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  1. #1
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    khaki battledress kilts

    It's one of those things that's bothered me for many years: from time to time I'm talking to somebody and they start telling me how the Scottish kilted regiments were issued "khaki battledress kilts" in WWI.

    Whenever they happen to have a photo of these putative kilts, they always turn out to be The London Scottish. I try to explain about Hodden Grey but they insist.

    There's a listing on Ebay right now. The soldier in the photo is clearly wearing the uniform of The London Scottish:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/GAY-int-WW1-...item1c2a0d3970

    Of course Canada has The Toronto Scottish which also wear Hodden Grey kilts.

    Now I have heard/read about (but not seen with my own eyes) Canadian khaki battledress kilts: the book The Canadian Army At War (Osprey) has a painting of a member of the 73rd Battalion CEF wearing a khaki kilt with sparse overstripes (which appear to be blue and red). The text says "Shortages of regulation clothing in the early months of the war led to the adoption of a khaki tartan by certain units of the Royal Highlanders of Canada." I take Osprey illustrations with a grain of salt because several of their books have absurd errors. No photo of these kilts is given. If there was a "shortage of clothing" I don't see how it would be any quicker to design and do a special weave of a hitherto nonexistant tartan, than to weave the ordinary traditional tartans the weavers were already weaving.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    It's one of those things that's bothered me for many years: from time to time I'm talking to somebody and they start telling me how the Scottish kilted regiments were issued "khaki battledress kilts" in WWI.

    Whenever they happen to have a photo of these putative kilts, they always turn out to be The London Scottish. I try to explain about Hodden Grey but they insist.

    There's a listing on Ebay right now. The soldier in the photo is clearly wearing the uniform of The London Scottish:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/GAY-int-WW1-...item1c2a0d3970

    Of course Canada has The Toronto Scottish which also wear Hodden Grey kilts.

    Now I have heard/read about (but not seen with my own eyes) Canadian khaki battledress kilts: the book The Canadian Army At War (Osprey) has a painting of a member of the 73rd Battalion CEF wearing a khaki kilt with sparse overstripes (which appear to be blue and red). The text says "Shortages of regulation clothing in the early months of the war led to the adoption of a khaki tartan by certain units of the Royal Highlanders of Canada." I take Osprey illustrations with a grain of salt because several of their books have absurd errors. No photo of these kilts is given. If there was a "shortage of clothing" I don't see how it would be any quicker to design and do a special weave of a hitherto nonexistant tartan, than to weave the ordinary traditional tartans the weavers were already weaving.
    The artist of that particular title is RSM Michael Chappell -- in general, I found the titles he has authored to be very well done in terms of accuracy. Besides, are you brave enough to ask an RSM for his sources?

    T.

  3. #3
    M. A. C. Newsome is offline
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    Richard,

    I've also seen this term used in reference to the khaki kilt aprons issued in WWI. I believe some were front only, while others were front and back.

  4. #4
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    73rd CEF khaki glengarry & kilt

    http://www.kaisersbunker.com/cef/headgear/cefch08.htm

    A picture of said khaki kilt that was featured in Chappell's Canadian Army at War appears on this web site -- scroll down.

    T.

  5. #5
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    Reducing the complexities of warping a loom with the stripes and bands of a tartan fabric down to a one colour background with simple overchecks would save a lot of time in the production of cloth.

    The dyeing of different colours, stock control to maintain separate dyelots, and the necessity for colour matching all take time and effort - having sold yarn to weavers in the past I found it required far more care than selling to knitters, as the weavers required quantities of identical colour and thickness. Only the most careful measuring and matching produced the desired results.

    It would have maximised production of cloth to have minimised the number of colours and used the simple overcheck - only weaving a one colour cloth would have been faster, but having the overcheck would assist in the making of the kilts so it would be counter-productive to lose that feature, as long as it was placed accurately in the finished cloth.

    Anne the Pleater :ootd:

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by M. A. C. Newsome View Post
    Richard,

    I've also seen this term used in reference to the khaki kilt aprons issued in WWI. I believe some were front only, while others were front and back.
    I think this is usually the source of the misinformation. In many cases, people see old photos of kilted regiments from the front (seeing only the apron), and they think it's an all-canvas khaki kilt. And it doesn't help when they also see photos of the full khaki kilt covers (as shown below), thinking that these were the actual kilts.


  7. #7
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    I've actually seem one of said kilts. It was some 25 years ago when I worked at the Scottish Tartans Musuem. I can't remember the source but think someone brought it in for comment. It may have been a local solution to the lack of tartan in much the same way that the Black watch made tweed type kilts out of Army blankets.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    I've actually seem one of said kilts. It was some 25 years ago when I worked at the Scottish Tartans Musuem. I can't remember the source but think someone brought it in for comment. It may have been a local solution to the lack of tartan in much the same way that the Black watch made tweed type kilts out of Army blankets.
    That's very interesting to me. I have more than a passing familiarity with the London Scottish Hodden Grey kilt. It's been remarked on for decades that it's probably the world's most expensive bit of army blanket. Certainly the material used for vintage army blankets does bear more than a passing similarity to the older heavier weave Hodden Grey. We still have two of my Granda's army blankets from the Great War. They have lasted well and are very "tweedy" indeed, with quite bright flecks of colour throughout, reds, yellows and blues. It would have been quite possible to make good hardy kilts out of such material.
    Last edited by MacSpadger; 20th August 12 at 10:41 AM.

  9. #9
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    I've seen the illustrations of the khaki drab with small stripes, but there was also a plain khaki kilt. Below are some photos of a drab kilt belonging to the 241st Canadian Scottish Borderers. What I find particularly fascinating is not the colour, but the four (yes, four) cloth straps which hold it place. Since this fabric is still available today, it would be interesting to attempt a recreation of this kilt.





    Last edited by slohairt; 21st August 12 at 08:09 PM.
    [B][COLOR="DarkGreen"]John Hart[/COLOR]
    Owner/Kiltmaker - Keltoi

  10. #10
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    Wow! That is a fascinating display. I assume that kilt covers were multi-purpose in that 1) they protected the kilt from battlefield stress on the fabric, 2) provided additional layers in foul weather, and 3) acted as conceilment from th enemy?

    Please feel free to correct me if I am mistaken. I have never seen a "kilt cover" before.
    The Official [BREN]

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