Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Is this man a piper?


Recommended Posts

I'd appreciate any information people can deduce from this photo. I reckon he was a piper in a Highland Regiment but I couldn't get any further than that!


Link to comment
Share on other sites


A very nice photograph Pre Great War of a 79th Cameron Highlander, medals L/R Queens Sudan, Queens South Africa and Kings South Africa, I can't make out the last one. I don't think he is a Piper /Pipe Maj. No sleeve insignia on r/arm, and his sporran would be much more ornate. I have attached photo's of sleeve insignia for a Piper and a Pipe Maj. The one with the thistle wreath being the Pipe Maj.

Aye Rob.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know nothing of sporrans, except to suggest they should be regularly fed, watered and exercised, but piper badges [no wreath] were as rare as rocking horse manure 1914-1918, and were not official issue. The practice of pipe-majors wearing a regimentally-provided 'pipes-in-wreath' [or equivalent in wreath] badge was widespread but not universal by 1918: these regiments had such badges

KOSB, RSF probably, Seaforths probably, Gordons.

Those believed NOT to have had a wreath badge:

RS, QO Cameron H, Argylls.

Individual regimental uniform historians should be able to improve on this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


He's not the Pipe Major, I'm afraid. The Pipe Major and pipers were issued with black leather waist and Baldric Cross belts. I think Grumpy has hit the nail on the head with Quartermaster Sergeant.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can also add that the picture was taken in the early years of the 20th Century as he wears the 1897 Queen's Sudan Medal; a Queen's South Africa Medal with 4 clasps, a King's South Africa Medal with 'the usual' 2 clasps and the Kedive's Sudan with two clasps. Regular Cameron Highlander?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The obvious would be RQMS, apart from the fact that the small star is missing from above the chevrons. This leads me to believe that he may be a regurlar sgt instructor with a volunteer battalion. My copies of regulations are at home so can't pinpoint my conclusion, but can remember that in the section for badges for instructors, four bar chevrons were worn but one type wore them inverted, below the elbow and I cant' remember which. I believe as such their uniform was also of a better quality and pattern to normal sgt's and in this photo you can see this in the lace on the collar which is of an officers pattern. The regulations for these badges can be found in TF Regs too in I think "Badges for Sgt Instructors".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We need to be clear what four chevrons point up below the elbow signified 1900-1914 in Line Infantry.

Quartermaster Sergeant was a RANK, not an appointment, above Colour Sergeant and below Warrant Officer. There were several appointments that QMS could hold, including Orderly Room Sergeant and the like. In these appointments he wore no extra badge. The most senior appointment, second only to the two Warrant Officers [ie the Sergeant Major and the Bandmaster] was Regimental QMS, and this appointment was signified by an eight-pointed star above the chevrons.

Finally, 'music-majors' ...... drum-, bugle- and pipe- ....... although not holding QMS rank had for many years been clothed as First-Class Staff Sergeants so wore the 4 chevrons AS A BADGE OF APPOINTMENT, often with a 'music' emblem above. Sgt Pipers were specifically NOT authorised to wear an additional music badge, but that did not stop some regiments of course.

So the simplest explanation of the photo is that the man was ranked and paid as a QMS but not appointed RQMS.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...