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2nd Seaforth Highlanders kit


Andrew Upton
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This afternoon I was able to pick up the following glengarry from one of the Bristol militaria dealers for £20, which seemed to me a bargain price, especially as it's my size as well:

aVAslhJ.jpg

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aVAsKe9.jpg

I have long been interested in putting together the relevant kit for WW1 living history that a relative of mine who died during the war would probably have been wearing - he was Private Isaac Shortman, 681, of the 2nd Bn. Seaforth Highlanders. A coal miner before the war, he seems to have been a regular at the outbreak of war, being shipped out to France on August 23rd 1914 with the rest of the 2nd Battalion. Seven weeks later he was killed in action on the 13th of October during the assault on the village of Meteren, where he lies buried to this day.

Scottish kit has always been a bit of a minefield to me when compared to standard British kit, so I am keen to get it right first time! From what I've seen Joe Sweeney and other write in the past, the glengarry I have is almost certainly of Great War vintage as it has the leather edging at the bottom, see post 12 of -

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...mp;hl=glengarry

The same thread would also seem to confirm that the glengarry I have is suitable for Seaforth Highlanders (although mine has no backing material for a badge, and the 2 holes punched about 1 1/2 inches apart for a badge seem to preclude it having been badged to the Seaforths originally, which seem to have used badges with four lugs closely spaced on two rows).

So my main question really is - what would a pre-war regular Private of the 2nd Bn Seaforth Highlanders have been wearing on the Western Front between August and October of 1914, from top to toe? At the moment, I'm presuming (from my limited knowledge) diced glengarry as I now have, with backing material and badge as per the example linked earlier, cut-away SD jacket with rifle patches and pleated breast pockets, kilt and cover (details on what specific kilt are hazy - I know there are variations in pattern and indeed pleats!). Footware - khaki spats over the low shoes/boots/brogues (not certain of the right term)? When did boots and low puttees appear? Would he have been wearing the diced socks I think, if so what do they look like? All topped off with 1908 webbing and a pre-war MkIII SMLE with all the bells and whistles?

Anything anyone can help me with/correct/build up the detail much appreciated, especially any pictures of originals so I know what to look out for!

With thanks in advance.

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Andrew

Equipment pretty much as you suppose. Highland shoes with diced hosetops and garters. The boots and short puttees appeared early in 1915. His webbing would have the unmodified lefthand pouch, and very probably also the early patterns of haversack and water bottle carrier. By 1914 most of the regular army had been equipped with webbing for at least a couple of years, and old patterns would be used until they wore out.

Don't know about the kilt but I doubt you will have to wait long for an answer.

Regards,

W.

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I have some photos of the battalion C1914, I will dig them out and post them latter. His kilt would be of Mackenzie tartan. The garters or Flashes as they are also know would have been of regimental pattern.

That is a nice Glengarry you have. They are hard to find now bound in leather. It should not be too hard to find a badge and a cockade for it. Not all WW1 Seaforth badges had 4 lugs, I have one which came straight from the family of a 4th Bn man and it has 3 lugs. I will check my other ones and see what I have.

Regards,

Stewart

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Andrew, Seaforth Highlanders ( not sure of which Bn )not western front attire re webbing etc but the period is about right . Bedford, 14/15

Chris

Seaforthscol.jpg

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Bedford = 1st/5th or 1st/6th Bn Seaforths in 51st Div.

Actually the 1/4th Seaforths were in Bedford as well.

Not all the Bns at Bedford immediately went to the 51st (H) Div in France (case in point the 1/4th Gordons)

There is one question that has not been raised yet. Did the 2nd Seaforths have SMLEs or were they still armed with "Long" CCLEs. Chances are the former being a regular Battn. but I don't think it is 100% certain. The pics above show SMLEs but is it known that these are the 2nd Seaforths rather than just generic "seaforths" There have been a couple of interesting threads on this recently. I suspect SMLEs but certainly elements of the BEF in 14/15 were still armed with CLLEs

Chris

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Have brogues changed in style from that period to this or are the modern ones based on the old pattern ?

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Have brogues changed in style from that period to this or are the modern ones based on the old pattern ?

I believe they are still based on the same design although I cannot speak to precise detail.

Joe Sweeney published a superb article last year in a French militaria magazine (tilte of article Fantassin Ecossais de la Grande Guerre) which has great detail on glens and various other headgear as well as gaiters, hose-tops etc. and provides detail on dates of change/introduction.

Chris

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Andrew,

Here is the kit of Pte. Harry C Mountain 2nd Bn Seaforths. He was 3rd Battalion in 1914 to mid 1915.

