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
Now that you have heard about all the backgrounds 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 the 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
The “badge of office” for the bodyguard is a black sash, worn over the
left shoulder. The sash may be worn under 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
“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 personages 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.