Sergeant-Major Edwards 1856

In 1852 Sgt-Major Edwards was appointed by the Queen to act as drill instructor to the Prince of Wales, aged 11 and Prince Alfred aged 8. When he left for the Crimea, they presented him with the cane he carries in the photo. After the war the Guards made a triumphal march back to Buckingham Palace on 9th July 1856. Flowers were thrown at them and the soldiers attached them to their fixed bayonets. Sergeant-major Edwards marched at the front of the regiment carrying a bouquet of roses.

In this photograph by Cundall, Sergeant-Major Edwards of the 1st Battalion Scots Fusilier Guards is wearing his new tunic. This is the first pattern which lasted a year. The same man can be seen, without his beard, in the second pattern tunic at Sergeant-Major and Drill Sergeant 1862. The heavily embroidered and padded coat-of-arms badge is superimposed on four gold chevrons on each arm. His collar and cuffs are also well covered with gold lace. The blue shoulder straps are not easily visible but he would have a silver star badge on them. His collar hidden by his beard has a silver embroidered thistle badge similar that that worn by officers.

His sword is hung from a waistbelt and seems to be pulling it down too much. Later tunics would have a hidden hook sewn into the material to support the belt under his left arm. His crimson sash is now over his right shoulder instead of round the waist. The three medals are the Crimea Medal with four clasps, flanked by the Turkish Crimea medal and the French Medal Militaire. He also has white gloves and a cane of office.

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by Stephen Luscombe