Last regimental master tailor dies
Arthur, 83, dressed the Gordon Highlanders
Press and Journal
Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
A MASTER tailor who dressed the Gordon Highlanders has died at his home near Inverness at the age of 83.
Arthur Varley, the last Highland regimental master tailor, passed away peacefully at his Newton Park, Kirkhill, home last Friday. Mr Varley began his military career with the Black Watch in December 1945, serving with the regiment in the UK and India before joining the Gordons in December 1951.
He worked as a tailor with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, but transferred back to the Gordons in January 1956 and served in the UK, Cyprus, Germany and Kenya before becoming master tailor of the Highland Brigade depot. After retiring from the Army in 1970 after 24 years’ service, Mr Varley joined world-famous kiltmakers Hector Russell in Inverness, now trading under the name of Highland House of Fraser, where he worked for about 20 years, ultimately as its tailoring director.
Highland House of Fraser chairman Bill Fraser said: “Arthur set a very high standard in kiltmaking. He was very much a man who kept himself to himself.”
Speaking at the Cameron Barracks in Inverness, retired captain Mick Low, assistant regimental secretary of the Highlanders who served for 22 years in the Gordons, said: “I remember him when I first joined and went through Bridge of Don in 1967. He was an absolute gentleman and an expert kiltmaker – as a master stitch, second to none. His knowledge of regimental customs regarding dress at that time was unsurpassed. He was immaculate and a loyal Gordon Highlander who would do anything to benefit the regiment.”
Mr Varley’s Army service was rewarded with a British Empire Medal.
Husband of the late Sheila Varley, he is survived by his children, Susan and Gillian, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
A funeral mass will be held on Friday at 10am at St Ninian’s RC Church, Culduthel Road, Inverness, thereafter to St Mary’s Churchyard, Beauly.