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  1. #1
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    The Highland Subaltern

    I seem to be wasting a lot of time on YouTube over the last several months.
    Today I discovered "The Highland Subaltern" channel, a WWI Black Watch reenactor.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh3...rzm2RmiqGMjiDw
    How accurate his videos are, I don't know but they seen well-researched. I started with his WW1 officers kit video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3uL2LQ1Q0A
    The one thing that seemed odd was donning the Sam Browne kit after the
    haversack. It would seen to limit accessibility to the haversack. On the other hand, the web gear would limit motion of the sack and prevent slapping.
    I'd also never seen reference to the kilt worn with braces and without straps; retained by pins. His " how did they keep warm in winter" was also interesting. Something new to learn.

  2. #2
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    18th July 07
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    Some of it doesn't quite agree with what my father said but there were variations from one regiment to another. My father was in the Gordons in WW1.

    Alan

  3. #3
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    20th August 11
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    Ruadhán, the reporter is volunteer at the Black Watch museum in Perth, so as well as being rigorous in his interest, he is in a reasonably good position to get his facts straight.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    18th October 09
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rose View Post
    the kilt worn with braces and without straps; retained by pins.
    As far as I know the early "little kilt" or philabeg was held in place by blanket pins.

    Peter MacDonald would know.

    I do believe some surviving early kilts have evidence of being repeatedly pinned.

    It's difficult to trace the history of kilt fastenings through Victorian photographs because men very rarely appeared in kilts in shirtsleeves.

    There's this famous photo. If a high resolution version were to be examined it might be seen whether there are straps or buckles, however it doesn't tell us that these might not have been added later.



    I put together this collage of the only photos I've seen showing kilted men in shirtsleeves. The highest-resolution versions of each might be found and examined, to see what tale they tell.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 7th June 21 at 05:11 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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    JPS

  7. #5
    Join Date
    14th June 21
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    For some time I had in my collection, a Highland Light Infantry kilt that had never been issued, containing a dated maker's label from 1936 - shortly after the HLI had been put back into the kilt.

    This kilt had only two buckle fastenings - both on the right side. The inner-apron was held in place by the tension of the outer-apron, but wearing experience shows it was a reliable method and the under-apron never moved. The HLI wore Mackenzie tartan and pleated to the white stripe.

    I cannot post pictures, as I no longer have the kilt - I passed it onto a Mackenzie friend a few years ago - but the material was very thick, heavy and densely-woven. I wold say it is the same weight and weave of cloth as a Black Watch kilt I still have, that has the more normal three straps - one on the left, and two on the right.

    My father's uncles who served in kilted regiments during the Great War used to talk of the advantages of the kilt in trench warfare. The could be up to their knees in water and mud without much trouble, while those men in puttees and trousers found their leg-ware acted like a wick and drew up the water to a high level. And when on the march, or passing deeper sections of mud and water, the Highlanders would lift their kilt, or even take if off and carry it draped around their shoulders cloaklike to keep it dry. That must have been a sight to behold..!

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troglodyte View Post
    My father's uncles who served in kilted regiments during the Great War used to talk of the advantages of the kilt in trench warfare. The could be up to their knees in water and mud without much trouble, while those men in puttees and trousers found their leg-ware acted like a wick and drew up the water to a high level. And when on the march, or passing deeper sections of mud and water, the Highlanders would lift their kilt, or even take if off and carry it draped around their shoulders cloaklike to keep it dry. That must have been a sight to behold..!
    I believe there were problems, however, particuarly in freezing conditions, when hardened mud caked on the hem of the kilt would abrade the back of soldiers' legs.

  9. #7
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    Yes, quite likely. As a young student in the 50s, even the wet of the kilt or short trousers hem was a problem for us, but nothing like the cold, clinging, clammy, scraaaatchy of tweed! One of my friends wrapped a bit of cotton around his knee and said that did the trick. Never tried it, myself.

  10. #8
    Join Date
    6th July 07
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThistleDown View Post
    Yes, quite likely. As a young student in the 50s, even the wet of the kilt or short trousers hem was a problem for us, but nothing like the cold, clinging, clammy, scraaaatchy of tweed! One of my friends wrapped a bit of cotton around his knee and said that did the trick. Never tried it, myself.
    Once endured, never forgotten! Which is why most country sportsmen wear plus 4’s out on the hill. Well, that and the ticks, midgies and horse flies too.
    " 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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  12. #9
    Join Date
    18th July 07
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troglodyte View Post

    My father's uncles who served in kilted regiments during the Great War used to talk of the advantages of the kilt in trench warfare.
    As I mentioned above, my father was in the Gordons in WW1. At Cambrai in 1917, the Seaforths gave way and the Germans got behind the British line. Nothing for it but to run off down the trench. But on one side was a machine gunner on the other a flammerwerfer (flame thrower) - my father got the flammerwerfer. He was able to keep running, whipping off his blazing kilt. (No "short drawers" as stated in the OP video.) He was in hospital for a year, lying in a water bath until the burns healed - no antibiotics in those days. So the kilt had its good points - if he had been wearing breeks, I would not be here to tell you about it!

    Alan

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  14. #10
    Join Date
    14th June 21
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    Yes, the sawing of the selvedge at the back of the legs has long been a problem - a young Queen Victoria is recorded as being concerned about the raw skin at the back of the legs of a body of Highlanders she was reviewing, and requested measures were taken.

    Kilted soldiers were particularly vulnerable to gas attacks also - the gas burning any bare skin. One solution was to issue the men with women's silk bloomers, which was taken by the men in a way that can be easily imagined!

    For anyone unfamiliar with the book, I can reccommend 'Last Man Standing' by Norman Collins which are the memoirs of a Seaforth Highlander. A fascinating account of Collins' memories, his personal diaries and his own photographs that preserve in detail day-to-day life of a Highlander in the Great War. He ran away from home to join-up, and lived to be more than 100 years old.

    I understand that British troops going up the line would usually do so quietly and unobtrusively, but I remember as a young boy being told by one of my father's uncles of his battalion forming up behind the pipes and drums, and goning in whilst making a din. Their intention was to let the Germans opposite know exactly who were facing them.

    Sadly, my father and his uncles are no longer living, and they served in different regiments, including the Seaforths, but I have a vague idea the noisy ones may have been the London Scottish. Has anyone elso heard of such..?

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