Corps of Drums 1904


The Boer War had taught the British military establishment the importance of khaki uniform and it was felt that undress uniform should embrace change at the beginning of the new century. But these young men and boys of the Corps of Drums look a little uncomfortable in the new service dress and equally new peakless forage cap. This was the Guards' own version of the Broderick cap adopted by the line regiments between 1902 and 1904. It had a dark blue crown and scarlet cap-band, with the flaming grenade brass badge on the front.

The khaki tunic has features that have survived more than 100 years to the present day. The curved red cloth title badge sewn on the top of the sleeve at the shoulder was first introduced here. The rank badges worn on both sleeves was also new. The lance corporal seated on the right of the photo has his band badge, worn by all ranks, above his rank stripes, and the grenade badge above that. His long service stripes on the left forearm have a musketry proficiency badge above them. Next to him is the drum-major, or sergeant-drummer as he was called at that time. His four inverted stripes are also worn on both sleeves and he holds the short staff of office. He and the sergeant-major who has crown badges on his sleeves, wear he older style peaked forage cap for senior NCOs.

There are two officers seated in the middle whose rank is unclear. One, in a Sam Browne belt, has a forage cap that is the prototype of the forage cap that has lasted up to the 21st century, while the other wears the Boer War slouch hat with the Grenadier Guards white plume. They sit with the plain undress brass drums stacked before them.

The person on the front row on the left is called Sergeant John James Cox of the Grenadier Guards Corps of Drums.


Regimental details | Band




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by Stephen Luscombe