* military uniform background: country trends

Military Uniform Background: Country Trends

English buggle boy
Figure 1.--This bugle boy in the British Army jad a cabinent portrait taken in Poole, Dorset, prior to World War I. It was probably taken before the turn-of-the 20th century, but we are not positive. Notice the pill-box cap and how he is wearing it. Buggle boys had to be older than drummer boys because of the importance of lung power. This boy, however looks to fairly young, oerhaps 13-years of age.

HBC has collected some limited infornmation concerning children involved in military service in a few countries, although our information at this time is very limited. It appears to have been a common practice during the 19th century, especially for musicians. Here we are talking about boys formally ienrolled in national military servives. This was generally phased out in the early 20th century. Many youth still served in the military, but you no longer saw pre-teens are very young teenagers. Here an exception was World war II, especially NAZI Germany and Soviet Russia. And after the War we begin to see boys seving in Third World militaries.


Boys were extensively use by both the Union and Confederacy as drummer boys during the Civil War (1861-65). Boys were also used by the navy in the Civil war as ships' boys and powder monkies. I am not sure if there were regulations about the actual minimum age. Many units discouraged one particualarly famous drummer boy from joining at age 11, but there are many documented instances of boys age 13 seving as bugle and drummer boys. I do not recall seeing drummer boys in the Spanish American War (1898-99), although I am unsure about just what the regulations were. Nor are we familair with U.S. naval regulations concerning the age of service.


No specific regulations yet.


English military units at the turn of the 20th centuries continued to recruit boys for service in military units, usually to pays frums or other muscal instruments. Boys by the outbreak of World War I (1914), no longer appear to be in the Army, but younger teenagers still served in the Royal Navy. HBC is not sure of, however, precise naval regulations on the subject.


No information available yet.


No information available yet.


Scotish soldiers are of course part of the British military, but sence the 18th century there have been Scottish regiments with destinctive uniforms. Scottish cadet units also adopted these drstinctive uniforms. Scottish units once fought in these uniforms, but since World War I the Scotish regiments have adopted more practical battle uniforms. Their destinctive Scottish uniforms are still worn for dress occassions.

Unknown Countries

We have found some images for which the country is not identified. Fortunately most 19th century studio portraits identified the studio and location. This was, however, not always the case. We can sometimes figure out the country based on the uniforms, but in some cases even the uniforms are not helpful. Here we are hoing that readers may recognize the country involved.


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Created: 7:15 AM 11/17/2007
Last updated: 7:53 AM 2/2/2015