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    Cape Town Highlanders Feather Bonnet

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    Founded in 1885 as a kilted regiment , they were also known as the Duke of  Connaught and Strathearn's Own.    In July of that year they were augmented by the Scottish Company of the Duke of Edinburgh's Own Volunteer Rifles , bringing their numbers to 250 men and officers.

    They are a distinguished Regiment and have many Battle Honours.  Their first engagement was the Langberg Campaign of 1897  -  followed by the Boer War , where they served for the entire campaign and their total numbers involved rose to 996 of all ranks.  Their uniform at this period was kilts , a blue patrol jacket and white helmets.  They carried the single shot Martini Henry rifle.

    During the 1st WW they fought in South West Africa and in the 2nd WW  were an armoured car regt. and later formed part of the Sixth SA Armoured Division.  Due to joint service in the Boer War with the Gordon Highlanders their was a close relationship and in 1932 an alliance with them was officially approved.

    From 1928 the Pipe Major wore an ostrich feather bonnet.   I would judge this example to be approx. 50 years old  -  a rare item.  I will probably put this on our For Sale section.     Mervyn



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    A smart example Mervyn, with a satisfying personal angle. I have my grandfather's pre-1914 feather bonnet in storage, afraid to let it out for the moths pounce on.

     I think the black ribbons were standard to all feather bonnets. They represented the adjustable ribbon found on the  original flat Scotch bonnet as well as on the Glengarry and some Balmorals. It represented today by a silk bow at the back of  the khaki 'Tam o' Shanter.' 

    I suspect the reference to the death of Queen VIctoria is one of those 'reverse engineered' explanations that have been applied to various details in the uniforms of British regiments and their former colonial affiliates.

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