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  1. #1
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    Wearing ex military issue and items

    Is it generally seen as disrespectful to wear a sporran or another piece of highland attire that was issued to a regiment thatís no longer together. I see so many old sporran from the Gordon Highlanders, Seaforths, and other regiments that have been amalgamated. I would love to purchase one someday but I wouldnít want to offend someone that served in one of the regiments.
    Thereís a decent number of civilian (goat and horsehair) sporrans that come up for sale. I might be better off purchasing one of them.

    best regards
    Ross

  2. #2
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    I was told too many years ago to matter , that wearing attire from disbanded Regiments AND as long as no veteran that served in those Units is still alive, then including modest amounts of redundant military attire is acceptable at times.
    People will see things differently, but I think, the advice I was given is still sound. Although, I do carry one of my long gone uncles’ Black Watch SD in my hose, but I ensure that St. Andrew and his cross are not visible.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 2nd October 22 at 12:39 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  4. #3
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    In the Pipe Band world it's been a complicated thing.

    When civilian Pipe Bands became popular in the second half of the 19th century they nearly always would either dress in civilian Evening Dress, or some version of military Full Dress.

    The civilian military-style uniforms would often be difficult to distinguish from actual military uniforms.

    For one thing the same firms, such as Thomas Gordon, would make identical doublets for both regimental and civilian use. (The only difference would be the buttons; the civilian doublets generally had a thistle on the button, while each regiment had its unique regimental button.)

    Also the same firms would sell regimental-pattern collar badges and cap badges for civilian use, though civilian bands tended to use thistle or rampant lion collar badges rather than regimental patterns.

    Beginning in the 1970s the vast majority of civilian Pipe Bands abandoned both military-style Full Dress and civilian Evening Dress and a new Pipe Band specific uniform emerged, and has remained by far the most popular Pipe Band dress to this day.

    However some civilian Pipe Bands still maintain military-style Full Dress.

    This band performs in front of the Royal Family every year at Braemar. Their uniform is quite a mix of a number of different regiments and includes some items which are specific to, and cherished by, particular regiments.

    In the main their uniform follows that of the Gordon Highlanders, including the Gordon-specific cap badge, collar-badges, crossbelt badge, plaid brooch, black spat buttons, and "belled" flashes. However they wear the piper's feather bonnet and Red Hackle of the Black Watch, though oddly their bonnets have Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders dicing.

    Charles, long the Colonel-in-Chief of the Gordon Highlanders, has seen this band every year for decades and seemingly has taken no umbrage to their wearing Gordons items nor their mixing of these items with things from other regiments.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 1st October 22 at 03:02 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    I was told too many years ago to matter , that wearing attire from disbanded Regiments AND as long no veteran that served in those Units is still alive, then including modest amounts of redundant military attire is acceptable at times.
    People will see things differently, but I think, the advice I was given is still sound. Although, I do carry one of my long gone unclesí Black Watch SD in my hose, but I ensure that St. Andrew and his cross are not visible.
    I have an old silver Gordon Highlanders cap badge I wear on my glengarry for piping competitions. I've never had anyone comment on it. One of my teachers was pipe major of the first battalion band. I purchased it for a few reasons.. to remember him, PM G.S. McLennan is my favorite composers of pipe music and I've always liked the way stags look. I think I'll stick with civilian attire for the rest of my kit.

  6. #5
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    Not to hijack the thread, but I've had a related question for a while. I have had an old Canadian forces khaki tam for years, which I only picked up because it fit me. If there were a civilian cap badge or nothing on it would it raise eyebrows? It sounds like maybe not, but I'm most likely to run Canadians if I was wearing it.

    I also have one of those BW SD. I wore it for awhile until I found out what it was and quit that. I had others.
    "There is no merit in being wet and/or cold and sartorial elegance take second place to common sense." Jock Scot

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCampbell16B View Post
    Not to hijack the thread, but I've had a related question for a while. I have had an old Canadian forces khaki tam for years, which I only picked up because it fit me. If there were a civilian cap badge or nothing on it would it raise eyebrows? It sounds like maybe not, but I'm most likely to run Canadians if I was wearing it.

