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1PD41 R.A.F. Music
Air Ministry issued a set of special recordings by service personnel.
They were divided into three sections:
Programme for a Guest Night
This is the first time since the original release that all these
recordings have been reissued together.
1. God Save the King;
Hope and Glory (Edward Elgar)
2. Trumpet Calls of the
Here is a
trumpet calls which are most commonly used on R.A.F. stations. However
it may seem curious that what must be the most popular call "Come to
the cook-house door boys" has been omitted. In the working of an R.A.F.
station, however, it is rarely possible for all personnel to eat at the
same time and this call is, therefore, not normally used.
Royal Air Force Call
every other call. For example, if an alarm were sounded in an area
where there were units of other services within earshot, the R.A.F.
call, preceding the alarm call, makes it clear as for whom the alarm is
This is the
assembly call and is used on all appropriate occasions, ceremonial or
ordered, markers take up their positions indicating where the airmen
and airwomen are to fall in.
on to their markers when this call is sounded.
every morning and marks the start of the day's activities.
We have made a ringtone out of this track
that everyone must drop all other duties and fall in at the station
We have made a ringtone out of this track
call means that duties for the day are ended.
the change of guard. The old guard sounds it on the arrival of the new
guard and the new guard repeats it after taking over their duties as
the old guard marches away. It is sounded to "present arms".
This is a
for everyone to be in their quarters. The R.A.F. version differs from
those of the other services in that the last phrase sinks instead of
continuing higher. The reason for this is that all R.A.F. calls are
sounded on a trumpet which will not reach the high notes of a bugle.
fifteen minutes after the "Last Post"
3. Royal Air Force March
composed in 1918 by Walford Davies, Master of the Kings Musick, when he
was Musical Director of the RAF. It is the official march past, and is
used on every ceremonial occasion.
4. General Salute; Duke
given on all occasions when officers of Air rank are present on parade.
"The Duke of York" is generally played while an Air Officer is
inspecting a guard of honour or a parade.
5. Fall in and Fly March
Noel Gay, the
obviously had the R.A.F. in mind when he wrote this quick-march. It is
played in strict march tempo for use on parade.
6. The Lad from London
March (Rudolph O'Donnell)
This march is
of the Musical Director at the time of recording, Rudolph O'Donnell. He
was one of three sons of bandmaster Percy O'Donnell. All three sons
followed their father's profession, but Rudolph had the distinction of
being the only one to serve in all three armed services.
His musicians nicknamed him "two gun Pete" as a result of his
conducting style of beating time with his index fingers. He rarely used
a baton (See O'Donnell conduct with his index fingers, the R.A.F.
Orchestra in Classical
Music in the Forties.)
Although he may not have been a great conductor, O'Donnell was
successful in persuading the Air Ministry that he needed to augment the
81 members of the Central Band with young skilled musicians that would
enable small units to disperse to camps at home and abroad. O'Donnell
explained: "These camps will be isolated far from normal amusement.
Music must always play a vital part in national life. I need at least a
thousand professional musicians." Newspaper adverts resulted in 980
musicians reporting to R.A.F. Uxbridge.
The high quality of these musicians gave O'Donnell the idea of forming
a symphony orchestra and by June 1940 an orchestra with 32 string
players and with wind players drawn from the Central Band had started
National Anthems of Allied
These are the
anthems of the squadrons of Allied units serving with the R.A.F. at
home and are played on many occasions, such as visits of distinguished
Allied officers to R.A.F. stations or at guest nights.
7. Belgium - La
formed by Belgian personal at Ikeja, West Africa on 10 November 1942,
but did not become operational until it was reformed in 1943 with the
Supermarine Spitfire V and became operational at R.A.F. Digby. In early
1944 it began to train as a fighter-bomber unit and then operated in
this role in occupied Europe.
No. 350 Squadron, the first Royal Air Force squadron to be formed by
Belgian personnel, was brought into existence at R.A.F. Valley in
November 1941. The squadron operated the Supermarine Spitfire at first
on convoy protection duties over the Irish sea. In April 1942 the
squadron moved to R.A.F. Debden and carried out offensive operations
over France. The squadron moved to Belgium in December 1944 to provide
offensive patrols over the battlefield including patrols in the Berlin
8. Czechoslovakia - Kde
the first R.A.F. squadron crewed by foreign nationals, in this case
escaped Czechoslovakian pilots. It was first formed on 10 July 1940 at
R.A.F. Duxford, equipped with Hawker Hurricane I fighters and with
experienced pilots the squadron was operational in only a month and
became involved in the Battle of Britain as part of the Duxford 'Big
Wing'. 37½ victories were claimed during the battle.
