Boys were employed as drummers and musicians from the early days of military bands. They were often the sons of serving soldiers in the regiment. The three youngsters in this 1899 photo are posed as a sort of joke because the instruments are clearly too large for them to be carried on parade. They are all in blue undress field service caps which have the dragon badge. The uniforms differ because the one on the left is a member of the Corps of Drums while the other two are bandsmen. The scarlet dress uniform of the drummers had decorated white tape on the sleeves, collar, shoulder wings and back seams. The decoration was a repeated pattern of red crowns. He also has green cords in the form of plaits and tassels attached to his shoulder, which represent his other function as a bugler. He has a buff collar and the buff cuffs are the simple straight round type. The drum he pretends to beat is not a part of the Corps of Drums, it was used by the band by a time-beater. It is painted buff with the Royal Arms, a dragon and battle honours.
The boy in the middle is playing a tuba. He and the other boy on the right wear a scarlet undress frock with buff collar and cuffs and a silver dragon badge on the collar. The dress uniform of musicians had shoulder wings and white piping down the back seam of the sleeve as well as down the front edge. There is a lyre band badge on the right sleeve. The right hand boy conducts the other two with a drumstick.
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