Musical Instruments Carried by British Soldiers?

Discussion in 'General' started by phantom89, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. phantom89

    phantom89 Junior Member

    Of course regiments had bands, but I was wondering if anyone had information on British soldiers in regards to possible musical instruments they carried with them. Obviously this would have been more likely among the GS and other 14 lads behind the line for every pbi in a slit trench. I know my Grandfather, a clerk in the US army, carried a violin with him much of the time. I was wondering if this was common or documented in the British army.
     
  2. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    I'm sure there's a thread on here about the bag pipes. Use the search function, it will likely bring it up.
     
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Humphrey Lyttelton:

    http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/40459-captain-tony-denison-mc-mbe-2-sas-telegraph-obituary/?hl=%2Blyttelton+%2Btrumpet
    .https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humphrey_Lyttelton
    VE Day recording...
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/usvsth3m/unknown-ve-day-trumpeter-turns-5639031
     
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  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    and from my father's album, you need to look closely...


    [​IMG]
     
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  5. phantom89

    phantom89 Junior Member

    Nothing like soothing sound of French Horn to make you say "what the bloody hell is that noise?"
     
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  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I know you mentioned musical instruments, but ...

    J.O.E. Vandeleur played music on his gramophone which was hooked up to speakers, for the 'enjoyment' of his battalion
    http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/51315-market-garden-normandy/?hl=%2Bbrady+%2Bnormandy#entry601647

    From A Soldier's Story, Vandeleur:
    Early next morning we were attacked by enemy infantry, supported by armour and S.P. guns from our left rear. I was shaving in a top-floor room when I suddenly saw my van burst into flames. This van was fitted with broadcasting apparatus and a gramophone for entertaining the troops. The road was littered with gramophone records and my kit.
     
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  7. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Spike Milligan comes to mind immediately - and his trumpet, but his regiment managed to carry around a jazz band's worth of instruments if I remember rightly, from North Africa to Italy - certainly guitar, bass, drums, various brass instruments. Of course bagpipes with Scottish regiments - famously Bill Millin on D-Day, recreated in The Longest Day - to name but a few I'm sure.
     
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  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Are you all paying attention ?

    Good, then I'll begin this convaluted tale.

    First of all, use this link to go to a picture of Derek Franklin of the Hedley Ward Trio and my very old friend Lew (Larry) Fox.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/51/a3381851.shtml

    Derek wasn't in my Battery but he was a good friend of Larry and we met up just prior to our stint at Cassino at a Wire Laying course.

    Derek brought his ukelele with him when he joined our Ack Ack unit and as we were both Driver/Ops i un-ashamedly got him to give me lessons in the evening.

    Ron
     
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  9. tmac

    tmac Senior Member Patron

    My late father's old comrade, Len Harvey, of F Troop, 318 Battery, 92nd LAA, recalled how in May 1945 they were near Bremen when they heard news of the German surrender - and were treated to an impromptu concert.

    'A cheer went up – and it was time to celebrate. We went over to a big house nearby and took it over. Johnny Chadwick went to his kitbag and took out a small accordion. Nobody knew he had it, or could even play it. He started with all the war songs – Dolly Gray, Tipperary, etc – and out came bottles of wine and the two sergeants brought in bottles of whisky. We drank and sang most of the night.'
     
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  10. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    "Paddy" Flynn of 1 Border took his fiddle with him on Operation Market Garden where he was captured, Jim Swan told me that when he visited in 1946/7 a local came over to him asking if he had come for his fiddle as when he came back after the battle it was lying in his wrecked house, he took it and passed it back to Paddy at a later date.

    Alistair
     
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  11. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Unfortunately I don't know much about this photo, but it is a nice one

    Alistair
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Apart from numerous occasions when Irish pipes were brought out right across Algeria, Tunisia and Italy, my father would recall the aftermath of the fighting north of the Sangro river in early December 1943:

    “...We advanced and linked up with our tanks. Closely following E Company, I continued into Fossacesia and arrived just as the company moved a piano into the street. One of the lads was playing it..... It was about 3rd December when the Canadians of The Three Rivers Regiment caught up with us. We had a little celebration with them and one of their number played his guitar..."

    best
     
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  13. phantom89

    phantom89 Junior Member

    Bexley84: Do you mean Uilleann pipes? or like tin whistle? I know how to play the tin whistle and I'm considering bringing it out to a living history event (it's an old non-plastic fipple one).

    Ron Goldstein: Do you remember any of the tunes that were popular to play/sing at that time?
     
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  15. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    The attached picture might give you an idea: Rome, July 1944.. a number of these men were, of course from towns/villages in Kerry, Donegal, Waterford etc,..

    best
     

    Attached Files:

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  16. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    One particularly hapless Anti-Tank Regiment received a few hundred harmonicas, before their anti-tank guns arrived much later, in 1939...
     
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  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I suppose they could have been useful in the arsenal of diversionary tactics, to keep the enemy otherwise occupied.
     
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  18. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Always there were instruments to be played and piano's were a constant source of music along with Clarinets - Trumpets - Harmonica's - Saxophones etc anything that could be carried and hidden -

    and always appeared in the quiet times after battle…always music….and laughter...

    Cheers
     
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  19. Rav4

    Rav4 Senior Member

    Heard about one POW who carried a bassoon home in his kitbag after his release. Wonder how many other musicians managed to do the same thing?
     
  20. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    When Brigadier Rogers took over 26th Bde in 6th Armoured Div in North Africa - he ensured that a certain three ton truck was handled with great care- it was later the first evening when the sounds

    of Tin Pan alley was heard emanating from the truck - sure enough - the brigadier had brought along his own piano...

    cheers
     
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