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    British Army Recruiting Sergeants

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    This recently accquired carte de visite shows a Grenadier Guards Gold Sergeant and civilian. The obvious interest in this image is the fact that the Sergeant is acting as a recruiting Sergeant and has his pillbox type cap adorned with three twisted ribbons denoting his appointment.

    The civilian with him also has the twisted ribbons to his hat and so the question arises as to who he is? He could of course be a new recruit having just accepted the 'Queens shilling' but I wonder if his in fact some kind of recruiting agent working with the Sergeant. He appears well dressed and fed and carries a cane and watch, the ribbons around his hat would surely have taken time to apply and the cost of photography in those days would surely have made recruiting snapshots financially prohibitive. The CdeV was produced at the studio of FB Dann 35 Broad street , Reading which would still be a Grenadiers recruiting area today.

    Other points of note are the Sergeants lack of medals, he appears to be a relatively old soldier having reached his status as Sergeant but apart from his rank insignia only displays a marksmans crossed rifles. It would appear therefore that all his service was at home prior to his appointment as a recruiting Sergeant. His sidearm also appears to be either a very long bayonet or a sword, any identification would be appreciated.

    The Army still deploys Recruiting Sergeants but these, as far as I am aware are now posted to a specific region and no longer tour the Country looking for their recruits.

    Any other Recruiting Sergeant photos out there!

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    Don't know what a "crimper" is, but Coldstream may not be too short of the mark with the civvy possibly being a "recruiting agent". I have a copy of "Instructions for Recruiters" c.1895 at home and in them is a section dedicated to recruting agents, who it appears were paid for their services.

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    "Crimpers" worked in collusion with recruiters, befriending likely lads, buying them drinks, doing the sort of things we think of as being done by the Recruiting Sergeant, but going further by slipping them a sleeping draught or luring them away from the crowd (perhaps for sex, as some crimpers would be female, prostitutes & the like) so they could be isolated & forcibly recruited - abducted.

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