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A Centenary
by Colin Dean

As a companion to Bearskins, Bayonets & Body Armour - The Welsh Guards 1915-2015 by Trevor Royle, Colin Dean’s meticulously researched book, The Band Of The Welsh Guards, gives an insight into the inner workings and public face of one of the world’s most famous bands. 

Replete with superb photographs, the book charts the Welsh Guards Band’s journey from its formation in the dark days of the First World War to the present day.  Affectionately known as the ‘shop window’ of the regiment, the Band has always kept the Army in the public eye through its contribution to ceremonial duties in London.  It has also maintained a presence throughout Wales where its music has stirred national pride and touched the heart of countless tightly knit communities.  Yet, when called upon, the Band has frequently paid fleeting trips to many of the world’s conflict zones to provide the crucial ‘hearts and minds’ element for which the British Army is renowned.

Its pages contain a breadth of information encompassing interviews, accounts of tours and prominent engagements, musical programmes and a wealth of background knowledge that is intriguing from a sociohistorical perspective.  It is also interesting to read of the Band’s association with such luminaries as Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Katherine Jenkins, Norman Wisdom, Jools Holland and Robbie Williams, to name but a few. 

Band histories are often the domain of enthusiasts and loyal followers.  However, where a world-class musical ensemble is interwoven with such a high profile regiment, it is fascinating to uncover the unique relationship which inexorably binds them together.

As a former Director of Music my review may be somewhat subjective, however I have no hesitation in heartily recommending to casual adherents as well as military music aficionados Colin Dean’s attractively presented and comprehensive history produced for the Welsh Guards Band’s centenary year.

Philip Shannon

The Band Of The Welsh Guards - A Centenary Illustrated Hardback, 295 pages RRP: £30.00 (+P&P)

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