Officer, Seaforth Highlanders, 1892


Uniforms of the Scottish Regiments 1730-1959

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Since 2006: The Royal Regiment of Scotland. The Seaforth Highlanders was a historic line infantry regiment of the British Army, mainly associated with large areas of the northern Highlands of Scotland. The regiment existed from 1881 to 1961. The regiment arose from the amalgamation of the 72nd (Duke of Albany’s Own Highlanders) Regiment and the 78th (Highlanders) (Ross-shire Buffs) Regiment, as part of the Childers Reforms of the British Army in 1881. It was named after Kenneth Mackenzie, 1st Earl of Seaforth, who had originally raised the 72nd Regiment in 1778. Full dress, which was originally a working and fighting uniform, became more and more a ceremonial dress before it went out of use in 1914. For duties in barracks officers wore either a blue frock or a shell jacket, here is an officer of the Seaforth Highlanders in the latter. The original shell jacket was a sleeveless ‘shell’ worn over a sleeved waistcoat by Light Dragoons at the end of the eighteenth century, and the jacket shown here took over the name. The shell jacket was obviously a smart and comfortable coat, although suffering, like so much army uniform, from a lack of pockets. The Highlander, however, had his capacious sporran, and for that reason perhaps, the shell jacket lasted longer with him than with the rest of the infantry – until 1914 in fact – the rest of the infantry having given it up in about 1881. It was this jacket that developed into the modern mess dress, having been worn open with a waistcoat in mess, and then open with the collar turned back, a mode which became the mess dress more recently. The officer in this plate is shown dressed for duties in barracks, not requiring a sword, and although he wears his sword belt, the slings are hooked up.

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Dimensions24 × 37.5 cm