Kilt is dated Aug 1915 and trews are dated 1914 (not worn in France)

Kit is correct for 1914.

They would of course of had P08 and SMLE MKIII.

They would have Highland Shoes, which were actually different than the brogues which were introduced in 1915. Minor construction differences. The current brogues date from the 1915 changes.

scan0002f.jpg

Joe Sweeney

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They would of course of had P08 and SMLE MKIII.

Joe Sweeney

Joe,

Sorry to be pedantic but is it really "of course" a ShtLE MkIII? (as opposed to CLLE which many TF units and apparently some regular units had)

Do we have conclusive (or even suggestive) evidence to this effect? If so could you point me in that direction?

Cheers

Chris

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Thanks for all the replies so far and apologies for the late reply, I was tracking this thread throughout yesterday, and just about each time I checked I was off scouting the web, Ebay, etc, to see just how easily available some of the bits are today :D

quote name='gnr.ktrha' date='May 27 2009, 11:06 AM' post='1192398']

I have some photos of the battalion C1914, I will dig them out and post them latter. His kilt would be of Mackenzie tartan. The garters or Flashes as they are also know would have been of regimental pattern.

That is a nice Glengarry you have. They are hard to find now bound in leather. It should not be too hard to find a badge and a cockade for it. Not all WW1 Seaforth badges had 4 lugs, I have one which came straight from the family of a 4th Bn man and it has 3 lugs. I will check my other ones and see what I have.

My mistake, I was looking at the one in the link I posted earlier which I thought had 4 lugs, but on closer inspection only seems to have three :rolleyes:

I believe they are still based on the same design although I cannot speak to precise detail.

Joe Sweeney published a superb article last year in a French militaria magazine (tilte of article Fantassin Ecossais de la Grande Guerre) which has great detail on glens and various other headgear as well as gaiters, hose-tops etc. and provides detail on dates of change/introduction.

I would be very interested to see a copy of this article if any Forum member can oblige.

Andrew,

Here is the kit of Pte. Harry C Mountain 2nd Bn Seaforths. He was 3rd Battalion in 1914 to mid 1915.

Kilt is dated Aug 1915 and trews are dated 1914 (not worn in France)

Kit is correct for 1914.

They would of course of had P08 and SMLE MKIII.

They would have Highland Shoes, which were actually different than the brogues which were introduced in 1915. Minor construction differences. The current brogues date from the 1915 changes.

Thanks Joe, I have been using this photograph over the last two days as reference material to check some kit against.

I now come back with even more questions, after I realised it had been Tocemma who'd posted a great deal of information on Highland kit in the past:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...amp;hl=highland

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...15&hl=boots

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...amp;hl=highland

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...&hl=flashes

Considering what's been written, Highland shoes as used at the start of the war (so most likely what Isaac Shortman was wearing when he was killed) seem to have been replaced with Brogues in September 1914 (apparently virtually identical, with some construction differences), does anyone know a source/s of Brogues (UK size 10) which don't have the fancy decoration most modern ones seem to have (ie severly plain like the 1913 pair Tocemma posted pictures of)?

Spats - I'd need a Khaki pair - does anyone know how the sizing on them works? Would a Size 5 Spat fit a UK size 5 foot, or this the sort of thing that can differ in height, foot size, etc? Anyone know a source for Khaki spats (as 4thGordons has mentioned in the past, most around today seem to be the whitened dress type).

Garter flashes - some of those shown in relation to Gordons kit seem to have pointy ends, from Chris' coloured picture and Joe's original grouping Seaforths appear to use one with overlapped flat ended material - does anyone have a better picture or example of what I need to look for, or sources of the same?

What insignia would they have been wearing on their tunics at this time? I assume plain brass Seaforths titles at the moment.

If anyone sees or has a Seaforths kilt for sale in Mackenzie tartan in good wearable shape suitable for someone 5'10 and with a 30-32 inch waist I'd be much appreciated if they'd let me know.

Otherwise, what appear to be suitable hose tops seem to be still fairly readily available, although expensive to buy new and much cheaper second hand on Ebay for example, probably just a matter of keeping my eyes open:

http://cgi.ebay.com.sg/Scottish-GORDON-HIG...%3A1%7C294%3A50

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"Spats - I'd need a Khaki pair - does anyone know how the sizing on them works? Would a Size 5 Spat fit a UK size 5 foot, or this the sort of thing that can differ in height, foot size, etc? Anyone know a source for Khaki spats (as 4thGordons has mentioned in the past, most around today seem to be the whitened dress type)."

