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Thread: WW1 42nd Issue

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    WW1 42nd Issue

    I'm more than a little clueless when it comes to the 42nd in WW1. As a military buff (I would never say historian, as that makes me sound stuffy) I am interested as to what they were issued in the trenches. I know the traditional dress sgian dubh would be part of a dress parade and goes back a long time before the Great War.
    Can anyone point me to a resource or at least mock me for not knowing?

    great thread by the way. Glad it's here.

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    The typical Highland soldier be he in the Gordons or Black Watch, would not have carried a sgian dubh in the trenches and most likely was never issued one. Most kit taken to the trenches was deemed necessary for fighting and would need to serve a purpose. Pipers and officers in kilts carried them for prestige on occasion, but the jocks did not as a norm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 48HofC View Post
    The typical Highland soldier be he in the Gordons or Black Watch, would not have carried a sgian dubh in the trenches and most likely was never issued one. Most kit taken to the trenches was deemed necessary for fighting and would need to serve a purpose. Pipers and officers in kilts carried them for prestige on occasion, but the jocks did not as a norm.
    Did the grunts carry any blades?
    American by birth, human by coincidence and earthling by mistake.

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    As long as it doesn't violate the rules I have an interesting piece on WW1 knives, ETC, that I can put up a link to.

    The boiled down version is this: There was no UK issue. All were privately bought or made in the trenches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by macmanjim View Post
    Did the grunts carry any blades?
    Apart from the bayonet which was of course issued. Personal pocket knives were often carried and assorted "trench knives" none of which were issued as far as I am aware.
    " 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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    There was the "clasp knife" pattern 6353/1905 with blade, marlin spike and can opener which I believe was a general issue item.

    Last edited by Bruce Scott; 8th December 17 at 05:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sailorruss View Post
    I know the traditional dress sgian dubh would be part of a dress parade and goes back a long time before the Great War.
    You may know this already, but your question isn't completely clear, so I'll point out that sgian dubhs are worn by officers and pipers but not by ordinary Other Ranks soldiers.

    Sgians were called for in a number of different orders of dress worn by officers, not only when on Parade.

    Numerous photos from WWI, WWII, and other wars show some officers wearing sgian dubhs with their combat dress in war zones.

    These are comments about Highland battalions in general- I read that officers of The Black Watch, in contrast to the other Highland regiments, only wear the sgian dubh in orders of dress where diced full hose and buckled brogues are worn, such as Levee Dress. In other Highland regiments officers wear sgian dubhs in Full Dress and Service Dress.

    BTW strictly speaking there was no "42nd" in WWI, due to the 1881 Cardwell reforms which amalgamated pairs of the traditional numbered regiments into new 2-battalion regiments known by names, not numbers. Thus in 1881 the 42nd Foot and the 73rd Foot became the first and second battalions The Black Watch.

    Different war, different regiment, but here are officers of The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders wearing sgian dubhs in Korea

    Last edited by OC Richard; 9th December 17 at 04:09 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

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    Thanks for the great photos of those knives. The first one is interesting. It looks to me, and I'm just learning about this, that the first one in line was modified with horn. No? They don't look like they would be practical for combat. More an everyday knife.

    Also I wasn't really thinking about reorganization of units either. As a guy who knows a lot about the US military I should have thought that. Learn something new everyday. I'm going to have to read up on this or hang up my kilt!

    Also, from what I can gather from the thread is that sgian dubh wasn't issue to the men in the trenches, but carried by officers anyway.
    Last edited by sailorruss; 8th December 17 at 08:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sailorruss View Post
    Thanks for the great photos of those knives. The first one is interesting. It looks to me, and I'm just learning about this, that the first one in line was modified with horn. No? They don't look like they would be practical for combat. More an everyday knife.
    Yes, they were simple, everyday utility knives. There is some further information here on the handles: https://www.allaboutpocketknives.com...pic.php?t=6951

    A similar thing was still being issued to every Australian soldier when I was serving (1967-93):

    Last edited by Bruce Scott; 8th December 17 at 10:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sailorruss View Post
    sgian dubh wasn't issue to the men in the trenches, but carried by officers anyway.
    Yes it's a distinction of officers and pipers, not issued to Other Ranks in the trenches or anywhere.

    And strictly speaking they weren't issued to officers either- because officers were responsible for privately purchasing their own uniforms.

    Note in the photo showing the two A&SH officers above the various colours of embroidery and ribbon in their kilt panels; it's going to vary according to which military tailor they had their kilt made by. Also notice the different colours of their puttees, and their two different patterns of sporran. (One is the style worn by officers of The Black Watch.)

    The Highland situation is not as extreme as the situation in the US Civil War where you can see a group of officers each with a distinctive uniform, yet you will see photos of groups of Highland officers each having subtle variances in their kit.

    I have in front of me a modern photo of Black Watch officers- there are four kilts and four different colours of rosettes on the kilts.

    About edged weapons and WWI, here are officers of The Gordon Highlanders wearing swords on campaign.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 9th December 17 at 04:16 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

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