SITE MENU / This Article Content


Black Watch sword dancers waiting to enter an arena at a showground in the 1990s

Black Watch sword dancers waiting to enter an arena at a showground in the 1990s

When full dress gave way to khaki service dress in 1914 the Scottish infantryman was recognisable by his soft headwear: the glengarry (introduced in 1840) and the flat balmoral bonnet (or tam-o'-shanter), which replaced the glengarry for the trenches in 1915. After the First World War glengarries and bonnets were interchangeable for most orders of dress.

The Royal Regiment of Scotland

The Royal Regiment of Scotland

Royal Regiment of Scotland (RRS) glengarries and tam-o'-shanters are worn with the large regimental badge on a square patch of Government tartan. The blue glengarry has the red, white and blue squared dicing that was worn by half of the antecedent regiments. Tall black cocks' feathers, worn in the Royal Scots and the KOSB since 1902, are pinned onto the glengarry for ceremonials. The khaki tam-o'-shanters are distinguished by battalion hackles pinned behind the badge - Cameronians' black in the 1st, Royal Scots Fusiliers' white in the 2nd, Black Watch red in the 3rd, Camerons' blue in the 4th and green in the 5th. The green hackle is based on the Sutherland tartan of the A&S Highlanders. The short blue cut feather hackle was awarded to the Cameron Highlanders in 1940 to mark their stand in being the last to wear the kilt on active service. Companies of the 6th and 7th (TA) battalions wear the hackle of their local regular battalion.

Pipers of the Queen's Own Highlanders

Pipers of the Queen's Own Highlanders, c. 1988. Their dress was based on that worn by pipers of the Cameron Highlanders

The regimental badge combines the heraldic Scottish lion rampant, the Cross of St Andrew and the Scottish crown with the motto of the royal Scottish regiments. Another motto, the Seaforths' Cuidich n' Righ (Help to the King) - a reference to feudal times and Alexander III - is earmarked to accompany the thistle emblem as the regiment's collar badge. The old regimental badges are borne by the pipers and the corps of drums.

The Archer green doublet, developed in the latter half of the twentieth century for Scottish No. 1 dress, and blue patrols for senior ranks are retained. The scarlet mess jacket has royal blue facings. In shirt sleeve order officers and senior NCOs wear the light grey shirts of the Royal Highland Fusiliers and Argylls.

All orders of dress (except Combats) may be worn with the kilt or trews, which are of Government tartan - the sombre sett first worn and made famous by the Black Watch. Other regiments built on the tartan by adding colourful lines to create regimental tartans. Pipers still wear the 'music tartans' of their regiments - Royal Stuart in the 1st and 3rd battalions, red Erskine (RSF) in the 2nd and Cameron Erracht in the 4th.

The kilt is worn with a white goat's hair sporran with twin black tassels by officers, senior NCOs and pipers, and a brown leather purse by other ranks. Hose is red and black, as worn in the Black Watch and Gordon Highlanders, and the white spats are fastened with black buttons, a custom of the Gordons that honours the death of Sir John Moore at Corunna in 1809.


The most popular traditional marches among Scottish regiments are Highland Laddie, played in quick time, and In the Garb of Old Gaul, the slow march of a few regiments but none more fittingly than the Royal Scots, whose first forty years of existence were spent in the service of France. Their quick march, Dumbarton's Drums, is reckoned to be the army's oldest, having been recorded in the 1667 diary of Samuel Pepys: 'After meeting with the corps in Rochester, here in the streets I did hear the Scotch March by the drums before the soldiers, which is very odde.' In the presence of royalty, Donizetti's Daughter of the Regiment is played in memory of Queen Victoria, whose father was colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot when she was born. Princess Mary's March may be played on the pipes after the loyal toast in the mess, a traditional tribute to the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Scots from 1918 to 1965.

/ page 24 from 78 /
mobile version of the page

We have much more interesting information on this site.
Click MENU to check it out!© 2013-2020 mailto: