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Regimental Tartans

The survival of tartan in the 18th century was due in great part to its adoption by the newly raised Highland Regiments of the British Army - an adoption which paved the way for today's unique clan tartans. Here past Tartans Authority Governor, Colin Hutcheson lists British Empire and Commonwealth Tartans by Regiment and then discusses many of them in more detail.

Regiment Tartan Worn
* illustrations  

205 Field Hospital (Scottish)
71 Engineer Regiment (Scotland)
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders*

Graham of Montrose
MacDonald of Keppoch
Black Watch/Government then Campbell of Cawdor
Argyll Fencibles Campbell of Cawdor
Argyll Highlanders (Old 74th) Lamont
Argyllshire Highlanders, 91st Black Watch
Atholl Highlanders Murray of Atholl
Auckland Highland Rifle Volunteers (NZ) Black Watch
Baluch Regiment, Pakistan Baluch Regt Tartan
Black Watch of Canada Black Watch
Black Watch Pipers Royal Stewart
Black Watch(The Royal Highland Regt)* Black Watch
Bombay Volunteer Rifles ( India) Stewart Hunting
Breadalbane Fencibles Campbell of Breadalbane
Byron Regiment (Australia) Sutherland
Calcutta Scottish (India) Stewart Hunting
Cameron Highlanders 79th of Foot Cameron of Erracht
Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)* Douglas
Canterbury Scottish Rifle Volunteers (NZ) Gordon
Cape Town Highlanders (SA) Gordon
Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders (72nd) Prince Charles Edward Stewart
Dunedin Highland Rifle Volunteers (NZ) Black Watch
First City Regiment (SA) Graham of Montrose
Ghurka Rifles (1st) Childers
Glasgow Highlanders (HLI) Black Watch and then MacKenzie as TA Bn until 1967
Glenalmond School Scotland Murray of Atholl
Gordon Highlanders* Gordon
Highland Light Infantry* MacKenzie
Highlanders MacKenzie/Cameron Erracht/Gordon
Highlanders of Canada (48th) Davidson/Stewart of Fingask
Kaffrarian Rifles (SA) MacKenzie
Kimberley Scottish MacKenzie
King's Own Scottish Borderers (TA)* (Pipers) Erskine Red/Green till 1940 then Buccleuch
King's Own Scottish Borderers Leslie/Royal Stewart
Liverpool Scottish (TA) Forbes
London Irish Rifles (TA) Saffron
London Scottish (TA)* Hodden Grey
Loretto School Scotland Stewart Hunting
Lovat Scouts Fraser Hunting
Merchiston Castle School Scotland Cameron of Erracht
Natal Mounted Rifles (South Africa) pipe band still wear Douglas
New South Wales Scottish (Aus) Black Watch

New Zealand 1st Armoured Car Regt
New York Highland Regiment, 79th

Black Watch
Cameron of Erracht
Pretoria Highlanders (SA) Stewart Hunting
Prince Alfred's Guard 1874 (SA) Cameron of Erracht
Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders* Cameron of Erracht
Queen's Own Highlanders Cameron of Erracht/MacKenzie
Rajput Regiment,(NW India) Rajput Tartan
Ross-shire Buffs (78th) MacKenzie
Royal Artillery, 19th Regiment Royal Artillery Highland Gunners Robertson Hunting (rank slides)
Royal Auxillary Air Force 602 Sqn (Glasgow) Douglas Grey
Royal Auxillary Air Force 603 Sqn (Edinburgh) Douglas Grey
Royal Durban Light Infantry(SA) Black Watch
Royal Highland Fusiliers MacKenzie
Royal New South Wales Regiment (Aus) Black Watch
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Pipers) Royal Stewart
Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) Hunting Stewart
Royal Scots Fusiliers* Erskine Hunting
Royal Scots Fusiliers (Pipers) Erskine red & black
Royal Scots (Pipers)* Royal Stewart
Royal Scots Greys (Pipers)trews Dalziel
Royal South Australia Regiment MacKenzie
Scots Guards (Pipers)* Royal Stewart
Scottish Horse Fraser Hunting
Seaforth Highlanders* MacKenzie
Shanghai Volunteer Corps (China) Stewart Hunting
South African Scottish Murray of Atholl
Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders TA (Can) MacDonnell of Glengarry
Toronto Scottish (Can) Hodden Grey
Transvaal Scottish (SA) Murray of Atholl
Tyneside Scottish (RE) Black Watch
Wanganui Highland Rifles (NZ) Gordon
Wellington Highlanders (NZ) Black Watch
Witwatersrand Rifles (SA) Douglas

