Reported in the News Letter on January 10, 1957: Australian servicemen ‘embarrassed’ over kilt

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Angry parents of Australian national servicemen yesterday rallied to the support of sons, penalised for refusing to wear the kilt when training with the New South Wales Scottish Regiment.

The kilt “embarrassed” the youths, who were teased, they said.

Newspapers and radio have taken up the great kilt controversy, and it was carried into many homes last night by television, with a programme showing Scottish and Irish types of kilt, followed by interviews with Scots on the subject and ending with a rousing skirl of bagpipes.

The 15 men who made their reluctance to wear the kilt the excuse for failing to attend training parades are now wearing regulation army slacks.

But they are in Ingleburn Military Camp concluding their training in a solid 42-day stretch instead of being allowed to do it in weekend parades over a two-year period, as is normal.

They were fined sums up to £5 12s for having failed to attend parades.

They have already done 98 days’ training. Once the 42 days’ training is completed, they will have fulfilled all their obligations under the National Service Act.

Parents interviewed yesterday said their sons had a duty to complete their Army training, but they thought the lads should have a choice of uniform.