The Arborfield Bands.
Military Band & Corps of Drums.
browsing through the photos of the Military Band section, why not listen to
some of the music we marched to on the various parades at Arborfield. The
music clips are in m3u format. Access
is through clicking on the track numbers below. Minimise your Media Player to
continue viewing the photos.
Duke Of York played by the
Band of the Grenadiers.
played by the band of the Royal Gloucester, Berkshire
& Wiltshire Regiment
The Great Little Army.
Standard Of St. George.
British Grenadiers played by
the Band of the Grenadiers.
British Grenadiers Slow
March played by the Band of the Grenadiers.
Reveille played by the Band
of the Royal Marines.
Last Post played by the Band
of the Royal Marines.
Sunset played by the Band of
the Royal Marines.
Boys Of The Old Brigade especially
for the ‘Chelsea Branch’ of the AOBA.
Played by the band of the
Arborfield ATS Drum and Fife Band.
photo below shows A/DM Brian Conway 42A
leading the Arborfield ATS Drum and Fife band. Originally tagged as Wokingham but now
thought more likely to be Reading.
It’s possible to search Reading Borough photos from http://tinyurl.com/shpo6 The time would be 1942/44. Brian was the first Apprentice Drum Major
to be appointed at the school.
photo is actually a microcosm of Arborfield school history, taken at a time
when great changes took place.
Normally a three year apprenticeship, in Brian’s case he only spent
two years at Arborfield as in 1944 the boys were dispersed to various
locations whilst the camp was taken over to provide accommodation for the
troops preparing for the Normandy invasion.
He completed his training at Aldershot.
music for parades had been supplied by the band of the 4/7th Royal Dragoons
who were based at Arborfield. The
Drum and Fife band was formed in 1941 with boys from various military
schools who had musical experience.
Brian was a ‘Dukie’. Looking
at the photo, the drummer on the left has a cap badge plus collar dogs,
which could indicate he was a RAOC boy, which was the original cap badge of
the boys transferred to Arborfield when it opened in 1939. On the right the drummers have no collar
dogs and the possibility is that they were members of the General Service
Corps into which new boys were mustered.
early 1942 a Corps of Drums was formed and looking behind the Fifers there
are several drummers who are wearing either the Glengarry or side hats,
rather than the SD cap. The
probability is that they were boys from Queen Victoria’s School, Dunblane,
who had joined Arborfield as apprentices.
But why are they still dressed in the uniforms of Dunblane? At the same time as badges of the RAOC
and GSC were worn there would also be boys wearing the badge of the newly
formed REME. I also believe that the
Royal Signals badge would be seen but my investigation to prove that has
hit the buffers for a while. It
forms part of another section on the web site.
the Arborfield boys the parade includes regular troops. At the time there were parades through
towns to promote War Loans and National Savings schemes. On the other hand it might be a welcome
home or farewell parade for the troops.
of the above is, of course, speculation but if you can add any more
thoughts, please contact
Information Updated 1st March 2012.
made the photo available on the ‘Reading Forum’ to take advantage of the
knowledge about Old Reading which the contributors have. The first objective was to confirm a
location and ‘buseng’ came up with
the following information……..
‘I think just in from the top
left is Merchant's Place, just right from the top centre is the Boars Head,
just to the right of that, the white looking building, is the Central
Cinema-you can see the white pillars that used to stand by the entrance.
The traffic lights, with the then black/white posts is the Station
Road/Queen Victoria Street junction (yes there were traffic lights before
Page!). In the top right hand corner is the entrance to Harris Arcade (the
light coloured rectangle).
Hope this helps’.
‘rolew’ contributed an interesting
‘I don't think the band was
turning left (sic) as it looks as if they have come to a halt and the mace
bearer would have been holding the mace at arms length pointing to the left
(sic. which was later corrected to read Right) if they were turning’.
at the photo again it would indeed appear that the drummers have come to a
halt. However the Drum Major’s left
leg is bent as if he is still moving.
Further back the Fifers look as though they are still on the
move. Whist the head of the mace is
visible, the staff can’t be seen to give the angle that the mace is being
held. So once again it’s a situation
where we find one answer, only to be confronted with more puzzles.
full discussion is available on the Reading Forum which can be accessed from HERE.
