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Grateful for Scottish uniform ID


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This is Robert Macdonald, born 1884 Glasgow. The first of his family to be born "down south" having moved from Kirkhill, Invernesshire around 1883.  Still have been unable to find his birth record since there are sooo many Robert McDonalds born in Glasgow around that time.  1891 census has the family living on High Street, Blackfriars, Glasgow.  I'm thinking the uniform is a Seaforth Highlander, but I would very much appreciate any informed opinions.   Many thanks!

 

Nancy

Robert McDonald soldier.jpg

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Andrew Upton
1 hour ago, Nandy61 said:

...I'm thinking the uniform is a Seaforth Highlander...

 

Definately a Seaforth Highlander, c1915/16 from the fact he is wearing diced hose but with short puttees (the latter having begun to replace the less practical Highland gaiters) and the SD jacket lacking the rounded skirts for wearing of the sporran (a practice in theory abolished from late 1914 but in reality ignored quite widely).

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Yes it’s a good view of the Seaforth Highlanders Mackenzie tartan kilt and typical scarlet and white hose.  He was almost certainly a member of the 8th (Service) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders (44th Brigade, 15th Division) at the time of the photo, as they were the only unit of the regiment to be posted at Petersfield, Hampshire, where they arrived for winter billeting in November 1914, before moving on to Chisledon in February 1915.  It’s one of those photos that is very much a snapshot in time.

CA163EFE-0A69-49FD-BE21-848FF41688D8.jpeg

2FEB924A-B4F1-4BD5-AFD4-33602D4470F5.jpeg

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oh you people are just lovely.  From scouring your posts on this forum I knew I'd get an education!  Tell me, did the SH recruit in certain areas? Or were sons of Highlanders from different northern counties inclined to enlist with certain regiments?  As for a snapshot in time, this fella is the embodiment of Highland/Scottish history. His grandfather was born in Urquhart, a farm laborer in Invernessshire who moved from estate to estate (within a 10 mile radius) with his family in the mid 19th century and ended up dying in Inverness town with one of his sons.  This fellow's father started out as a herd boy in Charleston, outside of Inverness. He joined other siblings and cousins in Glasgow where he was listed as a sawmill attendant in the 1891 Census. He moved out of Blackfriars to Maitland St., Cowcaddens by 1901, where he was listed as a "Pit Head Laborer".  He died on 120 Shamrock Street in 1917.  His son, above , ended up as a joiner living in Springburn, raising his family.   Now I have to do a bit of research on his activity during the war.  

Again, many thanks and happier of New Years!

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Steven Broomfield

As a guide, the Seaforth Highlanders recruited In Caithness, Sutherland, Ross & Cromarty and Moray. (The three Territorial Battalions each recruited in one of those counties). That said, most Highland regiments recruited more widely as there was always a shortfall of recruits, and the kilt was quite an attractive option for sassenachs.

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30 minutes ago, Nandy61 said:

oh you people are just lovely.  From scouring your posts on this forum I knew I'd get an education!  Tell me, did the SH recruit in certain areas? Or were sons of Highlanders from different northern counties inclined to enlist with certain regiments?  As for a snapshot in time, this fella is the embodiment of Highland/Scottish history. His grandfather was born in Urquhart, a farm laborer in Invernessshire who moved from estate to estate (within a 10 mile radius) with his family in the mid 19th century and ended up dying in Inverness town with one of his sons.  This fellow's father started out as a herd boy in Charleston, outside of Inverness. He joined other siblings and cousins in Glasgow where he was listed as a sawmill attendant in the 1891 Census. He moved out of Blackfriars to Maitland St., Cowcaddens by 1901, where he was listed as a "Pit Head Laborer".  He died on 120 Shamrock Street in 1917.  His son, above , ended up as a joiner living in Springburn, raising his family.   Now I have to do a bit of research on his activity during the war.  

Again, many thanks and happier of New Years!

