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History

The origins of a military band within the Royal Army Medical Corps stem from its foundation in 1898, although photographic evidence exists that the antecedent Medical Staff Corps had a band. In 1938, the unofficial RAMC Band was taken over by the Army Council and became publicly funded after many years of subscription from the officers of the Corps.

Following its tireless support of the war effort, at home and abroad, the Band was upgraded in status to a minor staff band in 1947 and continued to serve the Corps until its disbandment in April 1984 after 46 years' service. However, a persevering decision was made to form the Army Medical Services Band out of the ashes of the RAMC Staff Band to continue the musical traditions.

It was to be based at the Duke of York's Headquarters in Chelsea as part of 257 (Southern) General Hospital, All of the assets, stores and library of the Staff Band were transferred to its fledgling and its last Band Sergeant Major, WO2 Michael Feehily, became the inaugural Bandmaster and the Non-Regular Permanent Staff.

Recruiting new members

Recruiting musicians for the new band began in June 1984, and the necessary volunteers were found through local contacts and some ex-members of the Staff Band. Unlike its predecessors, this was to be a mixed unit and the women recruited became members of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps.

After two years of hard work raising the Band from scratch and developing standards, authority was given for an official establishment from the 1st April 1986. At its first Kneller Hall Inspection in May 1991 the Band was awarded the grading of 'Very Good'.

Overseas venues were a regular feature of the early annual camps, such as the British Military Hospital Iserholn, Germany, supporting the close down ceremony in March 1994.

Lord Mayor's Show

During 1995, the female members, having rebadged from the QARANC to the RAMC, were issued with new No. 1 dress. This was seen in public for the first time at the Lord Mayor's Show where the Band participated as a marching contingent.

AMS bandThe following year saw a Kneller Hall Inspection where a grading in the upper bracket of 'Very Good' was again obtained. In 1997, the Band returned to the School for an open air summer concert, the only TA Band to appear that year.

Sadly the 1998 Strategic Defence Review forced the Army Medical Services to have a rethink on musical support which resulted in the now unofficial band becoming part of 2nd Medical Brigade. With the forthcoming disposal of the Duke of York's HQ, the band relocated to the Former Army Staff College in October 2002. From here, the same level of musical support has been provided as before to many events year after year, examples being the annual Corps Sunday and Remembrance events.

Medics in Concert

Whilst at camp in 2005, the Band recorded its first CD, Medics in Concert, showcasing the versatility of a modern reserve band. A change of bandmaster took place in 2006 with WO1 Feehily MBE handing over the baton to WO2 (BSM) Robert Ghigi as the new conductor. Following the Future Army Structures review of 2004, the Band became officially recognised once more in 2008, the Territorial Army's centennial year. The Band became a sub-unit of 306 Hospital Support Regiment whose HQ is in York.

A CD is available - more details are available on the previous page.

Music on Fire

Close to home at the Royal Military Academy, the Band teamed up with the Royal Yeomanry Band to perform at the 2008 ‘Music on Fire’ Spectacular. This was a huge musical fundraising event for the Army Benevolent Fund and our participation marked the TA Centenary. The year ended with a visit from the RMSM Kneller Hall Advisory Team where the Band's performances were commended and passed the new grading of 'Fit for Purpose'.

In February 2009 WO2 Michael Feehily finally retired after nearly 45 years' service to the Corps and its bands. This was marked with a reunion of the Staff Band 25 years after its disbandment at his farewell function. His successor as the NRPS is WO2 Marcus Gibbons LRSM who started his career with the RAMC Staff Band in 1978 and had recently retired as RMSM WO1 School Band Sergeant Major.

Coming up to date, recent events of note have included a high profile concert raising funds for ABF - The Soldiers Charity at the Anvil Theatre, Basingstoke, various medal presentation parades including 22 Field Hospital in Aldershot, a Freedom Parade in Liverpool for 208 Field Hospital and the Lord Mayor’s Show. Many members received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal at annual camp in 2012 in recognition of their loyalty and commitment.

In September 2012 the AMS Band had its first Director of Music appointed, Maj Ian Peaple, who transferred from the Salamanca Volunteer Band of The Rifles.

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