The Cinque Ports Corps in the City of London


At two o’clock on 24th January 2009, in a backstreet behind St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Cinque Ports Corps of Drums joined a small crowd at the statue of Admiral Arthur Phillip RN, the leader of the First Fleet of ships to colonise Australia and subsequently Governor of New South Wales. We had gathered for the beginning of the 2009 Australia/New Zealand Festival and proceedings started with the laying of a wreath at the statue and the singing of the Australian National Anthem.


Now you might be wondering just how many of the Cinque Ports Drummers hail from a land down under, and you’d be right in guessing none. So what were we doing there?


Well, the first event of the Australia/New Zealand Festival is a procession and service at the City Church of St. Katherine Cree. We were there in all our scarlet-jacketed glory to lead the British Legion Standard Bearers, Australians, New Zealanders, a Pearly Queen and some spectators through the City streets to the Church.


After the Parade Marshall and the Town Crier had resolved their differences about where they wanted us to form up, we fell in in four ranks of three. Four side drummers, a bass drummer, five Bb and two F flute players had abandoned their usual January Saturday afternoon shopping or football trips to be there. Though we were nearly one Bb down until, at the last minute, Drummer Hart appeared, breathless but determined.


We got the march off to a good start with a jaunty rendition of Waltzing Matilda. Considering we’d all learned it independently and only played it through after meeting in the car park an hour before, it went over pretty well. We followed that up with our more normal repertoire: The Great Escape, Prussia’s Glory, Galanthia, Killaloe, The Adjutant and The British Grenadiers.





1st Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteers Corps of Drums

Waltzing Matilda

Author - Drummer Mike Boxall


Home.2009 Review.Fifepower.A Standard and A Shield.

One of the high spots of the march was passing The Mansion House the ‘wrong way’ i.e. from the opposite direction we see it on the Lord Mayor’s Show. The low spot was having to halt at the traffic lights there and missing the Drum Major’s horizontal Staff cut-off. Words were spoken!  


But we Cinque Ports Drummers are pretty thick-skinned and we launched into the next march undaunted. Resisting the urge to play The Rogues March as we passed The Bank of England, we were soon approaching St. Katherine Cree. More by luck than good judgement, as we came up to the Church we were playing Waltzing Matilda again - a fitting last march of the day.


After the parade had halted and fallen out the Drum Major, as usual, became a photographer magnet. The rest of us lurked around in the background and chatted with Society stalwart Ian Smart, who’d been in the procession from St. Paul’s.


It had turned out to be a great little march through the City, and, coming so early in the year, brushed off a few playing cobwebs. It’s just a pity there wasn’t a barbie and some tinnies handy to thank our new mates from the Australia/New Zealand Festival in traditional Aussie style.

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