 

The Seaforth recruited from the most Northern part of Scotland, as well as the parts of associated isles to its immediate West and North East.  These were guidelines however, and it was not unusual to have a Cockney in a Seaforth Highlanders battalion and a Glaswegian in the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).  There was much pragmatism and little was sacrosanct.

 

Recruitment Areas.png

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8 Seaforth Highlanders was raised at Fort George in September 1914. It was the second service (wartime raised) battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders. Your man may have been attracted to the regimant based in his ancestors' home country.

 

However Glaswegians could be found in all Scottish regiments (and indeed many regiments from other parts of the country).

Also the the recruiters may have had a list of regimants with vacancies. (Or to put it another way battalions which needed to be brought up to strength to complete a division.)

RM

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33 minutes ago, Nandy61 said:

So even though he was born in Glasgow, he signed up with his K&K ?  Strong ties

 

Yes, given the kith and kin circumstances that you have outlined that seems very likely.

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Andrew Upton
1 hour ago, Nandy61 said:

...Tell me, did the SH recruit in certain areas? Or were sons of Highlanders from different northern counties inclined to enlist with certain regiments? ...

 

59 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

As a guide, the Seaforth Highlanders recruited In Caithness, Sutherland, Ross & Cromarty and Moray. (The three Territorial Battalions each recruited in one of those counties). That said, most Highland regiments recruited more widely as there was always a shortfall of recruits, and the kilt was quite an attractive option for sassenachs.

 

My interest in the Seaforth Highlanders stems from a distant relative I have - 681 Pte Isaac Shortman 2nd Bn Seaforth Highlanders. He was a pre-war regular serving with them at the outbreak of the war (having enlisted with them in March 1911 aged 21), but he came from Bath in the south west and had no obvious ties to the regiment. He was to be killed in action on the 13th October 1914 during the successful attack to recapture the village of Meteren from its German occupiers. He was only 24:

 

Image may contain: 7 people

 

No photo description available.

 

Bath war memorial:

 

No photo description available.

 

No photo description available.

 

 

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It's interesting to see how quickly a healthy young man and woman grew a family in those days before contraception and women's emancipation, Andrew.  He was only 24 when he died and yet seems to have fathered four children.  One can only imagine how difficult that must have been for the young widow.

 

 

47 minutes ago, Nandy61 said:

So even though he was born in Glasgow, he signed up with his K&K ?  Strong ties

 

The photographic studio was listed in the local business directory of 1911 as - Pickering, Misses E. & E. Lavant St, Petersfield, Hampshire.

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Andrew Upton
8 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

It's interesting to see how quickly a healthy young man and woman grew a family in those days before contraception and women's emancipation, Andrew.  He was only 24 when he died and yet seems to have fathered four children.  One can only imagine how difficult that must have been for the young widow.

 

That's his sister, her husband, and their children (ie Isaacs nieces and nephews). Isaac did leave his possessions to an unrelated young lady however... 

 

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7 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

It's interesting to see how quickly a healthy young man and woman grew a family in those days before contraception and women's emancipation, Andrew.  He was only 24 when he died and yet seems to have fathered four children.  One can only imagine how difficult that must have been for the young widow.

 

 

 

The photographic studio was listed in the local business directory of 1911 as - Pickering, Misses E. & E. Lavant St, Petersfield, Hampshire.

yes, I had googled "Pickering Petersfield" and had yet to go to the business directories, so thank you for that.  I've so many avenues to wander down now! Grateful for the COVID lockdown when it comes to research!  Silver lining

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4 minutes ago, Andrew Upton said:

 

That's his sister, her husband, and their children (ie Isaacs nieces and nephews). Isaac did leave his possessions to an unrelated young lady however... 

 

Ah I see, poor fellow, at least he wasn't leaving a young family then.