9. France - La
The R.A.F. Free
Squadrons consisted of :
No. 340 Squadron formed in November 1941. During the war, 340 French
pilots flew 7,845 sorties and over 10,000 flight hours. They claimed 37
enemy aircraft destroyed with 5 more 'probable' and over 500 vehicles
and locomotives. Thirty of the squadron's pilots were killed and 6
became prisoners of war. Many more were injured, some seriously. For
its gallant actions, 340 Squadron was awarded the French Croix de la
No. 341 Squadron was formed in 1942 with personnel who had been
operating in the Western Desert alongside various R.A.F. fighter
squadrons. After covering the Allied landings in France in June 1944,
the Squadron moved from Tangmere to Sommervieu (B8 airfield) in
Normandy on 19 August and arrived in Belgium in September. Armed
reconnaissance sweeps over Germany were directed mainly at enemy
communications for the rest of the war.
Nos. 346 and 347 Squadrons were Free French heavy bomber squadrons
flying HP Halifaxes. They formed part of the R.A.F. main bomber force
until the end of the war, when they returned to the Armee de l'Air on
27 November 1945.
10. Netherlands - Het
The R.A.F. had
squadrons formed of Dutch personnel:
No. 320 Squadron was Formed on 1 June 1940 at Pembroke Dock as part of
Coastal Command, after officers of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air
Service flew form the Netherlands in eight Fokker T.VIIIW twin-engine
patrol seaplanes. The squadron flew coastal and anti-submarine patrols
in the Fokkers until they became unserviceable due to lack of spares
and were re-equipped with Ansons in August 1940 and supplemented in
October with Hudsons. Due to insufficient personnel, the squadron
absorbed No. 321 (Netherlands) Squadron on 18 January 1941. The
squadron was passed to the control of the Dutch Naval Aviation Service
(Marine Luchtvaart Dienst) on 2 August 1945, keeping the same squadron
number No. 320 Squadron MLD. The squadron was disbanded in 2005, due to
No. 321 Squadron was formed on 1 June 1940 at Pembroke Dock, the
squadron moved to R.A.F. Carew Cheriton on 28 July 1940 and became
operational. The squadron flew coastal and anti-submarine patrols with
Avro Anson's until the squadron was disbanded, due to lack of
personnel, and merged with No. 320 Squadron on 18 January 1941. The
squadron was re-activated at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka on 15 August 1942
with PBY Catalina's from personnel of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air
Service who escaped to Ceylon. After the Japanese surrender, relief
flights and supply drops to thousands of internees in the POW camps
were flown to Java and Sumatra, and in October the squadron moved to
its new base near Batavia, where the squadron passed to the control of
the Dutch Naval Aviation Service on 8 December 1945, keeping the same
squadron number No. 321 Squadron MLD. The 321 squadron was disbanded in
2005, due to budget cuts.
No. 322 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was formed from the Dutch
personnel of No. 167 Squadron R.A.F. on 12 June 1943 at R.A.F.
Woodvale. From 20th June to the 21st of July 1944, equipped with
Spitfire Mk XIVs, the squadron was tasked with intercepting the V-1
Flying Bomb "doodle-bug" missiles launched from the Dutch and French
coasts towards London. Flying Officer Brugwal was the most outstanding
pilot on these 'anti-diver' patrols, claiming five of the missiles in
one day (the 8th of July). The squadron total was 108½ destroyed. On 7
October 1945 the squadron disbanded as part of the RAF, but the
Squadron number was afterwards revived for a unit of the Royal
Netherlands Air Force (KLu) in recognition of the squadron's wartime
11. Norway - Ja, vi
In July 1941
squadron was formed at R.A.F. Catterick using Norwegian personnel. The
following year No 332 squadron was formed with Norwegian pilots and
joined No 331 squadron at R.A.F. North Weald.
