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Thread: RAF Tartan

  1. #1
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    RAF Tartan

    I have had an inquiry about kilts in RAF tartan for an Air Cadets pipe band. Has anyone here made a kilt in 16 ounce RAF tartan? If so, from where was it sourced? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    The RAF tartan was only produced by Strathmore Woollens of Forfar. Originally called "Air Force" tartan it was introduced by the late Arthur Mackie, a retired RAF Fighter Pilot who became leader of a Scottish ATC (Air Training Corps) squadron and who had a family connection with Strathmore Woollens. Was worn by an ATC pipe band and later adopted as the official tartan of the Royal Air Force, when the prefix "Royal" was added to the name of the tartan.
    My dad served in the RAF but although I was an ATC cadet I never joined the RAF. In later years I became a volunteer at an aviation museum and approached the RAF about wearing their tartan at the museum. Scarves, cummerbunds and ties are readily available but I could only order the kilt through Strathmore Woollens and needed approval from RAF Leuchars (which has since closed). Eventually I was refused permission to buy the unfinished fabric, but Strathmore Woollens would make me a completed kilt. The kilt was however part of RAF dress uniform for dining in evenings and so I could not have it pleated to the stripe as a military kilt as I had not served in the RAF. They agreed I could have a RAF tartan kilt provided that it was pleated to the sett. I do wear it to the air museum but when I wore it to an RAF open day in Scotland I got some odd looks because of the different pleating.
    That said, Strtahmore Woollens did agree to supply the fabric to one of my American friends whose dad had served in the RAF and he now has a RAF kilt pleated to the stripe. Kilt built by Kathy Lare if I remember correctly.
    I suggest you contact Strathmore Woollens to see what they are able to offer.
    Last edited by cessna152towser; 16th January 19 at 11:54 AM.
    Vice-President and Regional Director for Scotland for Clan Cunningham International, and a Scottish Armiger.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cessna152towser View Post
    The RAF tartan was only produced by Strathmore Woollens of Forfar. Originally called "Air Force" tartan it was introduced by the late Arthur Mackie, a retired RAF Fighter Pilot who became leader of a Scottish ATC (Air Training Corps) squadron and who had a family connection with Strathmore Woollens. Was worn by an ATC pipe band and later adopted as the official tartan of the Royal Air Force, when the prefix "Royal" was added to the name of the tartan.
    My dad served in the RAF but although I was an ATC cadet I never joined the RAF. In later years I became a volunteer at an aviation museum and approached the RAF about wearing their tartan at the museum. Scarves, cummerbunds and ties are readily available but I could only order the kilt through Strathmore Woollens and needed approval from RAF Leuchars (which has since closed). Eventually I was refused permission to buy the unfinished fabric, but Strathmore Woollens would make me a completed kilt. The kilt was however part of RAF dress uniform for dining in evenings and so I could not have it pleated to the stripe as a military kilt as I had not served in the RAF. They agreed I could have a RAF tartan kilt provided that it was pleated to the sett. I do wear it to the air museum but when I wore it to an RAF open day in Scotland I got some odd looks because of the different pleating.
    That said, Strtahmore Woollens did agree to supply the fabric to one of my American friends whose dad had served in the RAF and he now has a RAF kilt pleated to the stripe. Kilt built by Kathy Lare if I remember correctly.
    I suggest you contact Strathmore Woollens to see what they are able to offer.
    Many thanks, Alex.

  4. #4
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    I'm pretty sure you are already aware of this but scotweb has 3 variations for sale if you search for Royal Air Force.

    Apologies if this was and egg sucking lesson.

  5. #5
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    It is my understanding the the RAF Tartan is under copyright to www.mactartan.co.uk and that they have authorized only one mill (Strathmore Woolen Mills) to weave and sell fabric,

    http://www.strathmorewoollen.co.uk/s...pyrightdesign/
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

  6. #6
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    I had no problem getting permission back when it was needed. My father was a Montana boy who joined the RAF in Spokane, Washington after Pearl Harbor, Trained at RAF Refresher School in Imperial, CA then took the train to Halifax, NS and shipped over to England. He was in an operational training squadron flying Hurricanes and Spitfires. He was up on the Dieppe raid. When the US Army Air Corps finally got set up in England in Sept 1942 he was transferred to the Army Air Corps and wound up flying P-39s in North Africa. Apparently being the son of an RAF combat pilot was enough. My kiltmaker scored the fabric from Strathmore and sewed it up.

    Hopefully you'll be able to obtain what you need.
    Ol' Macdonald himself, a proud son of Skye and Cape Breton Island
    Lifetime Member STA. Two time winner of Utilikiltarian of the Month.
    "I'll have a kilt please, a nice hand sewn tartan, 16 ounce Strome. Oh, and a sporran on the side, with a strap please."

  7. The Following User Says 'Aye' to Riverkilt For This Useful Post:


  8. #7
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    Thanks for all of your replies. I have since contacted Strathmore and will be setting up a trade account with them. Should be good to go now.

  9. #8
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    Read that as RCAF not RAF..
    deleted suggestion
    Last edited by Taskr; 17th January 19 at 03:47 PM.

  10. #9
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    The British Royal Air Force Tartan SRT #3586



    The British Royal Air Force, Lossiemouth Tartan SRT #3587



    The Canadian Air Forces Tartan SRT #3591

    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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