Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I have noticed that the Brass Band was still in existence when the photos shown on the web site were taken ,i.e. 1966, but whatever happened to all the Brass instruments that were brand new in 1961 thanks to a whopping donation from the Nuffield fund. In later photo's I have seen I am sure the band reverted to a Military format?

As you probably well know, a Brass Band is made up of 24 players and a skin basher, we ended up with two of everything, and could have put out two fully manned Bands if needed. I well recall spending many late hours rewriting march cards that all had to be transposed from a military format to the brass set up. As the A/T band librarian I had to set up a new complete music library, as part of my Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award.

I suspect we were the only intake not to have an A/T B/Sgt, we had 2 A/T Cpl’s - Leslie Eden, (whose two brothers had been A/T’s Michael and Richard in previous intakes and had both been in the Band), and yours truly Maurice Hope. Neither of us, being thick V.M/’s had passed our senior test Maths, which we all know was a pre-requisite for the third stripe.

Anyway I enjoyed my time in the band and I hope these photos stir some memories for all ….

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These first two were taken at the 1960 Xmas Concert, on stage in the camp hall. In Peter Gripton’s Arborfield Apprentice, he makes reference to this on page 222 and although he may be right in some aspects of his text, I must point out the following.

We were in the throws of converting to Brass at the time, and, yes the reed section was all PS and ex boys who were in their last terms or at depot, the whole of the Trumpet/Cornet section were still A/Ts, not on the photo are Bill Barnacle (RAEC), Pete Pratley or John Palmer, and the four in shot from left to right are, A/T Biggs, “Eddie” Lindley, “Mo” Hope and Bob Inglis, the last two both of A Coy 59b. The nucleus it has to be said, were hardly inexperienced on stage, as they used to regularly be booked for “gigs” at the Oxford Ballroom in Reading.

hope01  hope02

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This one if I am not mistaken was taken at a “J” Coy POP, late in 60 or early 61, as we were still in the guise of a Military Band. It wasn’t a full POP or, the then S/Sgt Parker would have been in his best kit.

hope03

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Both these two next photos were taken in what for me was our height as a Brass Band. Both taken in May 61. The full Brass Band on parade then was as follows. Back row – A/T Upton, A/T Buck, A/T Davies, A/T Holmes, A/T/L/Cpl Lindley, A/T Cpl Palmer, W.O.1 A Barnacle, RAEC, A/T Inglis, A/T Atkinson, A/T Etherington, A/T Williamson, A/T Poynton.


Centre row – A/T Cpl Barnes (D/ Major), A/T Birchell, A/T Kirby, A/T Barnes, A/T/L/Cpl Hope, A/T Skelton, A/T Dawson, A/T Miller, A/T/Cpl Johnson , A/T Betts, A/T Dixon, A/T White, A/T Joslin, A/T Noble, A/T Mouland, A/T Foulger.


Front row – A/T Rains, A/T Robson, A/T Payne, A/T Taylor, A/T/L/Cpl Eden, A/T B.Sgt K Barker, S/Sgt A Parker, A&SH. Col R.F.D. Legh OBE, Major E Rhodes KOB, S/Sgt P Buss RAEC, A/T Compton, A/T Sexston, A/T Westlake, A/T Jacobs, A/T Hay.

hope04   hope05

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The next 3 photo’s I think were taken at the Bagshot Lea Village Carnival in 1961.

hope06  hope07

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We had made the conversion to a Brass Band and did The Royal Tournament at Earls Court in London and also led the first Commonwealth Youth Sunday parade over Blackfriars Bridge and up Ludgate Hill to the service in St Paul’s Cathedral attended by Prince Philip. I recall WO1 Barnacle playing “The Post Horn Gallop” at Bagshot. Our main party piece at the Royal Tournament was “Trumpet Tune and Air”, which featured a short but terrifying Tenor Horn Solo from yours truly, it must have gone OK because Paddy Parker had a big broad beam on his face, which didn’t happen often and the band president, Major Rhodes clapped us out of the Arena.

