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Remembered Today:

Canadian kilts with pockets 1914


trajan
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I apologise in advance if this is a well known subject/photograph, but it is new to me and a quick GWF search did not throw up any obvious match... Kilts with integral sporrans?

The photograph is from L’Album de la Guerre (Paris 1926) vol 1, p. 129 and is said to be at Salisbury, late 1914.

post-69449-0-68249500-1406383032_thumb.j

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Is it not a kilt apron? The chap to the left appears to have a dark bit behind wheih looks like a kilt underneath the apron.

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I did wonder about that but the fibulae (well, I don't know the Gaelic word!) are on the right side only as usual for a kilt thingumibbyjob...

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Fair enough, but look at the folds of the kilt on the man on the right. It's a WW1 Canadian 'onesie'... :thumbsup: Or should one say 'kiltsie'? I have vague links to the Border Johnstones but have never worn one of these things...

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Fair enough, but look at the folds of the kilt on the man on the right. It's a WW1 Canadian 'onesie'... :thumbsup: Or should one say 'kiltsie'? I have vague links to the Border Johnstones but have never worn one of these things...

So do I (Johnstones - GGMother, born in Annan) and regularly wear kilts (not Johnstone), but I reckon they're definitely kilt aprons. These did have pleats to the rear, though obviously not in the abundance found on the kilt underneath.

What is a 'onesie'? You've lost me there.

Mark

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So do I (Johnstones - GGMother, born in Annan) and regularly wear kilts (not Johnstone), but I reckon they're definitely kilt aprons. These did have pleats to the rear, though obviously not in the abundance found on the kilt underneath.

What is a 'onesie'? You've lost me there.

Mark

Thanks Mark! 'Onesies' are - I only know this from my eldest great-niece - funny single-piece items of clothing technically worn only for lounging around the house... Hers are spotted as in dalmatians...

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A close-up...

post-69449-0-99317100-1406390020_thumb.j

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They all seem to have some sort of kangaroo like pouch and all look highly unsmart and almost improvised

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They all seem to have some sort of kangaroo like pouch and all look highly unsmart and almost improvised

But quite typical:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30097669

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Thanks, Andrew, that clarifies things!

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:hypocrite:

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Ok, medal award to the man who reads the tottygraph... :doh:

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Except that you'd have to be a very rotund highlander (although I have met some) for that pocket to be in the front.

??? It was normally at the front. You'd have to be a very odd shape for it not to be at the front. It replaces the storage provided by the sporran.

Bloomers/Andrew (or Chris 4thGordons) - can you clarify whether the sporran was worn underneath the apron?

I've often speculated whether ...

  1. the flap revealed a slit which allowed the wearer to reach a sporran under the apron; or
  2. there was a complete pouch pocket in the apron but it was used to store the sporran (it's probably big enough) which could still be reached and opened through the flap; or
  3. the pouch pocket completely replaced the sporran, which was then not worn.

Was the sporran worn in the front line even when the apron wasn't? The sporran is a minor impediment to free and fast movement. You rarely see kilted athletes at highland games wearing the sporran and I quite often don't wear mine when out hiking the moors, or I move it around to sit at my hip. Most of the photos (from both wars) I've seen of highlanders in action don't show sporrans.

Here's a shot from the IWM Collection showing men of the Black Watch with the kilt and apron from various angles, NB particularly the apron pocket of the man 2nd from left....

large.jpg?action=e&cat=photographs

THE BRITISH ARMY ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914-1918. © IWM (Q 8508)IWM Non Commercial Licence

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I have a couple of examples of kilt covers and the pocket is stitched into it.

There are two patterns of cover an "apron" pattern that is just at the front (I think introduced in the Boer War but still in use with TF units in 1914) and a full "wrap around" cover as shown here.

all of the ones I have seen have the pockets stitched into them.

Sporrans were not supposed to be taken to France and Flanders (although a small number apparently were and were used by bands and the like) and were supposed to be stored in 1914.

I'll dig out some photos

Chris

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??? It was normally at the front. You'd have to be a very odd shape for it not to be at the front. It replaces the storage provided by the sporran.

Wot 'ee said :thumbsup:

I have a couple of examples of kilt covers and the pocket is stitched into it.

And wot 'ee said as well :thumbsup:

"Bloomers/Andrew (or Chris 4thGordons) - can you clarify whether the sporran was worn underneath the apron?"

If the kilt cover was worn, the sporran should not be worn beneath. The pocket on the front of the kilt cover is a simple patch pocket, no access to whatever is underneath (oh er missus :devilgrin: ). I actually spent most of last weekend wearing one. Usually have my glasses case, a hankie, and most importantly my wallet in mine!

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The sporran is a minor impediment to free and fast movement. You rarely see kilted athletes at highland games wearing the sporran and I quite often don't wear mine when out hiking the moors, or I move it around to sit at my hip. Most of the photos (from both wars) I've seen of highlanders in action don't show sporrans.

Roman legionary soldiers (and probably auxiliaries as well) wore dingly-dangly things often mistakenly referred to as a sporran, and which were probably worn for the noise effect combined with the sound of hob-nailed boots when marching or walking around (Roman writers refer to the fear this sound caused amongst everyday folk!). The Ermine Street Guard have them, and as seen below do a charge with them - but one of their members assured me that a plastic (sand?)box is worn beneath, and that the general belief is that these were impractical (and a real hindrance) when it came to actual combat.

post-69449-0-24457100-1406448820_thumb.j

post-69449-0-79647900-1406448834_thumb.j

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most importantly my wallet in mine!

A true Jock. :thumbsup:

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I keep all my valuables in that area ;-)

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Nice pic of Raymond Chandler (yes, that one) over on the current Who is This thread, wearing a pocketed kilt apron.

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I have a couple of examples of kilt covers and the pocket is stitched into it.

There are two patterns of cover an "apron" pattern that is just at the front (I think introduced in the Boer War but still in use with TF units in 1914) and a full "wrap around" cover as shown here.

all of the ones I have seen have the pockets stitched into them.

Sporrans were not supposed to be taken to France and Flanders (although a small number apparently were and were used by bands and the like) and were supposed to be stored in 1914.

I'll dig out some photos

Chris

Most of the regular Highland battalions that returned from India in Oct-Nov 1914 had been outfitted only with the front apron. When these units were re-outfitted with serge to replace khaki drill, they were issued full wrap around aprons.

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The photographs in the OP are said to be of Canadians - can anyone verify that?

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Just to add some confusion to the thread... :devilgrin:

There is also such a thing called a drab kilt. It was introduced during the war with the intention of replacing all the various regimental tartans in use with something simpler to make and more suited to frontline warfare. Universally disliked, it was not widely adopted and photos of it in use are rare. Post 28 of the following thread discussing them shows a good period photo of one being worn:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=86559

These were essentially styled like a beefed up version of the kilt apron, with the same reduced numbers of pleats to the rear, and could come with a pocket to the front, but had straps like a normal kilt instead of ties.

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I'd say the original pic is of kilt aprons - certainly the centre and left characters seem to have kilts showing under the apron. As to whether they're Canadians ... possibly or possibly not. I couldn't say. The officers aren't wearing collar dogs if that means anything.

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