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melliget

Anzac Memorial Band

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melliget

Anzac Memorial Band, Sydney, 1916.

The Anzac Memorial Band formed in New South Wales circa June 1916. Consisting mostly of discharged soldiers and lead by a RAN bandmaster, Bandmaster Charles Mayall, the band, performing under the auspices of the Returned Soldiers' Association (RSA) in Sydney, achieved relative success in concerts held in NSW during the latter half of 1916.

In January 1917, when the band toured Tasmania, The Mercury newspaper (Hobart) got a little carried away in stating:

"All the members of this band are returned soldiers, each one having participated in the landing at Gallipoli on the 25th April, 1915.."

This description appears to have been true for at least one band member, however: John Henry Calthorpe, a Band Sergeant, No 1 Light Horse, was at Gallipoli and wounded at Gaba Tebe 12 July 1915. Sergeant James Edison Ikin, of Hobart, another member, was originally with the 29th Reinfts AASC, tranf. to 5th Fld. Butchery (AGBD), and served in France but not Gallipoli. Another member signed up with the AIF, stating his preferred unit was the Light Horse (perhaps he knew Calthorpe) but his application was later rejected on medical grounds.

The bandmaster, Charles Phineas Mayall (probably the man in the middle in the photo, sitting behind the bass drum), was born in Waipu, New Zealand, in 1882. He served in the Royal Navy (NZ station) from 1904 to 1910, then joined the RAN in 1912. He was bandmaster of the band on HMAS Encounter, the first naval band of the RAN (http://www.navy.gov.au/w/images/Encounter1-2.jpg), as well as various ships' bands after the war. In June 1915, he was discharged from the RAN by purchase, only to rejoin almost 5 years later. It was during this hiatus that he became involved in the Anzac Memorial Band.

Around the time of the Tasmanian tour, the secretary of the band, Harry Durand (ex Staff Sergeant, 19th AASC, Field Bakery, discharged due to bad eye sight and age), expressed serious concerns to the Prime Minister's office about the band's management by the RSA and the disbursement of funds raised by the band. The band cleared about £600 a week, most of which was meant to go to the Repatriation Fund.

At the same time, the Melbourne newspapers reported the band was the subject of a controversy because of a breach of the War Precautions regulations by using the word "Anzac" for the purpose of private gain (it transpired that the band members did, in fact, share a percentage of funds raised). The Melbourne concerts were poorly attended and letters to the editor appeared to fuel the controversy, including some of a New South Wales versus Victoria flavour. The band succumbed to the bad publicity and cancelled all further concerts, including a planned tour of New Zealand, and returned to Sydney and disbanded - a disappointing end after a promising start.

If anyone can identify anyone in the band, I'd be interested to know.

Martin

post-29417-1259848186.jpg

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Guest astro

Anzac Memorial Band, Sydney, 1916.

The Anzac Memorial Band formed in New South Wales circa June 1916. Consisting mostly of discharged soldiers and lead by a RAN bandmaster, Bandmaster Charles Mayall, the band, performing under the auspices of the Returned Soldiers' Association (RSA) in Sydney, achieved relative success in concerts held in NSW during the latter half of 1916.

In January 1917, when the band toured Tasmania, The Mercury newspaper (Hobart) got a little carried away in stating:

"All the members of this band are returned soldiers, each one having participated in the landing at Gallipoli on the 25th April, 1915.."

This description appears to have been true for at least one band member, however: John Henry Calthorpe, a Band Sergeant, No 1 Light Horse, was at Gallipoli and wounded at Gaba Tebe 12 July 1915. Sergeant James Edison Ikin, of Hobart, another member, was originally with the 29th Reinfts AASC, tranf. to 5th Fld. Butchery (AGBD), and served in France but not Gallipoli. Another member signed up with the AIF, stating his preferred unit was the Light Horse (perhaps he knew Calthorpe) but his application was later rejected on medical grounds.

The bandmaster, Charles Phineas Mayall (probably the man in the middle in the photo, sitting behind the bass drum), was born in Waipu, New Zealand, in 1882. He served in the Royal Navy (NZ station) from 1904 to 1910, then joined the RAN in 1912. He was bandmaster of the band on HMAS Encounter, the first naval band of the RAN (http://www.navy.gov.au/w/images/Encounter1-2.jpg), as well as various ships' bands after the war. In June 1915, he was discharged from the RAN by purchase, only to rejoin almost 5 years later. It was during this hiatus that he became involved in the Anzac Memorial Band.

Around the time of the Tasmanian tour, the secretary of the band, Harry Durand (ex Staff Sergeant, 19th AASC, Field Bakery, discharged due to bad eye sight and age), expressed serious concerns to the Prime Minister's office about the band's management by the RSA and the disbursement of funds raised by the band. The band cleared about £600 a week, most of which was meant to go to the Repatriation Fund.

At the same time, the Melbourne newspapers reported the band was the subject of a controversy because of a breach of the War Precautions regulations by using the word "Anzac" for the purpose of private gain (it transpired that the band members did, in fact, share a percentage of funds raised). The Melbourne concerts were poorly attended and letters to the editor appeared to fuel the controversy, including some of a New South Wales versus Victoria flavour. The band succumbed to the bad publicity and cancelled all further concerts, including a planned tour of New Zealand, and returned to Sydney and disbanded - a disappointing end after a promising start.

If anyone can identify anyone in the band, I'd be interested to know.

Martin

Hello Martin,

Thank you for your detailed post on the Anzac Memorial Band. Whilst I cannot assist you with identifying band members, the band master is of particular interest to me as he is my paternal grandfather. Just to assist you here, Charles Phineas Mayall is the one third from left, second row holding the cornet.

I stumbled apon your post whilst doing some family research for my father. Your information was handy in filling some gaps in my dads memory. He has got several more photos of Charles Mayall in various bands, some of which are titled as "Gallipoli Memorial Band", I wonder if this was as a result of the controversy over the use of "Anzac".

Alas we cannot help you with identifying the other band members. My father is the youngest of 5 children that Charles had, of which only his next oldest sister is still alive but now suffering dementia. Dad was born in 1934, well after Charles RAN service. I can tell you Charles was a very talented cornet player and band master, and was the band master for the Sydney Harbour Bridge opening parade.

Regards,

Glenn Mayall

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