If you can find some let me know....even repros....I have been looking for ages. Give up bidding on them when they go over 150pounds! just can't do it!! I think I am going to have to dye a white set here soon.

The gordons wore "Belled" flashes (doubled) flashes. I think I have a seaforths photo or two that should show theirs.

The title would (I think) have been SEAFORTH (no S) the S was added to GORDON in the 1920s and I think the same would have been true for the Seaforths

Off to look for some piccies.

Chris

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I wonder Andrew with the 1914 brogue being very scarce and no doubt very expensive. You might have to go for something that gets close to look of the genuine article .

these modern day parade shoes are not a million miles away from tocemma's bearing in mind also that the spats will be covering most of the shoe.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Size-10-male-raf-par...bayphotohosting

Or the other option maybe is to go for a pair of modern day issue brogues if all else fails.

http://www.meanandgreen.com/army/British_A...ues/520/72.html

Chris

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post-14525-1243527207.jpg

showing single (also belled?) flashes (worn with hose and puttees)

post-14525-1243527180.jpg

At camp (pre or very early war TF) - just because I like the pic! How old do you think the bugler is?

post-14525-1243527166.jpg

Chris

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And when you are done with this set you will also need a "sunday best" of course..... ;)

post-14525-1243527462.jpg

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What on earth is that sticking out from under the glengarry of the "Sunday best" man. It looks like it is being held on with a hat pin.

Looking at the 'at camp photo", they all look like boys, so may well be a cadet camp and not TF.

Alan

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What on earth is that sticking out from under the glengarry of the "Sunday best" man. It looks like it is being held on with a hat pin.

Looking at the 'at camp photo", they all look like boys, so may well be a cadet camp and not TF.

Alan

Except the chap in the centre holding the load of bread and about to be clobbered with a mallet has an imperial service badge (and 3 line T- Shoulder titles) on!

I suppose he could be an instructor.

And on the dress picture - just his hair!

post-14525-1243556392.jpg

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Hello Andrew/all,

I have a set of Seaforth garter flashes somewhere, I will look them out. The Great War brogues had the square toe of the period infantry boots. Later production (I believe I have notes stating that the pattern was changed post WW2, from memory 1946) have decorative 'perforations' in the uppers as per civilian and Officer pattern Highland shoes. During the South African War an earlier style was worn, a much simpler shoe pattern, and I once did some repair work on an 1900 dated pair, which I have some photos of somewhere. These may also just have made it into the Great War.

Spats will be difficult, not least because of the small shoe/boot sizes prevelant during the Great War. I have the pair shown in the earlier posting and I will give some measurements to allow these to be reproduced,

Regards

TM

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If you can find some let me know....even repros....I have been looking for ages. Give up bidding on them when they go over 150pounds! just can't do it!! I think I am going to have to dye a white set here soon.

The gordons wore "Belled" flashes (doubled) flashes. I think I have a seaforths photo or two that should show theirs.

The title would (I think) have been SEAFORTH (no S) the S was added to GORDON in the 1920s and I think the same would have been true for the Seaforths

Hmm, given what you've said and Tocemmas posting, I might look into making a pair or two - the difficult part will be sourcing suitable material, but whilst I have been looking on the web one source was complaining about the quality of modern dress spats, and said they were fairly easy to make yourself to a better standard (how this will apply to WW1 examples we'll have to see!).

Of course, now I go and check my copy of "British Tommy". where the Seaforth title is clearly illustrated... :rolleyes:

I wonder Andrew with the 1914 brogue being very scarce and no doubt very expensive. You might have to go for something that gets close to look of the genuine article .

these modern day parade shoes are not a million miles away from tocemma's bearing in mind also that the spats will be covering most of the shoe.

Or the other option maybe is to go for a pair of modern day issue brogues if all else fails.

"Between the devil and the deep blue sea" as my driving instructor would have said - my initial reaction was the parade shoes capture the period look rather better than the modern issue brogues now do, and they could easily be brought more to period specification (hobnails, heels irons, etc) by a local shoe repair place I have been using to repair my various living history boots over the last few years.

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And when you are done with this set you will also need a "sunday best" of course..... ;)

post-14525-1243527462.jpg

Indeed, when you go down the route of a new set of kit, the variations that can be developed from it are endless :lol:

Not the best of photos but here is one of Mountain's flashes.

Excellent, many thanks for that Joe, they look like they would be very easy to make copies of myself - I have already been able to source 38mm red cotton webbing tape with the herringbone weave on the web. Just to check, it is just essentially four single layers of tape made from two overlapped pieces sewn together? It's probably just a trick of the light, but in the third shot it looks a bit like the two shortest bits showing are a double thickness.

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