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Yes, Napoleonic period certainly, I can't remember when the system changed - white for grenadiers, green for light companies & white red for the battalion companies.

Aha! I'm not quite as senile as I thought! I take it from your reply that the tradition died out long before this hackle came along.

Thanks,

Hugh

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Hi guys

I just picked this on up on the weekend. It is different from he one that started this thread, but I was wondering if it is WWI or WWII? Can anyone clue me in please!

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Yes, Napoleonic period certainly, I can't remember when the system changed - white for grenadiers, green for ligh companies & white red for the battalion companies.

Just to clarify that point from last year- The headgear distinction between flank companies in Highland regiments ended in 1829 (although flank companies were only finally abolished in 1858). Thenceforth until 1914 white hackles were worn in the feather bonnet across all of the Highland regiments, apart from the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment, The Black Watch.

The green hackle might have something to do with the Highland Light infantry. That's a complete guess. The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) perhaps but less likely, I think.

The Argylls, now 5th SCOTS, have adopted a green hackle since 2006. You might want to research the lineage of that.

JF

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The mark located inside the first photo at the top of the thread is that of Canadian War Assets (CAW). The mark looks like a circle but it is actually open for a small bit forming a letter 'C'. The 'W' is intersected in the middle to form the letter 'A'. The CAW was set up in 1945 to dispose of military property that was considered surplus to needs and is now known as Crown Assets (formerly Crown Assets Disposal Corp). The Tam may be WWI but was still in stores in WWII.

Clive

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The mark located inside the first photo at the top of the thread is that of Canadian War Assets (CAW). The mark looks like a circle but it is actually open for a small bit forming a letter 'C'. The 'W' is intersected in the middle to form the letter 'A'. The CAW was set up in 1945 to dispose of military property that was considered surplus to needs and is now known as Crown Assets (formerly Crown Assets Disposal Corp). The Tam may be WWI but was still in stores in WWII.

Clive

thanks for the info!!!

-Miikka

Edited by MASteel

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The Cameronians wore a black hackle and this is commemorated in the hackle worn by the Royal Scots Borderers - 1st Battalion Royal Regiments of Scotland.

Toby, further to our recent meditations on hackles worn by Highland regiments in the later 19th century and beyond, and earlier musings in which I was involved on the now-archived British regiments forum regarding the black hackle of 1 SCOTS, I've been thinking more about the Cameronians black hackle and doing a little digging.

The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) wore a black horsehair 'brush' plume on their Full Dress shakos post-1891 and there are two photos from the regimental museum website- <www.cameronians.org> - one showing 2nd Bn Officers embarking for Malta in 1911 and the other showing officers of the 1st Battalion in India. In both cases they are wearing what we might assume are black hackles- in the1st Bn case, tucked into the LH of the tartan diamond (with badge) worn on both sides their tropical helmets. In all subsequent photos, though, through tthe forties and fifties they wearing only the Regimental badge on both ToS and Glengarry. Incidently, like the Argylls, they only wore the Glengarry in Aden- unless in the djebel when they wore the hat, floppy. Perhaps only the Black Watch and QOH wore the ToS on all possible occasions. Not sure about the Gordons. More research needed there.

However, in '1967-8' (according to the museum) a group photo was taken showing the various orders of dress worn by officers and men (this subsq. formed the basis of some regimental prints). In that photo a Jock is shown wearing a smart OD gaberdine combat jacket and trousers fresh from the stores and in his ToS he wears a small black hackle.

That was barely a year before the Regiment disbanded. Do you know of earlier use of a black hackle in the bonnet by the Cameronians? I thought about Keyes VC but I'd forgotten he was a Scots Grey and the photo of him in bonnet and black hackle from 1940-41 was as a member of 11 (Scottish) Commando. I yet to do a more thorough look into WWI.

JF

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, I've been thinking more about the Cameronians black hackle and doing a little digging.

Toby, thanks-although I did have to go and lie down with a flannel over my face after first reading your most recent post- which seems to have disappeared, which is interesting but I shall leave you to worry about that, should such be necessary.

You have read my thoughts accurately. My interest is in how the black hackle became the cherished distinction of a regiment whose identity as a Rifle regiment 'only' dated back to 1881 and with component corps neither of whose outward identity before that date had been overly Scottish and certainly not Highland, (with regard to the hackle).

Now that I have recuperated, while bowing as always to your encyclopedic knowledge, may I question one point in your last post? While the Royal Scots and the KOSB adopted the unlovely 'Kilmarnock' Full Dress bonnet in 1904, the Cameronians kept their rifle-green shako, on paper at least, till Full Dress was finally abolished. This would have been decorated with the upright egret or horsehair plume. I have yet to see a photo of an officer's shako showing the exact form of the plume. Some modern illustrations show a plume as full as a hackle but if the form followed that worn by the 95th and 60th, I suspect that the Full Dress headgear cannot be looked to as the source of the Cameronians black hackle per se.

