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  1. #1
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    pipers of the lost Highland regiments

    Another thread touched upon the (to me) interesting topic of the dress of the early Victorian (pre-1881) Highland regiments of Scotland.

    The 1881 reorganization of the army produced the familiar five kilted Highland regiments: the Black Watch, The Seaforth Highlanders, the Cameron Highlanders, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, and the Gordon Highlanders.

    Prior to 1881 there were many more Highland regiments and the pipers of these had a variety of dress.

    There don't seem to be very many images of some of these regiments' pipers. Here's what I have found so far. I'm focusing on the mid-19th century more or less.

    The 72nd Foot. This regiment had a unique look, wearing trews of Prince Charles Edward Stuart tartan rather than kilts. The pipers did wear kilts. Here's a period illustration showing the appearance of the 72nd pipers in 1847. The piper is wearing the same coatee as the rank and file soldiers which was common in the early 19th century.



    Here is a post-Crimean War photo of the Pipe Major of the 72nd, note that the doublet has been adopted



    In the old days some regiments put their musicians in white jackets, and here is a piper of the 78th Foot so dressed in 1852. Highland regiments as a whole had their coatees replaced by doublets in 1855. The soldier in the back is wearing the white shell jacket.



    Here's the Pipe Major and other members of the 78th Foot in 1867.



    and a piper of the 78th Foot



    A piper of the 79th foot in 1852. It was the 79th who introduced dark green doublets for pipers (the 79th's facing colour) which were later adopted by the other Highland regimental pipers, and which now are worn by the entire infantry of Scotland.



    A piper of the 91st Foot in 1865



    The 91st Foot in 1872 well showing the piper's dress



    A 91st piper in 1874



    This period painting from 1880 shows plain Glengarries for the 91st pipers

    Last edited by OC Richard; 19th May 18 at 04:21 PM.
    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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    Some background: prior to 1809 there were eleven Highland regiments.

    In 1809 all but five lost their Highland status and became ordinary British regiments, dressed like the Lowland and English regiments. In the Victorian period three of the six de-kilted regiments regained a measure of Highland status, being granted tartan trews.

    Here are the 19th century numbered Highland regiments and what happened to their status:

    42nd: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 1/BW.

    71st: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1881: 1/HLI. 1948: granted Highland dress.

    72nd: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1823: granted PCE trews. 1881: 1/SEA.

    73rd: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1881: 2/BW.

    74th: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1845: granted Lamont trews. 2/HLI. 1948: granted Highland dress.

    75th: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1881:1/GOR.

    78th: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 2/SEA.

    79th: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 1/CAM.

    91st: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1864: granted Campbell trews. 1881: 1/ARG.

    92nd: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 2/GOR.

    93rd: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 2/ARG.

    It's probably why I've not been able to find pre-1881 images of pipers of some of these regiments: having lost their Highland status, they might not have had them.

    I forgot to put the senior Highland regiment, the 42nd!

    Their pipers were dressed somewhat unusually in tartan doublets. The doublets and bag-covers were Black Watch tartan, the kilt and plaid originally in the Black Watch "music tartan".







    The 92nd Foot in 1861. Note that the pipers are wearing Balmorals with blackcock tails. Also note the distinctive tall spats of the 92nd.



    This very interesting dress of the pipers of the 93rd Foot in 1853, ornate red doublets prior to the general introduction of doublets in the Highland regiments



    When doublets were given to all Highland soldiers in 1855 they had slash cuffs, which were changed to gauntlet cuffs in 1867. This photo shows a piper of the 93rd with gauntlet cuffs prior to their general introduction. I do wonder if the piper's doublet was red, or green.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 19th May 18 at 04:54 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Some background: prior to 1809 there were eleven Highland regiments.

    In 1809 all but five lost their Highland status and became ordinary British regiments, dressed like the Lowland and English regiments. In the Victorian period three of the six de-kilted regiments regained a measure of Highland status, being granted tartan trews.

    Here are the 19th century numbered Highland regiments and what happened to their status:

    42nd: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 1/BW.

    71st: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1881: 1/HLI. 1948: granted Highland dress.

    72nd: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1823: granted PCE trews. 1881: 1/SEA.

    73rd: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1881: 2/BW.

    74th: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1845: granted Lamont trews. 2/HLI. 1948: granted Highland dress.

    75th: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1881:1/GOR.

    78th: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 2/SEA.

    79th: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 1/CAM.

    91st: 1809: lost Highland dress. 1864: granted Campbell trews. 1881: 1/ARG.

    92nd: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 2/GOR.

    93rd: 1809: retained Highland dress. 1881: 2/ARG.

    It's probably why I've not been able to find pre-1881 images of pipers of some of these regiments: having lost their Highland status, they might not have had them.
    And then of course there were the various 18th century regiments. All of these wore Hignald Dress and had pipers. Unfortunately there are fewer images. Amongst those regiments were the:

    64th: (Loudoun's)

    76th: (MacDonald's)

    77th: (Montgomerie's)

    77th: (Atholl)

    78th: (Fraser's)

    84th: (Highland Emigrants)

    87th: (Keith's)

    91st: (Argyllshire)

    97th: (Strathspey)

    114th: (Royal Highland Volunteers)

    There were of course numerous Fencible and Volunteer Regiments as well.

