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A Welsh Guards Musician's Cap


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The Band of The Welsh Guards

The Welsh Guards were raised in 1915, the youngest of the five regiments of Foot Guards.

The Regimental Quick March is The Rising of the Lark, The Regimental Slow March is Men of Harlech..

Raised by Royal Warrant on 25/2/1915, following instructions given by King George V to Earl Kitchener, The Secretary of State for War on 6/2/1915, the regiment, formed initially of Welshmen from the other Guards regiments, mounted Kings Guard on 1/3/1915 St Davids Day (consideration had been given to renaming The Royal Welsh Fusiliers as The Welsh Guards, the suggestion had not gone well with The Fusiliers).

The first Bandmaster of The Welsh Guards was Mr Andrew Harris of the Royal Artillery (Gibralter), appointed on 8/9/1915, the Band itself being formed in November of that year, it consisted at that of 44 men in addition to a Warrant Officer (Mr Harris).

The Bands instruments were financed by the city of Cardiff.

The Band of The Welsh Guards made their first appearance on St Davids Day 1916, mounting guard at Buckingham Palace & later in the day performing at a Welsh Patriotic Meeting at the London Opera House, in the presence of Lord Harlech and Major General Sir Francis Lloyd.

On 28/10/1916 the Band went to France, serving with The Guards Division & some weeks later met up with 1st Bn The Welsh Guards who were returning from the front line, playing them back to billets.

Equipped in Full Dress, in May 1917 the band (along with the Bands of the other Guards regiments) played at venues in Paris, & visited Italy, performing in Rome & Milan, each Musician (The Guards have Musicians, not Bandsmen) being presented with a silver cigarette case by Queen Elenor.

In May 1918, The Band played at the Memorial Service in Paris, at the request of the American Embassy.

On St Davids Day 1919, Bandmaster Harris was commissioned as Lieutenant (he retired as a Major at the end of 1937, having become the senior Director of Music, Brigade of Guards. His last performance was at The Festival of Remembrance, The Royal Albert Hall, the culmination of 50 years service).

In July 1919 The Band took part in the Victory March in Paris, playing the colours of the British army through the Arc de Triomphe.

Major Harris was succeeded at the end of 1937 by Lieutenant Tommy Chandler (who retired as a Major, & senior Director of Music of The Brigade of Guards in 1948).

In spring of 1945 The Band made a short tour of Europe, venues including the Paris Opera House and at the Cirque Royale, Brussels. amongst other venues.

Later in the year The Band of The Welsh Guards joined The Band of The Scots Guards at the last parade of The Guards Armoured Division.

Leslie Statham (pen name Arnold Steck became the next Director of Musics, in September 1948, the Band played at the National Exhibition in Toronto, Canada & in 1953 the Canadian National Exhibition following the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Major Statham retired in 1962.

In 1965 The Band appeared at the British Week in Milan, under Captain Arthur Kenney, & visited America in 1967.

The Band was prominently involved at the Investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales, in July 1969.

Major Desmond Walker took over from the now Major Kenney in October 1969, the latter having resigned his commission, but died in 1974.

Captain Derek Taylor was appointed Director of Music in his place, & The Band proceeded with a planned tour of America.

The Band again visited America in 1984, 85, & 86.

In January 1986, Captain Peter Hannam took over as Director of Music

In 1988 as well as appearing at The Royal Tournament for the first time, The Band played in Seattle, Sydney, Japan, Paris ( as the first British contingent to take part in the Armistice Day Parade) & Georgia (USA

In 1989, The Band again visited America.

In 1990 Peter Hannam became the first Director of Music in the Welsh Guards to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (having risen from the ranks, an ex-member of The Band of The Gloucestershire Regiment & at the time of retirement in 1993, the last National Serviceman still serving in army music).

Lt Col Hannam’s successor, Major Clifford James Ross, became the Principal Director of Music (Army) at the newly constituted Headquarters Army Music, Kneller Hall after less than 2 years with The Band of The Welsh Guards, & was succeeded in 1994 by Major Stuart Watts, who had previously been Director of Music of The Grenadier Guards.

Major Watts was succeeded in 1998 by Captain Philip Shannon who was previously with The Prince of Wales's Division.

The current Director of Music, Major Stephen Barnwell, was appointed in 2008, after service with a number of other Bands.

Edited by leigh kitchen
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This cap bears anodised aluminium ERII buttons, although it appears to predate the introduction of "staybrite" insignia & the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Perhaps it was the cap of a long serving Musician who was still in servce when the change of Monarch & insgnia occurred.

The cap is dark blue, the band is striped vertically in black & dark green & is lightly tacked to the cap, the chinstrap is of black leather with blackened brass fittings, the black leather peak bears a row of gold bullion Russian braid.

The cap came to me without a cap badge, I've added the anodised badge on the assumption that unlike today, when anodised buttons are worn with metal badges in The Guards Regiments, the new anodised cap badge would have been worn with the new anodsed buttons in the 1950's.

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The cap wth badge removed - there is a small horizontal slit just below the top of the band, in the centre, which takes the slider of the cap badge, there's no indication of a badge fitted with north / south wire loops ever having been ftted:

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Stamped in white paint on the black linen lining is "L SILBERSTON & SONS LTD" & what is possibly "67" or "6 7/8".

This manufacturer was producing Denison smocks during WWII, I don't know any more than that about them.

Edited by leigh kitchen
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  • 2 weeks later...

Another marvelous write up! I might add that Silberston and Sons were a long time military outfitter firm on Cambridge Heath Rd. I understand that they had close connections with the Household Brigade.

CB

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