unusual band photo

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unusual band photo

Postby trooper » 06 Jun 2015 14:27

I always like to find the unusual when obtaining old photos and this one is no exception. It shows the drums and fifes of the King's (Liverpool Regiment) somewhere on the NW frontier marching and playing with slung rifles. I have a fairly large selection of Victorian military bands but this is the first one I have ever found with the musicians carrying firearms. I am not too sure of the date it could be pre 1914 but I have a sneaking feeling it could be in the 1920s. Hopefully it will not be thrown out as being out of period. Trooper
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Re: unusual band photo

Postby Tony Barton » 06 Jun 2015 22:04

I fear your suspicions of the 1920s may be right : they appear to be wearing the thicker-brimmed solar topi style of helmet, rather than the Wolseley in use before and during the Great war.
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Re: unusual band photo

Postby jf42 » 07 Jun 2015 12:00

Presumably hostile forces were close enough to warrant the rifles. Contact with the enemy without notice must have been thought sufficiently imminent to warrant personal protection, even though the 'musick' were usually detailed to act as stretcher bearers, were they not?
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Re: unusual band photo

Postby grumpy » 07 Jun 2015 15:02

Not the Drums, only the band ......... the Drums were far too grand.

Combat duty included ammunition resupply if spared from bugle calls and runner/ orderly tasks.
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Re: unusual band photo

Postby jf42 » 07 Jun 2015 18:03

Ah, the clue was in "drums and fifes." I should have paid closer attention. My apologies to the Kingsmen.
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Re: unusual band photo

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Jun 2015 17:44

Superb photo trooper, thank you for posting it. I too have never seen the corps of drums playing whilst bearing slung arms. Most unusual.
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Re: unusual band photo

Postby tabony » 08 Jun 2015 20:36

None for the Drum Major. They must have thought his presence alone would scare the enemy! :D

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Re: unusual band photo

Postby grumpy » 08 Jun 2015 21:35

I cannot see if the D-M has his side-arm or not.
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Re: unusual band photo

Postby Mark A. Reid » 08 Jun 2015 21:58

The Egyptian Army of the late Victorian period apparently had fewer qualms about employing drummers and buglers in the firing line. In his account of the Battle of Toski in 1889, F.R. Wingate records that the advance by the Egyptian Army over 1500 yards of open ground was led by the XIth Sudanese Bn. with their " drums beating and bugles blowing, " all the while under enemy fire. Readers of George Macdonald Fraser's books may ask what tunes were played but, alas, poor reader, posterity does not record the repertoire that day.

The photograph below is a detail from an image that appears in the memoirs of Col. B.D.A. Donne, who served in the Egyptian Army during the 1880's. ( I hope I am not transgressing any copyright issues here? ) The men depicted are from the Drums & Bugles of the Xth Sudanese Bn. and they are carrying their Martini-Henry rifles with the muzzles down, perhaps an attempt to keep the barrels free of sand? The image dates to around 1886 and the battalion was certainly on active service so perhaps everyone in the unit was expected to act as a rifleman when required? Certainly the dervishes made no distinction between combatants and non-combatants!

Cheers,

Mark

Grumpy, the Sergeant Bugler appears to be carrying some sort of cane, I believe, in addition to his rifle.
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