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Question About Napoleonic British (73rd Foot)

Posted by Jon Metters on 06 Aug 2019, 14:33

Hello all,

I have long been working on a diorama showing the 73rd foot in square at Waterloo.

I was planning to show a trumpeter, but then I was told this was incorrect.

Does anyone know (or could point me in the right direction) what the 73rd had in addition to drummers. Was it fife? Was it a piper? (They were a highland regiment, but did not wear the kilt.)

Thank you!!!
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Jon Metters  United States of America
 
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11 Oct 2007, 16:47


Posted by C M Dodson on 06 Aug 2019, 15:41

The normal position is drummers for the centre /Grenadier companies and a bugle/ trumpet for the light company.

Indeed, Cent Jours shows this on their excellent site.

The good General Picton is normally the man in the know.

Perhaps your source is slightly confused as the bugle shown on Cent Jours is more trumpet shaped than the modern bugle we know today.

Pipers seem to be a non standard addition to the ranks, possibly at the whim of the CO .

Best wishes,

Chris
C M Dodson  United Kingdom
 
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01 May 2015, 18:48

Posted by Bill Slavin on 06 Aug 2019, 16:45

Hi Jon,

Your question intrigued me as I'm busily working on some Highland regiments myself. As I understand it, traditionally in the British army trumpets were used by the light infantry companies and drummers and fifes with the grenadiers and middle companies. However I have never seen a Highlander modelled or illustrated as a trumpeter. I did read somewhere that even in non-kilted Highland regiments the piper might still be permitted a kilt.

I searched around a bit on the web and this was all I found that might apply (not much help):

http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=426099
Drummers were on the strength, entered in the rolls separately from enlisted men and sergeants. However, the Crown was not responsible for musicians. Highland regiments were allowed to enter two pipers as drummers in the grenadier coy. Any more had to be paid for by the officers of the regiment, or the Colonel if he was so disposed, which was not always the case.

https://www.halifaxcitadel.ca/music/the-pipes-and-drums-of-the-78th-highlanders.html
For centuries, pipers have led men of the Highland Clans into battle. In the 18th & early 19th centuries, pipers in Highland regiments, usually played alone, not until the Napoleonic period did they begin playing together on the march. During the mid-1800s pipers and drummers began playing together, prior to which drummers played with fifers. In times of war the pipes and drums played on the line of march and during battle, serving an important psychological purpose, the music a boost to the morale and fighting spirit of the men.
Bill Slavin  Canada
 
Posts: 405
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24 Oct 2016, 14:55

Posted by Graeme on 06 Aug 2019, 18:54

Pipers might be unlikely. Apparently the 73rd Highland Regiment of Foot lost it's Highland status in 1809 to become simply the 73rd Regiment of Foot. The regiments Highland status was reinstated in 1841; so presumably, at the time of Waterloo, there were not the two official piper/drummers as mentioned by bill above.

A Colonel of a regiment which identified as a Scots regiment might chose to retain a piper at his own expense, but the difficulty I see here is that the 2nd battalion, which is the one that was at Waterloo, was raised in 1809 in Nottingham from local militia; so the expense of a piper might seem unlikely for what is essentially an English battalion.

Adkin's "Waterloo Companion" says that the average age of drummers in the 2/73rd at Waterloo was 23 with the youngest being 19 and the oldest 27 and that they had an average length of service of 8 years. Clearly he has seen records that go into some detail regarding the battalion's drummers but there is no mention of any being pipers. That said, I don't mind if you give them a piper. The 73rd were, after all, originally the 2nd battalion of The Black Watch, which is a pretty good Highland pedigree.

One detail from Waterloo might be of interest to you, due to heavy losses the 2/73rd had to combine with the remnants of the 2/30th in order to form a viable square.
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Graeme  Australia
 
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27 Nov 2015, 02:39

Posted by Graeme on 07 Aug 2019, 06:43

Another point worth thinking about is the fact that, with the exceptions of any drummers or buglers that were actually needed to transmit orders, and possibly one piper in a Highland battalion, any musicians or bandsmen a battalion might have would be employed in battle as stretcher bearers and medical orderlies, not playing their instruments. The 73rd took the second highest casualties of any British infantry battalion at Waterloo so the fifers would have been busy.
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Graeme  Australia
 
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27 Nov 2015, 02:39

Posted by Jon Metters on 13 Aug 2019, 17:05

This is all perfect! Thank you!!!
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Jon Metters  United States of America
 
Posts: 135
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11 Oct 2007, 16:47

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