    I also have one of those BW SD. I wore it for awhile until I found out what it was and quit that. I had others.
    Not hijacking it at all. I've never served so I cannot say whether it's appropriate or not.

  8. #7
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    Iím a priest. Iím not going to be impressed if a layman wears a black shirt with a white square at the collar. Parallel?
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, dogs, most people, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

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  10. #8
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    There are other aspects to wearing badges, insignia and tartans that one does not have a real individual connection too. To some it matters not, to others, it matters quite a bit. Personally, if one wears a “ MacKarrot” tartan then I would like ———expect actually——- the wearer to have a connection to it. Likewise, those wearing a “ Gin and Tonics” Regimental tartan or badge, then I would like the wearer to have a connection to it. We then get to the grey areas where the justifications are rather more woolly, with distant family connections and sometimes those distant connections to a tartan or badge or whatever are, for me, not justifiable.

    We then move on to piper’s attire and pipe band attire , which has a completely different pedigree to civilian kilt attire and then we head into a maze of tartan, badge and uniform justifications that muddy the waters even more. Particularly, particularly for those who do not understand that there are differences, some very small and some glaringly large, between.............I hesitate to use the term but it actually does apply........THCD( Traditional Highland Civilian Dress) and piping attire. And then......

    And then, unfortunately, we get the thorny but, absolutely perfectly legitimate.....but not always.... reasoning of those who wear tartans and badges that they have absolutely no connection whatsoever to it. They wear it “ Because they like it”. Fair enough , but for me and others that reasoning is rather too tenuous and shallow to justify wearing tartans and badges that one is not connected to. But hey-ho such is life.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 2nd October 22 at 12:41 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  11. #9
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    This is a tricky one...

    The British Army has never had a problem with civilians wearing ex-army issue clothing, as they have for generations sold off their surplus. The likes of eBay is full of both used and un-issued surplus items, and the range of clothing and footwear available is impressive.

    The likes of ex-navy duffle-coats, or army greatcoats, did great service among those civilians (students and sixth-formers particularly, I seem to remember) who valued them in the '60s and '70s, but the glut of ex-cold war era gear swamped supply with very cheap alternatives about 30 years ago.

    The difficulty is the insignia (as Jock has implied) that has particular value in regimental terms - both to the regiments now gone, and to the men who served. 'Remove the buttons. You're not serving...' was said more than once to surplus gear wearers who had left on Service buttons, or (even worse) NCO stripes or officers' pips on the epaulettes.

    Single items such as a kilt which has had regimental or rank-specific detailing removed is not going to greatly offend anyone - as long as you avoid the 'cosplay' dressing-up look. Army kilts are well-made and durable, and can serve civilian duty well if other military items are left off. The plain leather HB-style sporran might be the tollerated exception.

    You are fooling no-one (not even yourself) if you dress up in some kind of military parody, and declare it is 'to honour' the old soldiers. Much better to make a donation to an exserviceman's benevolent fund, than to misappropriate his glory.

    Any mixing and matching of military items to make them look 'uniform' will only win you scorn, so the less, the better.

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  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troglodyte View Post

    You are fooling no-one (not even yourself) if you dress up in some kind of military parody...mixing and matching of military items to make them look 'uniform' will only win you scorn...
    Interestingly, there are ex-army members marching in the Pipe Band I mentioned above, as can be seen by the medals some are wearing. These people appear to be untroubled by the quasi-military uniform and the mixing of civilian items with military items from various regiments past and present.

    This band marches in a March Past including actual military Pipes & Drums and are reviewed by Royals every year.

    I would think if Royals or serving military men took umbrage something would have been done about it decades ago.

    Of course it's one thing to be a member of a Pipe Band and be seen wearing the kit that band issues its members, and another thing to show up at a Games and walk around wearing a mix of military and civilian items that you yourself have cobbled together.

    Even here in the USA it's going to look like what it is, to anyone familiar with Highland Dress.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 2nd October 22 at 05:32 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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