The Middlesex Yeomanry Concert Band is the band associated with the 47 (Middlesex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron of the British Territorial Army. Surviving several disbandments and reorganisations, the band’s military roots can be traced back for over 150 years.
1797 – During the Napoleonic Wars, when the army had been sent to defend the coastline, the Gentlemen of Uxbridge asks the government’s permission to set up a military force to maintain law and order. A troop called the Uxbridge Volunteer Cavalry is raised.
1843 – A mounted brass band consisting of 13 musicians is formed, led by Bandmaster William Newman and funded by the officers and senior NCOs of what was now the Uxbridge Yeomanry Cavalry.
June 1855 – The band’s first public concert is held on Uxbridge Common.
16th July 1881 – The regiment accompanied by the band provides a Captain’s Escort at Brighton for the Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VII) and Princess of Wales.
April 1884 – Queen Victoria gives the regiment and band the title of Duke of Cambridge’s Hussars. Squadrons of the regiment and band often provided a mounted escort to the Royal Family from Uxbridge to Windsor. There doesn’t appear to be any record of when the mounted band dismounted to become a marching band.
1914 – The band is disbanded at the beginning of World War One.
1920 – The band had been reformed and played at many public engagements and regimental functions.
1939 – The band is disbanded at the beginning of World War Two.
1954 – A group of musicians attend the Regimental Annual Camp at Dibgate, Kent.
1960 – 8 former members of the RAF Central Band (Uxbridge) form the Middlesex Yeomanry Regimental Band led by Bandmaster Ted Tamplin. They are enlisted into the TA by Major Bill Williams.
1960s – The band flourishes, expanding to 50 musicians and scoring highly in band contests each year. It plays at high-profile engagements: with Vera Lynn at the Royal Albert Hall, for Jewish ex-servicemen at the Cenotaph, at premières for films including Lawrence of Arabia, and in films including The Dirty Dozen.
1968 – The TA is reorganised and the Ministry of Defence orders the band to be axed completely.
1969 – With the Ministry of Defence’s permission, retired Lt Colonel Bill Williams (formerly Major) reforms the band as a voluntary organisation. He provided much financial support to the band until his death in 1999. The band moved around various TA centres but when the cost of renting rehearsal space soared some musicians left in protest.
2001 – Band member WOII Ron Keevil moves the band, then consisting of just 10 musicians, to the White House Community Centre, Hampton. Rebuilding the band has been a slow process but now once again it is thriving with an active membership.
2017 – With a membership of over 30 musicians the band led by Director of Music Mike Robinson is performing regular concerts through the year.