    71st Regt (Glasgow Highlanders), Piper George Clark c1808-09
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    77th Regt (Montgomerie's), Alan McDonald, Piper to Archibald Montgomerie
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  5. #4
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    Pipers of 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot...
    There is one picture of artist David Cunliffe who was commissioned about 1844/45 to paint the 74th Highlanders who had recently been granted permission to resume modified Highland Dress (shakos and trews). The regimentís Pipe Major is included, dressed in a senior NCOís double-breasted coatee and otherwise in typical piperís kilted uniform in Lamont tartan.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    and PM of 74th Highlanders in 1864
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    Last edited by blackwatch70; 23rd May 18 at 02:42 AM.

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  7. #5
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    I would like to add some more information about dress of 93rd pipers before 1881.

    In 1826 Lieutenant- Colonel Duncan MacGregor assumed command of the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, which he commanded until 1838. He forthwith dressed the 93rd’s pipers in kilt, doublet and scarf plaid of the tartan known as Rob Roy, a simple red and black check, and the band in the MacGregor tartan.
    I was able to find picture of this dress in one of my books.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In 1848, under a different commander, the pipers reverted to the dark Government tartan worn by the rest of the 93rd, but were given a scarlet Highland doublet. This uniform we can see at picture early posted by OC Richard . Also there is nice picture of PM James Wilson, painted by David Cunliffe in 1853. PM Wilson was retired on pension same year.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The MacGregor period is commemorated to this day, however, by the red-and-black diced hosetops still worn by the pipers of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, now 5 SCOTS (recently reduced to "Balaclava" company).

    However there is one more interesting picture in A&SH museum, painted same by D. Cunliff in 1853 too. The artist visited regiment whilst 93th were camped at Chobham in England.
    The military artist David Cunliffe expressed a wish to paint a Scottish Highland scene. Keen to assist, Captain Ewart gathered this small group together, borrowing various articles of uniform, civilian dress and props to help create the scene for the artist. Some of the clothing was loaned by members of the Black Watch (another Scottish Regiment that was attending the military camp) which explains the odd mix of clothing some of the individuals are wearing.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    See the central piper figure (it's piper Rory McKay who later became PM of 93th) dressed in dark green doublet and glengarry! very puzzling story...
    It's interesting that on this picture we see definitely Black Watch "music" tartan kilt (wear by dancer) and same Pipe-Major J. Wilson sitting in right corner

    Click image for larger version. 

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    and as I understand, about after the Crimean war 93th pipers change red doublets to dark green ones as pipers of other Highland regiments.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by blackwatch70; 23rd May 18 at 08:05 AM.

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  9. #6
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    more pipers of 79th Regiment of Foot (Cameron Highlanders) from period pictures...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Dark green doublets, black belts, glengarrys - so well-known look!

    Their distinctive Cameron of Erracht kilts as well as crossbelts furniture, dirks and eagle feathers still worn by 4 SCOTS pipers!

    and finally 2 more photos with Camerons PMs from 1860-70s

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    Last edited by blackwatch70; 23rd May 18 at 08:15 AM.

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  11. #7
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    as for Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment, 42nd Regiment of Foot) pipers, the topic of their dress I suppose is most tangled ... because in the 19с they wore even 3 different tartans - Government, "Music tartan" and Royal Stewart!

    for example, in 1840 in Dublin we see BW piper in standard Government tartan kilt and plaid,

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Crimea war pictures posted by OC Richards show us their wearing "music tartan"

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    then in Bareilly (India) in 1864 - Royal Stuart

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    and on photo taken in Simla (India) same year (!) pipers wear standard Government tartan and rare seen balmoral!

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    There are 2 painting of famous French military artist Edouard Detaille, we know that he was very accurate when painting military uniform... and what we see? Mixed of tartans worn by pre-1881 Black Watch pipers.

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    and, finally, It's known thar the pipers of the Black Watch wore Government tartan from the amalgamation of the 42nd and 73rd in 1881 until about 1889-90. Pipers of 2/BW on photos, 1884 and 1890. Then Royal Stuart tartan was restored forever.

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    Last edited by blackwatch70; 23rd May 18 at 09:08 AM.

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  13. #8
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    2 more pictures of 72nd Highlanders pipers, both pre-Crimean war

    Click image for larger version. 

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    and coloured version of 72nd PM John McDonald, 1856

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  15. #9
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    Thanks for all those images!

    I'm familiar with some of them, but some are new to me.

    Most puzzling are the two French paintings showing Black Watch kilts and Royal Stewart plaids.

    Yes they're lovely paintings which have all the appearance of being by skilled artists painting from live models and recording exactly what was there.

    The strange thing is that it violates the general practice of having kilt and plaid match. Are there other instances of this happening in the army?

    You touch on another interesting topic, the varying dress of the Pipes & Drums of the two battalions of the post-1881 Highland regiments. The pipers of 2/BW wearing Black Watch kilts is interesting. Well-known is the difference in dress between 1/SEA and 2/SEA pipers, which was never brought into line. There are other examples I can't think of right now.

    Another fascinating thing are the square-toe spats worn by these Cameron Highlanders

    Last edited by OC Richard; 13th July 18 at 05:52 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  16. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackwatch70 View Post
    2 more pictures of 72nd Highlanders pipers, both pre-Crimean war

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    It's difficult to tell because of the resolution whether these are pre-Crimean war productions or show the pre-Crimean war uniform but were produced later. Can you confirm?

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