Mounted Band c1885

This well-known lithograph by Richard Simkin of the band of the Queen's Bays marching ahead of the regiment was part of a series called Simkin's Our Armies published in 1890. But this print was based on an earlier painting made in the mid-1880s. From this we can see that a marching band has to combine the skills of horse-riding without hands and playing a musical instrument. On top of this there is no apparent conductor to provide guidance to the musicians. It must have been the task of the kettle-drummer to keep the tempo going. Later pictures of the drummer show stirrup reins being used but there are none here. The drum banner is buff with the Bays badge in gold and red embroidery and LUCKNOW on a red scroll beneath. This was their only battle honour until the South African War. The shabraque has BAYS within a wreath embroidered at the corner, and a white edged sheepskin on the saddle. The drummer is a lance-corporal with two gold laced stripes. It is probable that at this stage the rank of full corporal had an embroidered crown over the stripes. Simkin has made the mistake of giving the men yellow cord on their tunics instead of white.

Regimental details | Musicians and Drumhorses


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by Stephen Luscombe