Tartan of the HMS Neptune

 Jesse Brauner
Tartan of the HMS Neptune

When one thinks of Scotland, many iconic images come to mind; rolling green hills, ancient castles, and Nessie swimming in her loch. Even more memorable than these, however, is the patterned fabric which has come to symbolize Scottish culture itself: Tartan is the only textile design in the world of which a tiny scrap can evoke such feelings of pride, such identification with the historical struggles of Scots, and identification with those desirable traits associated with being Scottish - honesty, industriousness and bravery in battle.*

Although tartan-style fabrics have a very long history – a good portion of it not Scottish – today these textiles are most famous as badges of identification. Specific colors and their arrangements function as a symbolic language in their own right, representing individuals, families and clans, as well as professional groups, companies, and organizations. To the huge international family of Scots and their descendants - estimated at 40 to 60 million around the globe - tartan represents everything that is admirable and wholesome about the land of their fathers.*

The base for the HMS Neptune is located in the traditional clan lands of the MacAulays, and this design is closely based on that clan's Hunting tartan of 1850. The Royal Navy colours of red, white and blue predominate, and the green - taken from the ship's badge - forms the three prongs of Neptune's trident. These prongs are edged in black to commemorate the tragic 1941 loss of the cruiser HMS Neptune in the Mediterranean.**



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