Canadian soldiers, who are privileged to wear Highland dress, must have an appreciation for the militarily historical significance of their distinctive orders of dress. It was, after all, through the men of the Highland regiments that the Highland dress survived the 36-year ban on tartan immediately following “The Battle of Culloden” in 1749. The army was, thereafter, the only sphere in which it might be legally worn and it was a privilege highly prized. The military adopted a “Government Pattern” tartan colloquially known as “Black Watch” pattern. As new regiments were formed, narrow lines or stripes of different colours were added to the official set to distinguish them. The Cameron Highlanders, raised by Sir Allen Cameron of Erracht in 1793, departed completely from precedent by having a regimental tartan of their own design, with green, blue and black as the dominant colours with red and yellow lines. It was considered that red, the prevailing colour of the Cameron Lochiel tartan, would not harmonize well with the scarlet military coatee.
On the suggestion of Sir Allen Cameron’s mother, the MacDonald set was selected with the addition of the yellow stripe of the Cameron and the omission of three of the thin red lines of the MacDonald tartan. All of this made good practical sense, since the Camerons came from the Lochaber area of Scotland which formed part of the semi-independent realm of the great Clan Donald and cadets of the royal Clan Donald of the Isles joined the Clan Cameron.