The East Surrey Regiment
Silver Drums and Bugles
The Drums: “Presented to the Officers, 1st Bn. The East Surrey Regiment by the late Mrs A A L Walker in memory of her son 2/Lieut C M Walker who died whilst serving with the 1st Battalion in India on 6th May 1894”.
The Drums were purchased by the Officers from a bequest left to them by Mrs Walker, who died in 1924. The Drums were dedicated by the Reverend G F S Stopford CF at a parade held in Hong Kong on Ypres Day, 23rd April 1926, which was attended by His Excellency The Governor, Officers of the Garrison, leading Officials and residents.
The Bugles: Sixteen of these bugles are inscribed:-
“Presented to the Officers, Warrant Officers, Non Commissioned Officers and Men of the 1st Battalion The East Surrey Regiment by all ranks serving with the Battalion at Rawalpindi, India, on 23rd April 1927”.
The remaining bugle is inscribed:-
“Presented to the Officers 1st Bn. The East Surrey Regiment by Brevet-Colonel F S Montague-Bates, 23rd April 1927”.
These seventeen bugles were presented in memory of those members of the 1st Battalion who fell in the Great War 1914-1918. The Bugles were dedicated at a parade held at Rawalpindi on the 12th November 1927 when the ceremony of trooping the bugles was performed.
On Ypres Day 1976 on the fiftieth anniversary of the presentation of the Silver Drums and Bugles, the 1st Battalion The Queen’s Regiment held a Drumhead Service to commemorate the presentation and to mark the start of the battalion’s fourth tour in Northern Ireland. The Drums and Bugles are still in service with the 2nd Bn The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.
This extremely attractive piece of silver is one of the most important pieces which belonged to the former 1st Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment. It is not as its name implies, a 31st, or Huntingdonshire relic, but was presented to the 1st Battalion in 1911 by Major FLA Packham, some thirty years after the old 31st Regiment ceased to exist.
The cover depicts a third dimensional representation of the badge of the Huntingdonshire Regiment. Inscribed on the side of the Salt are the words: -
“SEMPER FLOREAT DECIO XXXI”
Inside the lid, under a transparent cover, were placed fragments of the Regimental Colours carried at the Battle of Sobraon. After many years, these fragments disintegrated but were replaced by a further fragment of the colours presented by the late Brigadier G R P Roupell, VC CB DL, Colonel The East Surrey Regiment.
The inscription inside the lid reads: -
On Guest nights, the Salt was always placed in front of the Commanding Officer or senior Officer of the Regiment dining in, as laid down in the “Huntingdonshire Salt Book”. Officers on joining the Regiment “Take the Salt”. The Commanding Officer was also permitted to invite senior Regimental Guests to “take Salt with the Regiment” but on this occasion they do not sign the “Salt Book”, which is reserved solely for members of the Regiment.
This piece of silver is now held by the 2nd Bn The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, and the 1st Battalion also maintain the taking of the Salt tradition with its newly commissioned salt cellar.