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Remembered Today:

HMS Invincible's band


Jesse
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Are there any experts out there on Great War shipboard bands? In studying a photo of the band of HMS Invincible, several questions arise. Of 29 men shown, 7 are clearly wearing drum kit, which matches 6 drums stacked and 1 bass drum. Only 4 are Royal Marines, including the Bandmaster holding his staff, which interestingly seems to have the ship's crest penguin at it's top. 14 can be seen to be holding instruments similar to clarinets, and there is one naval lieutenant seated in the centre, whose role I am curious about. All of the old and new Invincible's sea battles are listed on the bass drum, including Heligoland Bight and Falklands, and the bass drummer has a Leopard apron on.

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Jesse

It seems to me that you are describing a 'Volunteer' Ships Band, hence the variance in uniform.

Volunteer or 'Blue Jacket' Bands were originally formed at the three great naval barracks at Portsmouth, Chatham and Plymouth. They were brass bands using instruments supplied by the Welfare Fund. Many Blue Jacket Band ratings continued their hobby when drafted to sea. Further Volunteer Bands were formed both on board ship and at various shore bases and took a variety of forms, brass, military, fife and drum, drum and bugle, pipes and other mixtures to suit the instrumentalists that happened to be pitched together. Very often, on board ship, members of the Royal Marines Band, the Royal Marine Buglers, or both, would help to train these enthusiastic volunteers. By the 1930s the standard of these bands had improved to the point where they were invited to play at prestigious events such as the FA Cup Final and Rugby Internationals. With the reduction in the numbers of sea-going bands during the second half of the twentieth century volunteers were encouraged to fill the gap and Royal Marine Volunteer Band Instructors were provided - shades of 1874 once again.

The official birth of the Royal Marines Band Service is recognised as 1903 when, through the concept of the Royal Naval School of Music, all musicians from the Royal Navy became Royal Marines and to them passed total responsibility for the music of the Senior Service. There still exists amongst the men who passed through the Royal Naval School of Music a fierce loyalty to the Royal Navy and a pride in being, first and foremost, the musicians of the Royal Navy.

Source: http://www.royalmarinesbands.co.uk/history/develpoment.htm

Can you post the photo?

Dave

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Thank you for responding, gentlemen. I don't have a scanner or DC to post it, but will try to get it scanned in soon. I'm sure this was the "official" INVINCIBLE band, but I too was curious about how the personnel mix was designated as regards the 1903 RM band assumption. INVINCIBLE's crew list and the RMB site put the band at 17 members, but there are clearly more shown here, and a different number of RM personnel, as well. The final roster puts the band RM's at 6 including the Bandmaster, George Deacon, but I only count 4 in this photo. All others are seamen. And, as I say, there are 29 total personnel shown, 14 of which I can see holding instruments, no doubt many, if not all of the others simply don't have them visible in the photograph because of the grouping. In addition to those 14, another 7 are in drum kit, and there are 7 drums shown so that adds up. As to the RN Lieut., I don't know if he would have had some sort of overall charge of the band? From comparison with an online bio photo, I am quite sure that the bandmaster shown is indeed Deacon. Of course, this photo could have been take anytime from 1915 thru the first half of 1916, so some personnel changes may have taken place, but from 29 to 17 seems unlikely to me. The ship's monthly muster rolls would really be the place to check I guess.

Jesse,

It would be interesting to see the photo as the Naval musicians and Bandsmen were still about into the 1920s.

Regards Charles

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Jesse,

Naval Musicians are classed as Leading Hands and get paid 2/- per diam in 1914, they are still a naval rank according to Kings Regulations and Admiralty Instructions 1913. The old naval band structure was ordered to die out not stopped so there could well be a lot of them about in 1915/1916, don't quite understand the 1903 statement about becoming RM.

Regards Charles

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Hmmm.... Okay, well, I didn't know how the conversion was handled, how the bandsmen would be allotted to a ship, what and how the ratio of RM to RN was set up etc. There doesn't seem to be much data out there on this.

Jesse,

Naval Musicians are classed as Leading Hands and get paid 2/- per diam in 1914, they are still a naval rank according to Kings Regulations and Admiralty Instructions 1913. The old naval band structure was ordered to die out not stopped so there could well be a lot of them about in 1915/1916, don't quite understand the 1903 statement about becoming RM.

Regards Charles

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In the R.A.N. just after WW2 (1946), my dad transferred from the rating of A.B. to Bandsman.

Not exactly related but for interest, here are two photos of the band of HMAS Australia (not one of my dad's ships): one with the captain, and another at practice (slightly more relaxed).

Look forward to seeing the photo when you can manage it, Jesse.

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Thanks for all the responses, friends. David, my impression from the records is that there were 6 RM's and 11 RN Musicians listed as lost with the ship. But that was one of my questions, as to just how the ratio of RM's to RN's was determined with a ship's band, or even how a ship would be designated a band. Some had them, some didn't. For example, at Coronel MONMOUTH had a full band, while GOOD HOPE, the flagship, had none.

When the INVINCIBLE was sunk at Jutland 17 RM Band members were amongst the casualties.

Best wishes

David

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Jesse, all 17 of the band casualties were Royal Marine musicians, comprising:

DEACON GEORGE, BANDMASTER 1c, RMB 391.

CHANCE, THOMAS J., BAND CORPORAL, RMB, RMB 1031

JAMIESON, ROBERT F., BAND CORPORAL, RMB, RMB 1184

BECKETT, WILLIAM, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 680

CALLIS, SIDNEY, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1599

CLARK, ALBERT E., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 227

DOLLING, FRANCIS J., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1010

DUNN, CHARLES A., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 2262

EMMETT, MAURICE, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1509, served as MAHER, MAURICE

HEARN, ALBERT V., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1886

HOWARD, JOHN M.T., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 2045

HUTCHINGS, GEORGE W., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1019

NORMAN, GEORGE, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 408

RIDGE, FRANCIS, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 508

ROLLS, JOHN, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 678

SHACKLETON, PERCY, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1685

WATSON, ALFRED J., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 2063

The only other "musician" on board was the RM BUGLER, TEBBITT, WILLIAM T., BUGLER, RMA, RMA 13859, and there were no civilians.

