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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Officers` Kilts


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This photo (from Carolyn M`s site), shows a 1/5th Gordons officer group. Some do (mainly juniors?) and some don`t wear the kilt. Was it optional or were there rules as to where, when and who?


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Phil - it would depend on the regiment. Not every Scottish regiment wore the kilt. There appear to be at least two or three different regiments in this photo, but it is hard to tell at that resolution.

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I see you`re right, Paul, there are "strangers" in there. Assuming they were all 5th Gordons, what would the rules be? Phil B

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But did all ranks of officer within a battalion wear them all the time? Was it ever optional or usually compulsory? Phil B

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Obviously, each Highland Regiment would have its own Dress Orders covering uniform requirements, so Regimental Dress particulars could be different depending on which regiment it is. So concerning this, kilts would be worn dependent on: which duty an officer was on; the order of dress; the task in which they were employed; in some theatres, the time of day; and last of all when ordered to.

Duty: Orderly Officer may be in an order of dress, possibly smarter and more identifiable than the other officers (in barracks). In the evening, in some regiments, the order of dress was Blue Patrols and trews.

Order of Dress: In certain Orders of Dress, trews were a requirement; sometimes with Service Dress jackets, quite often in the barracks (barrack dress for general barrack type duties & some training tasks).

Task: Say for instance, the officer was employed as the Machine Gun Officer (prior to formation of MGC), or was on duties requiring to ride a horse (QM, Transport, Staff, Base) he would likely wear Service Dress trousers or trews.

Time of Day: In some theatres, India etc,. It was often an order of dress after 1800hrs

Ordered to: At various times, Highland Division Officers & Men were ordered to wear trousers, to hide the details of the unit opposite the Germans to disguise the fact that the unit has changed etc. Also, concerning this, when it was particularly cold, the Highland Division were ordered into trousers.

Phil, there may be some circumstances that I have missed, but I have tried to get enough down during my lunch break. For the specific details of each regiment, you would probably be best off receiving the Dress Orders for the regiment(s) you are after.

Hope this helps


Tom McC

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Here is a list of Officers Dress Orders from the QOCH Standing Orders of 1909 and still in effect through WWI.

This is very abbreviated:

Levee--Kilt, Tunic (the Red One)

Full Ball Dress and Official Dinner Dress---Kilt, Tunic

Review Order and Guard of Honour---Kilt, Tunic

--Mounted Officers---Tunic, Pantaloons

Marching and Maneveuer---Kilt, SD Jacket

--Mounted Officers---SD Jacket, Pantaloons

Drill Order (Parade)--Kilt, White Jacket

--Mounted Officers---White Jacket, Pantaloons

Drill Order (field)--Kilt, SD Jacket

--Mounted Officers---SD Jacket, Pantaloons

Fatigue Dress (Parade)--SD Jacket, Trews

Fatigue Dress (Barracks)--Blue Jacket, Trews

Mess Dress--Mess Jacket, Trews

The Highland units made some of the County Regiments look decidedly under dressed.

Joe Sweeney

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The officer factor worked away from the Battalion at the Depot or on attachment, the Scottish orders of dress on attachment were amazing-kilts, glengarries, crumocks hey "Harpers and Queen" eat your heart out!

Try that with the Regiment and a young officer would be spat out in tiny pieces by the RSM or Adjutant!

Rob ;)

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