Corps of Drums Society

The Director of Infantry



1. The aim of the Director of Infantry’s Cutlers’ Sword Competition is to encourage JNCOs in the Corps of Drums/ Bugles of the Foot Guards and English and Welsh Regiments of Line in the pursuit of excellence, both militarily and musically, in their chosen career.  It is not a competition to find the individual who is the best drummer, flute-player or bugler. Rather it is a means of identifying the man who has demonstrated the commitment, flair, personality, skill and potential over the year which makes him a strong candidate to reach the highest ranks in the drumming or bugling world.

2. The competition will be judged annually on the basis of citations submitted by Commanding Officers.  The Director of Infantry will select the winner following recommendations made to him by the Selection Committee, chaired by the Deputy Chief of Staff.  The Selection Committee will be chosen to represent a range of expertise across military and musical skills.  It is anticipated that a senior member of the Corps of Drums Society and the Officer Commanding The Drumming Wing, Army School of Ceremonial will be on the Selection Committee.  It cannot be over-emphasised that the strength and depth of the citation is critical for success.


3. The aim of the competition is to select the drummer or bugler from an Infantry Corps of Drums or Bugles who during the year has shown the most potential, both musically and militarily, to become a senior Drum Major or Bugle Major in the future.


4. The competition is for individuals who have shown exemplary ability both as a drummer or bugler and as a non-commissioned officer during the qualifying period.  The Committee will not be looking for the man who has just done his job well but the person who has contributed more than could have been expected of someone of his rank and experience. It will take into account the circumstances pertaining at the time, the training, promotion and development of Corps of Drums or Bugles in general, with special emphasis being given to the wider military responsibilities particularly during operations.  Citations should include reference to personal and supervisory qualities and employment proficiency within his Corps of Drums or Bugles with examples and a clear statement of the candidate’s future potential.  The Committee will wish to see evidence to support the citation in the form, where appropriate, of musical scores, letters of appreciation and photographs.

5. With no two battalions having the same commitments in any given year, the background to each citation will be very different.  Commanding Officers should include outline details of the battalion’s programme to give the Committee a better feel for why an individual’s performance merits special acclaim.  An indication of how the Corps of Drums or Bugles and the individual are perceived in the Battalion, both musically and militarily, would also be useful.  The possibilities and combinations of activities are endless but might include any of the following:

a. Demonstrated his military competence during operations but still managed to train for and play a leading role in the preparation and arrangements for a major parade/Beating Retreat.

  1. b. Acted as Drum Major or Bugle Major for a period especially during parades, Presentation of New Colours etc

c. In his own time arranged new scores for bugles and taught them to the buglers, and oversaw their performance in public (give examples) to the satisfaction of his Drum/Bugle Major, and the Commanding Officer.

d. In his own time undertook the training on a regular basis of a local youth corps of drums (ACF, ATC, Boys’ Brigade, Scouts, etc) which resulted in their marked improvement and the probability that many of them were now considering joining the Regiment and the Corps of Drums.


6. The Competition covers the year 1 Apr until the following 31 Mar and will be judged in June.  The closing date for entries is 4 Jun. The Prize will not be awarded should there be no candidate of merit presented.

7. A candidate must be a soldier with not less than four years’ service and expected to serve a full career.

8. A candidate must have served in the Corps of Drums/Bugles of an English or Welsh Battalion for not less than nine months of the calendar year in question.

9. A candidate must be serving in a Corps of Drums or Bugles at the time of his citation.  If not, his Commanding Officer must certify that the candidate has been posted for career reasons, but that it is planned that he will rejoin his Corps of Drums or Bugles at an early career opportunity

10. A candidate must, when nominated, be at least substantive Lance Corporal and not above substantive Corporal/ acting Sergeant.

11. A candidate must be at least a Class 2 Drummer or Bugler and, at the time the citation is originated, should be course qualified for promotion to the next substantive rank.


12. The Prize will take the form of a Drummer’s Sword, 1895 pattern, the “roman” hilt being of gilded metal and bearing the cipher of the Sovereign, the blade being of steel and bearing details of the Award, with its scabbard of black leather mounted with gilded metal embellishments.  For Buglers a bespoke Sword appropriate to the Light Division.

13. The Prize will become the personal property of the Winner who will be allowed to wear his sword when in the formal dress as a drummer or bugler, as approved by the Army Dress Committee.  The Prize may not be worn with or in lieu of a Warrant Officer’s sword.

14. Notwithstanding the gift of the Prize to the Winner, it will be forfeited in the event of the Winner’s conviction for a criminal offence either by court martial or in the civil courts.


15. Nominations are to be made as at 31 Mar and are to reach Headquarters Infantry for the attention of Lt Col Queen’s Div in the format at Annex B by 4 Jun.

16. The winner will be selected by the Director of Infantry on the recommendation of a Selection Committee made up of the Deputy Chief of Staff Headquarters Infantry, Officer Commanding the Drumming Wing, Army School of Ceremonial, and a representative of the Corps of Drums Society.  The Master of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers will be entitled to nominate a representative to attend the Committee as voting member.  The Board will be convened during June/July on a date to be confirmed.

17. The Winner will be announced when the Director of Infantry has confirmed the recommendations of the Board.