X Marks the Scot - An on-line community of kilt wearers.

   X Marks Partners - (Go to the Partners Dedicated Forums )
USA Kilts website Freedom Kilts website Scotweb websiten Burnetts and Struth website Celtic Croft website
Xmarks advertising information Celtic Corner website Xmarks advertising information Houston Kiltmakers Xmarks advertising information

User Tag List

Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: the red hackle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    5th August 18
    Location
    Broome County NY
    Posts
    145
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    the red hackle

    While reading a book about the Blackwatch in WW1, I was trying to remember how they were given the right to wear the red hackle. I knew it was a battle honor they received but I did not know for what. I found this from electric Scotland who has made the pages of this illustrious forum previously in regards to the uniform regulations of the RROS. I enjoyed reading their explanation, hope you do to; also any former members of the 42nd are welcomed to comment. Maybe you can tell us what historical reason you were taught when you were serving in the BW. https://electricscotland.com/history...watch/bw17.htm


    Enjoy!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    26th September 05
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    586
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A red feather(most likely Ostridge) was first issued by Col Murray to Pipers in the 42nd in 1758. The red hackle in the bonnet, and some form of a "knot" worn on the shoulder are what distinguished pipers (other than the pipe major, who had a silver embroidered grenadier style cap) from regular enlisted men during that time when the cost of pipers came out of the Col's pocketbook.

    In the recreated 42nd from the 1750's that I belong to, we are not the Grenadier company, so our piper wears a red plume, and has a mixed blue and white twisted knot in the style of a corporals knot worn on his right shoulder.

    Later in the Revolutionary War the grenadier and Light Infantry companies of all the regiments in the northern Armies were stripped from them and formed into composite assault battalions. In these they were combinations of red, green and white plums as the only bit of unit uniformity that could be done. It is thought that the Grenadiers when returned from their detatched duty continued to wear the red plum, and perhaps then eventually the whole battalion.


    The Regimental history most often, for some unknown reason overlooks these early uses of a red feather by the regiment.

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


  4. #3
    Join Date
    18th October 09
    Location
    Orange County California
    Posts
    9,177
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Interesting Luke!

    Do the pipers wear the Music Tartan, or the standard tartan?
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  5. #4
    Join Date
    26th September 05
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    586
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Just the regular. Have no receipts showing anything but one tartan for the whole regiment. No music tartan, no red line for the Grenadiers. All that is post 1767. Grenadier & drummers coats and other accessories all called out as separate inventory lines in shipments, but tartan is only by rank. Officers, NCOís and menís.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    20th August 11
    Posts
    33
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Luke MacGillie View Post
    A red feather(most likely Ostridge) was first issued by Col Murray to Pipers in the 42nd in 1758. The red hackle in the bonnet, and some form of a "knot" worn on the shoulder are what distinguished pipers (other than the pipe major, who had a silver embroidered grenadier style cap) from regular enlisted men during that time when the cost of pipers came out of the Col's pocketbook.

    In the recreated 42nd from the 1750's that I belong to, we are not the Grenadier company, so our piper wears a red plume, and has a mixed blue and white twisted knot in the style of a corporals knot worn on his right shoulder.

    Later in the Revolutionary War the grenadier and Light Infantry companies of all the regiments in the northern Armies were stripped from them and formed into composite assault battalions. In these they were combinations of red, green and white plums as the only bit of unit uniformity that could be done. It is thought that the Grenadiers when returned from their detatched duty continued to wear the red plum, and perhaps then eventually the whole battalion.


    The Regimental history most often, for some unknown reason overlooks these early uses of a red feather by the regiment.
    If I might add, the reference to the Black Watch wearing of a red feather during the AWI only came to light in 1967 and wasn't published in the regimental journal until 1981. In a letter written in reply to an enquiry from William Dick, Commanding Officer of the 42nd, AWI veteran Major General James Stirling describes how circa 1776 the 'flank battalions' formed from the light companies and grenadiers of Howe's army in New York wore a selection of coloured distinguishing feathers in their headgear: white for grenadiers, either red or green for LI. On arriving, the 42nd RH were assigned to join this 'brigade' of crack troops and "to make the whole uniform General Sir William Howe, then Commander- in-Chief, ordered the 42nd to get red feathers which they have wore [sic] ever since."

