The Gordons


Pipes & Drums c1895


A Simkin painting of the pipers and drummers marching in review order over a deserted heath. The man at the front would normally be called a drum-major but in 1881 this rank was down-graded from staff-sergeant to sergeant and his title changed to sergeant-drummer. The title of drum-major was restored in 1928. The sergeant-drummer was in charge of the corps of drums.

They were called a corps because traditionally the drummers belonged to the companies of a battalion. There were two drummers allocated to each company whose main job was to transmit messages using well-known drum calls or bugle calls. Increasingly, throughout the 19th century, the drummers of each company were brought together to play as a corps and included one man as a bass drummer.

The sergeant-drummer has a unique style of doublet which does not have the white tape with red crowns on the seams like the rest of the drummers. He has wings on his shoulders with gold lace edges and lines, and gold edging to his cuffs and collar. The sash of office that goes over his left shoulder is obscured by the full plaid.

The pipers follow, with the sergeant-piper being the right marker. The bass drummer can be seen behind them, and a side drummer.


Regimental Band | Regimental details




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by Stephen Luscombe