hackle n : long slender feather on the necks of e.g. turkeys and pheasants v : comb with a heckle; "heckle hemp or flax" [syn: heckle, hatchel]
- (US) /ˈhækəl/
- Rhymes: -ækəl
Usage notesHackles in the sense of hair on the neck is usually spoken of in the plural.
- Descriptive of the feathers of a fowl.
- The hackle feathers of the cock were long and golden.
The hackle is a feather plume (most plumes are made of horsehair) that is attached to the headdress.
In the British Army and the armies of some Commonwealth countries the hackle is worn by some infantry regiments, especially those designated fusilier regiments and those with Scottish and Northern PA origins. It was commonly attached to the feather bonnet worn by Highland regiments (now usually only worn by drummers, pipers and bandsmen). The colour of the hackle varies from regiment to regiment.
In the British Army, there is a single regiment of fusiliers, plus a battalion of a large regiment:
There were several other fusilier regiments which have been amalgamated and no longer exist. Their colours were as follows:
- Lancashire Fusiliers: Primrose yellow
- Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment): White
- Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers: Grey
- Royal Irish Fusiliers: Green
- Royal Northumberland Fusiliers: Red over white
- Royal Scots Fusiliers: White
- Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers: Blue over red
- Royal Welch Fusiliers: White
- King's Own Fusiliers: Blue over white
Non-fusilier regiments which wear the hackle are:
- Irish Guards (pipers on caubeen only): St Patrick's blue
- The Queen's UOTC: St Patricks Blue
- Liverpool Scottish (now a platoon of A (King's) Company, King's and Cheshire Regiment): Royal blue
- London Irish Rifles (now D (London Irish Rifles) Company, London Regiment): St Patrick's blue
- Royal Irish Regiment (as the direct descendent of two regiments of fusiliers): Green
- Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (pipers on feather bonnet only): White
- Royal Welsh (Other Ranks only): White
- Scots Guards (pipers on feather bonnet only): Blue over red
Whilst the white hackle of 2 SCOTS, red hackle of 3 SCOTS and blue hackle of 4 SCOTS have a known ancestry, the origin of 1 SCOTS black hackle and 5 SCOTS green hackle are not clear and have no apparent precedent. It may be that the black hackle of 1 SCOTS simulates the black-cock tail feathers originally worn in the 1904 pattern Kilmarnock Bonnet and latterly in the regimental Glengarry Cap by the Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers, who merged in August 2006 to form 1 SCOTS. Alternatively, it may be a sympathetic gesture to a former Lowland regiment, the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), disbanded in 1968, who wore a black hackle in their rifle green dress Balmoral. The adoption of the green hackle now being worn by the Argylls battalion (5 SCOTS) is no doubt a continuation of that regiment's association with the colour green, most prominent in the hue of their regimental kilts and stripes on their regimental association ties. (It is, however, worthy of note that in the 19th Century, all line regiments of the British Army used to designate their "light company" with a green hackle.) The Regimental Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland does not wear the hackle.
Former non-fusilier regiments, now amalgamated, which also wore the hackle were:
- Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (feather bonnet only): White
- Black Watch: Red
- The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles): Black
- Gordon Highlanders (feather bonnet only): White
- The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons): Royal blue
- Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders: Royal blue
- Queen's Own Highlanders: Royal blue
- Queen's Royal Irish Hussars (pipers on caubeen only): White over red
- Royal Irish Rangers: Green
- 40 (Ulster) Regiment, Royal Corps of Signals: Navy blue, sky blue and green.
- Royal Corps of Transport (pipers on feather bonnet only): Red over white over blue
- Royal Ulster Rifles: Black
- Seaforth Highlanders (feather bonnet only): White
There are also several fusilier regiments in the Canadian Army which wear the hackle (the French-speaking fusilier regiments do not appear to do so):
Scottish-influenced non-fusilier regiments which wear the hackle include:
- Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (drummers on feather bonnet only): White
- Black Watch of Canada: Red
- Calgary Highlanders (drummers on feather bonnet only): White
- Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa: Royal blue
- Canadian Scottish Regiment (drummers on feather bonnet only): White
- Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment (feather bonnet only): White
- Lorne Scots: Primrose yellow
- Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada: Royal blue (except pipers in full dress, who wear an eagle feather instead).
- Seaforth Highlanders of Canada (drummers on feather bonnet only): White
Irish-influenced non-fusilier regiments which wear the hackle (on the caubeen) include:
- 2nd Battalion, Irish Regiment of Canada: Green (light blue for senior NCOs and officers)
In the Indian Army, a few selected infantry regiments wear the hackle:
South African Army
Scottish- and Irish-influenced regiments which wear the hackle include: