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  1. #1
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    Highland regiments sporran chart

    As we know only five kilted Highland regiments survived the 1809 reassignments: the 42nd, 78th, 79th, 92nd, and 93rd Foot.

    Under the 1881 Cardwell reforms these became

    The Black Watch
    The Seaforth Highlanders
    The Cameron Highlanders
    The Gordon Highlanders
    The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders


    Their sporran traditions are a bit confusing because they weren't consistent from regiment to regiment.

    For example in some regiments officers wore the same sporran for Full Dress and Levee Dress while in others they didn't.

    Being the visual person that I am, I decided to come up with a chart of sorts, showing the situation according to the 1911 dress regulations.

    The regiments are shown in the above order.

    The right three columns are commissioned officers.

    I've not included the Pipes & Drums and Military Band sporrans except when these overlap with others. (Most regiments had dedicated pipers' sporrans, not shown here.)



    Here's each column labelled. Unfortunately the add-text site also reduced the image size.

    The Camerons made do with two styles while the Argylls required four, having a completely different sporran for certain Senior Sergeants such as the Drum Major, Pipe Major, Colour-Sergeant, and I'm not sure who all else.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 21st January 24 at 01:16 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte


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    thanks

    pretty interesting

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    about Gordons NCO sporrans

    John Malcolm Bulloch in "The Gordon Highlanders Uniform" in the "Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research", Vol. 15, No. 59 (Autumn, 1936) writes that the members of the Sergeants' Mess wear the same pattern of sporran top as the officers, but without the outermost band of engraving.
    I have never seen such cantle...

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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    the Argylls required four, having a completely different sporran for certain Senior Sergeants such as the Drum Major, Pipe Major, Colour-Sergeant, and I'm not sure who all else.
    Dear OC Richard, I think the highlighted sporran is specific only to the drum major, another similar sporran with 3 tails is unique to the pipe-major, the rest SNCOs wore the standard badger head sporran.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by blackwatch70; 11th April 24 at 05:16 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackwatch70 View Post
    Dear OC Richard, I think the highlighted sporran is specific only to the drum major, another similar sporran with 3 tails is unique to the pipe-major, the rest SNCOs wore the standard badger head sporran.
    It's a messy situation which I don't fully understand. Here's the two-tassel DM and three-tassel PM as you point out.



    The Colour-Sergeant also wore two tassels



    The messy part is that there was a second type of cantle as well. That boxy cantle at some point was replaced by this one, similar though not identical to the common cast-thistle cantle that's become ubiquitous for civilian horsehair sporrans.



    What I don't know is if it's a 1st Battalion/2nd Battalion thing. As we know in the period immediately following the 1881 amalgamations the non-kilted Battalion of each pair would have to acquire the kit of the kilted Battalion.

    But since both Battalions already had Pipes & Drums some items of pre-amalgamation kit continued to be worn. (The Seaforths never did put both Battalions' pipers in fully matching kit.)

    So I don't know whether or not the boxy cantle and rounded cantle survived side-by-side in the two Battalions, but it can be seen that eventually the boxy cantle was discontinued and both Battalions ended up wearing the same rounded cantle.

    In 20th century photos both the Pipe Major and Drum Major are seen wearing the same three-tassel rounded-top sporrans, however from the photos I've seen the white sporran only survived for these two positions, no longer worn by the Colour Sergeant and whatever other Senior Sergeants might have worn it in Victorian times.



    (Note that the DM above's cantle is not the traditional Argylls pattern, but the common civilian pattern, which by the way was later adopted by certain other regimental pipers in modern times.)

    Last edited by OC Richard; 19th April 24 at 05:05 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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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    It's a messy situation which I don't fully understand. Here's the two-tassel DM and three-tassel PM as you point out.



    The Colour-Sergeant also wore two tassels


    The Drum Major on the left and the Colour-Sergeant between the Colours is the same guy that's why sporran is same.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    It's a messy situation which I don't fully understand. Here's the two-tassel DM and three-tassel PM as you point out.

    I suppose, the round top of sporrans with 3 tassels for Drum- and Pipe Majors were characteristic of the 1st Battalion from the beginning, that's why they remained after 1948, when both battalions were amalgamated.

    The PM of the 1st A&SH is on your photo, just compare to 2nd A&SH, PM William Robb below.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by blackwatch70; 19th April 24 at 08:46 AM.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for that photo! I'd not seen that one.

    Here's a pre-amalgamation photo, I'm supposing it's the Pipe Major of the 93rd Foot.



    Here's the Pipe Major (far left) and pipers of the 91st Foot in 1872, which became 1st Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in 1881.

    The PM looks like he's wearing the same crossbelt hardware as the 1st Battalion PM above.



    I don't have a clear photo of the Pipers' sporran cantle, in this painting it just might be the same cantle which is later seen worn by the PM and DM of the 2nd Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.



    It makes sense, to keep the same sporran but change from six short tassels to three long ones. (The holes would already be in the right places.)

    Question is, when the rest of the 2nd Battalion pipers got the grey sporrans, were they two-tassel, or three? I've seen old photos of Argylls pipers wearing both sorts.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 19th April 24 at 03:28 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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