Drum-Major and Drummers 1857

On the left is the bass drummer wearing his oriental band costume as seen in Bass Drummer 1856. The jacket is red and gold with short sleeves, worn over the sleeved waistcoat. He has a red and gold shako with red plume and wears red trousers.

The drum-major in the middle is in state dress, worn on state occasions or when the sovereign was present. It is a crimson velvet coat with much gold lace and braid. The cypher and crown of Queen Victoria are emblazoned on the front and back. Here he is wearing blue trousers like everyone else but later the coat would be worn with white gaiters. The drum-majors are the only ones to wear state dress in the Guards regiments whereas in the Household Cavalry the same style coat is worn by all band members, but with jack boots. Around his waist is a crimson silk scarfe with a gold fringe. This item dates back, as does the coat, to 1665; the gold fringe added in 1672. The uniform is still worn in this form today. In his right hand is the drum-majors staff bearing a crown on the top.

The man on the left is a drummer in the Corps of Drums, whereas the other drummer belongs to the band. His tunic is decorated with white lace patterned with blue fleur-de-lys. He has four inverted chevrons on his right fore-arm; these are plain white and do not denote rank. They are good-conduct stripes which were introduced in 1836 and worn on the right arm until 1881 when they were moved to the left arm. Having them placed point upwards meant that they did not show up well on the drummer's tunics so they were placed point down when the change was made in 1881.

Regimental Band | Regimental details


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by Stephen Luscombe