By Tartan:

Atholl or Murray of Atholl - worn by the Atholl Highlanders, the private army of the Duke of Atholl.
Also worn by:
The Transvaal Scottish Regiment in South Africa.(Pipers wear Murray of Tullibardine - the Marquis of Tullibardine is the son of the Duke of Atholl).
The Pipe Bands of Trinity College, Glenalmond, Scotland.
4th S.A. Infantry (South African Scottish)
Scottish Horse, Pipers

Black Watch - also known as the Universal or Government tartan. Whilst being worn by the 42nd Black Watch Regiment (The Royal Highland Regiment), since 1739 this tartan has formed the basis upon which many other Regiment's tartans were designed, most notably Gordon (Gordon Highlanders), MacKenzie (Seaforth Highlanders and the Highland Light Infantry), Sutherland (Princess Louise's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders).
The belief that the Black Watch tartan was based on the Campbell Tartan is disputed by several experts. (The Black Watch Pipers wear the Stewart Royal Tartan).
The "Watches" were a system of policing to prevent cattle lifting and the Black Watch tartan was eminently suitable in this role.

Also worn by:
The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) until 1901 when they adopted the Hunting Stewart.
The Glasgow Highlanders (HLI).
The Gordon Highlanders (75th & 92nd Foot), wore the Black Watch tartan prior to 1778 after which a yellow line was added.
The 91st Argyllshire Highlanders, raised in 1794.
The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (the tartan was referred to as the Sutherland tartan but was the Black Watch in a slightly lighter shade)
Breadalbane Fencibles 1793 wore the Black Watch at first but later added two yellow lines. It became called the Campbell of Breadalbane
New South Wales Scottish (Australia)
Royal New South Wales Regiment (Australia)
Dunedin Highland Rifle Volunteers (New Zealand)
Wellington Highlanders (New Zealand)
Auckland Highland Rifle Volunteers (New Zealand)
1st Armoured Car Regiment (New Zealand Scottish)
Royal Durban Light Infantry (South Africa)
Black Watch (The Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada

Baluch Regiment Tartan - Baluch Regiment Pakistan

Buccleuch - Pipers of the King's Own Scottish Borderers TA.

Campbell of Breadalbane - The Breadalbane Fencibles (1793).

Campbell of Cawdor - worn by several Argyll Fencibles and 91st Regt. after 1886.

Cameron of Erracht - Worn by the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders (79th Cameron Highlanders). When asked if the Regiment would adopt the tartan of the 42nd Black Watch the reply was an emphatic "No" and the Cameron of Erracht tartan in fact, owes its origins to the MacDonald tartan. After the Seaforth and the Cameron Highlanders were amalgamated to form the QOCH, further amalgamation took place with the Gordon Highlanders to form the "Highlanders" in 1994.
Also worn by:
The Pipe Band of Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Prince Alfred's Guard 1874 (South Africa)
79th New York Highland Regiment (Formed 1859)

The amalgamation of the Seaforths and the Cameron Highlanders in 1960 when they became the Queens Own Highlanders caused much heartache over their tartan but a decision was taken to allow them to wear a MacKenzie kilt and Cameron Trews. Their Bandsmen wore the reverse.

Childers - Named after Rt Hon Hugh C.E.Childers, Secretary of State for War in 1907, it was used by the 1st Ghurka Rifles.

Dalziel - worn as trews by Royal Scots Grey pipers.

Davidson - Worn by the 48th Highlanders of Canada. Today the Pipe Band of the Regiment wears the Stewart of Fingask tartan.

Douglas - Worn by the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles 26th & 90th Foot) . The first Colonel of the Regiment was called Graham which would have been their preferred choice of Tartan but was not sanctioned.
Also worn by Witwatersrand Rifles, South West Africa and by Natal Mounted Rifles (South Africa).

Erskine (Red/Green) - worn by the Pipers of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers TA pre 1940, who thereafter wore the Buccleuch Tartan. Worn by Royal Scots Fusiliers' pipers and then from 1958 worn by the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

Erskine Red/Black - worn by the Royal Scots Fusiliers Pipers.

Erskine Hunting - worn by the Royal Scots Fusiliers (21st Foot) from 1948 onwards (see Erskine Red for pipers). Prior to this they had worn the Government tartan with the addition of a bluish line.

