SCHOOLS OF INSTRUCTION AND ARMY STAFF CORPS
The various corps that, during the latter half of the 19th century, came into being to meet the increasing demands of technology, education and physical fitness, were often referred to as “Schools of Instruction”. They almost entirely consisted of warrant officers, staff sergeants and experienced NCOs although commissioned officers, often from other corps or departments, commanded them. Their uniforms and badges are often difficult to establish, especially when it comes to dates, as more often than not, practice preceded the regulation or authorisation.
THE CORPS OF ARMY SCHOOLMASTERS
Founded as early as 1846, this body of NCOs, later to be ranked as staff sergeants were, after 1870 attached to every battalion, regiment and corps of the army. From the beginning, the badge worn on their forage caps was the gold bullion crown. The most senior possible in a unit was warrant officer.
THE CORPS OF ARMOURER SERGEANTS
Formed in 1858, this corps was responsible for the maintenance and repair of all infantry and cavalry small arms, but not artillery, which was the responsibility of the Corps of Ordnance Artificers. The Corps of Armourers was always associated with the Ordnance Department, having its depot first at Enfield Lock and later at Birmingham, Sparkbrook. It was officially amalgamated with the Army Ordnance Corps in 1896. There is no mention of the round forage cap and badge for this corps in the clothing regulations for 1891, although photographic evidence shows the cap being worn in 1890. It is assumed the badge was worn by personnel at the Depot. The badge was worn both with and without the crimson backing.
THE ARMY PAY CORPS
The NCO and staff pay clerks were detached from the Army Service Corps and absorbed into a pay corps in 1893. Clothing regulations stipulated the round forage cap and letters APC, surmounted by the crown in 1894. The APC was not amalgamated with the officers of the Army Pay Department until 1920, when it became the Royal Army Pay Corps.
THE SCHOOL OF MUSKETRY
In 1853 this school was established at Hythe. From the beginning, they wore the badge of crossed rifle muskets above their chevrons and on forage caps with peaks. At first the badge was crossed muskets with slings and crown above. From about 1894, the badge became crossed magazine fed rifles surmounted by a crown.
THE ARMY GYMNASTIC STAFF
This corps was formed in 1860 and the first military gymnasium was established on Wellington lines at Aldershot in 1862. In 1885, they were officially titled “Military Gymnastic Staff” and recognized as a school of instruction. It is probable that only the Quartermaster and staff at Aldershot wore the round forage cap, as most members of the corps wore gym dress as working uniform. At the same time, the badge of crossed swords with crown above was worn, although it wasn’t officially authorized until 1902.
THE ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE
The badge of “RMC” in metal had been worn by instructional staff at Sandhurst since the mid-1880s. A bullion version was adopted in 1896 and worn also by senior cadets.