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  1. #1
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    Khaki Military Kilts

    I was puzzled to discover, in cartoons dating from the second world war, that soldiers appear wearing khaki kilts - I had always supposed Scottish soldiers would wear tartan.

    Looking for information on this subject, I see it was discussed some time ago on X-marks, but the thread is now closed.

    I thought the attached illustrations might be of interest. The first is from the front cover of "The Broons" Annual of 1941, and shows Joe Broon kilted in khaki. [In case anyone has not met The Broons, they are the subject of a very long-running cartoon series in the Scottish "Sunday Post".] The second is a detail from one of the cartoons, first published 17th September 1939.

    The discussion in the earlier thread seemed to imply that khaki kilts, or kilt covers, dated from an earlier period.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    There are any number of possibilities which have been much discussed here.

    1) London Scottish and Toronto Scottish both wore Hodden Grey kilts, which can look khaki
    from "The miniatures page"


    2) In WWI and early in WWII Khaki aprons were issued to protect the kilt from mud/dust/etc.
    These came in 1/2 aprons (only the front) and in some cases FULL aprons (covering the whole kilt)
    and frequently had a pocket sewn on the front to use in place of a sporran.

    3) There were cases of materials shortages (in Canada, if memory serves) which meant that the tartan some units were
    traditionally issued with was not available, a khaki fabric was used in it's place (if memory also serves, it had a 'windowpane' blue check across the set, which was quite large).

    If you do a forum search for khaki kilts you'll see that this has been discussed many, many, many times.

    ith:
    artificer Pronunciation: \r-ˈti-fə-sər, ˈr-tə-fə-sər\ : noun : 14th century :a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman
    Artificer Custom Sporrans
    *Home of the Original Kenneth MacLeay Sporran Project & Functional Brass Cantles*

  3. The Following User Says 'Aye' to artificer For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
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    Thanks for your very informative comments. This has clearly been a major gap in my knowledge!

  5. #4
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    In nearly all cases the references to 'khaki' kilts are to the Hodden Grey kilts worn by The London Scottish and The Toronto Scottish. The colour, in person, is quite distinct from khaki.



    Search the forums here, there have been a number of discussions, here is a fairly recent one

    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...s-kilts-75444/

    One of the most interesting things to come out of that thread was the very clear photo of a WWI kilt issued to the Black Watch of Canada, mostly khaki but with a large check pattern, what we Americans would call a 'windowpane check'



    and very small photos of a form of kilt in khaki, selfcoloured.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 22nd January 14 at 06:51 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  6. The Following User Says 'Aye' to OC Richard For This Useful Post:


  7. #5
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    Just to add to the 'evidence' of these khaki kilts with the windowpane check being issued to Canadian regiments, here's a WWII recruiting poster for the Royal Highlanders of Canada, allied with the Black Watch. You can clearly see that it depicts the same kilt as OC Richard posted above, accurate down to the red and blue lines.

    What's important about this is that you can see how it blends in with the rest of the uniform, and would appear as a plain old khaki kilt from more than a few feet away.

    *edited to add: I also find his sporran interesting. Never seen one like that, with the many tassels and a battalion number on the flap. And oh how I wish I could find some vintage khaki spats like that!

    Also, there appears to be a red windowpane check on his Glengarry. Never seen that before, either. But considering the accuracy of the kilt, I tend to believe everything else is accurate too.
    Last edited by Tobus; 2nd May 14 at 01:36 PM.

  8. #6
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    This photo of the khaki kilt apron that Scott described was posted in an old thread.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Natan Easbaig Mac Dhmhnaill, FSA Scot
    High Commissioner, Clan Donald Canada
    Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland, And we, in dreams, behold the Hebrides. - The Canadian Boat Song.

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    Just to add to the 'evidence' of these khaki kilts with the windowpane check being issued to Canadian regiments, here's a WWII recruiting poster for the Royal Highlanders of Canada, allied with the Black Watch. You can clearly see that it depicts the same kilt as OC Richard posted above, accurate down to the red and blue lines.

    What's important about this is that you can see how it blends in with the rest of the uniform, and would appear as a plain old khaki kilt from more than a few feet away.

    *edited to add: I also find his sporran interesting. Never seen one like that, with the many tassels and a battalion number on the flap. And oh how I wish I could find some vintage khaki spats like that!

    Also, there appears to be a red windowpane check on his Glengarry. Never seen that before, either. But considering the accuracy of the kilt, I tend to believe everything else is accurate too.

    Spats I assume like British Army gaiters would be blanco'd. All you need to do is find some blanco and colour white spats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blanco_(compound) I doubt it is produced any more, though it was still in use in the 1970's.
    Gweld Dim Ond Y Gwir

  10. #8
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    Hodden grey is very like the colour of Herdwick rams when they are 'ruddied up' to be distinct from the ewes. The stuff used is a red powder mixed with oil or grease, as the fleece of the sheep is difficult to dye.

    The lambs are born very dark - probably it makes them easier to see in the snow as the breed is very hardy and they can lamb alone up on the fells in the Winter. At one year old they are brown - naturally like the hodden grey, and then they get greyer and paler with age so an old ewe is almost white. The fleece is very coarse and bristly. In the wet a jersey made from the yarn has lots of drops of water hanging on the ends of the bristles so if you press up against a flat surface you are suddenly very wet as all the droplets are pushed through the garment.

    Anne the Pleater :ootd:

  11. #9
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    Ran across today a pic of kilted cats larking it up about 99 years ago. I'm guessing they are in Hodden Grey.

  12. #10
    Join Date
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    Interesting. Thank you for sharing.

    5.11's Tactical Duty Kilt in Coyote colour looks somewhat similar to Hodden Grey.

    Have been asked while wearing, "Is that issue?"

    Oh, so this is why....

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