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Original British WWII Regimental Drum of 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment - Dated 1940 by Boosey & Hawkes Ltd

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. An incredible drum from a legendary regiment of the British armed forces in World War Two! Dated 1940 with art from the end of World War Two, judging from the painted Battle Honors, this is a beautifully hand painted Regimental snare side drum made by BOOSEY & HAWKES LTD of London. The body of the drum is painted a deep paratrooper purple scarlet with the title of the Regiment and all the battle honors picked out in gold, black and green as well as the parachute regiment insignia. The drum measures 15 inches tall with a circumference of 13.5 inches. The drum reads:


The 1st Battalion can trace its origins to 1940, when No. 2 Commando trained as parachutists. In 1941, the battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Down, was assigned to the 1st Parachute Brigade which also included the 2nd and 3rd Parachute Battalions. The 1st Parachute Brigade was part of the 1st Airborne Division and remained with it throughout the war.

The battalion took part in operations in Tunisia in late 1942 to May 1943, suffering heavy casualties. The battalion and the brigade took part in Operation Fustian, when the Allies invaded Sicily and, again, suffered heavy casualties and was withdrawn to England in late 1943 to train and prepare for the Allied invasion of France. The battalion wasn't used in the initial invasion on 6 June 1944, D-Day, but was held back in the UK in reserve in case any of the five invasion beaches encountered serious difficulties and needed support. The plan turned out not to be required. During the fighting in Normandy numerous plans to drop the 1st Airborne were formed, none of which came to fruition. Finally, in September 1944, the battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel David Dobie, dropped into Arnhem the Netherlands with the rest of the 1st Airborne Division, as part of Operation Market Garden, where they suffered extremely heavy casualties and never saw combat again for the rest of the war.

The side of the drum on the bare brass is the manufacture information:


Boosey & Hawkes originated from the 1930 merger between two great family businesses, Boosey & Company founded in the 1760s, and Hawkes & Son founded in 1865. Both were involved in music publishing and the manufacture of musical instruments.

The drum is beautifully painted with battle honors

A wonderful drum that is still fully functional, ready for further research and display.

The British Army maintains a corps of drums in each infantry battalion except for Scottish, Irish, and Rifle Regiments (The Rifles and the Royal Gurkha Rifles) which have pipes and drums and Bugles respectively. Each battalion of a regiment of line infantry maintains a corps of drums which may be 'massed' together on certain occasions. All corps-of-drums soldiers are called drummers (shortened to 'Dmr') regardless of the instrument they play, similarly to use of the term "sapper" for soldiers of the Royal Engineers.

Unlike army musicians who form bands and will usually be limited to auxiliary duties in wartime, drummers in a Corps of Drums are principally fully trained infantry soldiers, with recruitment coming after standard infantry training. A Corps of Drums will deploy with the rest of the battalion, and will often form specialist platoons such as assault pioneers, supporting fire or force protection.

Historically, the drum was used to convey orders during a battle, so the Corps of Drums has always been a fully integrated feature of an infantry battalion. Later on, when the bugle was adopted to convey orders, drummers were given bugles in addition, but maintained their drums and flutes, except in rifles regiments where the lighter instrument was more conducive to the skirmishing form of warfare.

The drum itself is in wonderful condition and is an original hand painted brass side drum which features the Crest of the Parachute Regiment with the scroll that reads Utrinque Paratus, “Ready for Anything”. On each side of the emblem is a list of all battles and operations the unit took part in, meaning this is an immediate post war painted example.

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