The establishment for each highland battalion at this time allowed for a sergeant-piper and 5 pipers. Any more than this had to be paid for by the regiment. There are 12 pipers in this photo plus the sergeant-piper, on the left. His rank was normally called pipe-major but from 1881 the ranks of drum-major and pipe-major were down-graded. His uniform has gold lace on the collar and cuffs and no badge on the collar. His belt is different from the other pipers, being gold laced. He has 4 gold chevrons on his right sleeve only, no badge at this stage. They all have the full plaid, worn on the left shoulder and the baldrick worn over it. The pipers in the front rank have pipe banners.
The 1st Battalion pipers were distinguished from the style of their shoulder wings which were edged in a white tracking style. A few months or weeks after this photo was taken these men were in the Tirah and scaling the heights of Dargai. Piper George Findlater, who won the VC, is recognisable in the top left hand corner of the photo.
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