The 11th in a series on some of the roles of British army bandsmen as illustrated by Frederick Stansell c.1900 in the book “Bands of the British Army” by W.J. Gordon.
No.11: The Side Drum – Coldstream Guards
“Like the kettledrum [the side drum] came from the Arabs, who fitted it with the snares – that is the strings of gut across its lower head which cause it to rattle when struck… At funerals the drum is muffled by pads, or the rope, being inserted between the skin and the snares.
The drum is not in such request as it used to be. In the old days before it was replaced by the bugle it conveyed the signals of command, even the full platoon exercises being gone through to drum beats; and for this reason it was ‘put on the establishment’ as it is called, and remains there, the British infantry having sixteen drummers to each battalion.”