Now fast-forward circa 25 years, from the early 90s to last week. I was doing my regular internet search for piping uniform accessories, and I saw the exact same brooch posted here on Pinterest by a Scottish militaria expert whom I know, detailing it as a Piper’s Plaid Brooch of the Inverness-shire Militia from circa 1850.
The Inverness-shire Militia were formed in 1802 and served on garrison in a number of places around the UK, and also supplied men to regiments fighting in the Crimean War. They were re-designated in 1876 as the 76th (Highland Light Infantry) Militia, and in 1881 became the 2nd Battalion of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
Given that the Militia became a battalion of the Camerons in 1881, no brooches would have been produced since then due to the pipers being supplied with Cameron Highlanders uniform. I think that must put my mother’s “Jumble Sale Gem” at a very minimum of 137 years old!
I’m still wearing this brooch on my feather bonnet with a Cameron Highlanders collar dog fixed in the middle (more on the feather bonnet in my Uniform Tour).
The brooch on Pinterest had been already been sold in auction, so I don’t know what it’s worth. I’m cringing though, at the thought of when my feather bonnet and said plaid brooch went AWOL on the London Underground after a Burns Supper last January, and didn’t find their way home until March…