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Remembered Today:

Grateful for Scottish uniform ID


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3 hours ago, Muerrisch said:

 

I certainly see a single dart , not none, not two. There might be a second one hidden, but it is not visible. Like every other contributor, I have no personal experience of the war years or the 1920s. None of us knows a great deal about the mid 1920s at Aldershot.

 

2 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

He’s also missing war medal ribbons.  The evidence against a 1924 photo is overwhelming. 

 

I can see many factors that support the 1915 dating.  But I disagree with the notion that the evidence against 1924 is overwhelming.  The presence of the Slade-Wallace belt is not a dating detail as these belts remained in service into the 1930s as seen in this photo of 1st Bn Seaforth dated 1930.  Further, the short puttees with diced hose was not unheard of but rare during the war and much more common in the 1920s as exemplified in the photo.  If 1915, the single dart is a major factor that remains unexplained.  As Muerrisch has suggested, none of us were there, and I think the matter remains unresolved.

 

783869162_SHDukeofAbercornUlster1930.jpg.76aa9fca8fd5e8c0a9d07ed6abc4751d.jpg

 

 

Edited by gordon92
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We’ll just have to continue to agree to disagree.  I think that the personal details of the soldier concerned are conveniently being ignored.  It’s plain to see that he’s not 40-years old, nor that he would be a regular soldier without war-service medal ribbons, or indeed collar badges, in 1924.  It’s not necessary to have been around at the time to realise that.

As for the Slade Wallace belts, I’ve already explained that they were obsolete and no longer supported by the supply chain other than for the Foot Guards and Scottish units on public duty in Scotland at places such as Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, and Balmoral, as well as formal parades (review order = best SD jacket, kilt & sporran, glengarry, whitened belts, coloured hose and short puttees, or spats if available) in barracks.  Most unlikely for post war walking-out dress, without a sporran, in Hampshire.  


Conversely the dress and appearance of the soldier in the original photo, probably around 30-years old going by his facial features, is entirely commensurate with the dress of 8th (Service) Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders, over 1,000 men, who were billeted in the specific place of Petersfield for that winter of 1915.  The only battalion of that regiment to do so during WW1.  

Edited by FROGSMILE
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1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:

We’ll just have to continue to agree to disagree.  I think that the personal details of the soldier concerned are conveniently being ignored.  It’s plain to see that he’s not 40-years old, nor that he would be a regular soldier without war-service medal ribbons, or indeed collar badges, in 1924.  It’s not necessary to have been around at the time to realise that.

As for the Slade Wallace belts, I’ve already explained that they were obsolete and no longer supported by the supply chain other than for the Foot Guards and Scottish units on public duty in Scotland at places such as Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, and Balmoral, as well as formal parades (review order) in barracks.  Most unlikely for post war walking-out dress, without a sporran, in Hampshire.  


Conversely the dress and appearance of the soldier in the original photo, probably around 30-years old going by his facial features, is entirely commensurate with the dress of 8th (Service) Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders, over 1,000 men, who were billeted in the specific place of Petersfield for that winter of 1915.  The only battalion of that regiment to do so during WW1.  

As a Sassenach and claiming no expertise I can see flaws in both sides of the discussion.

Not proven either way.

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4 hours ago, Muerrisch said:

As a Sassenach and claiming no expertise I can see flaws in both sides of the discussion.

Not proven either way.

I’d be interested to know your precise rationale as someone claiming “no expertise”, which latter seems a rather odd statement for you to make.  Perhaps specifically you might explain why:

 

1.  He does not have the appearance of a 40-year old, which at that time was quite mature within the average life span, even when allowing that it’s not a precise science to judge age?

 

2.  He does not wear any medal ribbons at all, despite having served during the war, and according to the argument that you have seemingly accepted as having equal weight, must now be a regular soldier of 1st Seaforth with around 10-years service?

 

3.  He does not wear collar badges, despite them being on universal issue to infantry in 1924, despite the numerous photos of collar badges in use at that time, and despite the fact that he would not get past the guardroom for walking-out (as he was required to do) improperly dressed?

