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men in skirt in a church parade on armistice


bartensabien
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extract from an interview with a civilian eye witness (interview taken in 1985)

... a Scottish regiment had their billets in the village (Gulleghem). On 11th november (1918) we heard pipers. All local people went to the center of the village to see what was happening. In front of the church there was a taptoe. Never before we had seen this : men wearing a skirt and playing the bagpipes. In the evening we heard that the Germans had surrended.....

I know it will be a difficult question : does some know what Scottish or Irish regiment, battalion was staying in Gulleghem (Between Ypres and Courtrai) on Armistice day.

I found that the 34th Division was staying in the village next door (5 miles away), but could not find more details about my village.

Regards,

Bart

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Interesting. If the unit had been billeted there but they had never seen a 'man in a skirt' before it would suggest that the kilt was not being worn as a day to day item of uniform.

I wonder what a 'taptoe' was - a tattoo or perhaps some highland dancing?

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So my first guess was right - shame in a way it wasn't highland dancing. I had this fantastc mental picture of something like George MacDonald Frazier's "The General Danced 'till Dawn" with bewildered Flemish villagers being swept into ever more complex reels. (The sort of thing one of the old Flemish masters would have painted).

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Malcolm, I have a copy of British Regiments 1914-1918 by Brigadier E. A. James. Among other things, it gives details of where each battalion was on 11.11.18. Brig. James says that the 1/5 Argylls were part of 103rd Brigade, 34th Division, in France, at Halluin.

Tom

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Wouldn't be an Irish unit as they didn't adopt the kilt for pipers until after WW1 IIRC.

Tattoo is the English "corruption" of taptoe - literally means "turning off the taps" with reference to the serving of beer. The Taptoe, or tattoo, was sounded by the drummers to summon soldiers back to camp after the evening's "revelry".

From the 18th century "Wars in the Low Countries".

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Bart,

Probably a unit from 9th (Scottish) Div, 26th Highland Brigade -

8th Black Watch

7th Seaforth

5th Cameron

The division was out of the line on 11th and spent the day celebrating at their billets, but I thought those were more around Harlebeke.

Ian

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read that te Newfoundlanders were staying in Gulleghem and Harlebeke.

Were they wearing skirts ?

regards,

BArt

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Bart,

Probably a unit from 9th (Scottish) Div, 26th Highland Brigade -

8th Black Watch

7th Seaforth

5th Cameron

The division was out of the line on 11th and spent the day celebrating at their billets, but I thought those were more around Harlebeke.

Ian

Hi Bart and Ian

From the History of The Black Watch in the Great War , Volume Three, New Army, page 69. (Wauchope)

8th Black Watch. On November 10th, marched back to billets in Harlebeke, where news of the acceptance of the Armistice was received about 7pm. Troops and civilians thronged the streets of the village, and the bands of the Brigade played until nearly midnight. On November 11th information was received that Armistice was to take effect from 11am., and the day was observed as a holiday.

Tom

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Hi Tom,

Thanks for the reply.

Harelbeke is not so far away, but not good enough ... <_<

Is there more in the book about their actions on 13, 15, 15 and 16 October ?

Bart

Hi Bart and Ian

From the History of The Black Watch in the Great War , Volume Three, New Army, page 69. (Wauchope)

8th Black Watch. On November 10th, marched back to billets in Harlebeke, where news of the acceptance of the Armistice was received about 7pm. Troops and civilians thronged the streets of the village, and the bands of the Brigade played until nearly midnight. On November 11th information was received that Armistice was to take effect from 11am., and the day was observed as a holiday.

Tom

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