The Corp of Drums consisted not just of side drummers but a bass drum. Later tenor drums were added. The bass drum itself was made of either aluminium or oak. According to George Potter and Co the makers of military drums, aluminium was a third of the weight of brass, and oak was best for hot and humid climates. The origin of the leopard skin was once thought to be a relic of former days when a black man was employed as time-beater and he wore exotic costume, but it is more likely to be the skin of an animal shot by an officer in India or Africa.
The bass drummer in this photo was James Hoey who joined the Gordons from the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He served in South Africa where he was wounded at Colenso and more severely wounded at Pieter's Hill.
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