 

2 minutes ago, Nandy61 said:

yes, I had googled "Pickering Petersfield" and had yet to go to the business directories, so thank you for that.  I've so many avenues to wander down now! Grateful for the COVID lockdown when it comes to research!  Silver lining

 

I'm assuming (deducing) that they are sisters and that their father was the town photographer before them, as Pickerings are listed there as photographers going back to the late part of Victoria's reign too.

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14 minutes ago, Andrew Upton said:

 

 

My interest in the Seaforth Highlanders stems from a distant relative I have - 681 Pte Isaac Shortman 2nd Bn Seaforth Highlanders. He was a pre-war regular serving with them at the outbreak of the war (having enlisted with them in March 1911 aged 21), but he came from Bath in the south west and had no obvious ties to the regiment. He was to be killed in action on the 13th October 1914 during the successful attack to recapture the village of Meteren from its German occupiers. He was only 24:

 

Image may contain: 7 people

 

No photo description available.

 

Bath war memorial:

 

No photo description available.

 

No photo description available.

 

 

 So tell me, he was a private, but the uniform is rather elaborate for a non-officer?   And his sleeve seems to indicate a higher rank? (I'm a bit of a plebe when it comes to  military insignia)

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On 08/01/2021 at 17:53, Nandy61 said:

 So tell me, he was a private, but the uniform is rather elaborate for a non-officer?   And his sleeve seems to indicate a higher rank? (I'm a bit of a plebe when it comes to  military insignia)

 

He's wearing full dress uniform and is a bandsman.  Each battalion of a regular regiment generally had a military band and in highland regiments the kilt and plaid was often quite elaborate.  There were also pipers and drummers in separate corps that played together with the band on routine and grand occasions.  The wings on his shoulders and the badge on his right upper arm confirm him as a member of the band.  It might be that a musical background (my speculation) led a young Englishman into a very proud Scottish regiment.  That was not unusual.

 

Seaforth bandsman.jpg

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Andrew Upton
Just now, Nandy61 said:

 So tell me, he was a private, but the uniform is rather elaborate for a non-officer?   And his sleeve seems to indicate a higher rank? (I'm a bit of a plebe when it comes to  military insignia)

 

He was a bandsman, hence the plaid, wings, etc. The stripes are something of a mystery however. The picture is believed to have been taken c.1912 from the apparent ages of his sisters children, and they are Good Conduct stripes BUT two of them, denoting at least 5 years (when he perhaps, at best, would have accumulated one stripe for two years service). 

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5 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

 

Ah I see, poor fellow, at least he wasn't leaving a young family then.

 

 

I'm assuming (deducing) that they are sisters and that their father was the town photographer before them, as Pickerings are listed there as photographers going back to the late part of Victoria's reign too.

thank you again.  One more easy (I hope) question for you since you seem to be very much in-the-loop!  Do you have a quick link for the activities of the 8th Battalion SHs during WWI.  I'm sure there are many, but I'd say if you're like me, you'd have a favorite resource?

3 minutes ago, Andrew Upton said:

 

He was a bandsman, hence the plaid, wings, etc. The stripes are something of a mystery however. The picture is believed to have been taken c.1912 from the apparent ages of his sisters children, and they are Good Conduct stripes BUT two of them, denoting at least 5 years (when he perhaps, at best, would have accumulated one stripe for two years service). 

I love me a good education!!  Thank you!
 

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34 minutes ago, Andrew Upton said:

 

He was a bandsman, hence the plaid, wings, etc. The stripes are something of a mystery however. The picture is believed to have been taken c.1912 from the apparent ages of his sisters children, and they are Good Conduct stripes BUT two of them, denoting at least 5 years (when he perhaps, at best, would have accumulated one stripe for two years service). 

