Kilt Manufacturers

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Kilt Manufacturers

Joe Sweeney
Joe Sweeney

August 26th, 2002, 2:31 am #1

Did Canada have any manufacturers of military Kilts circa WWI?

I ask this because I've never seen an original Kilt issued to a Canadian that was anything other than Scottish manufactured.

I'd assumed that a Kilted unit would naturally prefer Kilts from the source.

I've also assumed that when the temporary issue of "Drab" kilts was made in the early war that these were of Canadian manufacture to make up for the lost source in Scotland (manufacturing for its own needs). However, I've recently come across British War Office sources from 1915 talking about the cost of drab kilts for Canadians.

Does any one know of any kilt manufacturers in Canada that supplied military kilts to the CEF?

Joe Sweeney
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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

August 26th, 2002, 10:05 am #2

From what I can determine from the Kilts that I have collected, they were all made in Scotland. They all appear to have been manufactured to British military specification. I have at least one with a 'C Broad Arrow' stamp, even though mine have all come from Canadian sources.

Even now, replacement Kilts are purchased from Scotland by Canadian Highland Regiments.

Kilts are probably one of the last items of Canadian military equipment that is not manufactured in Quebec...
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Bill Alexander
Bill Alexander

August 26th, 2002, 11:17 am #3

Did Canada have any manufacturers of military Kilts circa WWI?

I ask this because I've never seen an original Kilt issued to a Canadian that was anything other than Scottish manufactured.

I'd assumed that a Kilted unit would naturally prefer Kilts from the source.

I've also assumed that when the temporary issue of "Drab" kilts was made in the early war that these were of Canadian manufacture to make up for the lost source in Scotland (manufacturing for its own needs). However, I've recently come across British War Office sources from 1915 talking about the cost of drab kilts for Canadians.

Does any one know of any kilt manufacturers in Canada that supplied military kilts to the CEF?

Joe Sweeney
Is there a possibility that the drab kilts were in actuality the kilt covers?
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 26th, 2002, 1:13 pm #4

From what I can determine from the Kilts that I have collected, they were all made in Scotland. They all appear to have been manufactured to British military specification. I have at least one with a 'C Broad Arrow' stamp, even though mine have all come from Canadian sources.

Even now, replacement Kilts are purchased from Scotland by Canadian Highland Regiments.

Kilts are probably one of the last items of Canadian military equipment that is not manufactured in Quebec...
The Calgary Highlanders use locally made kilts, to a degree, especially the pipe band and officers. Depends on the availability of a tailor who knows how to make kilts, too.
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Art Johnson
Art Johnson

August 26th, 2002, 1:49 pm #5

Is there a possibility that the drab kilts were in actuality the kilt covers?
Bill I think you are talking about a Kilt Apron they came in at least three different sizes that I have seen, full apron, half apron and just recently I came across a picture of what I would describe as a demi apron. The dyes used in making the tartan cloth of that period tended to be of a duller hue than more modern tartans. The Davidson Tartan used by the 48th Highlanders is not generally available and has to be made up on special order. During WW I some of the 15th Bn. CEF (48th Highlanders) at one point were outfitted with uniforms supplied by the Gordon Highlanders because Davidson Tartan was not available. While most of the kilt were supplied from Scotland the Regiment did employ it's own kilt maker up until about 1970.
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Bill Alexander
Bill Alexander

August 26th, 2002, 10:06 pm #6

Art how were these worn? Eg over all the other uniform / kilt? The images that I have seen appear to be an additional layer, worn over the kilt so that it wouldn't get muddy in the trenches.They are unclear as to how the bottom of the kilt is covered. Was it loose like an apron, or fastened in some way? Seems to be a bit of a cost in weight, wearing a double layer, especially in the wet and mud of the trenches.
As a footnote, the 97th Algonquin Rifles contributed about a company in strenght when the initial call for volunteers went out in 1914. At Valcartier they were put into the 15th. One diary comments on the fact that he and several of his buddies rued the fact that they'd be kilties. Didn't want anything to do with "that skirted uniform". He got his way and ended up in the 4th.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 26th, 2002, 11:15 pm #7

They are not heavy at all, I wore one on the set of Legends of the Fall for two weeks, in deep mud and water, and the weight they add is negligible. They are worn overtop of the kilt and are very lightweight cotton, secured at the top by a drawstring (on the one's I've seen) and left open on one side.
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Art Johnson
Art Johnson

August 26th, 2002, 11:25 pm #8

Art how were these worn? Eg over all the other uniform / kilt? The images that I have seen appear to be an additional layer, worn over the kilt so that it wouldn't get muddy in the trenches.They are unclear as to how the bottom of the kilt is covered. Was it loose like an apron, or fastened in some way? Seems to be a bit of a cost in weight, wearing a double layer, especially in the wet and mud of the trenches.
As a footnote, the 97th Algonquin Rifles contributed about a company in strenght when the initial call for volunteers went out in 1914. At Valcartier they were put into the 15th. One diary comments on the fact that he and several of his buddies rued the fact that they'd be kilties. Didn't want anything to do with "that skirted uniform". He got his way and ended up in the 4th.
Bill, Michael has beat me to the answer. The aprons were made of a light cotton and the weight factor was negligible. Much easier to wash the apron than clean a wool kilt. A number of units contributed to the 15th Bn. CEF and I am sure that some of their members were not too thrilled with wearing the kilt. After all it takes a man to wear the kilt. Right Michael?
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 27th, 2002, 3:28 am #9

...is you're rarely wrong. Amen!
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Joined: July 15th, 2001, 1:18 am

August 27th, 2002, 3:48 am #10

especially when provoked in to defending the traditions of Highlanders and the native dress!

That is where unarmed hand to hand "combat" comes useful!
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