Best wishes

David

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So you say, David, and that may be, but it does not jive with this photo, whose legitimacy I do not doubt. Unless the band was replaced with RM after this shot was taken, shared their instruments, or was a complete separate entity aboard, which would still not explain why Deacon and the three other RM are present, the idea that the band was all RM does not make sense.

Jesse, all 17 of the band casualties were Royal Marine musicians, comprising:

DEACON GEORGE, BANDMASTER 1c, RMB 391.

CHANCE, THOMAS J., BAND CORPORAL, RMB, RMB 1031

JAMIESON, ROBERT F., BAND CORPORAL, RMB, RMB 1184

BECKETT, WILLIAM, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 680

CALLIS, SIDNEY, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1599

CLARK, ALBERT E., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 227

DOLLING, FRANCIS J., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1010

DUNN, CHARLES A., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 2262

EMMETT, MAURICE, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1509, served as MAHER, MAURICE

HEARN, ALBERT V., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1886

HOWARD, JOHN M.T., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 2045

HUTCHINGS, GEORGE W., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1019

NORMAN, GEORGE, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 408

RIDGE, FRANCIS, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 508

ROLLS, JOHN, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 678

SHACKLETON, PERCY, MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 1685

WATSON, ALFRED J., MUSICIAN, RMB, RMB 2063

The only other "musician" on board was the RM BUGLER, TEBBITT, WILLIAM T., BUGLER, RMA, RMA 13859, and there were no civilians.

Best wishes

David

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For example, at Coronel MONMOUTH had a full band, while GOOD HOPE, the flagship, had none.

Yep, I've noticed that.

On Dreadnought ships the RM bandsmen normally manned the transmitting station, ie controlling gunfire.

Does anybody know whether the MONMOUTH bandsmen did that?

If so, how come the GOOD HOPE didn't have a band on board?

BTW The MONMOUTH bandsmen were all Pompey men (their names are on the memorial there), even though MONMOUTH was a Devonport ship.

(GOOD HOPE was a Pompey ship)

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  • 2 years later...

Yes, I still have the same questions regarding this photo, the answers to which can only probably come from the Muster Rolls, Deck Log, and War Diary pf the last year or so of Invincible's life. One interesting question for you, Charles, would be as to just when Jamieson reported aboard. Excluding Bandmaster Deacon, close examination of the other three Marines in the photo reveals no rank insignia, if indeed a Band Corporal would have had insignia. One thing is apparent, though. Three of them, including Deacon, have RMLI cap badges, while the other has an RMA. As to the Naval Lieutenant, I can only assume that he had as his duties something to do with the extracurricular activities aboard ship, maybe the officer in charge of the department in which the band would have operated, or perhaps had collateral duties as Ship's Morale Officer.

post-2191-1276385365.jpg
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Jesse,

Robert joined Invincible when she came out of refit and received a new commission in 1914, as would most of the crew in fact the majority. He was qualified to play the Euphonium and 'Big Drum' sic, and also a gun controller.

The photo could be the ships Volunteer Band but unusual the RM Bandsman have no input.

Regards Charles

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Yes, a bit of a mystery, I'm afraid. One could think that perhaps the entire complement of Royal Marines hadn't come aboard yet when this photo was taken, but it seems odd, as this photo had to be taken in 1915 or 16.

Jesse,

Robert joined Invincible when she came out of refit and received a new commission in 1914, as would most of the crew in fact the majority. He was qualified to play the Euphonium and 'Big Drum' sic, and also a gun controller.

The photo could be the ships Volunteer Band but unusual the RM Bandsman have no input.

Regards Charles

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  • 3 years later...
  • 6 months later...
Guest mountaingal

Thanks!

So nice to see that photo of the Invincible band, although I wish I could figure out how to enlarge it! My great uncle, John Temple Howard, was in that band and went down at Jutland, along with so many others. He was only 19.

Mountain Gal

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Its definitely a Volunteer band, which is a surprise as, off the top of my head, I thought capital ships of that period had a 16 man RNSM band ie. Royal Marine musicians.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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Jonathan

From the CWGC site, it would appear that the Invincible had Royal Marine musicians when the ship was lost at Jutland : -

Musician William BECKETT : RMB/680

Bandmaster Victor Cyril BRAME : RMA/10242

Musician Sidney CALLIS : RMB/1599

Band Corporal Thomas James CHANCE : RMB/1031

Musician Albert Edward CLARK : RMB/227

Bandmaster George DEACON : RMB/391

Musician Francis John DOLLIN : RMB/1010

Musician Charles Albert DUNN : RMB/2262

Musician Maurice EMMETT (served as MAHER) : RMB/1509

Musician Albert Victor HEARN : RMB/1886

Musician John Mowbray Temple HOWARD : RMB/2045

Musician George William HUTCHINGS : RMB/1942

Musician Robert Frederick JAMIESON : RMB/1184

Musician George NORMAN : RMB/408

Musician Francis RIDGE : RMB/508

Musician John ROLLS : RMB/679

Musician Percy SHACKLETON : RMB/1685

Musician Alfred James WATSON : RMB/2063

Douglas

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Error in typing Jamieson's rank acknowledged. Although Brame's serial number is prefixed RMA, CWGC site has him as Bandmaster. Another error?

Douglas

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