 

There was a short period at some point before WW1 when Boy Service was permitted to count towards good conduct badges.  It might be that he joined as a Boy entrant in the band?  There are photos of Boys at the latter stage of their time before becoming adults wearing such badges, but the reckoning process for them was rescinded some years before WW1.  I don't have the dates to hand, but it's been discussed before and would explain the apparent anomaly.  I imagine that once the badge was given it wouldn't be summarily taken away, but that succeeding Boys would no longer be eligible for attributable service.  I think it might be connected with the fact that after the 2nd Boer War Boys were no longer to be taken on active service, as they had been (several died during that war), but were to be sent instead to regimental depots.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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8 minutes ago, Nandy61 said:

One more easy (I hope) question for you since you seem to be very much in-the-loop!  Do you have a quick link for the activities of the 8th Battalion SHs during WWI.  I'm sure there are many, but I'd say if you're like me, you'd have a favorite resource?


 

No I'm afraid I don't.  You will need to access the battalion's war diary which can be obtained free of charge from the National Archives online.  There are forum members who can advise with a link I'm sure.

 

This is from the longlongtrail adjunct to this forum:

 

8th (Service) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders
Formed at Fort George in September 1914 as part of K2 and came under command of 44th Brigade in 15th (Scottish) Division. Moved to Aldershot and in November went to Petersfield. Moved to Chisledon Camp (Salisbury Plain) in February 1915, then Tidworth in May.  Landed at Boulogne in July 1915.

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1 minute ago, FROGSMILE said:

No I'm afraid I don't.  You will need to access the battalion's war diary which can be obtained free of charge from the National Archives online.  There are forum members who can advise with a link I'm sure.

ok, no worries.  Been to many of them before (mostly Irish units) Many thanks again for your insight!

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14 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

 

He's wearing full dress uniform and is a bandsman.  Each battalion of a regular regiment generally had a military band and in highland regiments the kilt and plaid often quite elaborate.  There were also pipers and drummers in separate corps that played together with the band on routine and grand occasions.  The wings on his shoulders and the badge on his right upper arm confirm him as the member of the band.  It might be that a musical background (my speculation) led a young Englishman into a very proud Scottish regiment.  That was not unusual.

Seaforth bandsman.jpg

I did read about those wings last night; now I shall never forget their significance.  It would be so interesting to find out what he did or played in the band, no? Personally, I'd sign up for any Scottish regiment for the "unis" alone!!  (and except that I'm a woman!) 

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4 minutes ago, Nandy61 said:

I did read about those wings last night; now I shall never forget their significance.  It would be so interesting to find out what he did or played in the band, no? Personally, I'd sign up for any Scottish regiment for the "unis" alone!!  (and except that I'm a woman!) 

 Ha ha... except that I'm not sure what "unis" are?

 

I enclose an image of the bandsman’s badge as seen on his right upper arm.

 

F6C7EB46-1551-4EFA-BCE3-B35508173F18.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:

 

He's wearing full dress uniform and is a bandsman.  Each battalion of a regular regiment generally had a military band and in highland regiments the kilt and plaid often quite elaborate.  There were also pipers and drummers in separate corps that played together with the band on routine and grand occasions.  The wings on his shoulders and the badge on his right upper arm confirm him as the member of the band.  It might be that a musical background (my speculation) led a young Englishman into a very proud Scottish regiment.  That was not unusual.

 

Seaforth bandsman.jpg

It would have been quite rare during this period for the pipes and drums to play together with the military band.  Harmonizing bagpipes with brass instruments of the band was no easy matter.  Traditionalists of this era frowned upon it.  It was not until after WW2 that the practice became accepted and popular.

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On 08/01/2021 at 19:02, gordon92 said:

It would have been quite rare during this period for the pipes and drums to play together with the military band.  Harmonizing bagpipes with brass instruments of the band was no easy matter.  Traditionalists of this era frowned upon it.  It was not until after WW2 that the practice became accepted and popular.

Yes, I recall reading with great interest about that controversy in David Murray’s seminal work ‘Music of the Scottish Regiments’, but can’t recall offhand when the first mixing of such disparate tone and tempo took place.  As I understand it, before those experiments started (in part because of the reduction in strength of the corps of music concerned) it was usual for the regimental band and drums, or the pipes and drums to play together, according to whichever musical effect was sought. 

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