I still have not been able to look into the First World War in any detail but, for the practical reasons to which you alluded, it seems unlikely that a hackle was ever seen on a Cameronian bonnet (either the blue or khaki balmoral) in this period.

However, we know that as early as 1910-11, some officers of 2nd Bn Cameronians embarking for Malta were informally sporting a black hackle in their Wolseley sun helmets. Might this be interpreted as the former 90th embracing the black 'Rifles' distinction in homage to their former Light Infantry identity? After fifteen years in India, the 2nd Bn had gone to South Africa in 1899 and only returned from there to Britain in 1907. It will be interesting to find out how soon after the introduction of the Wolseley (1898-1902), the 2nd Bn started wearing a hackle distinction in their sun helmets. It may be the practice started in South Africa among officers in garrison. Now, why the Scottish Rifles should have adopted a hackle as a distinction in their helmets, when they were neither Highlanders, Fusiliers or Foots Guards is an interesting question. Neither The Rifle Brigade nor the KRRC did anything similar, as far as I am aware. The Scottish connection would seem to be the most likely explanation but it remains a curious choice. Perhaps it was the closest thing to the Shako plume (presumbly left at home) that was available in South Africa.

In 1931, the 1st Battalion, The Cameronians, arrived at Lucknow. We are told that well into the 1930s, fifty years after the amalgamation, they were still clinging to their 26th Regiment identity:

"The two Regular battalions adopted a somewhat parochial attitude. Members of the 1st Battalion like to be called 'Cameronians,' those of the 2nd Battalion, 'Scottish Rifles.' There were minor differences in dress, and long serving personnel- both Officers and men- tended to remain with one Battalion throughout their careers. Transfer from the 1st to the 2nd Battalion, or vice versa, was a matter for regret, if not actual resentment."

('History of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)' Vol III)

Nonetheless, on arriving in India the officers of the 1st Bn duly adopted a Rifle black hackle for their Wolseley helmets. The 1st battalion had left India in 1909 after 15 years service, and spent three years in South Africa on their way back to Blighty in 1912. Whether they too had been sporting a black hackle in their sun helmets before the outbreak of war in 1914 remains to be seen. After arriving in Lucknow in 1931, the 1st Bn remained in the east, in India, Burma and Malaya till after WW2. The 2nd Bn, too, were back east of Suez from 1919 till 1930 and we can perhaps assume they once again sported the black hackle in their Wolseley helmets.

It seems, then, that until 1948, when the black hackle was ordered for the Cameronians' Rifle green 'Lowland Bonnet', it had hitherto only ever been seen attached to their Wolseley sun helmet south of Plymouth and East of Gibraltar. This is not to diminish its significance. Given the amount of time both battalions spent in the tropics in the first half of the 20th century, the black hackle in the tropical helmet would have become a standard, if non-regulation, Regimental distinction in the experience of many Cameronians and thus an accepted part of the Regiment's identity.

By 1945, the Wolseley helmet had been discarded as hot weather headgear. It is noteworthy that as soon as the Regiment, reduced to one battalion, returned to proper soldiering after WW2, the black hackle was adopted for the Cameronians' Rifle green Lowland Bonnet. It may be significant that in 1946, the 1st Battalion was reduced and the 2nd Battalion, which had embraced the Rifles aspect of the Regiment's identity more fully, became the Regular Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). This may explain the black hackle emerging from use only as a tropical helmet distinction to being accepted as part of the Cameronians' core identity, together with the regimental cap badge and the tartan flash. By this date, the Q.O. Cameron Hldrs had been granted a blue hackle for their bonnets, the HLI were in the process of adopting a red on white hackle as were the Royal Highland Fusiliers their white 'fusilier' hackle. Formerly the preserve of the Black Watch, bonnet hackles as regimental distinctions were in fashion and would become more important as regimental identities began to be blurred.

This may be why, when ca. 1958 the Cameronians were badged as part of Lowland Brigade, and the Rifle green Bonnet with hackle was replaced by the Glengarry for No.1 & No. 2 Dress, the black hackle was adopted for the Khaki ToS, which hitherto had been worn only with cap badge and tartan flash. This might have been seen as helping to preserve and promote Regimental identity, at least in barracks and the field. (There is a parallel there with the concession to battalions of Royal Regt of Scotland in 2006). From photographs taken in Germany1960-63, the black hackle appears at first to have been worn only by Officers and Senior NCOs, then by junior NCOs, although the picture quite literally, is not clear. The date at which all ranks started wearing the black hackle in their ToS is not clear. Photo records available online are ambiguous because many are not dated. Other uniform details are not immediately helpful.