    Apart from the curious fact that there would appear to be neither uniformity or systematic identification in this arrangement, the evidence for this addition to the bonnets of the 42nd is only recorded in James Stirling's letter written almost fifty years later, in 1822. Although there is evidence elsewhere for the flank battalions wearing identifying feathers, there is no further evidence for the red hackle being adopted by the 42nd at that time. At war's end the grenadiers may have rejoined the regiment in Nova Scotia wearing white feathers, and the light company might have returned wearing green, but that doesn't help us.

    Moreover, 1822 is also the date of another eyewitness source which states that "In the year 1795, the red feather was assumed by the Royal Highland regiment." The author, Colonel David Stewart, late the 42nd, cites no clear reason for this although he does make an oblique reference to 'idle tales" which remains unexplained.

    Twenty-five years or so after that, in 1845, emerged the eye-witness claims by BW veterans that in 1795 the regiment was in fact 'awarded' the red feather for its role in a skirmish against the French earlier that year, claims which flourished in Black Watch tradition for 100 years or so and then were gradually set aside as it became apparent they had little historical basis, other than the regiment's presence at the 1795 skirmish in the Netherlands and the earliest appearance of the red feather in paintings a few years later.

    It is clear however that the three witnesses who cite 1795, all young men recently joined at that time, showed no awareness of a red feather tradition preceding the adoption of a red feather on their return from the Netherlands in 1795, this even though James Stirling claimed that the feather adopted in America had been 'wore ever since.' There seems at present no way to resolve the contradiction.

    In his letter to Col. Dick, Stirling goes on to recount how in 1802, at a review following the regiment's return from the victorious Egypt campaign garlanded with laurels, King George was persuaded to grant permission for the 42nd to wear their red feather which had been rendered illicit by strict new clothing regulations. Unfortunately, the 'sociable' CO omitted to have this recorded in the files, although for many years it was also claimed the red feather was awarded to the Black Watch for Egypt, notably the battle of Alexandria, where the regiment won its first official 'battle honour'- the Sphinx superscribed:'Egypt.' It is fairly clear, though, that while it has been worn with honour in many battles, the Red Hackle was never 'awarded' as an official honorary distinction.

    With regard to the 'Hackle' the Black Watch continues to review its position. Whereas formerly the museum website stated:
    "The origin of the wearing of the Red Hackle is uncertain. There is evidence that it was worn by the 42nd in North America in the 1770s, however a 19th Century tradition ascribes the award of the Red Hackle to an action at the battle of Geldermalsen in 1795. It was for this action that the Red Hackle was allegedly awarded and on the Kingís birthday on 4 June 1795, there was a parade at Royston in Hertfordshire, when a Red Hackle was given to every man on parade.."

    -today it states: "It was in 1795 that The Black Watch is known to have adopted the Red Hackle in its bonnets, the most distinctive feature of the Regimentís uniform. The stories relating to its origin are numerous but it was certainly issued to the men at Royston, Hertfordshire that year.

    Under the circumstances, the words 'known' and 'certainly' might seem a little risky but who knows where the next turn of this story will take us- "Forward the 42nd!"

  7. #6
    Join Date
    18th October 09
    Location
    Orange County California
    Posts
    9,177
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks so much for the detailed and scholarly post!

    Another Black Watch thing shrouded in mystery is the square-toe spats.

    In looking over Victorian photos I notice it's not quite as clear-cut as it later became.

    Many old photos of the Cameron Highlanders show spats that are square or nearly square, with just the slightest rounding to the corners.

    There are photos of members of The Black Watch with rounded-toe spats.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 7th May 21 at 08:26 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  8. #7
    Join Date
    20th August 11
    Posts
    33
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Spats

    I am glad you found the slow-burn Hackle 'update' of interest.

    As for spats, I generally make it a point not to engage with matters below the belt buckle.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» Log in

User Name:

Password:

Not a member yet?
Register Now!
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.0