More than 5,000 Scottish soldiers are having to share ceremonial kilts because defense chiefs have yet to finalize a contract to buy enough of the garments to go around, military officials said Monday.
The men, who face regular tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, have just 320 kilts between them, or one for every 15 soldiers.
Those 320 kilts have been provided on a trial basis by Argyll Bagpipes and Kilts, but that company has not officially been awarded the final contract.
The ministry refused to say who has won the final contract, worth up to 1 million pounds (NT$63 million) and involving 15,000m of fabric.
"A planned deployment of kilts will be agreed with the Royal Regiment of Scotland on a rollout basis with ... the full program being completed by January 2008,'' Defense Ministry spokesman said Monday.
Combat troops wore the traditional Highland skirt in battle as late as World War I, but now the plaid kilts are used as part of ceremonial uniform.
New kilts are needed for all Scottish soldiers following the August merger of centuries-old regiments into a single Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Some Scottish veterans and lawmakers have opposed breaking up the old regiments, which fought together in the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa and both World Wars.
"The kilt is psychologically important for the identity of Scottish soldiers,'' said Lt. Col. Willy Macnair, who served in the now defunct Queen's Own Highlander regiment.
"It may mean that some soldiers in the (new) regiment, by the time they leave, may never have worn it.''
(Staff Writer with AP)
1. ceremonial adj.
儀式的 (yi2 shi4 de5)
例: The Confucius Temple holds a ceremonial celebration of Confucius' birthday every year.
2. kilt n.
蘇格蘭裙 (su1 ge2 lan2 qun2)
例: Some people say that kilts look like skirts.
3. trial adj.
試驗的 (shi4 yan4 de5)
例: I'm not sure if I want to buy all 1 million robots, but I'll buy 100 and give them a trial run.
4. psychologically adv
心理學地 (xin1 li3 xue2 di5)
例: Solitary confinement can be psychologically damaging.
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