 

4.  As a 40-year old in 1924, with close to 10-years service, he does not have a single good conduct badge.  For a man to be permitted to serve until that age, at a time when soldiers and officers were being discharged in droves due to defence retrenchment, he would generally have been employed as a storeman or mess orderly and usually have at least one stripe, plus several GCBs?

 

5.  He has neither, a pristinely whitened Slade Wallace belt, nor polished boots, if he is a regular walking-out in 1924, despite the fact that as a professional soldier of that time his life revolved around polishing brass, blackballing boots, and whitening or otherwise coating equipment?

 

6.  He has no cutaway jacket, despite the widespread tailoring exercised by regular battalions and the photo of the 1st Seaforth on parade already mentioned?

 

Even when accepting that one or other of these factors might be explained away by loss, or wilful disobedience, or sneaking out without permission, there’s no way that all of those factors can simply be wished away.  I am quite happy to entertain reasonable doubt where it exists, but in this case I don’t believe that it does.  The counter evidence is simply too strong.  It makes no sense that you think there is equal weight to the two hypotheses, given that one rests merely on a pleat in a jacket, so I look forward to your properly reasoned rationale addressing the specific points that I have made.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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The finer points of Scottish garb, and uniform in general after the Great War, are a mystery to me, I will leave it to the experts, who disagree.

 

 

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Andrew Upton
18 hours ago, gordon92 said:

...Chris: Joe Sweeney's notes indicate that the RACD did not produce a Highland cutaway until Sept 1929.

 

17 hours ago, 4thGordons said:

Thanks I had missed that. Good to know. The labels to which I refer are late 30s and early 40s dated so post 1929.

 

For what it's worth, a version of the SD jacket for regular Highland troops was not produced specifically with a cutaway until 1929. Previously until that time the standard SD jacket with the squared skirts was unit modified to have the rounded skirts as required. The only time I'm aware of that the wearing of SD jackets (relevant to the period) with the modification to allow the jackets to be worn by regular Highland troops without the skirts so modified was deliberately prohibited from late 1914 until the end of the war, and even then was noticeably lacking in stringent enforcement during the war itself, plus quickly reverted back in the period of occupation from 1919. The chances of the original photo being much beyond 1919 at best are extremely unlikely.

 

Edited by Andrew Upton
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4thGordons
1 hour ago, Andrew Upton said:

 

 

For what it's worth, a version of the SD jacket for regular Highland troops was not produced specifically with a cutaway until 1929. Previously until that time the standard SD jacket with the squared skirts was unit modified to have the rounded skirts as required. The only time I'm aware of that the wearing of SD jackets (relevant to the period) with the modification to allow the jackets to be worn by regular Highland troops without the skirts so modified was deliberately prohibited from late 1914 until the end of the war, and even then was noticeably lacking in stringent enforcement during the war itself, plus quickly reverted back in the period of occupation from 1919. The chances of the original photo being much beyond 1919 at best are extremely unlikely.

 

Thanks Andrew, nice succinct summary -- I was actually aware of the unit level modification, 1914 ban etc,(note my avatar pic taken in Bedford in 1915 with unmodified Jacket)   it was specifically the 1929 date as a start point of production of pre-tailored / specific pattern highland jackets I was not aware of (or had forgotten -- an alarmingly common event these days!)

 

Without wanting to keep flogging this poor deceased horse... one other aspect of the original image -- is there a post war date at which collar brasses (also absent here) became common/universal? They seem to appear pretty quickly in the early 20s if my collection of Gordons photographs is anything to go by.

Chris

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9 minutes ago, 4thGordons said:

Without wanting to keep flogging this poor deceased horse... one other aspect of the original image -- is there a post war date at which collar brasses (also absent here) became common/universal? They seem to appear pretty quickly in the early 20s if my collection of Gordons photographs is anything to go by.

Chris

 

The collar badges were introduced as part and parcel of the improved SD jacket under ACI 129 of 1924, Chris.  More closely tailored, it was intended to answer complaints that uniform needed smartening up, and at the same time the infantry sergeants scarlet sash began to be worn with drab khaki serge, bringing things into line with KD, with which they had been worn for some years beforehand. 

