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Remembered Today:

5th Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Kilted?


Puddlemuddle77
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I'm having a hard time finding weather or not the 5th Bn Argylls wore their kilts while in Gallipoli. the only photo I can find is of them in Palestine wearing them in the field. I ask because I thought I read somewhere that the kilt was saved for attacks only, and while in the trenches they tended to wear shorts or cut down trousers. Does anyone have any knowledge of this?

Thanks,
Chad

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Hello. These are photographs held by the IWM of the 5th Battalion wearing kilts in Gallipoli. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205248700 and https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205248795

 

D3C5DC6B-D9E5-4E73-BA30-B33821C15EAC.jpeg

78CABE9C-B499-4B26-A4FD-6834C4FBD9F2.jpeg

Edited by Gunner 87
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19 hours ago, Gunner 87 said:

Hello. These are photographs held by the IWM of the 5th Battalion wearing kilts in Gallipoli. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205248700 and https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205248795

 

D3C5DC6B-D9E5-4E73-BA30-B33821C15EAC.jpeg

78CABE9C-B499-4B26-A4FD-6834C4FBD9F2.jpeg

Hi Gunner,

While Id like to trust the IWM, I am not sure that these are in fact the Argylls. Please if I am wrong someone correct me. I was under the impression that the Sutherland tartan was not worn until the 1920s. Before that it would have been the standard Government tartan. These kilts shown have a distinct lighter stripe running through them, similar to that worn by the Cameronians. Like I said, if I am wrong, please, someone correct me as I want to make sure I have all the right information.

Chad

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2 minutes ago, Puddlemuddle77 said:

Hi Gunner,

While Id like to trust the IWM, I am not sure that these are in fact the Argylls. Please if I am wrong someone correct me. I was under the impression that the Sutherland tartan was not worn until the 1920s. Before that it would have been the standard Government tartan. These kilts shown have a distinct lighter stripe running through them, similar to that worn by the Cameronians. Like I said, if I am wrong, please, someone correct me as I want to make sure I have all the right information.

Chad

No Chad, I think you are probably correct and that the IWM, as it has in the past, have mislabelled the photographs, although I find it odd they go to the trouble of identifying the battalion. Strangely, and one of the reasons I put them up is that I had only viewed the first a few days before. Having looked online at the tartan your observations are very valid. My error and I hope that one of our Scottish experts will be able to confirm either way. 

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The other oddity is that Lieutenant Ernest Brooks is the source of both and one would think he would be sure who his subjects were... if it was him that confirmed the unit of course.

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The tartan is not that of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. 

It has an overstripe which makes me think Forbes, MacKenzie or Gordon, although the yellow in the Gordon rarely comes out due to the photography process of that era.    

Assuming however that the photos are genuinely from Gallipoli then what other kilted battalions (as opposed to 'Scottish' battalions which only had pipers in kilts) were there?

Liverpool Scottish (Forbes) were not there.  

Of the 'Scottish' regiments that were there, we can straight away discount the KOSB, Royal Scots (the kilted 9th were not there), RSF, Cameronians and the HLI  as non-kilted; with one major exception.......the 6th Bn. HLI.

The 6th HLI were in that theatre and they wore MacKenzie tartan kilts.

I think we may be seeing the white stripe of that tartan in the photos.

Furthermore in each photo, if you focus in, there is at least one soldier wearing what appears to be a tartan patch on the left side of the helmet and the stripes on it are vertical and horizontal (if it is in fact a tartan patch), rather than diagonal and I think this might again be an indication that we are seeing men from the 6th HLI.

Maybe member 'Gordon92' will have a better idea.    

 

    

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Ron Abbott said:

The tartan is not that of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. 

It has an overstripe which makes me think Forbes, MacKenzie or Gordon, although the yellow in the Gordon rarely comes out due to the photography process of that era.    

Assuming however that the photos are genuinely from Gallipoli then what other kilted battalions (as opposed to 'Scottish' battalions which only had pipers in kilts) were there?

Liverpool Scottish (Forbes) were not there.  

