RGJ Bands

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Between the disbandment of the battalion bands of the Royal Green Jackets in 1985 and the creation of the Band of the Light Division in 1994, the Royal Green Jackets had two regimental bands: the Normandy Band and the Peninsula Band.

The Normandy Band

Having been responsible for forming the Normandy Band, Bandmaster David Little, formerly of the 1st Green Jackets, was to remain for only just over a year before retiring. He was succeeded in December 1985 by Ian McElligott, a fine trumpeter and a musician with a reputation for being a perfectionist; under his leadership the still young Band went from strength to strength.

Major events in Britain in 1987-88 included a Sounding Retreat by the massed Bands of the Division on Horse Guards Parade, performances at the Royal Bath and West Show and the Edinburgh Tattoo, and a Kneller Hall inspection.

The following year brought a posting to Gibraltar, from where a tour was undertaken to Morocco to honour the 60th birthday of His Majesty King Hassan II. Accompanied by the bugles of the 3rd Battalion, the Band performed Sounding Retreat ceremonies at the Royal Palaces in Marrakesh and Fez, and then in the slightly less elaborate surroundings of Rabat, Casablanca and finally Tangier.

Bandmaster McElligott moved to Kneller Hall in 1992 and was replaced by Barry Wassell. Two years later the Normandy Band amalgamated with the other three bands of the division to form the new Band of The Light Division. Bandmaster Barry Wassell moved to the newly formed Band of the Royal Lancers as Bandmaster (Training Officer).

The Peninsula Band

Bandmaster Ian Harding, formerly of the 3rd Green Jackets, was appointed to the Peninsula Band on its formation and remained for eight years, giving a degree of stability to the new unit. Under his leadership the Band maintained the high standards and traditions of the Green Jackets.

In 1988 it visited Canada as the official band for the exercise Medicine Man 3. The trip offered the opportunity to participate in the Calgary Stampede and included marching displays at the Olympic Plaza.

After four years in BAOR - from where tours of Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Holland and France had been undertaken - the Band returned to England in 1989. The men subsequently made a return visit to Canada for the 75th Anniversary of the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry, a regiment affiliated to the Royal Green Jackets.

Regimental connexions were also apparent at the opening of Fulham House in Putney for B Company, 4 (TA) RGJ. The salute on this parade was taken by Prince Nicholas von Preussen, the great-grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II; this was particularly appropriate as the Kaiser had inspected the Queen's Westminster Rifles (ancestors of B Company) in 1891 and presented them with a portrait of himself.

In 1992 Mr Harding retired and was succeeded by Ian Macpherson. Two years later Mr Macpherson accepted voluntary redundancy when the Peninsula Band amalgamated with the other three in the division to form the new Light Division Band.

© RGJ BAND 2021