HC Deb 10 February 1881 vol 258 cc484-5

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether alterations in the Tartans worn by kilted and trews regiments are contemplated; and, if so, whether full time will be allowed for the consideration of a matter so interesting to many, before finally adopting any alterations?


Sir, in reply to my hon. Friend, I have to assure him that so delicate a matter as any alteration of the Tartan of Scotch regiments will not be decided upon without full consideration; but, probably, he is not aware of the facts which have led to this matter becoming urgent. Since 1870 all soldiers have enlisted, not for one, but for two regiments, and since 1873 all officers have been appointed, not to one, but to two regiments, and are liable to be transferred at the will of the authorities from one to another. For instance, the 42nd and 79th are two Scotch regiments, the men and officers of which belong to both. When the 42nd was abroad it was fed by drafts from the 79th to the extent of 452 men in four years, and now that the 79th is abroad vacancies in it have been filled by drafts from the 42nd to the extent of 157 men in one year. So as to officers, two have recently been promoted from the 42nd to the 79th, and the whole body of officers will, before long, be subject to this liability. It is evidently anomalous and unnecessarily costly that officers should be obliged to keep double sets of uniform, to say nothing of constantly changing the uniform of the men; and I think the time has come when this anomaly should be put an end to, and the two regiments have the same uniform. I understand that several of these cases are being satisfactorily arranged; and, as I have already said, we shall act with every consideration for the feelings of the officers and their friends in whatever changes maybe ultimately necessary.


asked the right hon. Gentleman if any opportunity for discussing the question would be afforded to the House before any alteration were made?


I think I may inform the hon. Gentleman that I shall state, when moving Estimates, the details of the combinations of two regiments which have been in force for 10 years, and I shall lay Papers on the Table. But I hope that the explanations which I shall be able to make will not render any lengthened debate on Tartans necessary.