Of the 'Scottish' regiments that were there, we can straight away discount the KOSB, Royal Scots (the kilted 9th were not there), RSF, Cameronians and the HLI  as non-kilted; with one major exception.......the 6th Bn. HLI.

The 6th HLI were in that theatre and they wore MacKenzie tartan kilts.

I think we may be seeing the white stripe of that tartan in the photos.

Furthermore in each photo, if you focus in, there is at least one soldier wearing what appears to be a tartan patch on the left side of the helmet and the stripes on it are vertical and horizontal (if it is in fact a tartan patch), rather than diagonal and I think this might again be an indication that we are seeing men from the 6th HLI.

Maybe member 'Gordon92' will have a better idea.    

 

    

 

 

 

Thanks Ron. I've just been reading about Ernest Brooks who, it appears, had a controversial reputation with an eye on publication value. If Brooks was the source of the information, and he was at Gallipoli, then maybe he was a little liberal with the facts. If not then the IWM clearly have it wrong. 

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So the question still remains. Were the 5th Bn Argylls kilted? And if so, in what context? Only on fatique or offensive maneuvers? Or allnthe time, even while innthe trenches and while being relieved.

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5 hours ago, Gunner 87 said:

If Brooks was the source of the information, and he was at Gallipoli

Very sorry not to be able to contribute more here, however,

Brooks was certainly at Gallipoli

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  • 1 month later...

From the diary of then Pte. David Thomson, 1/5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders:

12/7/15            What I suffered I cannot explain – my head was reeling, we had no food nor water

            About 3 pm we filed into our respective places in the firing line, very much fatigued & feeling the effects of the strong sun & want of food – Things worked like “clockwork” – The lads were cheery – C Coy. was first – Off went our superfluous kit – we stood there with our jackets off & only our skeleton equipment, rifle, bayonet & 2 bombs each – There was no time to waste – The bombardment was still going on & we were ready – I thought a tremendous lot of things & I prayed for safety – Our traverse was hit by an ugly big shell killing two of my chums & knocking me dizzy – I saw stars! – “came to” again & waited the signal – A shout was heard from the right, we took it up – got quite plucky - & jumped onto the parapet – such a sight I’ll never forget – words cannot explain – we rushed forward in extended order, or rather “some kind of order” shells were whizzing bursting quite near, I looked ahead & there saw such a sight, really worth seeing - through the dense smoke I could see black figures running for their lives – the kilties frightened them – we were mad!

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One more reference to kilts in Thomson's diary:

"7/7/15 Left beach 3 am & made for a valley near the firing line to erect a barricade against Turkish snipers who were continually firing into our lines. Some narrow hits!

            We are the first kilted battalion to arrive on Gallipoli so we are looked at with wonder – especially from the Indian troops. Met some of the 29th Divn.

            Pack up & move to trenches with the bullets & shells flying in all directions."

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Sounds pretty straightforward, but as for the photies, thar light coloured over-stripe identifies them as 6HLI rather than 5 A&H

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You're right - This from the Pte. Thomson's entry of 17 August - although there are several references to HLI:

"17th {August}     In the early hours of the morning an attack took place by the 6th HLI on a position of the Turkish Trenches, but same proved a failure.  The Turks were too well supported with M.G. & Artillery fire. No further pressure was indulged in – our Battn. was in “support”"

And from 14 December:

"14th     Batt. relieved in line and consequently move to Rest Camp – Occupy 7 HLI winter quarters – comfortable sleep"

Finally, from 24 December:

"24th     Battn. move to supports. Turks put up heavy bombardment. Our troops having evacuated Anzac &Suvla on the other side of the “Hill”. We are blessed with more force of artillery etc. Poor old 52nd – Capt. Thomson (5th HLI) commanding our Batt. killed by shell fire – Four “taubes” overhead. We keep up a heavy rifle fire on them which drives them off not to prevent bombs being dropped on our Rest Camp – and unfortunately while our late C.O. is being buried one of the burying party ie Lieut. Wilson is wounded, also some of the lads standing nearby."

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5HLI and 7HLI were brave lads, but they weren't kilted. So far as Gallipoli was concerned it was only 6HLI in kilts

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