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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 07-09-2018, 11:04 AM   #1
el gaitero
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Default Gordonís uniform - india

Got a kick again watching the 1930ís movie The Drum...pre/early colonial India
...the Gordonís are featured thruout. But I noticed as working wear they had only untidy rumpled heavy looking khaki Ďundershirtsí . At one point I think one squaddie came thru wearing the light weight looking pale blue collarless shirt. ...which I somewhy thought was the usual hot weather garment ...at least in Egypt ....

Any buffs who can add clarity?

Interesting towards the end there was a very credible corey hand piper for the dancers / sword dance..playing a strathspey ( Lady Madelina Sinclair IIRC) at breakneck tempo.
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:20 PM   #2
phinson
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Default Re: Gordonís uniform -india

From the 1850s until about 1940, the standard undershirt for British troops was the "greyback" wool flannel collarless shirt. That being said, there are photos of Argylls soldiers in a mix of light colored and dark colored (green?) "greyback" style shirts in Shanghai in 1932. Further, there are photos of Argylls in "Aertex: style collared khaki shirts in Waziristan in 1937 and of Black Watch soldiers in Palestine in 1937-38. There are pics of both shirts on the "What Price Glory" website.


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Old 07-10-2018, 05:45 PM   #3
Rob MacDonald
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Default Re: Gordonís uniform - india

We must assume that what was worn in the movie was accurately showing what was worn by soldiers in India at that time.

Any British movie audience at that time - at Home or throughout the Empire - held a healthy percentage of people who had actually BEEN there (wherever 'there' was) , spoke the language, had a razor-keen eye for detail** and who were very vocal indeed when liberties were taken.

** On one famous occasion, a certain film would have to be stopped at the same time during each performance because one sentence spoken in Kikuyu would lay the audience out helpless with laughter.

A sidebar of the plot of this film concerned a native bearer running cross-country to bring a vital message to the Collector (the local Colonial representative) - very stirring scenes, a travelogue in itself - which came to a dramatic height when the fellow collapsed in exhaustion in the nick of time at the Collector's feet and gasped out his message in Kikuyu (or Swahili)

What he was in fact saying was "I do not think that I am being paid enough for this part!" (the actor may or may not have been Jomo Kenyatta - the future leader of post-colonial Kenya was certainly an extra in at least one movie during the late-colonial period)

I highly recommend George MacDonald Fraser's "The Hollywood History of the World" for an experts' opinion of British films of this era.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Gordonís uniform - india

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
the 1930’s movie The Drum...pre/early colonial India
I Googled the movie (1938) and the book it's based on (a year earlier) and I can't find any reference as to the time period intended.

Much of southern/central India was conquered in the late 18th and early 19th centuries though rule throughout the country wasn't consolidated until the mid-19th century, which predates the British military use of issued khaki uniforms.

The British issue shirts were the "greyback" or "ammo" shirts, ranging from sky blue to grey wool with a white cotton collar, worn from the mid-19th century up through WWI.

Khaki clothing wasn't general issue throughout the British army until the early 20th century.

In any case one would have to know the time period intended to be able to figure out what uniform would have been worn.

It's rare to find photos of soldiers without their jackets, here's a Gordon Highlander. You can see how high the military kilts were!



Here are 20th century Argylls in khaki drill

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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 07-10-2018 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Gordonís uniform - india

The entire film is on YouTube, but it is not in English:
https://youtu.be/deGMjuLkZpY

-Matthew
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:12 AM   #6
CalumII
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Default Re: Gordonís uniform - india

The piper, by the way, is none other than "Mad Jack" Churchill. It's not clear whether it's his playing that we hear but from what I gather he was a more than capable player, so it may well have been.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:34 AM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: Gordonís uniform - india

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
The piper, by the way, is none other than "Mad Jack" Churchill. It's not clear whether it's his playing that we hear but from what I gather he was a more than capable player, so it may well have been.
...thanks for that. What struck me,,...assuming that the rest of the lot were dubbed in - bagpipe iliterate extras, was that why / how did they Ďcoincidentallyí place a left handed piper in a major scene ..instead of dumping him for a Ďcorrectí piper like all the others. At a moment or two it seemed his fingering actually matched the tune heard. The playing was very credible.
Zo, btw,..was it indeed Lady Madelina Sinclair strathspey heard for the sword dance. Odd.

I found the entire commercial free movie in English in great technicolor on our cable Turner Classic Movies tv channel after digging into the Ďon demandí category and recording on DVR.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:13 PM   #8
Rob MacDonald
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Default Re: Gordonís uniform - india

[QUOTE=pancelticpiper;1329009]I Googled the movie (1938) and the book it's based on (a year earlier) and I can't find any reference as to the time period intended.

The film was presented (and received by its intended audience) as 'contemporary fiction', rather than 'historical fiction'. this was told to me by one who would know, he having served in the 1937-38 Waziristan War.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Gordonís uniform - india

The piper in the movie The Drum is not Jack Churchill. The piper in the movie plays under the right shoulder, Churchill played under the left:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Slk870PRGY

You can see Jack @9:00 minutes into the documentary of the 1942 Commando raid on Norway. I've read that members of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders were used in the filming of The Drum, so I'm guessing that the piper is the pipe major of the Drums and Pipes 2nd Battalion. It was not uncommon in those days for Gaels from the Isles, where right shoulder piping was common, to enlist in various Highland regiments.

Cheers -

Wes
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:46 AM   #10
el gaitero
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Default Re: Gordonís uniform - india

"?????????.....

Along these lines about old war movies....just yesterday a.m. there was ( or did I dream this??) a post that i.d.’d yet another old Goldie....and included a large color sketch of the original movie’s cast in a poignant scene...

I don’t recall the name of the movie...and think I’ve re-scoured every possible thread more than a few times to find it. Not found...grrr.

Does anyone recall seeing it?...maybe it was exorcised by admin for some reason?...

Last edited by el gaitero; 07-13-2018 at 07:48 AM.
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