Forbes - worn by the Liverpool Scottish Territorials.

Fraser Hunting - Lovat Scouts

Gordon - Worn by the Gordon Highlanders raised by the Duke of Gordon in 1793
and having added a yellow line to the Black Watch Tartan, the Gordon family having had no family tartan of their own.
Also worn by:
Canterbury Scottish Rifle Volunteers 1900 (New Zealand).
Wanganui Highland Rifles(Volunteers), (New Zealand).
Cape Town Highlanders (South Africa)

Government - see under Black Watch

Graham of Montrose - First City Regiment, South Africa.
205 Field Hospital (Scottish).

Lamont - The Lamont tartan, being the Black Watch with a white line added, was worn from 1846 by the 74th Highlanders, later 2nd Battalion Highland Light Infantry.

Leslie - Trews worn by the King's Own Scottish Borderers.

London Regiment - This tartan was designed in 2000 by Johnstons of Elgin on the request of the London Regiment which, in 1993 formed a combined force of The London Scottish TA, The Queen's Regiment, The City of London Fusiliers, and The London Irish.

MacDonald of Keppoch - 71 Engineer Regiment (Scottish)

MacDonnell of Glengarry - Glengarry Highlanders TA, Canada

MacKenzie - worn by the Highland Light Infantry 71st & 74th Foot (also see Lamont) and the Seaforth Highlanders 72nd & 78th Foot,
Also worn by:
South Australian Scottish Regiment (Australia)
Royal South Australia Regiment (Australia)
Kaffrarian Rifles (South Africa)
Royal Highland Fusiliers (trews) ,a new Regiment in 1958.
Kimberley Scottish

MacKintosh - Fife & Forfar Yoemanry.

Murray of Atholl - Scottish Horse, Pipers.

Rajput - The Rajput Regiment Tartan

Robertson Hunting - 19th Regiment Royal Artillery Highland Gunners (Rank slides)

Stewart of Fingask - worn by the Pipers of the 48th Highlanders, Canada

Stewart Hunting - Trews worn by the Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) First of Foot.
Also worn by
The Pretoria Highlanders (South Africa)
Calcutta Scottish (India)
Bombay Volunteer Rifles (India)
Shanghai Volunteer Corps (China)
Loretto School, Cadet Force, Edinburgh, Scotland

Prince Charles Edward Stuart - worn by the 72nd Regiment Seaforths (The Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders) as trews(1809) until almalgamation with the 78th (Ross-shire Buffs) in 1881 after which they both wore MacKenzie.
Also worn by:
Royal Company of Archers in early 18th Century.

Stewart, Royal - Kilts were worn by the Pipers of several Regiments after King George V decreed that, as the Sovereign's personal tartan, it could be used.
Pipers of The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment)
Pipers of the King's Own Scottish Borderer's
Pipers of the Black Watch Regiment
Pipers of the Scots Guards
Pipers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

Sutherland - worn by Princess Louise's Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.
Also worn by Byron Regiment (Australia)

Universal - see under Black Watch.

Military Kilts not in Tartan

Hodden Grey - The London Scottish Regiment TA, founded in 1859, wear plain kilts of Hodden Grey, the colour of their founder Lord Elcho's hunting coat. It was reputed, at the time of the Boer War, when the Regiment won their first Battle Honours, to be the start of the use of camouflage in the British Army.
Also worn by:
The Toronto Scottish, Canada

Saffron - London Irish Pipers.

Royal Company of Archers, the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland

Black Watch Tartan - It is worthy of note that the Royal Company wore the Prince Charles Edward Stewart tartan in the early-mid 18th Century and the Black Watch Tartan , c 1789.

Bibliography:

The Clans & Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, by Frank Adam
The Origins and Development of Military Tartans, by James D Scarlett
The 1819 Key Pattern Book, one hundred original tartans, Peter MacDonald
Index of Military Tartans, www.Regiments.org
Register and Index of Scottish Regiments, www.Regiments.org
Notes on Scottish Military Tartans by William A.Thorburn
Notes on the Tartan of the Highland Light Infantry, by A.N.E.Browne
Summary of the Commonwealth Scottish Regiments by Kim Stacy.

Argyl & Sutherland Highlanders

The 2nd Dragoons

The Black Watch

The Cameronians

The Gordon Highlanders

The Highland Light Infantry

The King's Own Scottish Borderers

The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders

The Royal Scots

The Royal Scots Fusiliers

The Scots Guards

The Seaforth Highlanders

London Scottish


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