Another WW2 Balmoral / Tam question...

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Another WW2 Balmoral / Tam question...

Joined: January 27th, 2010, 1:42 am

July 27th, 2010, 10:44 pm #1

Based on what I have been reading on these forums (and in discussion with Clive) it seems that in Highland Regiments in WW2 officers generally wore smaller fitting balmorals while OR's were issued tam o'shanters.

How hard and fast was this distinction? Does anyone know if this was the same for all Highland regiments?

Just curious. Looking through the photos from LAC, many of the soldiers are clearly wearing the TOS, but quite a few also seem to be wearing the smaller-cut balmorals.

Here is an example:

Wounded infantrymen of Support Company, The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, being helped to cover south of Kirchatten, Germany, ca. 22 April 1945



A couple of the caps in the picture appear to be balmorals (they don't look nearly as big and floppy as the TOS's seen in many of the other pictures), and these probably aren't all officers...



Another one (in this case, they are all privates):

Infantrymen of The 48th Highlanders of Canada preparing to sweep the area between Apeldoorn and Harderwijk, Netherlands, 19 April 1945. (L-R): Privates E.R. Curran, A.E. Dandridge, D.N. Leadbeater, Lieutenant I.M. Gray.





Here is one where they are clearly wearing the TOS (much more "cowflop" in appearance than in the first couple of pictures):



Maybe its just me? Are all of the caps in the pictures actually just smaller TOS's or did OR's sometimes wear balmorals in WW2 as well?

The reason I ask is that I have located a nice WW2 issue balmoral (broad arrow marked and dated 1945) and would like to determine if it is something that OR's might have worn or if it would have been strictly for an officer...









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Craig
Craig

July 27th, 2010, 11:17 pm #2

Here are some more pictures.

The first is a picture of the balmoral I am interested in purchasing. Beside it are 2 pictures of a tam o'shanter recently sold by the same guy. The tam is noticeably larger and the top has a flatter appearance It also appears to have a wire stiffener around the rim whereas the balmoral does not:



Many of the caps in the photos in my first post look a lot more like the balmoral pictured on the left than like the TOS. What do you guys think?
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Rob Thompson
Rob Thompson

July 28th, 2010, 2:07 am #3

Craig,

I own 6 original TOS's. 3 made by Brill Cap and 3 by Buffalo Cap & Neckwear LTD. 2 of the Buffalo's are dated 1940 and rather large in size. The third is dated 1940 but appears to have been tailored down significantly (loosing probably 2 to 3 inches in diameter...not sure when or who did this but it's a shame). The Brill's are dated 1940, 1944 or 1945 (very faint and smudged) and 1948. The 1940 is basically the same size as the Buffalo's. The later Brill's are at least an inch smaller in diameter than the early war examples. I have no documentation to determine if this is an oddity or if TOS's were just made slightly smaller as the war went on. Not sure if this addresses your questions directly but I am certain there are others on here that can provide further insight.

Cheers, Rob
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Craig
Craig

July 28th, 2010, 2:29 am #4

Perhaps it is just a sizing thing like you said. The first 2 LAC pictures (where the caps look more like balmorals) are from 1945, while the 3rd LAC picture (with the very large TOS's) is from England in 1942. Perhaps the TOS did become tailored down over time.

Another factor that perhaps makes it difficult to tell from these pictures is that, in most cases, the caps are not worn "correctly". I am wondering as well if many of the soldiers also removed the stiffening wire from their TOS's for a more relaxed fit...
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Anonymous
Anonymous

July 28th, 2010, 2:47 am #5

Is it possible, then, that the "balmoral" I found might in fact actually be a late-war TOS? It is a size 6 3/4 from 1945.



The TOS he sold was a size 7 from 1940.



Perhaps, like was mentioned earlier, the noticeable difference in size/shape might be attributable to the TOS being tailored down over the course of the war?

Or is the "balmoral" that he is selling indeed a balmoral as he claims?

All the variation with size, maker, year, etc. can make it confusing!


