Blog 29 Add Some Flash and Color to Your Head Gear

Add Some Flash and Color to Your Head Gear!

Glengarry with White Plume and Clan Badge  Black Glengarry with White Flat Plume

We are proud to announce we are the new distributor for The Official Supplier of Military Head Gear the the UK!!!

All Feathers are color fast. They will not Sunburn/Fade or Bleed in the Rain.

Link to: Hat Feathers

Royal Tank Regiment of the UK


Kings Own Scottish Borderers Pipes and Drums



Here is a Little History and a Lot of Reference to Worlds Military Colors.  


(Please note: While this is a Long List... I'm sure there are Regiments, Companies and Groups I've missed.  This is unintentional and not a slight.  If you were missed, Drop me a line and I'll get you added in. -Sean )   


The hackle is a clipped feather plume that is attached to a military headdress. Hackles (or “Vulture’s feather” as it was termed) was originally an aid to identification in battle. The modern hackle has its origins in a much longer plume, originally referred to by its Scots name, 'heckle', which was commonly attached to the feather bonnet worn by Highland regiments (now usually only worn by drummers, pipers and bandsmen). The smaller version originated in a regimental emblem adopted by the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment to be worn in the sun helmet issued in hot-weather postings from the 1870s.

 Different colored hackles were used to identify different companies: white hackle for right of the line, green for light infantry company, red and white for companies in the center of the line.  In the British Army and the armies of some Commonwealth countries the hackle is worn by some infantry regiments, especially those designated as fusilier (Cannon) regiments and those with Scottish and Northern Irish origins. The color of the hackle varies from regiment to regiment.

There were many Regimental variations. The red hackle worn by 3 SCOTS originates from an action of the 42nd at Geldermalsen on 5th January 1795. Later that year, on the King’s Birthday, there was a parade at Royston, Hertfordshire, when a Red Hackle was distributed to every man on parade. But it was not until 1822 that an order from the Adjutant-General confirmed that only the 42nd would have the privilege of wearing the Red Vulture feather in their bonnets. Red Hackle Day is still celebrated by 3 SCOTS. The blue hackle worn by 4 SCOTS originates from a visit to the 1st Cameron’s in France in December 1939 by King George VI when he gave permission to wear a royal blue hackle in their bonnets. The white hackle worn by 2 SCOTS originates from permission granted to the Royal Scots Fusiliers for their services in the South African War of 1899 – 1902. 1 SCOTS and 5 SCOTS were granted permission to wear the black hackle and green hackle on formation of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The hackles identify the battalion in which an officer or soldier is serving or last served. The Black Cock Feather There is evidence of pipers of the 25th Regiment wearing Black cock feathers in Minorca in 1771. The majority of Regimental pipers wore the Black cock feather with the exception of the 79th Regiment, who wore an Eagle feather, from the end of the Crimean war. The Black cock feather was worn by all ranks of The Royal Scots and The Kings Own Scottish Borderers in ceremonial orders of dress. Pipers in the Gordon’s and Argyll’s also wore it in ceremonial dress.

Soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Modern fusiliers

In the modern British Army, there is a single regiment of fusiliers, plus a battalion of a large regiment. Hackle colors are:


  • Royal Regiment of Fusiliers: Red over white
  • Royal Highland Fusiliers (a battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland): White

Other ranks of the Royal Welsh; the regiment that was formed by the amalgamation of the Royal Welch Fusiliers and Royal Regiment of Wales, continue to wear the white hackle of the RWF.

