be found flying inside the rectangle of the Sqn flag wherever they may be.