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Tartan Ferret


The Glengarry

According to its Wikipedia entry, the Glengarry was made part of theuniform of the Glengarry Fencibles by Alasdair Ranaldson MacDonell ofGlengarry when they were formed in 1794 and he was described as havinginvented the cap. However, as worn by Scottish Highland regiments the original voluminous bluebonnet gradually developed into a stiffened felt cylinder, oftendecorated with ostrich plumes sweeping over the crown from left toright (as well as flashes of bearskin or painted turkey hackles). Inthe 19th century this tall cap evolved into the extravagant full dress'feather bonnet' while, as an undress cap, the plainer form continuedin use until the mid-19th century. By then known as the 'Kilmarnock'bonnet, it was officially replaced by the Glengarry bonnet, which hadbeen in use unofficially since the late eighteenth century and wasessentially a folding version of the cylindrical military cap.

It is interesting that the three Victorian illustrations below show approximations of all three stages of the Balmoral's supposed conversion to the Glengarry. Hopefully a military hat historian will leap to our rescue!

The Balmoral hat.          Probably the 'Kilmarnock' hat.          The Kilmarnock hat with a 'valley' down its length.

Capable of being folded flat the Glengarry became a characteristicpart of the uniform of the Scottish regiments where it was worn invarious guises.

During World War II it was always worn by the Forces at a veryjaunty angle and know as the forage cap: the right side of the cap wasworn low, often touching the ear, and the side with the cap badgehigher on the head. The trend since the end of the war has been to wearthe Glengarry level on the head.

Nowadays it's commonly worn by civilians, notably civilian pipebands, but can be considered an appropriate hat worn by any males withHighland casual or evening dress.

RAF Forage cap   Canadian Glengarry style military hat. 





The Balmoral

The Balmoral bonnet dates back to at least the 16th century when it was a soft, knitted wool cap with a voluminous, flat crown, traditionally blue in colour, sometimes with a diced band (usually red-and-white check) around the lower edge and with a coloured toorie (pom-pom) set in the middle of the crown.

Burns Bunnet - reintrocuction of the old wide brimmed beret worn around the time of Robert Burns.

The name 'Balmoral' as applied to this traditional head dress appearsto date from the late 19th century. Today, the crown of the bonnet issmaller, made of finer cloth and tends to be blue or Lovat green. Tapesin the band originally used to secure the bonnet tightly are sometimesworn hanging from the back of the cap. It can have a regimental or clanbadge worn on the left hand side with the bonnet usually worn tilted tothe right to display these emblems. The Balmoral  was adapted into theCaubeen by Irish Forces and military forces around the world have wornit and referred to it simply as a 'beret.'

The Black Watch Balmoral beret.       Canadian Military Balmoral beret   HRH Prince Charles wearing the Red Beret


5 naval officer cadets all wearing berets

The Chiefs

We've spoken of the chiefs' eagles feathers before and it might be of interest to discover that they - and the Chieftains and Armigers - are at risk from some of Britain's most draconian laws. That law is concerned with the protection of widlife and eagles are included in the legislation. The law lays the onus on the owner of the feathers to prove his innocence rather than the prosecutor having to prove his guilt! Chiefs and chieftains now consider it wise to have a letter from someone authorised to keep eagles in captivity, or a licensed taxidermist, stating that the bonnet feathers come from a legitimate source. Although Britain's wild eagles cast more than 30,000 tail and wing feathers during their annual moult - all of them blowing about on hill and moor -- no allowance was made for this by the law-makers and it is assumed that if the armiger is in possession of an eagle feather, he killed the bird to get it!

Banner photo: Glengarry.com





Glengarry black






Glengarry Lovat green with diced band.






Balmoral black with diced band






Plain Balmoral in Lovat green







See you Jimmy Hat





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