However with regard to the emergence of the black hackle as a distinction for the Cameronians, a general outline chronology can be drawn.

1881 26th Cameronians and 90th Perthshire Volunteers Light Infantry combined to become

------------ 1st and 2nd battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

-------- Uniform is in Rifle green with Home Service helmet or plain glengarry, Highland doublet and Government tartan trews.

1890 Cameronians adopt Douglas tartan trews and a plain RIfle green Shako in HLI style with a vertical 'plume' of black egret and vulture feathers for officers; [?] horsehair for men.

1898< Wolseley sun helmet observed in general use by officers of Scottish regiments, eg Q.O. Cameron Hldrs. By 1902, it is replacing 1877 Foreign Service helmet for all ranks.

1899 - 1st Bn Cameronians arrive in South Africa, following fifteen years service in India, and remain there till 1909

---------2nd Bn Cameronians arrive in South Africa from Gibraltar. They return to UK in 1902

1902 Khaki Service Dress with Glengarry worn by Scottish regiments; Rifle green for Cameronians. Wolseley sun helmet is worn with khaki drill in Mediterranean, Africa and and East of Suez

1911 Officers of 2nd Battalion in khaki drill, departing for Malta, are wearing a black plume with flash in their Wolseley sun helmets. Is this from their full dress shako?

1915 Balmoral/ToS replaces Glengarry bonnet as head dress for active service. Only tartan flashes and badges are worn. Glengarry worn behind the lines. .

1919 Full Dress suspended. Glengarry worn by all Scottish regiments for parade wear; ToS for drill, training and active service

Post War: 1st battalion still referring to themselves as 'Cameronians'. 2nd Battalion refer to themselves as Scottish Rifles. This 'lasted well into the 1930s'

1919-30 2nd Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in India and Iraq

1931 1st Battalion arrive in Lucknow. Officers wear black hackle in sun helmet with parade dress. They remain in East till 1946

1946 1st Battalion reduced. 2nd Battalion becomes 1st Bn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

1948 'Lowland Bonnet' adopted in Rifle Green by Cameronians, worn with black hackle and Regimental badge.

1958 Cameronians badged as part of Lowland Brigade. Bonnet replaced with Glengarry for wear with No. 1 and No. 2 dress.

-------Black hackle adopted in ToS with Lowland Bde badge and tartan flash by officers and (senior) NCOs

1962-67 Black hackle subsequently adopted for wear with ToS by all ranks

1968 Regiment disbands

Edited by jf42

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I've seen photos of the Seaforths in India with white hackles in their Wolseley helmets.

Regiments of the North Irish Brigade also started wearing hackles in their caubeens around 1948.

The Royal Irish Fusiliers wore a green hackle.

The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers a grey hackle

The Royal Ulster Rifles a black hackle.

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. . . to jf42's points . . .

The aforementioned black hackle in a Cameronians Wolesley and the OR and Officers' shakos with their respective plumes.

Edited by Poison Dwarf

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Thank you for those. Interesting to see the OR version of the Wolseley distinction. It's hard to see but it seems to be more of a 'brush' than a hackle- as per the OR shako.

The date would appear to be inter-war. Do we know where it was taken- i.e.which battalion?

Smart shirt- black, green or dark blue? It suggests the 2nd Bn(Scottish Rifles) rather than the 1st (Cameronians) but that's a guess.

Smart hose tops!

Damn, they were smart head to toe, so they were!

And how old can that man be?

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Here's a detail scan, but yes, it's very like the upper portion of the OR's shako brush, not a feather hackle at all.

Tough to say exactly where or when it was taken. The back reads "Post Card" in English, French, Italian, and Spanish, but is otherwise blank. The painted background has a Mediterranean feel to it, so I'd guess Malta.

He's wearing blackened "Cameronians" shoulder titles. Did the Cameronians v Scottish Rifles distinction extend to shoulder titles? As for the shirt, could be any dark color, but black or rifles green would certainly make sense. Interesting to see the collar tucked away. It must have been hot, wherever he was.

I'd bet he's not a day over 19 years.

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The hair looks wrong for pre-WW1, to me; the shorts, too. I may be wrong. But rather than the 2nd Bn's posting to Malta 1910-1914, perhaps their visit to Palestine in 1937 is a better bet. I guess a black shirt is unlikely, all things considered, but dark green can't have helped either in what was clearly a very hot place.

As for the shoulder titles and other distinctions between 1st and 2nd Bns The Cameronians, this is a new area for me and I imagine there might be someone a lot better qualified to comment.

I am also, with pleasure, having to peel away years of prejudice, being a son of The Black Watch !

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A quick internet search reveals that from 1921, both battalions wore the curved and blackened "Cameronians" shoulder title, so this could well be the 2nd Batt. in Palestine.