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taken as we exited the square after a POP in Summer 61 (I think?) A/T Hope playing Solo Tenor Horn followed by A/T Atkinson and the Cornet section. In close attendance behind us came Brian Conway’s Bugles and Drums.

 hope09

Taken at the same time as the last, those visible from front to rear are :- S/Sgt Phil Buss, a master of the Euphonium, (ex drum major of the Glorious Glosters, of Korean War fame) then serving in the RAEC B/Sgt Kenny Barker (Baritone), Ed Linley (Cornet), A/T Foulger on the Side Drum, A/T Mo Hope (Solo Tenor Horn) and A/T Atkinson on Cornet followed by the Buglers and tail end Charlies, the marker boys.

hope10

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The Brass Band in all its splendour, passing the Cookhouse.

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Outdoor concert, backed up against the old Armoury, on the occasion of the Quadrangular Sports.

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The Pipe Band under P/Major Carver lead the bands in March-past after a POP circa 61/62.

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The Pipes leaving the square after a POP.

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Music we played and marched to ……

The following is a compilation of the music I can recall the School Band (both Military & Brass) playing between Easter 1959 and Easter1962. No doubt the list will be added to by former bandies from before and after my time.

I have loosely grouped them together.

Quick Marches:- Lynwood, Waveney, The Cheiftain, 76 Trombones, The Thunderer, With Sword & Lance, Scotland the Brave, Under The Double Eagle, Mechanised Infantry, El Capitan, Army Of The Nile, Washington Post, Highland Laddie, The Liberty Bell.

Slow Marches:- The Garb Of Old Gaul, Scipio, By Land And Sea, The Duke Of York, Figaro.

Inspection Music:- The Colours, Pageantry, Boogie In The Bandstand, Post Horn Gallop, Bless Em All, English Country Garden, Puppet On A String.

Concert Selections:- Trumpet Tune And Air, Morganblatter, South Pacific, Oklahoma, The King And I, Carousel, HMS Pinafore., and no doubt lots more that I can't at this time remember.

That should give a few bandies some food for thought.


© Maurice (Mo) Hope 59B

The lilt of music fills the air, the Boys School bands are on the square !
Rythms dancing on the breeze, as marching feet stretch out to sieze
And hold the beat in four-four time, while horns and trumpets, drums and chimes
Breathe life into the weary soul, raising spirits - that's their role,
To give that music added pep, and put spring into weary step.


Then, marching paused - inspection time - the skirl of Pipes begins to climb
In slow, such slow close harmony, the plaintive airs and melody
Rise over the assembled throng, soothing sounds that cause the songbirds
To cease their trills, and hesitate to compete with such a thrilling, great
Uplifting sound that evokes in men, visions of a Scottish glen.


And, stepping off, they all combine to give a rousing, roaring, fine
Rendition of a well known air, as,playing, marching with great flair,
They pass the dais, straight as a die. Drum Majors, maces held on high
Salute - eyes right - and then proceed along the Square to finally lead
Tem off parade, their task complete. Now all that's heard is tramping feet.


But versatility is the norm, and the Military Band is quite at home
Playing dances, jazz, palm court, or tuneful sounds of any sort
At functions grand, or venues small, they'll persevere and give their all
In pursuit of the excellence that marks their sheer accomplishment.
They give the School good value too, their efforts great, achievements true.


The Pipe Band also gets around, at village fetes they're often found,
And carnivals at summertide, but on Burns Night they hit their stride
With Haggis Pipings to attend, demand's so great, to avoid offence
They move around at double speed, toasting Rabbie, then they need
To move on to the next venue - another toast, or one, or two !


This really tends to slow them down, but not for shirking they're renowned,
They carry on so manfully that even if there's two or three
More places they must go to play before the finish of the day,
They'll valiantly consume the tot, then play until they've done the lot,
Then totter back to their cold beds, and on the morrow, nurse their heads !


But both the bands are at their best on ceremonials, that attest
To skills they learned while at the school, of discipline, and keeping cool
At all time under pressure, so, they'll play until it's time to go.
As "Sunset's" last notes die away, remember these boys as they play,
These are not full time careers - it's just their hobby - for three years !


© TeeCee