ID number REL30833
Title Grenadier Guards drummer's tunic : British Army
Collection Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1885
Physical description Wool worsted; Brass; Wool

Description

Grenadier Guards drummer's scarlet cloth tunic with blue stand collar, pointed cuffs, shoulder straps and wings. The tunic is embellished with white and blue worsted Drummer's pattern fleur-de-lys lace. The cuff slashes are piped with white cloth and the back skirt slashes with blue cloth. The collar is edged all round with 15mm lace and along the top with a blue and white worsted fringe. The fronts of the tunic are trimmed with seven bars of double 18mm lace arranged in descending size to the waist. The centre front of the skirt is edged with 15mm lace. The back is cut with curved side bodies. These seams, the centre back to the bottom of the skirt, the back shoulder seams and the outer edge of the back skirt slashes are trimmed with 18mm lace. The back skirt has a scalloped slash on each side trimmed with 18mm lace arranged in four evenly spaced blocks. Each block bears a button. Above the back waist are three evenly spaced diamonds made of 18mm lace. The two outer diamonds bear buttons. The sleeves have two vertical rows of 18mm lace running down the front and back seams. Between them, on the outer sleeve, are seven evenly spaced chevrons in the same lace. There is a two year good conduct chevron on the left sleeve. The three pointed scalloped cuff slashes are edged with 18mm lace and also have lace arranged down their length in four blocks. Each block bears a button. The shoulder straps, lined with white cloth, are edged with 15mm lace and are secured at the neck with a button. Each strap is embroidered with a white worsted exploding grenade. There is a wing at the end of each strap lined with scarlet cloth. They are edged with 15 mm lace at the shoulder and with 18mm lace on the end. Each wing is trimmed with nine rows of 18mm lace evenly spaced so that the blue fabric is seen between each row. The free end of the wings bear a blue and white worsted fringe. All the buttons are brass and bear Queen Victoria's cipher. They are made by Firmin & Sons, London.


Summary

This tunic was brought back to Australia as a souvenir by 141 Private John Henry Peken of the Victorian Mounted Rifles after he had attended the celebrations for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in London, in 1897, as part of the official contingent sent from the Colony of Victoria.

Although the circumstances under which Peken acquired the tunic cannot be established definitively, the Grenadier Guards Fife and Drum Band accompanied the Australian colonial troops when they marched to the Royal Lyceum Theatre on 25 June 1897, to attend a special performance in their honour. The tunic may have been given to him on this occasion.

The rounded collar on the tunic indicates that it was made no later than 1885 when a square collar was substituted, but the old pattern tunics still in stock continued to be issued until they ran out. The tunic may still have been in use when Peken acquired it but as soldiers were allowed to purchase their old tunics when they were no longer fit for parade to wear when off duty, this tunic my have been one of these.