1st Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteers Corps of Drums

Royal British Legion Tenterden 90th Birthday Celebrations


Supporting the ABF The Soldiers Charity

Scribe Mike Boxall


The end of July saw the Corps in action twice in a week. First taking part in the 90th year celebrations for the Royal British Legion, Tenterden Branch, and then supporting A.B.F. The Soldiers’ Charity with a collection at the Ladies’ Day cricket match at Sussex CCC’s ground at Hove.


For Tenterden R.B.L.’s celebration our old friend and Vice-President of The Corps of Drums Society, Colonel Peter Walton (Retd), had arranged a suitably military-themed display. The ‘Diehard’ Company, members of the Victorian Military Society, provided displays of drill and rifle firing while we ‘Cinque Porters’, nearly at full strength with 20 ‘on parade’, provided the Corps of Drums music.


The Diehards based their performance on the ‘Field Exercise and Evolutions of Infantry: 1877’ manual, which instructed the Victorian soldier in the use of the Martini Henry rifle. I’m not sure which manual our Drum Major carries in his head, but our practice in the morning clearly wasn’t always ‘per the manual’.


After our lunchtime sandwiches we sallied forth undaunted into a three-part display. For the Opening Ceremony we marched on playing The Great Escape and then played The British Grenadiers to march on The Diehards. After the General Salute (the first eight bars of Scipio in double time), we paused for inspection by The Mayor, Cllr. Phillip Carley. The Inspection over, we played the Diehards off with The British Grenadiers again and then played ourselves off with Killaloe.


Our second appearance was a straight-forward ‘marching and playing’ display. Marching on with Galanthia, we halted and then marched in slow time to Mountain Echoes breaking into quick time to play The Adjutant. We then played Trumpet Tunes at the halt before marching off to For Flag and Empire.

For our final display we marched on with Prussia’s Glory and then concentrated on getting the right timing to come up together mid-way through the side-drum introductions to the bugle fanfare Westminster and the slow march The King of the Fairies.


Once that was achieved, it was into the ‘bomb-burst’ splitting of the Corps during Euterpe and ‘going round in circles’ for 1914-18 and The Londoner. We ended by playing The Jigs at the halt. This has not always been a trouble-free piece as solos and ensemble playing alternate and flutes and drumsticks have to come up together at various points throughout.   


The Jigs marked the end of our display and the beginning of the finale. For this we played on The Diehards, and then a flutes introduction enabled our star buglers, Dave Kirby and David Lear M.B.E., to advance to the front of the Corps to sound Retreat.


As the last haunting bugle notes faded away, a drum roll prepared us to play The National Anthem. After the anthem the Drum Major asked permission to march off, and, permission being granted, we played The Diehards off with The Rogue’s March (to show that we had been watching them), and then we marched off playing our own Sussex Medley.


Refreshing ourselves with the excellent tea and cakes provided by Sylvia Elsey and a consortium of Tenterden ladies, we could reflect on a good day out. Our three performances had been a great chance for nearly our full Corps to perform together, and it had been a pleasure to be part of the 90th year celebrations of one of the RBL’s first Branches.

In too good time as it turned out, as SKY Sport TV interviews ran on and on. You’d think people had come to see the cricket and not us! Finally, though, we got the nod and marched on with Euterpe.


Halting in front of the main stand to play The King of The Fairies provided us with another chance to prove that we could all come up together at the right point in the side-drum introduction.


We then gave the spectators The Adjutant on the march before halting again for The Jigs. Next came The Great Escape then our final piece at the halt, Trumpet Tunes. We marched off to our Sussex Medley, which, with its first tune Sussex By The Sea, proved a winner with the county crowd.


Although this engagement had been a long drive for some members and had been cut short by TV interviews, it was nevertheless just the sort of ‘bread and butter’ job that makes The Cinque Ports R.V. Corps of Drums worth belonging to.


We got to play our music to people who probably hadn’t heard much, if any, Corps of Drums music before, we enjoyed each others’ company again and, best of all, we heard from our ABF contact, David Stevens, that the collection had raised over £800. ‘Proper job’, as they might say in Sussex.

Home.2011 Review.Australia Day 2011.Clandon Park.Malta .
Home.2011 Review.Australia Day 2011.Clandon Park.Malta .

Three days later a smaller Corps of 14 members assembled at Sussex County Cricket Club’s Eaton Road ground in Hove. There to support an A.B.F. The Soldiers’ Charity collection, we kitted up and fell in on the outfield in good time.

Supporting The R.B.L. and The A.B.F.

Two Engagements in July

(click on the photos for a larger image)