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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

July 28th, 2010, 2:56 am #6

Craig,

I own 6 original TOS's. 3 made by Brill Cap and 3 by Buffalo Cap & Neckwear LTD. 2 of the Buffalo's are dated 1940 and rather large in size. The third is dated 1940 but appears to have been tailored down significantly (loosing probably 2 to 3 inches in diameter...not sure when or who did this but it's a shame). The Brill's are dated 1940, 1944 or 1945 (very faint and smudged) and 1948. The 1940 is basically the same size as the Buffalo's. The later Brill's are at least an inch smaller in diameter than the early war examples. I have no documentation to determine if this is an oddity or if TOS's were just made slightly smaller as the war went on. Not sure if this addresses your questions directly but I am certain there are others on here that can provide further insight.

Cheers, Rob
I believe that Rob is onto something as I too own a cross-section of these caps and I am speculating that as time progressed during WWII that the manufacture of this type of headdress recieved a less generous cut into what we now call a Balmoral. I have been checking wartime clothing lists and so far have found reference in 1940 to Bonnets, Tam-O'Shanter costing 90c each (CASF Routine Orders 1940 entry No. 659) and am looking to see if at any time I see a seperate reference to a Balmoral.

When you think of manufacturing and the materials involved, I cannot see any reason why two distinct types of basically the same headdress would be manufacatured and held in stock as this would be a waste of resources.

I would be curious to see if the British manufacture of this headdress also went through a similar change.

As for Officers wearing Balmorals and not Tams, well the two WWII Officer Balmorals I have are of a finer barathea material in a slightly lighter colour of khaki drab and they are tailor made without a C Broad Arrow.
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Craig
Craig

July 28th, 2010, 3:19 am #7

Based on what I have been reading on these forums (and in discussion with Clive) it seems that in Highland Regiments in WW2 officers generally wore smaller fitting balmorals while OR's were issued tam o'shanters.

How hard and fast was this distinction? Does anyone know if this was the same for all Highland regiments?

Just curious. Looking through the photos from LAC, many of the soldiers are clearly wearing the TOS, but quite a few also seem to be wearing the smaller-cut balmorals.

Here is an example:

Wounded infantrymen of Support Company, The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, being helped to cover south of Kirchatten, Germany, ca. 22 April 1945



A couple of the caps in the picture appear to be balmorals (they don't look nearly as big and floppy as the TOS's seen in many of the other pictures), and these probably aren't all officers...



Another one (in this case, they are all privates):

Infantrymen of The 48th Highlanders of Canada preparing to sweep the area between Apeldoorn and Harderwijk, Netherlands, 19 April 1945. (L-R): Privates E.R. Curran, A.E. Dandridge, D.N. Leadbeater, Lieutenant I.M. Gray.





Here is one where they are clearly wearing the TOS (much more "cowflop" in appearance than in the first couple of pictures):



Maybe its just me? Are all of the caps in the pictures actually just smaller TOS's or did OR's sometimes wear balmorals in WW2 as well?

The reason I ask is that I have located a nice WW2 issue balmoral (broad arrow marked and dated 1945) and would like to determine if it is something that OR's might have worn or if it would have been strictly for an officer...








I guess what it all boils down to is this - as I mentioned in an earlier thread, I am looking for a wartime TOS to add to my collection. I have come across this cap, which the seller is calling a balmoral (which it very well may be). However, it looks very similar to what many of the OR's in the LAC pictures are wearing (many of the LAC pictures show officers in the Highland regiments wearing private purchase balmorals of a lighter/softer material).

This got me wondering if some OR's might have worn balmorals (most of what I have read suggests they did not), or if perhaps this "balmoral" might actually be a late war example of a TOS (it does have a fairly wide brim that might look more like a typical TOS if the seller positioned/shaped the cap differently on the mannequin head).

I am not as interested in purchasing a balmoral that would have been strictly for an officer. I would prefer to find an OR's TOS instead (most of what I have in my humble collection of militaria is representative of the common soldier).

What do you guys think?

1. Is this particular cap definitely a balmoral, or perhaps a late-war TOS?
2. Would this type of cap have been issued to OR's, or is it something that strictly an officer would have worn?

