I am attempting to find details of the uniforms that were created for the pipe band of the Royal Company of Archers (RCA). I am in the process of creating models of the RCA pipe band based on a very poor photo of the band I have found.
The Royal Company of Archers is a ceremonial unit that serves as the Sovereign’s Bodyguard in Scotland, a role it has performed since 1822 during the reign of King George IV, when the company provided a personal bodyguard to the King on his visit to Scotland.
By Gerard Moulin
From my research so far I have found out that the band was created in 1904 using members of the Edinburgh Post Office Pipe Band and consisted of a Pipe Major, plus five pipers, a bass drummer and two side drummers.
Their first major event was the Royal Review of all the Volunteer units of every Scottish Regiment held on the 18th September 1905 in Holyrood Park in front of King Edward VII. The pipe band led the whole of the King’s Bodyguard for Scotland who were led by the mounted Captain General William Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch, to their station in front of the central pavilion.
The Edinburgh Post Office Pipe Band continued to supply members for the RCA official events right up to 1956. In 1957 an approach was made to the Chief Constable of Edinburgh who readily agreed to allow the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band to accept official appointment to supply members to act as the RCA pipe band.
The uniform of the band consisted of the same green cloth, Kilmarnock Bonnet as the RCA members but with blackcock feathers as opposed to the eagle feathers of the Archers.
The doublet was dark green, double-breasted with two rows of gilt buttons and appears to be of identical cut to those worn by Scots Guards pipers.
The kilts and fly plaids I am assuming are Royal Stewart, but this is something no one seems to know. I guess this is based on a very poor hand coloured early post card. The socks and hose? I do not know what their colours were.
They wore black brogues with gilt buckles at first, and from a later photo they wore white spats or gaiters.
They appear to all wear the Archers’ gilt roman sword hung from a black baldrick (sword belt) but with an oval gilt plate and a black waist belt with archers gilt buckle. I have no idea what the colour of the pipers’ bag covers were or if they were tartan. I also need information on the tartan of the drone ribbons.
As to the Pipe-Major’s pipe banner, this I can only surmise at, also his sleeve badge. Lastly I need to know the colours of the three drums and if they had the RCA heraldic shield.
I am hoping readers of Piping Press can give me some or any answers. I have been in contact with the RCA themselves but they were at a loss as to any records of the pipe band uniform details.
- If anyone can help Mr Moulin please email firstname.lastname@example.org