Edited by FROGSMILE
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4thGordons
1 minute ago, FROGSMILE said:

 

The collar badges were introduced as part and parcel of the improved SD jacket under ACI 129 of 1924, Chris.  

Thank you.

Chris

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1 hour ago, 4thGordons said:

Thank you.

Chris

 

These things are only rarely about just a single dress aspect, they are also about interpreting and understanding British Army regimental routines and the culture of Regulars (very different from auxiliaries), as well as the norms in infantry battalion standing orders.  Most regiments were similar in that latter regard, but of course as you know the Scottish regiments added to the mix pipe music and a greater number of orders of dress.  I agree with you that this has been flogged to death now.  The recruiting poster below relates to around 1930 and cleverly divides all the pomp of the battalion's pipes and drums and band on the right, with the more general dress of the battalion when in review order in barracks on the left.  Notice the sergeants scarlet sashes that were not as a general rule seen with drab serge SD (or indeed blue patrols) before the improved version jacket of 1924.

 

Seaforth recruitment.jpg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I would acknowledge that the preponderance of evidence points to 1915.  Yet, it is still troubling that a single dart jacket at such an early date remains unexplained in contradiction to the bona fide research done by Joe Sweeney, Grovetown and others on the timeline for the evolution of the service dress jacket.

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1 hour ago, gordon92 said:

I would acknowledge that the preponderance of evidence points to 1915.  Yet, it is still troubling that a single dart jacket at such an early date remains unexplained in contradiction to the bona fide research done by Joe Sweeney, Grovetown and others on the timeline for the evolution of the service dress jacket.

 

Thank you. I agree that the preponderance of evidence points to 1915.

That leaves unanswered a question, which in turn might lead to a second one.

 

Do those who are content with 1915 accept that the jacket has a single dart?

 

If so, is the received wisdom, based on earlier research by jacket specialists and collectors, to be overturned?

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perhaps a few documents/facts from my end would help to settle the uniform discussion.  Robert Macdonald was married in 1919,  was living in Springburn and working as a joiner at the time.  (see civil reg cert)  He had his first son Duncan in 1921, his second Robert in 1923 and his 3rd son Angus in 1925 or so. Here is a photo of all of them.  (I still have to order the boys birth certs)  I don't think he would've listed "joiner" as his occupation if he was still in the service.  And it would be tough to travel back and forth from Petersfield to Glasgow on a regular basis.1919 MARRIAGE ROBERT MACDONALD SIDNEY WILSON.pdf

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3 minutes ago, Nandy61 said:

perhaps a few documents/facts from my end would help to settle the uniform discussion.  Robert Macdonald was married in 1919,  was living in Springburn and working as a joiner at the time.  (see civil reg cert)  He had his first son Duncan in 1921, his second Robert in 1923 and his 3rd son Angus in 1925 or so. Here is a photo of all of them.  (I still have to order the boys birth certs)  I don't think he would've listed "joiner" as his occupation if he was still in the service.  And it would be tough to travel back and forth from Petersfield to Glasgow on a regular basis.1919 MARRIAGE ROBERT MACDONALD SIDNEY WILSON.pdf

 

Thank you, as has been said, the evidence for c. 1915 is strong, but the portrait does pose a question for the inquiring mind interested in uniform.

It would, I suggest, be a shame to leave the matter of the single dart unresolved, or at least sufficiently examined.

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Thank you for clarifying the situation regarding Robert McDonald.  It has been very helpful in putting the matter of a perceived single pleat to bed, as regards the particular photo of him, and the suggestion that it was a mid-1920s photo on that sole basis.  

Edited by FROGSMILE
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6 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Thank you for clarifying the situation regarding Robert McDonald, that has been very helpful in putting the matter of a perceived single pleat to bed, as regards the particular photo of him and the suggestion that it was a mid-1920s photo on that sole basis.

 

The matter has not been put to bed.

One would hope that the possibility of a single pleat jacket in 1915 was of interest to some GWF members, especially those involved in the analysis of uniform. 

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12 minutes ago, Muerrisch said:

 

Thank you, as has been said, the evidence for c. 1915 is strong, but the portrait does pose a question for the inquiring mind interested in uniform.

It would, I suggest, be a shame to leave the matter of the single dart unresolved, or at least sufficiently examined.