Your comment about old prejudices reminded me of this quip I saw printed in the 2002 Covenanter:

“From an old Seaforth Highlander explaining the difference between Cameronians and Cameron Highlanders:

‘The Cameronians were intelligent fighters. The Cameron Highlanders were neither.’ ”

All in fun, of course.

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Makes a change hearing the Cameronians not be the butt of the joke, but as far as I can see, from family experience at any rate, the Black Watch had precious little good to say about anyone! Cameronians, very bad blood, Royal Scots -'First and Worst', Scots Guards-'Woodentops' ( always poaching the taller men), and those upstart Camerons had been treading on the Royal Highland regiment's coat tails ever since they persuaded Queen Victoria to grant them "Queens Own" status, wore a plain glengarry and got themselves a blue hackle! My father was always being rude about Camerons of his aquaintance at Highland Brigade. All his superiors, of course.

And all in fun, of course.

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To get back to the second or third topic addressed in this thread: Balmorals, tams, etc. . . . here's a shot of some Cameronian squaddies (left and right) who appear to made friends with an Aussie (a presumption based on the headgear). No tartan behind the badges (from what I can see) and definitely no hackles. I recognize this is not what one would call a full-dress occasion.

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It's just possible there are tartan flashes there but obscured by the lack of contrast in the photo. Unless flashes were only worn on the ToS in temperate climes, but I can't think why that might be.

It would seem that the black hackle didn't transfer from the Wolseley helmet to the Balmoral and subsequently the ToS till after the end of WW2 and the reduction to a single battalion. Up until then, it appears to have been purely a distinction worn in hot climates where at least one of the battalions had been serving during inter war years; indeed, since the beginning of the century apart from the four years of WW1.

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A quick internet search reveals that from 1921, both battalions wore the curved and blackened "Cameronians" shoulder title, so this could well be the 2nd Batt. in Palestine.

1921 seems spot on. I'm almost sure he is wearing the boot with crescent-shaped toecase that was introduced in 1918 and out of use by the mid-20s.

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That's an impressive level of detail!

If your assessment is correct, that would make our man a rifleman of the 2nd Battalion (More Scottish Rifles than Cameronians ) in Mesopotamia from 1918 or in India on the NWF from January 1922.

The 2nd Bn remained on the NWF till January 1930- (with a quick dip into Kurdistan in 1923)

(See: archived regiments.org

< http://web.archive.o...-inf/090-1.htm>)

The only question mark over that conclusion is the post card with "Post Card" in English, French, Italian, and Spanish on the back, which suggests a more Mediterranean, European focus. Taking that into consideration, the 2nd Bn's tour in Palestine in 1937 would be a more persuasive hot-weather posting. In any case, at least the shoulder titles tell us the picture isn't from a pre-1914 posting.

As regards the photo of the two Cameronian jocks in the east, the man with the slouch hat in the middle need not be an Australian- (did they serve in India/ Burma?). He could be a British soldier, even a Cameronian, wearing the felt hat issued to replace the Wolseley for field service in India/Burma during WW2 (Is that an Aussie face or a Scottish face?). The 1st Cameronians served in India from 1931 and then in Burma against the Japanese until the battalion was reduced in 1946 and amalgamated with the 2nd to form a one battalion regiment.

Edited by jf42

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Re: The photo of the sitting Cameronian Rifleman. I believe the shirt is the old 'greyback' worn by ORs in India. Officers of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Royal Highland Fusiliers woregrey shirts in shirt sleeve order until their disbandment, officers and WOs1 of all Bns of the Royal Regiment of Scotland continue the tradition, a legacy of service on colonial India's NWF.

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That's an impressive level of detail!

If your assessment is correct, that would make our man a rifleman of the 2nd Battalion (More Scottish Rifles than Cameronians ) in Mesopotamia from 1918 or in India on the NWF from January 1922.

The 2nd Bn remained on the NWF till January 1930- (with a quick dip into Kurdistan in 1923)

(See: archived regiments.org

< http://web.archive.o...-inf/090-1.htm>)

The only question mark over that conclusion is the post card with "Post Card" in English, French, Italian, and Spanish on the back, which suggests a more Mediterranean, European focus. Taking that into consideration, the 2nd Bn's tour in Palestine in 1937 would be a more persuasive hot-weather posting. In any case, at least the shoulder titles tell us the picture isn't from a pre-1914 posting.

Army boots of this period are an interest of mine (how sad is that?!), and I have a 1918 dated pair of this pattern. Research (mine and others') indicates that they probably only got to the Western Front in very limited numbers in the final few weeks of the war, and I doubt very much that any got to Mespot before the Armistice. The pattern was declared obsolete sometime in the 1920s and is thus unlikely to have been in use in 1937. So I think this photo can safely be pinned down to India in the early 1920s.

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