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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

The Kilt...


Guest Hill 60
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Interesting piece, Lee. I would be pleased to see quotes from anyone who writes of his experiences actually wearing the kilt in WW1, or since for that matter. To me, the thought of serving in trenches in a kilt sounds awful, but then "If you haven`t tried it, don`t knock it"! Phil B

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This is from 'Behind the Lines' by Col W N Nicholson, who was a staff officer in 51 (Highland) Div. He doesn't give an exact date but I would place this as between Sep 15 and Jun 16 -

'He [Gen Harper] entirely agreed with the wish of the division to abolish the kilt. It was in fact inconceivable that in such a war a kilt should be worn. With water up to the waist in some part of the trenches, the kilt got soaked and caked with mud, and the man became exhausted by the weight of his dress. The is no uniform more conspicuous than a kilt; or easier to identify by an enemy; none more expensive, or took up more space in ordnance trains and wagons. It was beloved of lice.'

Nicholson goes on to say that the case for abolishing the kilt was rejected by the War Office, so the division accumulated 400 pairs of trousers per battalion as trench stores.

Jock

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There were aprons against the mud and the water...

Is a wet, mudded woolen trousers much better?

I think nothing was excellent in the mud of flanders. Even now we still don't know what is the best.

Waders make you sweat >>> trench foot + cold feet

Trousers keep you wet >>> other diseases, trench foot of the puttees

Kilt >>> cold knees, heavy, but the wet kilt doesn't "glue" to your body... The hose tops can indeed prevent trench foot, but wool is very goor for lice!

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Marilyn Monroe in the army... :D

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Haig; the revenge of the Scots, the secret weapon.

Never before a Scot killed so many English. :rolleyes:

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I know, i know...

He was the key answer to overpopulation in europe. He wiped out as much people as the population of Belgium... :(

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I now he gets accused of a lot of things, but I don't think he actually started the war. And I think the other side dod a fair bot of killing too.

Marina

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It was just a joke. Not meant seriously...

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There were aprons against the mud and the water...

...and also for camouflage - a lesson learned in the South African War where the aprons were "true" aprons and covered the front of the kilt only. After this war ,it was realised that the apron would have to cover the kilt completely to aid concealment - hence the "full wrapround" aprons of the 1914 - 40 period.

Dave.

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  • 2 weeks later...

May I express my anger and disgust at bkristof's allegedly humorous remarks re Douglas Haig. Haig's mission in life was not to kill Englishmen but to carry out the orders of his political masters.

If blame is to be allocated then it should be laid firmly and squarely at the feet of the politicians.

Regards

Jim Gordon

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No room for humor on this forum huh? :(

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Guest John Sukey

You may freely express your anger and disgust, but the way things went at the time, one wonders just who was the master and who was the servant as far as Haig was concerned. <_<

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I`ve been thinking about the kilt-question. In this one documentary on Christmas Truce 1914, with famous football-match between Scots (2. Seaforths?) and Saxon Regiment. There were accounts of how Germans cheered and laughed every time Scots "flashed". And traditional kilt doesn`t include underwear. So, did the kilted units also do the fighting in hidden "au-naturel"? And wouldn`t that have been quite "uncomfortable"???

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Guest Chip Minx

I only wore a kilt once and that was only because I did not have a mannequin to use to photograph my 15.Bn (48.HOFC) CEF outfit. As you can see by the picture, I was requested to lower my "skirt", as no one wanted to have to look at my knees. As to what I wore underneath, well, lets just say that I like to choose the time and place, not leave that decision to the chance of a sudden gust! :rolleyes:

One question did arise (no pun intended) however and that is, how high was the kilt worn on the waist? With this Davidson tartan, one would not have needed a belly warmer.

Chip

post-23-1091577151.jpg

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Guest John Sukey

On the orderly room floor of every Scottich unit, there is a polished brass plate. If you wish to go on pass, you are required to stand over that polished brass plate so that the orderly room sgt can see that you are "Regimental" :D

The kilt was abolished for some units in the winter until the higher ups found that the sick call was increasing due to cold related illnesses. The Kilt was reinstated, and the men recovered. :P

If you kneel down, the kilt should not quite touch the floor. So its not how high is is worn but rather how low it goes.

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I love wearing my Gordon kilt.

And i love it the real Jock's way: no underwear (it is to hot to wear it). Freedom indeed ;)

BUT some remarks about WW1, a few thing i discovered:

* In 1917 there was a special kilt underwear, not like we know it, but speacial made (never saw it, but a friend of me in the USA has it). It was made against musterd gas or Yperite. That was an awfull gas for kilt wearers, your wee willy and the surroundings get burned! AUW!

* Because of the danger and the continious problems with gas and phosfor in late 1917, all Jocks were issued a trouser. Some DID wear it during an attack, but mostley during trench raids. This was also to cover up their were angry ladies from hell in the neighbourhood, so Fritz couldn't take extra precautions (like run away :lol: ). By the way, the Aussies also did wear Pommy uniforms to cover up their preasence.

* At the beginning of WW2, 1941 the gouvernement decided to ban the kilt , in case of gas attacks...

About wearing the kilt. If you have a military kilt (green seem at the top) then you should pull it up just above your belly, under the ribs. The kilt normaly hangs just on or above the knees, but not to much, more in the middle of the knees.

But variations are alowed (mostley a bit higher).

Cheers,

a fake jock

post-23-1091607129.jpg

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To get the right length you should kneel down with the body upright and the hem of the kilt should just touch the ground.

Aye

Malcolm

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Regarding the mustard gas kilt pants.

I remember watching a piece of WW2 film where Australian soldiers were swabbed in the genital area with mustard gas and similar corrosive solutions in order to assess the physical reaction of the body. (I suppose to see if it was still painful?!)

Most of the effected areas swelled up horrendously and turned a putrid colour, although there was apparently no long-term effect. (Ha, ha, crafty POM doctors no doubt?)

Suffice to say, after watching that programme I have never again been able to eat an aubergine.

Richard

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