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leigh kitchen

The 14th Londons (London Scottish) In WWI.

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Sponsored by The Highland Society of London and The Caledonian Society of London, The London Scottish Rifle Volunteers were raised in 1859, under the command of Lt Col Lord Elcho (later The Earl of Wemyss and March)& recruited from Scotsmen resdent in London.

Changes in the unit's title up until the end of WWI were:

1859, 15th Middlesex (London Scottish) Rifle Volunteer Corps

In 1880, 7th Middlesex (London Scottish) Rifle Volunteers

In 1881, allotted to The Rifle Brigade as one of its volunteer battalions, without a change in title

In 1891, 7th Middlesex (London Scottish) Volunteer Rifle Corps

In 1908, 14th County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (London Scottish) (Territorial Force)

(This title was retained until 1922, when 14th London Regiment (London Scottish) was adopted)

1915 The 14th County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (London Scottish) TF) was renumbered as 1/14th County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (London Scottish), upon the formation of a second battalion & ultimately a third battalion (2/14th & 3/14th County of London) Battalions, The London Regiment (London Scottish))

1916 The 14th County of London) Battalions, The London Regiment (London Scottish) were transferred to the corps of The Gordon Highlanders, without a change in title.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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The regimental tartan was (& still is that of the current “A” (“London Scottish”) Company of The London Regiment) “Hodden Grey”, a plain, grey/lavender coloured cloth.

The choice of this tartan avoided the possibilty of discontent within the unit with the choice of a tartan of any particular clan, & Lord Elcho regarded it as suitable that a tartan with such camouflage properties should clad hunters of men as it did hunters of deer.

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During the Boer War of 1900 – 02, The London Scottish provided contingents of volunteers to serve with a number of units including The Gordon Highlanders & The City Imperial Volunteers, taking part in a number of actions, including those at Houtnek Poort, at Doornkop & the Battle of Diamond Hill, & as part of 2nd Bn The Gordon Highlanders, at Lydenburg.

They were awarded the battle honour "SOUTH AFRICA 1900 - 1902".

In 1908, with the formation of the new Terrtorial Force & demise of the old Volunteer Force, The 7th Middlesex (London Scottish) Volunteer Rifles Corps changed its title to The 14th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (London Scottish).

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At the outbreak of WWI in August 1914, The 1st Battalion was mobilised at once, & sent to France

At the Battle of Messines on 31/10/1914 a battle that merged into those of Armentierres to the south & First Ypres to the north, the 1st Bn London Scottish became the first British Territorial infantry battalion to see action against the Germans.

Suffering 43% casualties, it is reported that the rifle & ammunition combination they were equpped with, caused many weapon jams. During the battle the Scots counter attacked the Germans, charging with the bayonet. 300 of the battalion answered roll call.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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At Messines, glengary badges were removed as were sporran badges & tassels, although this illustration by Pierre Turner shows the sporran badge & tassels being worn.

The glengary sports a blue toorie, & blue garter flashes are worn, & khaki spats.

Khaki kilt aprons were’nt worn, but the Hodden grey tartan of the kilts & the hose tops (Pipers wore diced hose tops) was a suitably subdued camouflage, an apron being of more use to prevent the kilt being soaked with ran & laden with mud.

The figure is wearing the 1904 pattern infantry greatcoat & 1908 pattern web equipment, & a bandolier of .303 ammuniton, two five round clips to each of the five pouches. The ammunition came in these thin khaki cotten bandolers, within boxes & could be distributed & carried quickly & ready for immediate use once unboxed.

The Imperial War Museum photo shows men after the battle, no badges in the glengarys, some wearing sporrans with tassels.

Of 750 officers & men, 321 became casualties during the battle.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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This illustration by Mike Chappell shows a Captain of 1st Bn, 1914 – 15.

Bronzed thistle collar badges are worn, with “T” underneath, denoting that he is a TF officer. The silver cap badge is worn on the dark blue glengary, which appears to have dark colored patch, possibly black silk rather than Hodden grey? The glengary has a blue toorie. Cuff ranking is worn.

The silver or white metal Imperial Service Badge, worn since 1912 by members of the TF who were prepared to serve outside the United Kingdom in defence of the empire, is worn on the right breast, a sporran badge similar to the cap badge is worn, as opposed to the men’s thistle badge, as are tassels, & both braces of the officer’s leather equipment are worn, with broadsword. The Hodden grey kilt is worn without an apron, & has a blue silk ribbon at its opening, the hose tops are of Hodden grey, with blue garter flashes, khaki spats are worn, & a Skean Dhua is worn tucked into the right hose top.

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The 1st Bn served in France and Flanders throughout the war, during First Ypres the battalion lost half its strength. On 1st July 1916, the frst day of The Battle of The Somme, the battalion suffered 558 casualties, about 70% of its strength .

An 2nd Lieutenant of 1st Bn, The Somme, 1916, by G A Embleton.

In the spring of 1915 a khaki tam o’shanter was issued to replace the dark blue glengary, but officers did’nt adopt the tam o-shanter until 1917, after which forms of headgear were worn.

The steel helmet having been introduced in 1916, officers of The 1st Bn London Scottish wore a blue toorie on the left side of the helmet cover. Sources vary as to whether this was an officer only practice, but it was short lived as it provided the enemy with an aiming mark. The khaki kilt apron is worn

The red inverted inverted triangle of 168th Brigade (56th (London Division TF), which 1st Bn joined in February 1916, is worn on both sleeves, 56th Division’s red sword of Wat Tyler may have been worn point up between the shoulders of the jacket.

