Question regarding the Highland Light Infantry

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Vimeiro, Jul 26, 2012.

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  1. I am current reading through Military Identities by David French, a useful book about how the regimental system developed and actually worked.
    As part of the story he relates to issues regarding the amalgamation of the Highland Light Infantry (HLI) and the Royal Scots Fusiliers (RSF) in the 1950s, with the most contentious issue being the HLI wore kilts and the RSF wore trews, so which form of dress should the new regiment adopt.
    I was under the impression that the HLI did not wear kilts, but wore trews. Could someone therefore confirm whether it was kilts or trews?

  2. The RHF which was formed in 1959 by the amalgamation of the HLI and RSF wore McKenzie trews but retained the kilt for the Pipes and Drums.
    The kilt was the distinctive for Highland Regiments and from 1881 the HLI made repeated efforts to clain the right to wear the kilt and were granted the right to wear it from 1947 (RHF soldiers histoy), so yes the HLI wore the kilt and this is seen in the post war photos. The RSF being a classic Lowland (Ayrshire) Infantry Bn wore the trews, and very smart they were too!
    Fore more details contact the RHF regimental museum in Glasgow.
  3. Thanks for the quick reply. Most of my history reading finishes around 1914, hence my confusion.
  4. Well in 1914 they each had two Battalions, one UK based, and one in warmer climes India and Gibralter. Between 1914-18 they raised 45 battalions, and lost over 17,000 officers and men.
  5. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Explains the discrepancy nicely thanks. I always remember in The Moon's a Ballon, David Niven describes having to choose a regiment when he gets his commission. His three choices were (I can't remember exactly but it went like this):

    1. Black Watch
    2. Gordons
    3. Not the HLI cos I am not going to wear trews.

    He was commissioned into ... HLI of course.
  6. IIRC the factions tried to involve Churchill, Princess Margaret and the Lord Provost of Glasgow; both Colonels (one being Urquhart of Arnhem) were forced/chose to resign; and the whole affair was a real shitfest.

    I vaguely recall that the kilt was worn by some HLI TF battalions long before 1947 - 9th (Glasgow Highlanders) rings a bell.
  7. The kilt was indeed worn by the Glasgow Highlanders TA (9th HLI), but as the rest of the HLI wore trews I don't see how that can have been such an issue surrounding the amalgamation with the RSF.

    PS But have now found the following, which is news to me:

    Military Tartans

    I wonder if the controversy also involved the fact that the amalgamation finally took the HLI out of the Highland Brigade.
  8. I think that was the point on which they tried to drag the Lord Provost into the fray. But it is a long time since I read the files - I simply remember thinking 'shitfest'.
  9. ..thought that he was RB?
  10. That sort of rings a bell that part of the debate was about regiments in the two bdes.
  11. It would have been neater for RSF to amalgamate with the Cameronians, maybe. Was that ever an option?
  12. Don't think so. The Cameronians eventually chose disbandment rather than amalgamation with anyone.
  13. Baboon6 you are very correct, The Cameronians were formed from Calvinists and were the Scottish Rifles so refused to be amalgamated. Thats what my old man told me anyway and he was KRRC so therefore walked with God.
  14. This Pathe newsreel gives a bit of an insight into the amalgamation

    Kilts v Trews
  15. They'd been on opposite sides of the Covenanter affair. It would have made for some fun times on Mess Nights.