Photo contributed by: David SCHOFIELD
Two photographs added 1st February
The Arborfield Army Apprentices
School Drum & Fife Band was formed in 1941. Disbanded in 1947.
next two contemporary photographs shown below are thought to be of the band
and 1948. They were contributed
by Clive Wagstaffe 65C.
Copyright © Flix Photos, London.
Copyright © Sport & General Press Agency Ltd. London.
Photograph by Reader & Ward.
Contributed by: Brian CONWAY 42A
Michael Cheeseman 62C is in the Corps Of Drums photograph above.
Contributed by: Brian CONWAY 42A
Henley Town Hall
A ‘Welcome Home’ for
Olympian Mary Rand who won a Gold Medal for the Long Jump, Silver Medal
for the Pentathlon and a Bronze Medal for the 4x100 Women’s Relay in the
1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Members of the Corps of
Drums are Rear Rank, far left, Michael Cheeseman 62C, 2nd Rank, far
right, Brian Conway 42C, but here as the member of the Permanent Staff
who reintroduced the band to Arborfield. Next to Mary Rand is Permanent
Staff member, Band Sergeant Major Toby Parker B.E.M. of the Argyll and
Contributed by Michael CHEESEMAN 62C
Military Band circa 1953-54
by: Trevor STUBBERFIELD 52A
Military Band thought to be 1955. Several of the
musicians dressed in battle dress are from intake 52A which would indicate
this being a band photo for the passing out parade in February 1955.
small 2”x2” photo, believed taken in 1954, of the Military Band. Two of the Burmese Apprentices are shown,
one on drum and one on clarinet.
Names not known if anybody can help please.
Contributed by Trevor STUBBERFIELD 52A
The photos below have been contributed
by Derek Breeze 53B
information accompanying these two photos has provided a puzzle which is in
need of some clarification. The band sergeant is Sgt. Backley of the
Inniskillings. Standing directly behind him, sticks raised, is A/LCPL.
Derek Breeze of 53B who departed from Arborfield in July 1956. The photo is
also used in Peter Gripton’s history of Arborfield
Arborfield Apprentice’ (page 196)
but is dated as 1957. Tony Church 55A has supplied a matching photo of the pipe band which can
be viewed from HERE. Tony also writes that they were taken in October 1957 and were rehearsals prior to
both bands appearing on television. Peter’s record shows the television
programs taking place on the 23rd and 25th of August 1956. It is known that
some of the band left Arborfield in July 1956, the 53B contingent, but
returned for the broadcasts, to fill the gaps that they had left. Derek
states that he wasn’t one of them and yet he his in this photo, which would
indicate that it was taken during a rehearsal prior to the departure of his
intake 53B. Tony also writes that
the two bands often rehearsed together to provide a Massed Bands March Off
at the end of the Passing Out Parades and a photo of that event is on page
191 of Peter’s book.
1st June 2010
information received from Tony Church goes a long way to answering the
‘I may be able to reduce some of the
confusion regarding TV appearances, as there were at least two others prior to the ones in
I joined the pipe band in 2 Div, (Sept
'55) and played on parade from 3 Div. (Feb '56). We did our first TV
appearance at Earls Court
that year, with the military band.
We then, shortly afterwards, appeared
on an outdoor programme (again with the military band) at The Royal
Military Hospital, Chelsea, in a programme featuring Gordon Pirie, Chris
Chattaway, Chris Brasher and the Army Gymnastic Team, (CSMI Nick Stuart et al,
if memory serves.)
These two occasions would be the ones
that Peter has noted in his book, taking place in the summer of '56.
The '57 appearance was for an ITV
children’s show which starred Jimmy Hanley, and was the only time that we
appeared in a studio. (Very hot and sweaty!)
I can't comment too much on the
Military Band apart from what I have already mentioned - although I do know
that in the latter half of '57 the leading side drummer's name was Pearce,
55A, because I just beat him in the newly instituted drummers competition !
(I still have the plaque)
This was a competition among the
schools drummers for a pair of ebony drumsticks, presented by Major Mick
Martin, OC "D" Coy, when he retired.
Arborfield Army Apprentices College
1973 - 75
The two photos below have been contributed
by Terry Reddin 52A
Photo Copyright © Terry REDDIN 52A
Photo Copyright © Terry REDDIN 52A
First Published: 15th May 2007.
Latest Update: 1st February 2014.