The Gordons

Private, Service Dress 1900

The Gordons began the South African campaign with the tropical service helmet but later adopted the wide brimmed hat as seen here. Some regimental commanders vehemently opposed the use of this hat as being unsoldierly, it was also argued that the British troops would look too similar to Boers which would result in casualties from friendly fire. The Gordons, with their distinctive kilts and red hose would have been less likely to be confused with enemy troops. Other units adopted the more formalised slouch hat with the left side turned up, especially those regiments that were shipped out late in the war. But photos of the Gordon Highlanders at this period show the hat, often with a wider brim than seen here, worn in a variety of ways. See At Spitzkop

The khaki doublet looks like the khaki serge type introduced in 1900 after the cotton drill doublet proved less useful. The skirt fronts were not so cut away, and the breast pockets were discontinued, being difficult to get into underneath the various straps of the Slade Wallace equipment, water-bottle and haversack. The collar was still the upright type. The kilt was covered at the front by a khaki apron to keep the kilt clean, but primarily to make the highlanders less of a target for the Boers. Later on the apron extended all the way around the kilt.

Uniforms | Regimental Details


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by Stephen Luscombe