Drummer Boys

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Noddy2, Jun 19, 2007.

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  1. I am trying to find out about Drummer Boys in the late 1700, early 1800's
    I have traced some records of a family relative and records show':

    He enlisted as a Drummer on 1st July 1811. I have a record of his birth date as 7th December 1805 (in Athlone) - which makes him 5 years and 8 months on enlistment!!!

    Can this be right? Grateful for any help or where I can find out.


  2. Unusual, but could be a Regimental orphan.

    Catch 'em young, those wrists will be really supple.
  3. Thanks but his father was also in! But why would he enlist his son at 5!!

    Harsh man or what :(
  4. That was the norm, they sometimes enlisted them early as drummer boys to earn money for family and also as a route to commissioning
  5. At that point weren't most commissions bought, hence poor old Wellington having to go out East to get a cheaper regiment and eke out funds?.
  6. Many thank for this great stuff.

    If any one knows of any more info I would be most grateful
    Thanks again

  7. Not at all, by enlisting his son, he would no longer have to feed and clothe him from his own meagre earnings.
  8. IMHO Think we should bring it back stop them there Chavs
  9. Yea they were but there was something about drummer boys becoming ensigns..... Its in a book I am reading at the moment. Wait out
  10. They became sergeants surely? AFAIR from what I've read drummer boys were usually either waifs and strays or the sons of serving soldiers, often sergeants. Other ranks rarely became officers in those days - if they did it was usually a battlefield commission to recognise outstanding service.
  11. Many thanks for all this info, do please keep it coming!


  12. N2 he does seem very young. Made me wonder whether the date you have for him was actually a baptism date rather than his date of birth? Not everyone was baptised soon after birth, sometimes the parents waited and had several children baptised at once as it was cheaper that way.

    Just a thought.....
  13. The records are from the National Archives and certainly says Birth date but I agree it does seem to be very young (even for those days!)


  14. Records on births and death can vary enormously some times it was rounded down and other times up. My great, Great Grandfather went into the Royal marines at a very young age as a bugler and his age on the census forms are never ever the same.