Rank insignia is worn on the gauntlet cuffs, regimental collar badges are worn, & the ribbon of the Territorial Decoration.

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This illustration by Mike Chappell shows a Private of 1st Bn in 1917.

A Hodden grey patch is worn behind the badge on the tam o’shanter, the blue toorie on the left side of the helmet cover, the Hodden grey hose tops with blue garter flashes are worn, as are the insignia of 168th Bde. The brass T/14/COUNTY OF LONDON shoulder titles have been replaced with LONDON SCOTTISH ones.

Puttees are worn rather than spats, & a breech cover to prevent the action of the rifle being contaminated with mud.

The Imperial War Museum photograph show London Scottish "going up the line" in 1917, the pPipers are wearing cocks feathers in their glengarys & some are wearing the red "SB" on khaki Stretcher Bearer's armband.

Officers & men wear the blue toorie on the left side of the helmet.

1914 Pattern leather equipment is being worn.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Taking part in all the major offensives & the last advance though Belgium, 1st Bn joined the Army of Occupation at Cologne.

This man, James Burns Gilbert is a member of "D" Company, 1st Bn London Scottish, the photograph was taken on the march, from Givry to Mons, 1919, when the battalion was en route to join the Army of Occupation.

More of him later.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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The 2nd Bn of The London Scottish was raised at the outbreak of WWI, serving at home (including in Ireland from April – May 1916, where it sustained fatalities) until 22/6/1916, when it went to France.

On 29/10/1916 it went to Salonika, to Egypt on 4/7/1917, Palestine, where it took part in the capture of Jerusalem, 1917-18, & to France 22/6/1918

The 3rd Bn The London Scottish was raised in 1914 as a Reserve Battalion and supplied drafts to the 1st & 2nd Battalions.

The regiment was awarded 2 Victoria Crosses & suffered 1542. fatalities during WWI.

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The medal index card of Pte James B Gilbert, 516109 of The London Scottish, 44502 of The Royal Scots Fusiliers.

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The MIC isn't particularly informative, but his certifcate of discharge to the reserve shows that he also served with The Royal Flying Corps, being called up for service with The RFC on 12/9/1917, & with The Gordon Highlanders which was by the time he was called up, the parent corps of The London Scottish, The Royal Scottish Fusilers was the unit from which he was transferred to the reserve, as a sergeant, on 10/12/1919.

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The image of James Burns Gilbert shown in post no. 5 is from this photograph which belonged to him,

"D Coy 1st Batt London Scottish on the march from Givry to Mons 1919 X on the top of my head"

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"H Quarters & 16 Platoon Givry to Mons 1919"

Two men in the foreground wear the red on khaki "SB" armbands of stretcher bearers.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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"D Comy London Scottish on the march from Givry to Mons 1919"

Two of the men are wearing glegarys, the patch behind the badge appears to be black, the Hodden grey patch on the tam o'shanters shows as a lighter colour.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Leigh

Another very interesting thread, thanks. Am away from home for a few weeks so do not have access to anything to add here at the moment.

I do remember that the Royal Sussex museum in Eastbourne has a full London Scottish uniform from around 1910 - 14 period, I'll see if I can find my photos when I get back.

Keep up the good work as always Simon

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These are a nice little set of photos, Gilbert's Victory Medal & the other bits & pieces were given to me by an antique dealer back in 1991, as he knew I had an interest in miltaria, Gilbert was an uncle of his.

I like the photos, they show men at the end of the war, slogging along on foot through such an emotive place as Mons, en route to Germany.

Nice photos of the CO, Padre & RSM.

This photo shows piled rifles, some of which have breech covers:

"H Quarters Staff resting in Mons 1919":

Edited by leigh kitchen

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"The Regt Sergt Major 1st London Scottish 1919"

The RSM's brass Royal Coat of Arms rank insignia are visible on the lower sleeves of both arms, the inverted red triangle on the upper right. His medal ribbons may include that of the Miltary Cross. He is possibly wearing collar badges.

On the right sleeve, below the rank badge, are overseas service chevrons. There appear to be four chevrons, all the same colour, which means that they are coloured blue - the chevrons were introduced in December 1917, qualifying service ceased on 1/5/1920 & they were discontinued in wear in 1922. The first was awarded the day of departure overseas, further chevrons for each aggregation of one year. Leave periods back in the UK were still counted towards qualfication as long as they did'nt exceed one month. A red chevron was worn by those serving overseas prior to 1/1/1915, it's hard to say from the photo but the RSM appears not be wearing a fifth, red chevron under the four blue.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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The last of the photographs in James Burns Gilbert's little grouping - "Colonel and Padre 1st Batt London Scottish 1919".

The "Colonel", presumably Lt Colonel & Commanding Officer of the battalion , wears his rank insignia on the gauntlet cuffs of his jacket, a practise that died out during the war in favour of showing rank insignia on shoulder straps, thus making it harder for the enemy to identfy officers.

The Padre wears his rank insignia on the shoulderstraps of his Service Dress tunic, which does not have the cutaway skirts worn by Scottish units, although he does wear Scottish tribal headgear.

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James Burns Gilbert's Victory Medal, named to :

516109 PTE J. B. GILBERT . 14 - LONDON. R.

A modern replacement ribbon I'm afraid.

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Here is a nice London Scottish Group photograph which passed through the collection recently, Although dated 1932 I have included it here as it shows World War 1 service ribbons in wear.

london scots.JPG

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