 Historic fusilier regiments

There were several other fusilier regiments which have been amalgamated and no longer exist. The hackle colors worn were as follows:

  •  Lancashire Fusiliers: Primrose yellow
  • Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment): White
  • Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers: Grey
  • Royal Irish Fusiliers: Green
  • Royal Northumberland Fusiliers: Red over white
  • Royal Scots Fusiliers: White
  • Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers: Blue over Gold
  • Royal Welch Fusiliers: White


Non-Fusilier Regiments

  • Soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment: Green

Non-fusilier regiments which wear the hackle are:


  • Irish Guards (pipers on caubeen only): St Patrick's blue
  • Liverpool Scottish (now a platoon of A (King's) Company, King's and Cheshire Regiment): Royal blue
  • Liverpool Irish (now A Troop of 208 Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery): Blue over red
  • London Irish Rifles (now D (London Irish Rifles) Company, London Regiment): Green [Pipers wear St Patrick's blue]
  • Royal Irish Regiment (as the direct descendent of two regiments of fusiliers): Green
  • Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (on pipers' feather bonnet in Full Dress, pipers' / drummers' glengarry /atholl bonnet in No.1 and No.2 dress): White
  • Royal Welsh (Other Ranks only): White
  • Scots Guards (pipers on feather bonnet only): Blue over red
  • The Queen's University Officers' Training Corps: St Patrick's Blue (A Coy Caubeen Only)
  • Royal Air Force (pipe band only): Blue 


Royal Regiment of Scotland

Following the amalgamation of the regiments of the Scottish Division to form The Royal Regiment of Scotland on 28 March 2006, the following hackles are being worn by the regiment's constituent battalions: 

  • Royal Scots Borderers (1 SCOTS): Black
  • Royal Highland Fusiliers (2 SCOTS): White
  • Black Watch (3 SCOTS): Red
  • The Highlanders (4 SCOTS): Blue
  • Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (5 SCOTS): Green
  • 52nd Lowland Regiment (6 SCOTS): Grey
  • 51st Highland Regiment (7 SCOTS): Purple

Whilst the white hackle of 2 SCOTS, red hackle of 3 SCOTS and blue hackle of 4 SCOTS have a known ancestry, the origin of 1 SCOTS black hackle and 5 SCOTS green hackle are not clear and have no apparent precedent. It may be that the black hackle of 1 SCOTS simulates the black-cock tail feathers originally worn in the 1904 pattern Kilmarnock Bonnet and latterly in the regimental Glengarry Cap by the Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers, who merged in August 2006 to form 1 SCOTS. Alternatively, it may be a sympathetic gesture to a former Lowland regiment, the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), who went into 'suspended animation' in 1968 (and later disbanded), who wore a black hackle in their rifle green dress Balmoral. The adoption of the green hackle now being worn by the Argyll’s battalion (5 SCOTS) is no doubt a continuation of that regiment's association with the color green, most prominent in the hue of their regimental kilts and stripes on their regimental association ties. (It is, however, worthy of note that in the 19th Century, all line regiments of the British Army used to designate their "light company" with a green hackle.)[2] The Regimental Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland does not wear the hackle. However, the Highland Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (Territorial Army) continues to wear the red hackle with the Tam o' Shanter. Tradition holds that the black hackle originated as a Scottish tradition of wearing a black feather in your hat to signify you have an ongoing quarrel with someone.


Former non-fusilier regiments, now amalgamated, which also wore the hackle were:


  • 40 (Ulster) Regiment, Royal Corps of Signals: Navy blue, sky blue and green.
  • Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders: (feather bonnet only - Drummers and Drum Major): White
  • Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders: (Pipers only) Black Cock Feather
  • Black Watch: Red
  • The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles): Black
  • Gordon Highlanders: Feather bonnet only - Drummers and Drum Major: White, Bandsmen: Red and White
  • Gordon Highlanders: (Pipers only) Black Cock Feather
  • Highland Light Infantry: White over red
  • The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons): Royal blue
  • The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons): (feather bonnet only - Drummers and Drum Major) White
  • The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons): (Pipers only) Eagle feather
  • Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders: Royal blue
  • Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders: (feather bonnet only - Drummers and Drum Major) White
  • Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders: (Pipers only) Eagle feather
  • Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons): Royal blue
  • Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons): (feather bonnet only - Drummers and Drum Major) White
  • Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons): (Pipers only) Eagle feather
  • Queen's Royal Irish Hussars (pipers on caubeen only): White over red
  • Royal Irish Rangers: Green
  • Royal Corps of Transport (pipers on feather bonnet only): Red over white over blue
  • Royal Ulster Rifles: Black
  • Seaforth Highlanders (feather bonnet only - Drummers and Drum Major): White
  • Seaforth Highlanders (Pipers only) Black Cock Feather
  • 9 Commando and No. 11 (Scottish) Commando: Black



