Drums or standards ever carried when fighting in NZ?

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Drums or standards ever carried when fighting in NZ?

Postby Arteis » 10 Oct 2014 23:13

I'm currently buying some rather nice 28mm figures produced by Perry Miniatures, which although primarily designed for a mythical 'British Intervention Force' in the American Civil War, could work for the 1860s period of the NZ Wars.

The command sets contain drummers and standard bearers as well as officers and NCOs. I was originally going to discard the drummer and standard bearer figures, because I've never read anything to indicate that drums and standards were ever carried into battle in NZ. But before I do discard them, am I correct about that?

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Re: Drums or standards ever carried when fighting in NZ?

Postby grumpy » 11 Oct 2014 12:03

I cannot help with the historical aspect but the colour [only cavalry had standards] pikes are grotesquely thick .............. if I were to use the figures I would whip them off and replace with piano wire or similar. Indeed the swords and weapons could all do with replacing.
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Re: Drums or standards ever carried when fighting in NZ?

Postby Arteis » 11 Oct 2014 21:59

I read on the 65th reenactment site that: 'On 8 December [1863] the Union Jack carried by the regiment was hoisted on the flagstaff of the Maori king at Ngaruawahia. This was the same flag they had carried in battle at Rangiriri, as they had been ordered to leave their Colours in Auckland.'

So sounds like I can sometimes have at least one of the colour bearers with a plain Union Jack.

As for size of the poles, I do usually replace them with wire. Not only because of the thickness, but also because the lead poles bend too easily. The problem, though, is re-attaching the finials on top - which in this case I think would be impossible to do robustly.

I'm OK with slightly oversized weapons - within reason. They add a bit of character, and, more importantly, are not so breakable under wargames handling.
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Re: Drums or standards ever carried when fighting in NZ?

Postby grumpy » 12 Oct 2014 12:18

Weapons! Try replacing swords with flattened pins ......... they flatten well if belted with a club hammer on an anvil. Then bore a hole through the hand/ handguard using a pin vice, and araldite the sword in place.. BUT it is lethally sharp!
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Re: Drums or standards ever carried when fighting in NZ?

Postby colsjt65 » 15 Oct 2014 21:48

I have always assumed that the drummers of battalion and grenadier companies carried their drums in battle, to convey orders. The Light company buglers certainly did. I have scoured this forum and official sources to find more than anecdotal evidence that they were ordered to be stretcher bearers. I have also scoured newspapers describing the war and found very little. Of course they did do so - Drummer Stagpoole won his VC bringing in a wounded man. What I am saying I have found no official publication - Queen's Regulations, Field Exercises or even a semi-official catechism, that spells out the duties of a drummer in the field. Can anyone point me to where it is written in black and white?

As an aside, I have found several references to regimental bands (a completely separate body of men to the company drummers and buglers) serving as infantry in the field, armed with rifles.

“I must not forget to mention in the action at Kairau [Dec 1860] that during the day we were joined by the band of the [40th] Regiment, who throwing aside their instruments at the Waitara asked to be armed and be allowed to assist their comrades at the front. The request was granted and sure enough about midday they joined us as skirmishers – from that day until the end of the campaign they took their full share of the hard field work gone thro by the Regiment, losing several of their number from rounds but none (fortunately) killed.” [D. H. MacKenzie. A manuscript account of the Taranaki war; with supplementary account of the Waikato War, Alexander Turnbull Library]

The Band of the 57th, who for the purpose of attending were relieved from duty at the outposts, played the solemn and affecting strains of the Dead March in Saul [funerals of Hope, Tragett, etc] [Taranaki Herald - 7th May 1863]

BTW - Beautiful figures. I must get some. Well done the Perrys!
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Re: Drums or standards ever carried when fighting in NZ?

Postby mike snook » 16 Oct 2014 00:29

Colour

I don't think you will find references directing them to medical roles, because I don't think drummers were meant to do anything other than stick with their company commander drumming or bugling according to his orders. That's what they were for. It's bandsmen who sometimes got to carry stretchers. Equally there were plenty of instances where bandsmen were required to fight in the ranks, albeit this generally only occurred in extremis....certainly in the Mutiny for example.

[They look a bit like you....don't they!] :D

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Re: Drums or standards ever carried when fighting in NZ?

Postby Arteis » 18 Oct 2014 21:57

Thanks for the information, guys.

To sum up for my wargaming project:

  • I will use the drummers for battalion or grenadier companies
  • I will use one of the standard-bearers, but instead of the regimental colours, he'll carry just an ordinary union jack on a plain pole.
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