Drummers of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
The Rogue's March
Military Customs, Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S., 1947
Mention must be made of a musical custom which has happily disappeared from military life—the playing of "The Rogue's March" at the "Drumming-out" ceremony. Up to about the middle of the last century, when a soldier was discharged with ignominy he was "drummed-out," which, in practice, meant that the battalion formed up in two ranks facing inwards, one end touching the barrack gate: at the other end the prisoner and his escort were assembled, together with the Adjutant, who read out the man's offence and his sentence, after which the Provost Sergeant cut off his badges, buttons and shoulder straps. Then the party moved down the ranks while the drums and fifes played "The Rogue's March." This performance of reading the crime and sentence was repeated at intervals, and when the prisoner reached the barrack gate the smallest drummer boy administered a kick to his posterior.
Although the tune was generally well known during the last century, a lack of knowledge of it by a certain municipal body was responsible for a rather amusing incident. The band of a regiment was in attendance at a ceremony when the Mayor cut the first sod of the ground on which some much needed waterworks were to be constructed. At the conclusion of the ceremony the City Fathers insisted upon being played back to the Town Hall, much to the annoyance of the band who were eager to get back to barracks, which lay in the opposite direction, and in which some sports were in progress. However, the band struck up a tune and the Mayor and Corporation stepped out in a brisk manner, much to the amusement of the spectators. When the perspiring Mayor reached the Town Hall he enquired the reason for the hilarity on the part of the populace, and flew into a rage when he learned that he and his municipal brethren had been hurried, in a rather undignified manner, through the town to the tune of "The Rogue's March."