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WE'RE TREW SCOTS; Troops' fury over switch to kilts.

Byline: By IAIN LUNDY

THOUSANDS of Scottish troops are in uproar after being ordered to ditch their traditional tartan trousers for kilts.

Soldiers in Lowland regiments have been told they MUST wear kilts when their units are merged into Scotland's new super-regiment.

The decision by the Scottish Council of Colonels has infuriated traditionalists who claim trews have been part of Scottish army life for longer than kilts.

They have accused the Government of bowing to "outside perceptions" of Scottish soldiers.

And they claim the three Lowland regiments - the Royal Scots, the King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Royal Highland Fusiliers - will lose their identity when the six existing infantry regiments become The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

"We are proud to be Lowlanders, we don't want to be Highlanders," said Malcolm Nichol, former secretary of the Berwick branch of the King's Own Scottish Borderers.

"This Government is doing to us what Hitler never managed to do - wiping us out at the stroke of a pen.

"The regiment will have no identity left - and 316 years of history will be down the drain. It is heartbreaking." Kilts are worn by the three existing Highland regiments, The Black Watch, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and The Highlanders.

And it is believed the Ministry of Defence favours the Government tartan, currently worn by the Argylls, as the uniform of the new regiment.

The KOSB and the Royal Scots will become one battalion, then merge with the remaining four regiments to form the new super-regiment. But Charlie McGrogan, a former Royal Scots colour sergeant, said, "We are not a Highland regiment and we don't wear kilts, we wear trews - it is as simple as that.

"The uniform represents centuries of fighting. But these things mean nothing to the people designing the new kilt - they just want a uniform that will fit everyone."

The Royal Highland Fusiliers, formed in 1959 by the amalgamation of a Lowland regiment, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, and a Highland regiment, the Highland Light Infantry, wear Mackenzie tartan trews.

The King's Own Scottish Borderers have always worn Clan Leslie tartan trews, while the Royal Scots, the oldest regiment in the British Army having been formed in 1633, wear Hunting Stewart tartan trews.

An Army spokesman said: "When you think of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, then the most obvious Scottish accoutrement is the kilt."

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TRADITION: Lowland soldiers in their trousers
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 25, 2005
Words:400
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