 

I have sent a PM to Grovetown to see if he wishes to weigh in on the single dart contradiction.

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8 minutes ago, Muerrisch said:

 

The matter has not been put to bed.

One would hope that the possibility of a single pleat jacket in 1915 was of interest to some GWF members, especially those involved in the analysis of uniform. 

I’m talking purely about the date of the photo, not the single pleat.  The debate about the latter can and no doubt will continue as you and others see fit.  The plain fact is that the OP has proven that the photo of Robert McDonald that commenced this thread cannot be dated 1924 and connected with the 1st Seaforth posting at Aldershot.  To pretend otherwise would now be verging on the ridiculous.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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4thGordons
2 hours ago, gordon92 said:

I would acknowledge that the preponderance of evidence points to 1915.  Yet, it is still troubling that a single dart jacket at such an early date remains unexplained in contradiction to the bona fide research done by Joe Sweeney, Grovetown and others on the timeline for the evolution of the service dress jacket.

 

To be honest I think the appearance of a single dart is a photographic artifact, Mike.

 

I am something of an amateur photographer and it is relatively easy to make a seam/line (including age lines in skin often a concern in portraits!) more or less prominent based on the lighting (and that is before the 100year aging of the print kicks in) the original picture appears to be lit from the top right so depending on how the dart/seam is lying if it is slightly raised it will cast a marked shadow, accentuating it if it is flat it will not (and therefore be far less prominent). This will also be affected by the build of the wearer and the cut of the cloth (and how tight the dart is)

 

I spent longer than I should have this afternoon looking at several similar hundred images (mostly scots) in my collection and there are a large number where one dart is prominent and the other obscured or very hard to make out.

 

I could post several dozen examples but it would be a little tedious for all concerned. Instead here is just one - a wartime, taken in France ("Carte Postale") image in a typical outdoor studio and, like the original picture, lit from the top right

darts.jpg.596f8e2eb160bb1fe471a77b437b1bd1.jpg

 

It seems to me that in this same image there are 0, 1 and 2 darts visible on different men. Working from left to right in this image I see:

Far left standing one (on right ,man's left shoulder non visible on right side)

seated: none visible

standing: one clearly visible one possible visible higher up between collar and rifle patch

seated one visible (on left shoulder)

Far right standing: One visible one possible (higher) on left shoulder (one MAY be visible on his right shoulder)

The standing men all seem to have modified their collars so they close more tightly (very common) whereas the seated men appear to have the standard collars which appear to show 0 or 1 dart but I think in all likelihood there are two there but concealed by the collar

 

note: darts are not obviously visible on ANY of the men on their right sides (except the far left standing)  as this is away from the source of light (shaded) not as dramatically as on the original picture posted but it illustrates the effect of lighting on the visibility

Of course one explanation could be that all three variants of jacket existed but I don't think that is the case.

 

depending on the build of the wearer in many the collar virtually reaches the rifle patches on the shoulder and this means that only one dart is evident (the other being under the collar)

In others the nature of the lighting and the condition of the print mean it is hard to see.

 

In the original print (as opposed to the coloured version which has been digitally manipulated) I think there is a shadow of a pleat that is visible but clearly people see things differently.

 

While I think I am clear what I think about the original picture I would as you suggest, be interested to hear what the uniform experts like @Grovetown has to say on the matter as a general question.

 

Chris

 

 

 

 

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Andrew Upton
4 hours ago, Muerrisch said:

Do those who are content with 1915 accept that the jacket has a single dart? If so, is the received wisdom, based on earlier research by jacket specialists and collectors, to be overturned?

 

3 hours ago, 4thGordons said:

To be honest I think the appearance of a single dart is a photographic artifact, Mike...

 

I think as Chris has clearly demonstrated that it is far more likely that for some reason the second dart simply did not show up well on the original photograph. I have seen at least one original SD dated to the Great War that its construction meant the second (shorter) dart was set so far back up that even in person it was all but obscured between the rifle patch and the base of the collar, yet was still just visible if you specifically looked for it (and was much clearer from the inside). Something like that in the OP's picture wouldn't have stood a chance. 

 

Edited by Andrew Upton
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