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leigh kitchen

Edwardian "Bands Of The British Army"

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"Bands of the British Army" by W.J. Gordon, illustrated by F. Stansell.

I found this little stiff covered book about 15 years ago in a little old book shop in Cambridge, although it bears no date of publication, it appears to have been published (by Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd, London & New York) about 1902 - 1910.

The illustrations are stated to have been painted "just before the war", presumably the Anglo-Boer War although as some of the figures bear the cypher & crown of King Edward VII they were painted during or after that war, not before.

The book gives some detail on the history of the musical instruments & the regiments, it is particularly interesting in that it portrays all of the drum horses of the cavalry regiments as well as a representative selection of bandsmen from the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, the foot guards & the infantry of the line - in total, 68 figures.

I have already posted the illustrations of the drum horses in another thread (on drum horses: http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=14407 ) but will post them again here in order to show the full set from the book.

To start - the cover illutration: the mounted band of the Royal Horse Guards

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In 1678 6 hautboys were allowed to the Horse Grenadiers (this regiment was absorbed into the 1st Life Guards in 1788).

Then dragoons were allowed a hautboy & drum for each troop, & in 1684 came the Royal Warrant granting 12 hautboys to the regiments of foot guards in London, the order being that a fictitious name be borne on the strength of each of the other companies quartered in the country with a view to giving these musicians extra pay.

Thus began the device of of using non existent men on the rolls to provide "non effective" bandsman & the use of the term "hautboys" as the old name for bands - it appeared in the Army Estimates until 1834 when the hautboy as an instrument played a lesser part amongst the now 30 or so other instruments in use.

Originally, bands consisted of an assemblage of the instruments that would be used for relaying commands, although many of these instruments are no longer used, some survive, including the drum, the fife & the trumpet.

At the time of publication the drum was known to the British army in 4 varieties - the kettledrum, the side drum, the tenor drum & the bass drum.

Kettledrums were & are carried in pairs on a horses withers, one of the pair being slightly larger than the other, having a range of an octave between them, the larger ranging from F to C, the other from B flat to F. Of copper or silver & usually draped in banners, kettledrums are struck halfway between the centre & the edge, the sticks of whalebone with a wooden button covered with fine sponge.

The Life Guards had the first kettle drums in the British army, carrying them when they landed with King Charles II when they landed in 1660, the drummer being paid 5 shillings (25p) a day.

The Royal Horse Guards used the pair of silver kettle drums presented to them byKing George II in 1805, the year after they came from country quarters to London, to form part of the Household Brigade.

The Royal Artillery at one time carried 2 kettledrums on a carriage.

The undress shabraque of the Life Guards is bearskin, that of the Royal Horse Guards lambskin, the Dragoon Guards also black lambskin but edged with with the colour of regimental facings

Dragoons, having their origins as mounted infantry & being equipped with side drums, as they became used more as cavalry adopted the kettledrum (single ones a t first) & when they became cavalry of the line replaced the

side drums with trumpets.

Kettle Drums are draped with drum banners, usually in matching pairs although the 21st Lancers wore a different design on each of their drum banners.

The Life Guards & the Royal Horse Guards bore their battle honours on standards only.

The Dragoon Guards on standards, the 1st Royal Dragoons, 2nd Dragoons Royal Scots Greys & 6th Inniskilling Dragoons on guidons, & with the exception of the 2nd Dragoon Guards Queens Bays & the 7th Princess Royal's Dragoon Guards carried their battle honours on both standard or guidon & drum banners.

Light cavalry - Hussars & lancers - carried no colours, some choosing to display their battle honours on the drum banners.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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The drum horse of the 1st Life Guards, the drummer is wearing State Order, worn when the Monarch is present.

The cypher of King Edward II is worn on the front of the coat & carried on the drum banners.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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2nd Life Guards, the drummer along with farriers wears a red plume rather than the white of the rest of the 1st Life Guards & the 2nd Life Guards, he wears the blue flask cord of his regiment, the 1st Life Guards wore red.

The cypher of King Edward II is carried on the drum banners.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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The Royal Horse Guards, the cypher of King Edward II is worn on the coat & carried on the drum banners.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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