Role of bandsmen.

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Role of bandsmen.

Postby beatretreat » 17 Feb 2015 00:10

Dear all,

First of all, hello from a new member to the forum.

I have a couple of questions regarding my great great grandfather who served with 1st Bn Royal Sussex:

Is there a way of finding which Company he was serving with during the campaign?
What was the role of bandsmen during the fighting at Abu Klea? Would a band Sergeant be in the square or positioned elsewhere?

My grandfather is Sergeant J E Baldwin, Regt number 914. He joined the 35th in 1859, aged 14, and retired shortly after the Egypt campaign. I have his record from Ancestry, and he is recorded as being a band Sergeant.

Thanks in anticipation.
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Re: Role of bandsmen.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 17 Feb 2015 01:18

Welcome!

Others will give more detail but I'll give what I can. In battle bandsmen traditionally served as stretcher bearers. When a regiment or larger force formed square, bandsmen who come under the heading of supernumaries and would have been positioned inside the square. Highly dangerous outside it doncha know. ;)

Josh.
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Re: Role of bandsmen.

Postby beatretreat » 17 Feb 2015 18:22

Josh&Historyland wrote:Welcome!

Others will give more detail but I'll give what I can. In battle bandsmen traditionally served as stretcher bearers. When a regiment or larger force formed square, bandsmen who come under the heading of supernumaries and would have been positioned inside the square. Highly dangerous outside it doncha know. ;)

Josh.


Thanks Josh for the quick response. I thought that would be the case. :) I'm sure that they would have had supernumaries at the zariba so it would be interesting to know if he was attached to a particular company as well.
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Re: Role of bandsmen.

Postby Mark A. Reid » 17 Feb 2015 18:58

Hello All:

At the risk of opening a potential Pandora's Box, I can find no 914 Sergt. Baldwin of the Royal Sussex Regt. on the Abu Klea medal roll published by J.V. Webb in 1981. The only men of that surname are;

950 Trooper F. Baldwin, 1st Life Guards
Pte. H. Baldwin, Royal Marine Light Infantry
4201 Sergt. J. Baldwin, 4th King's Royal Rifle Corps

Medal rolls are not infallible, of course, and I certainly do not wish to cast any aspersions, but are you sure that your great-great-grandfather actually fought at Abu Klea on 17 January, 1885? Wishing you every success with your research, I remain,

Yours Sincerely,

Mark
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Re: Role of bandsmen.

Postby beatretreat » 17 Feb 2015 23:18

Mark A. Reid wrote:Hello All:

At the risk of opening a potential Pandora's Box, I can find no 914 Sergt. Baldwin of the Royal Sussex Regt. on the Abu Klea medal roll published by J.V. Webb in 1981. The only men of that surname are;

950 Trooper F. Baldwin, 1st Life Guards
Pte. H. Baldwin, Royal Marine Light Infantry
4201 Sergt. J. Baldwin, 4th King's Royal Rifle Corps

Medal rolls are not infallible, of course, and I certainly do not wish to cast any aspersions, but are you sure that your great-great-grandfather actually fought at Abu Klea on 17 January, 1885? Wishing you every success with your research, I remain,

Yours Sincerely,

Mark


Hi Mark,

That is actually very useful information and one of the reasons why I asked the original question about which company he was likely to have been with. My research confirms that he was entitled to the Nile clasp and I assumed that might potentially include Abu Klea. Good to find out that might not be the case and to further discount elements of his story.
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Re: Role of bandsmen.

Postby Mark A. Reid » 17 Feb 2015 23:37

Phew! That's good news. In fact the Royal Sussex Regt. contributed a detachment of over 300 men to the Desert Column so a fair number of men appear to have been " Left Out Of Battle, " as a later generation would have phrased it. I would speculate that the Band might have been kept back, along with many other Support personnel, simply because their primary role was not seen as vital on such a mission.

If your ancestor's service record has survived, in WO97 at The National Archives at Kew, it might shed some light on his actual service. If he earned the Nile clasp on his medal then he obviously served South of Assouan but might have remained behind when the Desert Column departed.

With any luck, Mike Snook will read this and have a few words of wisdom.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Role of bandsmen.

Postby beatretreat » 18 Feb 2015 00:17

Thanks Mark, that makes a lot of sense. I have his records and he certainly lived a full life as part of the 35th and 1st Bn. Unfortunately, there was a toll on his family. His wife died in Barbados in 1878 during his service there and his daughter (my great grandmother) was left in Malta during the Egyptian campaign. Nonetheless a fascinating piece of history and I'm glad that I have found out more because of him.
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