Other armies


Dutch Army

A few infantry regiments in the Dutch Army wearing the hackle:


  • Regiment Stoottroepen Prins Bernhard: Black
  • Korps Commandotroepen: Black
  • Regiment Limburgse Jagers: Red
  • Regiment Infanterie Oranje Gelderland: Red
  • Korps Luchtdoelartillerie Black over red 

Canadian Army

Hackle as worn by the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada and the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (Duke of Edinburgh's Own). Hackles worn by the QOCH in the Second World War were smaller and less voluminous; peacetime hackles adopted post-war were fuller as illustrated here.

There are several fusilier regiments in the Canadian Army which wear the hackle (the French-speaking fusilier regiments do not appear to do so):


  • The Princess Louise Fusiliers: French grey
  • The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada: White
  • Royal 22e Régiment: Red (not otherwise considered a fusilier regiment, they wear fusilier full dress because of their alliance with the Royal Welch Fusiliers)

Scottish-influenced non-fusilier regiments which wear the hackle include:

  • 48th Highlanders of Canada (feather bonnet only): White
  • The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) (drummers on feather bonnet only): White
  • The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada: Red
  • The Calgary Highlanders (drummers on feather bonnet only): White [3]
  • The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (Duke of Edinburgh's Own): Royal blue
  • The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's) (drummers on feather bonnet only): White
  • The Essex and Kent Scottish (feather bonnet only): White
  • The Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin and Halton Regiment): Primrose yellow
  • The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada: Royal blue (except pipers in full dress, who wear an eagle feather instead).
  • The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada (drummers on feather bonnet only): White
  • Irish-influenced non-fusilier regiments which wear the hackle (on the caubeen)
  • 2nd Battalion, Irish Regiment of Canada: Green (light blue for senior NCOs and officers)


Indian Army

In the Indian Army, a few selected infantry regiments wear the hackle:


  • Brigade of the Guards: Red over yellow
  • The Grenadiers: White
  • Kumaon Regiment: Green
  • Mahar Regiment: Dull cherry
  • Maratha Light Infantry: Red over green
  • Naga Regiment: Orange
  • Rajput Regiment: Maroon over red
  • National Cadet Corps: Red
  • New Zealand Army[edit]
  • Canterbury, and Nelson-Marlborough and West Coast Regiment: Green
  • Malaysian Army[edit]
  • Royal Military College: Red (to be worn on Annual Passing Out parade only)
  • Royal Ranger Regiment: Black
  • Pakistan Army[edit]
  • The Punjab Regiment: Green
  • The Sindh Regiment: Red
  • Northern Light Infantry: White with ceremonial headgear only
  • Cadets at Pakistan Military Academy: Red over Green
  • 9th Battalion, Azad Kashmir Regiment: Red (commemorates the action in the Leepa Valley, Kashmir in 1972)

South African Army

Scottish- and Irish-influenced regiments which wear the hackle include:


  • South African Irish Regiment: Green
  • Transvaal Scottish Regiment: Red
  • Witwatersrand Rifles: Black


United States Army

  • United States Military Academy: Cadet Officers wear black hackles in their Shako for parades.




'Report on Ashantee' (1874), Glasgow Herald, 26th December 1895

This is illustrated in The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders by Osprey Men at Arms (Osprey, 1988). ISBN 0-85045-085-3

Jump up  Spaan, LCol Warren (editor). Calgary Highlanders Regimental Book, published by the Regiment, 2002.

The Royal Regiment of Scotland – Dress Regulations   PDF file (No Visible Date)

June 21, 2016 — Sean Barrett

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