English and Welsh battalions have a Corps of Drums, which is a drum and flute band descended directly from the drums and fifes of the 18th century. Scots and Irish battalions have their pipes and drums, while the fast-marching Light Division will still have their bugles.
Bands originated from civilian musicians hired by and paid for by officers, but drummers, pipers and buglers have always been part of the fighting strength of infantry battalions. In today's Army, they can only use their musical skills when operational requirements allow, but let us hope that the scarcity of bands will mean that these skills will be fully utilised.
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