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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Scottish Battalion Pipes and Drums


hughkerr
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Hi All,

 

My Grandfather fought in WW1 with the 13th Battalion Royal Scots.  He is listed as Drummer Robert Kerr.  It might sound obvious, but what would have been the duties of the Drummer within the Battalion.  Would he have had the same duties as any other soldier?  Would he have had to carry his drum or a bugle as well as his rifle and pack?  Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

 

Kind Regards

 

Hugh  

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To answer part of your question, see the photo below of the Pipes & Drums 15th Battalion CEF (48th Highlanders of Canada) on the line of march.  The photo is dated August 1917.  As you can see, the drummers have their drums slung over their shoulders and probably carry bugles also.  Both pipers and drummers are unencumbered by packs while the rank and file behind them are carrying all their equipment in full marching order.

 

Source: Library and Archives Canada

59822d4ee8592_15CEFpipersAug1917.jpg.489c90142501325b2d2af778abb0f780.jpg

Edited by gordon92
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Thanks for this Gordon92..  It's intriguing to see that they have no other equipment except their instruments, which begs the question did they not carry rifles? and how were they deployed in the front line.  Would the Drummer/Bugler have served on the front line?  I have heard some say that they were used as stretcher bearers and medic assistants, but I'm not really sure.  He was 20 when he enlisted, but I don't know if this makes any difference to his duties.  Still searching.

 

Thanks again.

 

Hugh

Edited by hughkerr
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'The Pipes of War' describes how many pipers piped at the front, were stretcher bearers/messengers, or fought in the ranks from the beginning of the war until after the initial stages of The Somme, but after September 1916 most battalions seemed to kept the pipers out of the front line as far as possible, presumably realising how valuable they were, and how hard to replace.

 

William

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There are three separate categories to be considered here: drummers and buglers, pipers, and bandsmen.

 

According to the Equipment Regulations in force in 1914, the issue of rifles was "1 per all ranks except bandmaster, drummers, buglers, pipers and range-takers." Pipers and range-takers were issued with pistols, pipers having a dirk in addition. ("All ranks" for these regulations did not include officers.) The same regulations also make it clear that pipers, drummers and buglers had a pack and most other parts of the Pattern 1908 web equipment. On the march, the packs of the pipes and drums would presumably have been carried on the transport wagons.

 

The role of stretcher bearer was normally filled by bandsmen, which term did not include drummers and buglers, but it is interesting to note that in the War Establishments for the New Armies, published early in 1915, drummers and buglers had been replaced by ordinary privates. Drummers and buglers also seem to have been used as orderlies and runners.

 

Ron

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Thanks William and Ron, 

 

Lots of further information to help me in my search, like little pieces of the jigsaw.  I suppose that's why I love this so much.

 

Kind Regards

 

Hugh

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