The Gordons

Pipe-Major 1903

This photo was published in Regiment magazine with the date 1903 in the caption but it has some puzzling aspects. The badge on his right arm resembles the embroidered badge worn by pipe-majors of more recent times but it is much larger here. The gold lace on his cuff and collar are more than is usually seen on a pipe-major of this period. The sporran has three black tassels instead of the usual two. He is definitely a piper of the Gordon Highlanders as the arm badge confirms. The yellow banner on his bagpipe drone is an old Victorian banner from before 1881 as we can see from the XCII under the Sphinx, the badge of the former 92nd Highlanders. This, and the shoulder wings, indicates that he is 2nd Battalion.

The special pattern tartan hose and patent leather shoes were worn in levee dress order. The black belts that he wears support the fine dirk which hangs on his right hip, and the buckles are very ornate. Beneath the baldrick and the full plaid can be seen the red sash with large tassel hanging behind his dirk. This sash is voluminous like those of highland officers and is worn the same way, indicating that he is of warrant officer rank. Pipe-majors. Along with drum majors were down-graded in 1881 from staff-sergeant level to sergeant level. The rank of drum-major was restored in 1928 but from this picture it would seem that pipe-major rank was restored from sergeant-piper before that.

Regimental Band | Regimental details


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by Stephen Luscombe