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Chrisnp

Royal Highland Fusiliers TOS?

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Thanks to a person on another forum, I have confirmation this TOS was worn by the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

I believe the hole in the middle of the middle of the tartan backing was for the white hackle.  I've seen this same tartan flash/backing online for the Highland Light Infantry, but I presume there would be lug holes instead of a hole in the middle, or if a slider, the hole would be higher

I cannot date this TOS from the markings because the lining has been cut out.  This poses another question - was this a common practice in the British Army?  I know from experience that American soldiers commonly remove the lining from their berets.  Under what circumstances did they wear the khaki TOS with only the hackle and no badge? I've been informed the TOS was worn with the material pulled forward, not to the side as shown.  The TOS might also be Canadian, as it was found in Texas, and our brothers up north are a bit closer.

Thanks in advance everyone

Chris

  

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Edited by Chrisnp

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Actually I thought of the Seaforth at first, but photos I've seen of the Mackenzie tartan on a Seaforth TOS have the lines running diagonally.  Plus there are no lug holes for the Seaforth badge.  I certainly would not mind learning otherwise

CHRIS 

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It became a Royal Highland Fusilers fashion from about 1970 onwards, perhaps a little later,  to cut down and stiffen the crown of the ToS in order to shape it with the front  tipped down and the sides cocked up.  I wouldn't swear to  it but that bonnet looks likes to me like the current issue model ToS  for Scottish troops.

Before the great amalgamation of 2006, the  Lowland Regiments, indeed most Scottish regiments other than the Black Watch,  favoured the Glengarry in most orders of dress, even in Aden and in Northern Ireland for a while, reserving the ToS for working dress and field training. 

Generally, speaking hackles were not worn with the Glengarry apart from the Queen's Own Highlanders who, on the amalgamation of the QO Camerons with the Seaforths in 1961, having eschewed the blue bonnet,  started to wear a discreet blue tuft on their Glengarry behind the cap badge. The QO Camerons  had been granted a blue hackle in their ToS by George VI in 1939.

A number of Scottish regiments,  both Lowland and Highland, adopted a hackle with the bonnet post-1945, hitherto the preserve of the Black Watch: Cameronians, HLI,  QO Camerons.

With the ToS, customs varied. Some regiments wore their cap badge but in the case of the Royal Highland Fusilers when wearing the ToS, only the white hackle was worn with the tartan flash. Possibly the large grenade cap badge and the hackle did not sit well together on the bonnet.   The white plume had been a traditional fusilier symbol dating from the late C18th but had only been worn in the Fusiliers Full Dress fur cap.  The arrangement  in the  RHF ToS may have been part of the negotiations for the Highland Light Infantry to amalgamate with a Lowland Regiment  (The Royal Scots Fusiliers) after having only regained full, kilted Highland status (including a white over red hackle ) just after the war.  

The symbolism is a little confused. All Highland regiments  other than the Black Watch had worn a white hackle in their feather bonnets from 1829 and  post-1902 the Seaforths had also worn a white hackle  for Full Dress  in their Wolsey sun helmets when in India (Possiblly the Royal Scots Fusiliers did too, I am not sure) However, those customs had been done away with after WW2, leaving the field clear for the Royal Highland  Fusiliers to flourish theirs. 

In the group posted  imediately below, taken at Glencorse Scottish Infantry Training Centre in1980,  the training corporal on the left is RHF, next is unidentified (KOSB/RS) then two Black Watch. Interestingly, the RHF corporal appears not to be wearing a hackle in his bonnet.

 

RHF, KOSB:?RS BW, BW.jpg

RHF bottom left (Chappell).jpg

RHF later.jpg

RSF WW.jpg

Edited by jf42
re-post of images & tidy up

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Actually I thought of the Seaforth at first, but photos I've seen of the Mackenzie tartan on a Seaforth TOS have the lines running diagonally.  Plus there are no lug holes for the Seaforth badge.  I certainly would not mind learning otherwise

CHRIS 

Going from very distant memory here, but I seem to remember that different Seaforth battalions wore the tartan differently, one diagonal, one vertical/horizontal.  Not sure which was which.   Perhaps  some one can elucidate. 

H

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1st Seaforths wore a Mackenzie tartan flash in 'saltire' from before the 1st WW. Mike Chappell has painted a portrait of a 2nd Seaforth Highlander in 1918 with what appears to be a  Mackenzie tartan flash on the cross with a central vertical white stripe but I have seen no confirmation of that.

Just to add some more background on RHF, both RSF and HLI wore tartan flashes on the cross. The 1st Bn HLI wore a white hackle from circa 1945 until 1947 when  2nd Bn HLI  disbanded and they took over their red and white hackle.

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It became a Royal Highland Fusilers fashion from about 1970 onwards, perhaps a little later,  to cut down and stiffen the crown of the ToS in order to shape it with the front  tipped down and the sides cocked up.  I wouldn't swear to  it but that bonnet looks likes to me like the current issue model ToS  for Scottish troops.

Thanks so much for the detailed information and the time it must have taken to put together such an informative post.  The stiffening of the crown looks fairly extreme in the photos!  I wonder if it was merely starched or if some sort of stiffener was inserted inside the crown.

I do not know how long the current issue ToS you mentioned has been in service, but I do know this particular example turned up in a shop in Galveston Texas sometime between 1985 and 1989.  I often wonder how things get where they end up.Chris 

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I believe wire was used to stiffen the 'brim' of the bonnet. The material used would need to have been water resistant.

I am not sure when the current  model of issue bonnet came into use but I am fairly certain it was some time after 1989.

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1st Seaforths wore a Mackenzie tartan flash in 'saltire' from before the 1st WW. Mike Chappell has painted a portrait of a 2nd Seaforth Highlander in 1918 with what appears to be a  Mackenzie tartan flash on the cross with a central vertical white stripe but I have seen no confirmation of that.

Just to add some more background on RHF, both RSF and HLI wore tartan flashes on the cross. The 1st Bn HLI wore a white hackle from circa 1945 until 1947 when  2nd Bn HLI  disbanded and they took over their red and white hackle.

Aha!  So the "little grey cells' have not completely abandoned me yet.  Many thanks.  

H

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Good Afternoon Gents

I, as a former member of the RHF, can confirm that the image is of a Royal Highland Fusiliers Tam O'Shanter (TOS).

The hole that you mentioned, in one of the comments, is for the White Hackle. 

There should be no other holes in the TOS as the RHF did not wear a capbadge in this form of headdress. They did wear a capbadge in the Glengarry.

There was no wire in the TOS. The use of starch and a good iron was all that was needed to keep the shape.

If you have any other questions regarding the RHF I will be happy to answer them.

Regards

24858229 

WO2 WORRALL

RHF 1990 - 2014

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