Early morning browsers in Worthing’s pedestrian shopping street got something of
a shock on 30th June this year. Bearing down on them was the redoubtable figure of
Drum Major Geoff Fairfax MBE at the head of a Corps of Drums comprising five side
drummers, a bass drummer, a cymbalist and ten flute players. That all were belting
out W. H. Turpin’s march Galanthia added to the shock and awe.
Counter-marching and halting at Montague Place, the Corps proceeded to play a selection
of Corps of Drums favourites. We were there as a precursor to the main events in
the first day of Worthing’s Armed Forces Weekend, which aims to raise public awareness
of the contribution made to the country by our Armed Forces and to show support for
the Armed Forces community.
Our support in the shopping street took the form of a performance, at the halt, of:
Hazelmere and The Adjutant by Tom Birkett, Mountain Echoes by D. Parfitt, Prussia’s
Glory by Johann Gottfried Piefke, The Great Escape by Elmer Bernstein, Killaloe by
Robert Martin, The Jigs arranged by R. H. Trussler and Trumpet Tunes, the trumpet
tune from Purcell’s Trumpet Tune and Air and the prelude of Charpentier’s setting
of the Te Deum, arranged by P. Foss.
For Prussia’s Glory, The Great Escape and Killaloe the Corps was augmented by some
local children who didn’t take long to grab the tambourines, maracas, drums and rattles
we’d brought with us and join in. Having hopefully sown the seeds of a life-long
love of military music in a few young hearts, we marched off to William Ward–Higgs’
Sussex by the Sea.
Our second contribution to proceedings was a marching display in the afternoon. Steyne
Gardens had been transformed for the weekend with a stage at the far end, stalls
around the edge promoting the work of the local regimental associations, veterans’
organisations and cadets, a ‘NAAFI’ tent and a collection of preserved military vehicles.
At 12.40 most of the Corps formed up ready to march on. Missing were our two ‘star’
buglers, Dave Kirby and David Lear MBE. They were at the opposite end of Steyne Gardens
beside the announcer who was to introduce us to the crowd. All we in the Corps had
to do was wait for our ‘Regimental Call’ and ‘Fall In’ so, in the best traditions
of Britain’s Armed Forces, we waited. And waited. And waited a bit more…
Finally, the announcer stumbled through our title by way of introduction and the
bugles could let rip. As the last bugle note died away we marched on playing ‘Galanthia’.
Our display was essentially the one we had performed at the Malta Military Tattoo:
the bugle fanfare Westminster (Joseph Winter), the Irish air King of the Fairies,
Euterpe (William F. Roehr), a medley Songs of the First World War (arr. Laurie Johnson),
a medley The Londoner (arr. Jack Wallace) and The Jigs (arr. R. H. Trussler). After
playing The National Anthem and receiving permission to march off we left, to gratifying
applause from the crowd, playing ‘Sussex by the Sea’.
As we’ve adopted the title and scarlet full dress of the pre-1908 Cinque Ports Rifle
Volunteers as a mark of respect for the men from Sussex who served as Volunteers
in the past, it was a particular pleasure to make this contribution to Armed Forces
Day in ‘our’ county.