Drummer and Drum-Major 1925

Macpherson's painting of a young drummer and drum-major show how the Grenadier Guards restored colour and pageantry to post-Great War Britain after the khaki years in the mud of France and Flanders. They are both members of the Corps of Drums despite the similarity between the drum-major's tunic and that of the bandsmen. When performing in public it was easily noticable that the drummers had an abundance of white lace with blue fleur-de-lis patterns while the bandsmen had gold lace. The same difference applies in today's Guards bands but there is less gold on the musician's tunics. The drum-major was still sergeant-drummer at this stage; the down-grading lasted from 1881 to 1928, but they were always unofficially called drum-majors. He was the leader of the Corps of Drums but had gold lace across his chest and ten gold chevrons on his sleeve, including the one that edged his cuff. His cuff also has the gold-laced flap to show his senior NCO rank. The band sergeants shared this distinction. His blue collar is obscured, at the front, by gold lace and he has a silver embroidered grenade badge each side. His shoulder wings are richly laced and fringed with gold. The drum-major's embroidered sash is worn on the left shoulder and his sergeant's crimson sash is worn on the right. He has a sword, as worn by senior NCOs, hanging from his waist-belt, and he holds the gilded mace carried in stately fashion on parades. The drummer has two good-conduct stripes on his left forearm. He also wears the undress forage cap which at this stage is almost identical to the cap worn today except that the peak is not as vertical.

Regimental details | Band


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by Stephen Luscombe