Fifer, 25th Regiment (King’s Own Borderers)


Uniforms of the Scottish Regiments 1730-1959

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(Since 2006) The Royal Regiment of Scotland. This regiment was raised in 1688 by the Earl of Leven for William of Orange to defend the Lowlands against James II in 1688 and recruited in Edinburgh in four hours. It retained its connection with Edinburgh throughout its history, [except for a brief period in 1781 when, because of a quarrel between town and regiment, it was renamed the ‘Sussex Regiment’. Harmony was soon restored]. The 25th, a Lowland regiment, never wore Highland dress. In 1881 it was granted tartan trews but had no dress to show its Scottish origin. Drummers and fifers dressed in coats of the facing colour with red collars and cuffs. This made them conspicuous in action so was given up during the Napoleonic wars. The Colonel had discretion about clothing of fifers. The head-dress ordered for fifers was a black bear-skin cap with a silver front, but the 25th wore white. The hanging sleeves were a feature of drummers’ and fifers’ coats from early times and were abolished in the Clothing Warrant of 1768. Fifers were boys selected as likely to make good N.C.O.s. The Fife Major was responsible for them as a person of consequence in the regiment. Many of the boys were the sons of soldiers. Having been brought up in the regiment, they regarded it as home. Drums and fifes were separate from the band. Musicians were hard to find and could be temperamental but the drums and fifes were a part of the regiment, whom they played into action. There are many stories of the bravery of such boys playing on in the thick of battle regardless of the danger.

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Dimensions24 × 37.5 cm