Drummer, Mounted Infantry 1904

The Grenadiers provided a company of Mounted Infantry during the Boer War but this photo taken at Aldershot after that conflict shows that the company retained the mounted role afterwards. It is not known why this drummer is dressed in his scarlet guard order tunic together with khaki cord breeches and puttees. The photo is often published in books to illustrate the Broderick cap. But the Guards had their own peakless cap that differed from the Broderick worn in line regiments. It is blue-topped with a scarlet cap-band, and is seen here with a chin-strap. The webbing ammunition bandolier was adopted in the South African war but later changed to the leather type, so the wearing of it by this drummer is another puzzle especially as he does not have a rifle. There is a holster for a pistol on the front of his saddle but the ammunition probably would not fit in his bandolier. In his mounted role he is a bugler and the bugle is slung from a cord on his left shoulder.

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by Stephen Luscombe