The Scottish Register of Tartans

29 June 2022
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Tartan Details - Polaris Military

The information held within The Scottish Register of Tartans for the "Polaris Military" tartan is shown below. 

STA ref: 222
STWR ref: 222
Designer: MacIntyre of Strone, Alexander
Tartan date: 01/01/1964
Registration date: This tartan was recorded prior to the launch of The Scottish Register of Tartans.
Category: Military
Registration notes: Although known as 'Polaris' for many years, this tartan's correct name is 'Polaris Military' and was designed in 1964 by Alexander MacIntyre of Strone, for the officers and men of the American Submarine base at the Holy Loch. Polaris was the name of the nuclear missile carried by the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile submarines in the 1960’s and not, as mistakenly thought, the name of a specific submarine. The idea came from Captain Walter F Schlech of the USS Proteus AS19 who was Commander of the submarine squadron. The Lord Lyon of the time apparently exploded when the tartan was submitted to him and is quoted as saying "We don't record tartans for submarines. It is nonsense. I have never heard of a ship's tartan in the whole history of Scotland!" While not necessarily tartan-related, mention should also be made of Mission Specialist Laurel Clark, who was killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. Clark, a Naval Doctor, was stationed at the US Navy submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland with Submarine Squadron (SUBRON 14). According to a number of accounts, she was very proud of her Scottish heritage, and a piper played at her wedding to a fellow naval officer she had met at Holy Loch. On the morning before the tragic accident, Mission Control used Scotland the Brave as the wakeup call for Columbia in honour of Clark. The well-known pipe tune was also played at her funeral, along with Amazing Grace at Arlington National Cemetery. The Polaris (Military) tartan (ITI #222) is worn today by the Pipes and Drums of the US Naval Academy. The navy blue represents the naval uniform, the dark green the depths of the oceans and the Royal Blue and gold overchecks represent the 'Blue' and 'Gold' crews who alternate.
Tartan image: Polaris Military. Click on this image to see a more detailed version.

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Please note

Where tartans were recorded before the establishment of the Scottish Register of Tartans (SRT) on 5 February 2009, the original Scottish Tartans Authority (STA) and the Scottish Tartans World Register (STWR) reference numbers have been retained. The new SRT reference number can be found in the address box on your browser (url).

The registration criteria now applied by the Register conforms to the Scottish Register of Tartans Act 2008. These criteria are different to those previously applied by either the STA or the STWR. You may wish to refer to the STA website for further information on the original recording of this tartan.
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