The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals

The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals at the Bucks County Show 2016

The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals

The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals was officially formed on 29 August, 1938. However, its ancestry, like that of the corps itself can be traced back to the Royal Engineers Signals Service.

The Royal Corps of Signals was formed in 1920 and subsequently the Band of the 1st Division, Telegraph Battalion, Royal Engineers, provided the nucleus to form “…a first class volunteer band at the Signals Training Centre…”.  The earliest reference to this was uncovered in a 1293 edition of the Corps journal, ‘The Wire’.  Bandsmen from former Cavalry and Infantry Regiments volunteered to join the band, and it was soon performing on parade, at garden fetes and at sporting events around the Signals Training Depot in Maresfield Park, East Sussex.

The Band, which numbered almost 100 musicians at this time, was subsequently moved to Catterick, North Yorkshire.  It remained there until the 1970s, when it transferred, along with the Royal School of Signals to the outskirts of Blandford Forum in Dorset, where it remains today.

The structure of the modern band is very different to the early days as, over time, several reductions in the size of the Armed Forces have seen the size of the band diminish significantly.  By the early 1980s, the band had reduced to approximately 60 musicians and today the official strength is just 35, including a commissioned Director of Music and a Warrant Officer Class 1 Bandmaster.

The Band remains the primary public face of the Corps, performing at high profile ceremonial occasions and at military and civilian events worldwide.  As part of its wider commitment to the Army, the Band has travelled extensively; recent tours include the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, and various locations across Europe.

The Band often works in conjunction with the other Royal Signals Display Teams; The White Helmets Motorcycle Display Team, The Pipes and Drums and the Blue Helmets Parachute Display Team, who collectively strive to live up to the Corps’ motto ‘Certa Cito’, ‘Swift and Sure’.