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Craig
Craig

July 28th, 2010, 3:38 am #8

I believe that Rob is onto something as I too own a cross-section of these caps and I am speculating that as time progressed during WWII that the manufacture of this type of headdress recieved a less generous cut into what we now call a Balmoral. I have been checking wartime clothing lists and so far have found reference in 1940 to Bonnets, Tam-O'Shanter costing 90c each (CASF Routine Orders 1940 entry No. 659) and am looking to see if at any time I see a seperate reference to a Balmoral.

When you think of manufacturing and the materials involved, I cannot see any reason why two distinct types of basically the same headdress would be manufacatured and held in stock as this would be a waste of resources.

I would be curious to see if the British manufacture of this headdress also went through a similar change.

As for Officers wearing Balmorals and not Tams, well the two WWII Officer Balmorals I have are of a finer barathea material in a slightly lighter colour of khaki drab and they are tailor made without a C Broad Arrow.
Thanks for chiming in, Ed. I was hoping you could lend your expertise to this matter.

I too have seen private purchase officer's balmorals made from a finer barathea material. Here is a good photo showing just such a balmoral:


Major J.R.O. Counsel, Acting Commanding Officer, The 48th Highlanders of Canada, near Apeldoorn, Netherlands, 19 April 1945



These don't bear any resemblance whatsoever to the broad arrow stamped WD-issue "balmoral" that I came across for sale. The one I came across looks more like something an OR would wear...
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Craig
Craig

July 28th, 2010, 4:51 am #9

I guess what it all boils down to is this - as I mentioned in an earlier thread, I am looking for a wartime TOS to add to my collection. I have come across this cap, which the seller is calling a balmoral (which it very well may be). However, it looks very similar to what many of the OR's in the LAC pictures are wearing (many of the LAC pictures show officers in the Highland regiments wearing private purchase balmorals of a lighter/softer material).

This got me wondering if some OR's might have worn balmorals (most of what I have read suggests they did not), or if perhaps this "balmoral" might actually be a late war example of a TOS (it does have a fairly wide brim that might look more like a typical TOS if the seller positioned/shaped the cap differently on the mannequin head).

I am not as interested in purchasing a balmoral that would have been strictly for an officer. I would prefer to find an OR's TOS instead (most of what I have in my humble collection of militaria is representative of the common soldier).

What do you guys think?

1. Is this particular cap definitely a balmoral, or perhaps a late-war TOS?
2. Would this type of cap have been issued to OR's, or is it something that strictly an officer would have worn?

The more I look at the picture of the "balmoral" I came across for sale, the more I am convinced it is the same style of cap worn by the OR's in the late war LAC pictures, regardless of whether it should be called a balmoral or a TOS.

If you look closely at the cap, you can see that it is pulled right down to the brow and the ears on the mannequin head. Soldiers typically didn't wear them like this (most wore them sitting well above the ear). If this cap was sitting higher on the head, there would be quite a bit more material to pull forward and down and give it more of the typical "cowflop" appearance (though not quite as distinct as the larger 1940 version).

It is my opinion that the cap is probably in fact a late war TOS which happens to be tailored smaller than early war examples and thus starts to somewhat resemble a balmoral. Rob could very well be correct about the changes in tailoring over the course of the war. I tend to agree with Ed that it makes no sense that there would be 2 distinctly different types of essentially the same headdress manufactured for issue. Most of the actual balmorals worn by the officers were made of finer material and were private purchase.

I believe that this cap is indeed what I have been looking for and is - based on the LAC pictures - the type of cap that an OR might have worn later in the war. Unless someone can come up with something to prove or convince otherwise, I think I will make an offer on it tomorrow.

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

July 28th, 2010, 12:26 pm #10

Perhaps it is just a sizing thing like you said. The first 2 LAC pictures (where the caps look more like balmorals) are from 1945, while the 3rd LAC picture (with the very large TOS's) is from England in 1942. Perhaps the TOS did become tailored down over time.

Another factor that perhaps makes it difficult to tell from these pictures is that, in most cases, the caps are not worn "correctly". I am wondering as well if many of the soldiers also removed the stiffening wire from their TOS's for a more relaxed fit...
??
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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