Home Forums WWII Kilt use in Scottish units, France 1940

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    Les Hammond

    Which units, if any, wore kilts in action in this period or was this only done when the press was around before hostilities?

    Were they a plain khaki colour or if tartan, which?

    6mm France 1940


    Mick A

    The few pictures I’ve seen seem to show a khaki covering over a normal tartan kilt.


    They were all meant to be in Battledress by the time it kicked off in May 1940. Some LoC troops may have been still in SD, but sans kilts I’m afraid. However the 1st & 4th Cameron Highlanders appear to have resisted the order.

    Some individuals (? officers and pipers) in other units may have retained theirs, based on the comments in the link here http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/kilts-and-the-bef-1940.4686/ The kilt will be whichever tartan is appropriate for the unit, or have the KD apron cover.

    From that link:

    From Churchill’s Sacrifice Of The Highland Division by Saul David.

    In September 1939 , it had been decided by the War Office that kilts….were not suited to increased mecanisation of modern warfare, and afforded no practical protection against gas attack. Accordingly , each Highland battalion was ordered to hand in their kilts before embarking, although many officers retained theirs in their kit bags, as did the pipe bands.

    The 1st Gordons had embarked for France in September just before the order to hand in kilts was issued. It was not until December that instructions to switch to battle dress finally caught up with them, but Saul David says few of its men were sad to see the back of the kilt.
    During the later months of 1939 they had spent much time digging anti-tank defences still in their kilts, mud caked kilts caused terrible sores.
    In was found impractical to wear a kilt in a lorry, or Bren carrier and even worse on a motorbike.

    The 5th Gordons a TA unit were so annoyed at losing their kilts they had a parade at Bordon in January 1940 before going to France.
    Their CO ceremonially burnt a kilt saying the English had wanted to take away the kilt from the Scots and now they had succeeded.

    As mentioned before 1st Camerons went into battle wearing their kilts, some photos have already been posted, there are more of them in the After The Battle book, Blitzkreig In The West.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Etranger.
    Maff Sparkes

    there’s a part of me that says if you want your 1940 Jocks to be in kilts…..they’re your figures. Perhaps they didn’t get the memo. Kilts in 1944? No but in 194o why not?

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