Following the end of the war, the wing flew to Norway and on September
21, 1945 control passed to the re-formed Royal Norwegian Air Force
12. Poland - Mazurek
The Polish Air
(Polskie Siły Powietrzne) was formed in France and the United Kingdom
during World War II. The core of the Polish air units fighting
alongside the allies were experienced veterans of Invasion of Poland of
1939 and they contributed to the Allied victory in the Battle of
Britain and most World War II air operations. A total of 145 Polish
personnel served in the R.A.F. during the Battle of Britain, which was
the largest non-British contribution. By the end of the war, around
19,400 Poles were serving in the RAF.
13. USA - The
This anthem was
in recognition of the three Eagle Squadrons formed with volunteers from
Charles Sweeny, a wealthy businessman living in London, began
recruiting American citizens to fight as a US volunteer detachment in
the French Air force. With the fall of France a dozen of these recruits
joined the RAF. Sweeny's efforts were also co-ordinated in Canada by
World War I air ace Billy Bishop and artist Clayton Knight. By the time
the USA entered the war in December 1941, they had processed and
approved 6,700 applications from Americans to join the RCAF or RAF.
Sweeny and his rich society contacts bore the cost (over $100,000) of
processing and bringing the US trainees to the UK for training.
The first Eagle Squadron (No. 71) was formed in September 1940, and
became operational for defensive duties on 5 February 1941. The three
Eagle Squadrons were numbered 71, 121, and 133. Of the thousands that
volunteered, 244 Americans served with the three Eagle Squadrons.
No. 71 Squadron based at North Weald soon established a high
reputation, and numerous air kill claims were made in RAF fighter
sweeps over the continent during the summer and autumn of 1941.
No.121 Squadron were formed at RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey in May 1941,
flying Hurricanes on coastal convoy escort duties. On 15 September 1941
it destroyed its first German aircraft.
No. 133 Squadron was the last Eagle unit to be formed. It became part
of the famed RAF Biggin Hill Wing.
The Dieppe Raid was the only occasion that all three Eagle Squadrons
saw action operating together. Through to the end of September 1942,
the squadrons claimed to have destroyed 73½ German planes while 77
American and 5 British members were killed. 71 Squadron claimed 41
kills, 121 Squadron 18 kills, and 133 squadron 14½ kills. On 29
September 1942, the three squadrons were officially turned over by the
RAF to the fledgling Eighth Air Force of the USAAF and became the 4th
Guest Night programme
starts with "The Roast Beef of Old England " which is traditionally a
signal for going into meals. It's followed by a lively march "It's in
the Air" which we may assume would be played while the company are
taking their seats. After a selection of music suitable for playing
during the dinner, guests take matters into their own hands and close
the proceedings with a number of rousing choruses.
The names of some of the players in the RAF Orchestra read like a
musicians' Who's Who: David Martin was leader, Dennis Brain, first
horn, Gareth Morris, first flute, William Waterhouse, bassoon, with
rank-and-file string players, Harry Blech, Frederick Grinke and Leonard
By the time these recordings were made the daily routine at R.A.F.
Uxbridge for members of the R.A.F. Orchestra and Central Band enabled
them to take on other engagements in nearby London. The following year
many of the players were recruited to form Sidney Beer's National Symphony
This DVD features
that brought music to the people during and after World War 2. Dame
Myra Hess plays Beethoven [View] and
in a National Gallery devoid of pictures, accompanied by the R.A.F.
Orchestra conducted by R.P. O'Donnell. Instruments of the Orchestra[View]
and Steps of the Ballet[View] were two
educational films made by the Crown Film Unit to help schools meet the
requirements of R.A. Butler's 1944 Education Act which put music into
the curriculum for the first time. Benjamin Britten wrote his Young
Persons Guide To The Orchestra for Instruments for the Orchestra
performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir
Malcolm Sargent. Arthur Benjamin was commissioned to write the score
for Steps of the Ballet which unlike its orchestral colleague
has become a forgotten film. Robert Helpmann explains the staging of a
ballet with choreography by Andree Howard and lead roles by Gerd
Larsson and Alexander Grant. Finally Dennis Brain explains the French
horn and performs Beethoven's Horn Sonata with Denis Matthews [View]. Contains
an audio extra: Holst - The Perfect Fool ballet music played by
the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent.
Recorded in the Kingsway Hall, London in March 1946.
Black and white, 76 minutes DVD PAL video.