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leigh kitchen

"Drummer Boys" - Boys Serving in The British Army.

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Alec Campbell, enlisted for the 15th Battalion Reinforcements at the age of 16 years & 4 months, & served at Gallipoli.

Born 1899, died 2002 - he was the last of the surviving ANZACs.

This photo is of the cover of the book "The Last ANZACS" (by Tony Stephens & Steven Stewart, published by the Freemantle Arts Centre Press), Campbell, who believed that he must hacve lied about his age in order to enlist, is one of 18 Gallipoli veterans featured but not the only one who joined up at such a young age.

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Lt Colonel Colin Mitchell - "Mad Mitch" - Commanding Officer of 1st Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders during the Aden Campaign of the 1960's is reported to have been a member of the WWII Home Guard at the age of 14.

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from my collection:

RoyalFusilierBoy.jpg

Above: A c. 1895 cabinet photograph of a very young member of the Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regiment.

RifleVolunteerBandsman.jpg

Above: a carte de visite of a young bandsman from the rifle volunteers c. 1880. Possibly the Somerset Rifle Volunteers.

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Great photos - the "Fusilier" could be wearing dad's uniform & equipment by the look of it?

Although the tunic isn't too baggy.

Mounted infantry?

A Somerset unit for the other boy sounds likely, I suppose, given the photographer.

Nice photos.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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"Mercie Sunshine's Chats About Soldiers" a Victorian publication, delghtful or absolutely cringe-making to read, depending on your point of view.

A colourful cover, showing a Guards Drummer Boy (presumably Grenadier, as the buttons are evenly spaced & a white plume would be out of vew, on the left side of the bearskin).

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Here are some scans of the attestation and records papers for 1977 William Thake, 88th Regiment of Foot/ 1st Battalion, The Connaught Rangers.

He mustered in 15 December, 1873 at the age of 14, 4 1/2 feet tall with a listed trade of musician so he was a drummer boy literally. He rose through the ranks eventually reaching Canteen Sergeant in 1888. His overseas service included India and South Africa (Zulu War, South Africa Medal with 1877-8-9 clasp) and earned the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (I posted a scan of his LS&GC on the Biritsh Medals section of this forum a few weeks ago. He was discharged for medical reasons (hepatitis) on 5 April 1894 with over 21 years of service under his belt.

The 1901 census lists Thake living in Stepney, Middlesex, England with his wife Amy (who is also listed in his papers as with the regiment) and two children - Cyril and Muriel. His occupation is listed as an Inspector of Customs.

ThakePapers1a.jpg

ThakePapers2.jpg

ThakePapers3.jpg

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Sorry, it's not possible to attempt to date the garment from brief details, there are so many variables. The basic design that the Drummer in the photo is wearing is still in use, it's been worn by many different units.

Apart from date markings on the garment, other ways of dating it would include by the insignia (bearing )in mind that old tunics would continue in wear with new insignia) & pattern of lace etc.

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Recruiting Sergeant Turner of the Somerset Light Infantry with 4 of his sons, 2 of whom are members of the Grenadier Guards & 2 of the Coldstream Guards. There was a ffth son, but he was'nt in the Guards, I don't know if he was in the army.

Sgt Turner wears the cap & collar badges of the SLI, with "favours" on his cap - perhaps in red, white & blue, Recruiters insignia on the lower sleeves & a red sash.

He wears the Queens South Africa Medal with 3 x Clasps, The Kings South Africa Medal with 2 x Clasps, 1914 Star with Bar, British War Medal & Victory Medal.

The original photo was taken circa 1927, this is a fairly modern copy.

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Front cover of "The Million", week ending Saturday November 10th, 1894.

"Bandsmen, Gold Coast Constabulary, Cameron Highlanders, And 93rd Highlanders":

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Neither posts #67 or #68 are Cadets as we know them. Post #67 is from the blurred badge a member of the London Diocesan Cadet Corps, which I believe was a branch of the Church Lads Brigade.

Post#68 is infact a member of the Church Lads Brigade.

Both of these organisations and the Boys Brigade at the turn of the last century were quasi-military in their approach to the discipline of Cadets. The organisations themselves were not only sponsored, but in some cases affilited to local Territorial Battalions who assisted them during annual camps etc, not only with equipment but sometimes instructors.

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Drum Major Sergeant D. Gaten (6'4" tall) & Drummer Boy Jones (3'8" tall), 2nd Bn The South Lancashire Regiment, Kamptee, India, 1897.

Photo from "The Regiment", issue 49 (The Queen's Lancashire Regiment Part II: 1881 2000).

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Is there anywhere where I could read "Mercie Sunshine's Chats About Soldiers?"

Also, I'm fairly sure that Lt. Col. Mitchell, mentioned earlier as a possible boy soldier, was 15 when the Home Guard was started up in the summer of 1940. I checked and he was born in 1925...

~TS

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Leigh - out of curiosity what are Turners 'cuff' rank badges in post 63 - they certainly look a little unusual and don't appear to be either RSM or RQMS, or is it just my eyes these days??

I think they are reversed & intertwined "R"s, worn by Recruiters.

I have a colour card somewhere of a Recruiter in Blues wearing the badge - I was wondering if they were worn by retired personnel in lieu of the crossed Union flags over chevrons?

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