The Clan Bodyguard is just another way of keeping our heritage alive. The bodyguard was created to assist convenors at gatherings of the clan and to manage the more formal activities (parade, opening and closing ceremonies, receptions, ceilidhs, AGM functions, weddings, funerals, etc.) of the Clan.
The bodyguard’s function is only ceremonial so don’t expect to see us squaring off with any Campbells. However, the group does have its historical origins. The MacEanruigs were a very large and strong Scots, well suited for providing personal protection and were sought out by many. The best example of this is the case of the MacEunruigs of Glencoe who were the bodyguard to the Chieftain of the Clan Donald at Glencoe, the MacIan. However, should you have information on any other Henderson bodyguard activities in history, please advise the Head of the Bodyguard through the website at your earliest convenience.
There are a few requirements in order to be able to serve your Clan as a member of the bodyguard. The primary desire is to maintain uniformity and set a standard of appearance for the rest of the Clan. The main condition for bodyguard membership is to own a kilt in Henderson tartan. (No utility-kilts with Henderson tartan in the pleats) Attendance at Scottish games, festivals and Celtic events whenever possible is highly desired of all bodyguard members. As an appointed officer of the Clan, it is necessary to maintain an active membership within the Society. All bodyguard members should have at their disposal the use of a broadsword, cleidhmor, dirk, targe or any other form of arms used in Scotland during the fight for independence from the English.
Now that you have heard about all the background and you still want to join our ranks, the next thing you need to know is what we do. Our goal is to assist the event convenor (those persons who set up the Clan tent and help others learn about the Clan and Society). The bodyguard manages the formation of the Walkabout. This term comes from Australia where it indicates a stroll. This is significant because our Chief, Alistair Henderson of Fordell, lives “down unda”. The Walkabout is basically a tartan parade where a piper and drummer, if possible, lead the Clan contingent followed by the bodyguard, clan officers, banners and flags and any Clan members present. It provides an excellent opportunity to show our pride in the Clan.
“So tell me again, what should I wear?”
There will be individual ideas as to the “proper” dress, for the bodyguard, with variations affected only by the standards of historical precedent. The only “uniform” requirement established at this time is the wearing of a kilt (with exception of Dress Tartan) and as described in the requirements. Hats, caps, jackets, boots, gillies all will be of personal choice and keeping within bounds of traditional garb. The bodyguard should not present a “gaudy” appearance but should become the standard by which other Clan members will want to dress for all occasions. Most military paraphernalia is welcome if the individual desires to wear personal awards on a military style shirt or day wear jacket. Bodyguard members will not wear Games attendance pins or badges with any military apparel. Rank insignia, badges or patches affiliated with a particular military unit or organization will not be worn.
The “badge of office” for the bodyguard is a black sash, worn over the left shoulder. The sash should be worn over an evening or day wear jacket. No insignia, pins, badges or patches will be placed on the sash unless specifically approved. Nametags will be worn on the right breast. Sporran worn by the bodyguard members will be chosen in accordance with individual taste. A $20 deposit is required for the sash and is refundable upon relinquishment of an individual’s bodyguard responsibilities.
“So tell me, in which order do we march?”
Processions (Walkabouts and Parades) should be led by one or two pipers who are followed by drummers and then the Clan banner. The banner will be followed by the national flags of the U.S. and Scotland with the US flag on the right. Next is the “Keeper of the Sporran” (Treasurer), followed by the Clan shield, bodyguard leader, bodyguards, Chief’s standard or pinsel and that personage. Should other Clan officers be present, they will be in line of march immediately following the Chief or Chieftain and spouse. Other Clan members will follow behind the elected or appointed officers, carrying Clan flags which may be distributed amongst the marchers. At least one tartan flag should be carried in the final rank of marchers to signify the end of the procession. Carrying tartan flags should be an informal gesture with the flag carried over one shoulder at an angle to prevent the flag from touching the ground. No flag, standard, or pinsel is “dipped” to any personage. Any salutes necessary are given by the bodyguard in unison and on command of the senior bodyguard member present, with the Clan Chief, Chieftain and any other Clan Chief or other personage of importance on a reviewing stand being the object of the salute.
Intervals between marching ranks should normally be three to four spaces within the unit, unless otherwise dictated.
“Hey mate, let’s have a Walkabout”
As mentioned previously, the Walkabout is an informal walk used as a means to advertise and show the Clan tartan and spirit at games and festivals. The bodyguard leader will make arrangements with a piper and then brief the piper(s) and others as necessary to ensure the route is known and understood. The route should be considerate of other functions and activities at the event.
“Anything else I should be prepared for?”
There are plenty of things to think about, but one cannot anticipate every situation that may present itself. Common sense will prevail in many cases, and one can do little harm if each bodyguard understands that all that we do should be done with pride, dignity and common sense; more often than not, we may not have all the bodies present to re-create the situation given in the marching description above. Nevertheless, the same basic order should be followed in as much as the situation allows. For instance, a no-too-often use of the bodyguard has to do with formal events, such as an official dinner/function/ceilidh. If there is a formal entrance of the head table, the group of officials should be piped to their table. Bodyguards would be responsible for arranging this. When everyone is in place, the head bodyguard would propose a toast. (A possible toast is “To the Chief, our great nations and ancestral home and their leaders – and an appropriate response to this toast is “Slainte Mhath [slanh-cha-vah], which means “Good Health”). The bodyguard would also arrange for the ceilidh master to run the event of the evening.
Another situation where a Chief or Chieftain is on the move during a formal event, he should be accompanied by a representative of the Clan carrying the standard or pinsel and a bodyguard.