Monday 25 January 2010

The Highland Light Infantry

The Highland Light Infantry was a regiment in the British Army from 1881 until 1959. It was formed by the amalgamation of two Scottish regiments and in the same way became amalgamated with the Royal Scots Fusiliers to become the Royal Highland Fusiliers in 1959.

The card has a divided back, with no mention of it being for inland use only, and a one penny postage stamp.  The postage was raised for postcards in Britain from a halfpenny to a penny in June 1918.  It increased to one and a half pennies (three ha'pence) in June 1921.  After considerable protests, this was once again reduced to a penny in May 1922.  The stamp on the card was in circulation from 1922 until 1934.  In fact a very high resolution scan shows the postmark to be St Michael's Tenterden, and the date April 1934.

And why were they called a "light" infantry?  It's tempting to say that it's because their equipment was lighter than regular equipment but it's more a description of their role.  Light infantries came into being as skirmishers who didn't fight in the disciplined tight formations of the ordinary infantry.  Today that distinction has gone and the role has, in the UK, been taken over by parachute or mountain infantries and special forces, none of whom have the heavy weaponry of other battalions.

The Highland Light Infantry was the only Highland regiment to wear trews as uniform, as can be seen on the card.  Kilts were authorised in 1947.

Traditional trews were almost skin tight garments cut on the bias so that the tartan would lie diagonally.  This bias gave the trews some stretch.  The seam would be at the back of the leg.  Modern trews are no longer cut on the bias and are more like trousers, but they have no side seam. 

The card is titled "Highland Light Infantry at Laffans Plain".  Laffans Plain is a former parade ground in Aldershot, Hampshire, in the south of England.  Aldershot was a village until it was decided that an army camp should be built there in 1855.  It is now a town with a population of over 30,000 and is known as "The Home of the British Army".

This post has a Scottish flavour to tie in with Burns' Night, tonight 25 January.  As a  tie-in in a different direction, I am reproducing Burns' Selkirk Grace (with English translation).  I think it is particularly poignant when remembering the earthquake in Haiti.
The Selkirk Grace
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

Some have meat and cannot eat
And some would eat but want for it
But we have meat and we can eat
And so the Lord be thanked for it.

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  1. Quite an interesting history, always give us so much. Blessings for all of us who do not really know pain and suffering like the poor in Haiti. I hope they are beginning to get some relief!

  2. Are these your postcards?I'm just curious.. I visit your site everyday and i thought to myself, is he/she selling postcards or he/she is just sharing his/her collection? It's very good! :)

  3. Evelyn and Carmen, thank you. :)

    Sallie Holiday, I know you visit every day, and every day I delete the spam link you leave with your comment. I don't know why someone in the Philippines leaves links to a holiday cottage in England.

    But to answer your question, they are all my own cards and I'm not selling them.


Welcome to my postcard collection! I love hearing what you think of the cards - but spam WILL be deleted.

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