Corps of Drums in Natal 1879

The drummers of the 2nd Battalion 24th, pose at Pinetown at the end of the Zulu War. Their colleagues in the 1st Battalion had mostly been killed at Isandhlwana and these men were lucky enough to have been part of Lord Chelmsford's force several miles away from the battle. As members of the corps of drums they were trained to play drums and bugles. Some of them can be seen holding fifes, and others have green bugle cords strung across their scarlet tunics. These tunics are decorated with green facings and laced shoulder wings with green and white fringes. The sleeves have white tape down the front and back. This tape had red crowns along its length, and was sewn on the back of the tunic as well. The red crown design was universal to all drummers in the infantry and according to the regimental record was adopted in 1866. But the Norie Painting of 1870 shows a bugler with green decoration on the white tape. The Sergeant-Drummer (later, in 1926, called Drum-Major) lies down in front of the stacked drums. His shoulder wings do not have fringes. He wears the fairly plain sash of office across his chest and has an officer style forage cap. An officer stands on the right of the photo in forage cap and scarlet undress frock. In front of him is a corporal-drummer with a roebuck mascot. He has good conduct stripes on his fore-arm as well as his corporal chevrons.

Regimental details | Regimental Band


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by Stephen Luscombe