An 1856 pattern drummers' sword. By 1879 infantry drummers retained that rank but no longer played drums on the battlefield, in fact they carried bugles, and were responsible for passing on orders by bugle calls. Although the story of the 'little drummer boys' killed at iSandlwana is largely apocryphal - the average age the drummers killed there was 24 - they nonetheless played a crucial role in the battle, and Zulu accounts refer to the sound of British bugles at its height. The only sidearm carried for their protection was this 1856 pattern drummers' sword, with its classically inspired hilt and short blade. This example is in good condition with accompanying scabbard; the sword is 18 ins long and has a plain blade and the 'VR' cypher on the hilt.