The Gordons


Piper 2nd Battalion 1890


This watercolour by Simkin shows good details of the full dress of pipers of the Gordon Highlanders. The kilt and full plaid are the same tartan sett as the rest of the regiment while the doublet differs considerably. Instead of scarlet it is green, the colour adopted by all ranks of the regiment since the early 1950s as the no1 dress and referred to as piper green. The doublet has shoulder wings, gauntlet cuffs and Inverness skirts. These skirts were worn on the doublets of all Scottish Line infantry regiments and consisted of four large flaps with false pocket flaps, and two smaller flaps in the centre of the back without pockets. The edges of the doublet had white piping and the buttons were brass. There were two tiger collar badges, one on each side, also brass. This piper has two gold lace chevrons on his left sleeve for good conduct and length of service.

With the kilt, some ranks and appointments wore a separate plaid in one of three forms. Sergeants and unmounted officers wore a plaid with one corner brought over the left shoulder and hanging down. Other ranks wore a fly plaid that attached to the back of the shoulder and could not be seen at the front. The most voluminous was the scarf or modified shoulder plaid which was folded in a particular way, passed around the body, under the right arm, fastened at the left shoulder with a brooch, and allowed to fall about the left arm. Apart from pipers the only other members of the battalion who wore the plaid this way were mounted officers and bandsmen.

The sporran cantle differed from the type worn in the rest of the regiment, being silver and having 3 knobs on the top. He has a black leather dirk belt around his waist with a large ornate clasp. The dirk is carried on his right front hip. The shoulder belt is also black leather and is called a baldrick, serving no discernable purpose. Pipers did not wear feather bonnets like the rest of the regiment; they had a plain blue glengarry with a red tuft on top and a silver badge set on a black silk cocade and, in full dress, a blackcock's feather.


Regimental Band | Regimental details




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by Stephen Luscombe