The Senate authorized the formation of a Regimental Association in 1967 and serving members of the Regiment may join the Association for a nominal fee. The Regimental Association is dedicated to maintaining comradeship, and mutual support for its members. In 1972, the Regimental Association became a corporation registered under the laws of the Province of Ontario to provide support to the serving Battalion. Over the years, the Association has provided significant funding to the serving Battalion, especially prior to the formation of the Regimental Foundation in 1979. Funding of the Regiment for non-military purposes is now the Regimental Foundation’s responsibility.
It is an all-ranks organization; in which post-Korean Conflict veterans and family members now comprise the majority of the membership with former and serving officers accounting for approximately 15% of the membership in 2018.
The Association Executive meets on a regular basis, and hosts two reunions per annum with one being the Annual General Meeting for the purposes of electing the Executive.
Through the dedicated efforts of some of the founding members of the Association, the Hodden Grey Regimental Museum was officially opened in 1989 under its remit. The serving Battalion provides quarters to house the Museum that have been furnished and converted to a display area for Regimental artifacts and memorabilia.
Who Wears the Hodden Grey?
Only two Regiments in the world are now permitted to wear the Hodden Grey. These Regiments are The London Regiment (‘A’ Company, The London Scottish) and The Toronto Scottish Regiment, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s Own.
The Highland Societies of London that supported the formation of the London Scottish wanted the unit to preserve traditional Highland dress and military culture. The fabric of which the kilt and full-dress jacket are made is known as Hodden Grey, in Gaelic -Lachdunn. Originally a coarse cloth made of natural wool commonly worn by Scottish peasantry for centuries, and some very early Scottish royal regiments in the 17th century, Hodden Grey became a popular colour range of cloth of the Volunteer Force (1859 – 1908) infantry. Queen Victoria approved these various colours of Volunteer Greys, often perpetuating the traditional colour preferences of a locality for its working and hunting fabrics. The colours historically varied depending on the geology and flora of the locality.
“A soldier” said Lord Elcho, the first Commanding Officer of The London Scottish, “is a manhunter, nothing more, and as a deer-stalker chooses the least visible of colours so should a soldier be clad.” Hodden Grey was therefore an early Scots camouflage cloth often used in deer-stalking by gentry and peasantry in preference to tartan. As rifle and propellant technology changed in the 1850s, scarlet, the standard colour of the Regular Army infantry, became more visible and an easy target at longer range. Forward thinkers, like Lord Elcho and Col. Wolseley, argued that tactics and dress should adapt to these changes.
Lord Elcho also wished to avoid any inter-clan and regiment rivalry among the Scottish diaspora in London by selecting this single colour tartan.
Hodden Grey, and its English cousin Drab, were the traditional British precursors for colours of Khaki, first used in the Indian Army in 1848, with Drab finally adopted by the British Army for home and Khaki for foreign service battledress in 1902 after decades of Indian experience and the South African War.Drab became predominant in Europe after 1900. Drab was dark, based on green and brown, for use in forested and green fields, whereas Khaki was dust coloured for use in dry climates.
By 1916, only The London Scottish still wore Hodden Grey, largely as a result of its famous stand at Messines, 30 October 1914. In 1921, with the consent of The London Scottish and the approval of King George V, The Toronto Scottish adopted its dress, which, with Canadian distinctions and minor adaptions of historical significance, it continues to wear.