Most regiments in the British Army have some little eccentricities in their uniforms and some are so old that no-one knows their origins. The officers of the 1st Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry used to have four box pleats on the back of their tunics. But no-one really knew why. Eventually, it was discovered that when the battalion was sent to South Africa in 1899, the officers had sent their tunics to the regimental tailors for alteration. The alteration was supposed to involve “one box-pleat, four inches broad”. The jackets came back with “four box-pleats, one inch broad”. The mistaken alternation had a certain elegance to it and the new styling was kept.
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