King's Own Royal Regiment Museum

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The National Service Years 1945-59

Bandsman Thomas Hunt, 1st King's Own, Trieste & Italy, 1946-47

"I got my papers to join the Army in December 1945, so in January 1946 I reported to Carlisle to do six weeks basic training, I was then posted to the King's Own Lancaster's at Hadrian's Camp, Carlisle for another ten weeks of intensive training.  The first week at Hadrian's Camp I applied to join a military band, I found out they were forming a new battalion band in Lancaster.  I was called for an audition, but thought I didn't stand much chance because I had only just started playing the Alto Saxophone a few months before call up. After finishing the ten weeks at Hadrian's Camp we were given five days leave, I still hadn't heard anything about the band.  However when I arrived back at camp I was called to the office and told to hand in my rifle, kit etc, because I was being posted to the Band in Lancaster at Bowerham Barracks, this must have been around about May 1946.  Apart from a few staff at the barracks there was only the band there.  In the autumn of that year, may be October?, we were told the band was going to Italy to join the 1st Battalion and then on tour to entertain the troops and local people

We sailed from Liverpool on an American Liberty boat to Naples.  At that time, 1946, Naples was a mess it was just after the war and Naples was badly damaged.  We spent the night in a transit camp and next day we travelled by train up through Trieste to Pola which is on the other side of the Adriatic.  We spent six weeks with the battalion there before going on tour.

(Apart from the military band we had a big dance band (five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, drums.)  At that time Glen Miller was all the rage but you couldn't get the music because of copyright, however Paul Courtenay and another musical friend of his spent hours writing music from records.)

The first place was Padua where the army Headquarters was based.  We always seemed to arrive at places either at the dead of night or very early in the morning.  I remember arriving at Padua railway station at about 04.00 in the morning.  That same night there was a dance in camp next to the Cafe/Restaurant, but the band didn't show up, so we offered to give a big band concert in the cafe.  It was a great success, so much so they invited us back after we had finished the tour.  We then went to Rome for two weeks (including five days leave) we actually did a military band concert from Rome Radio Station.  We then went to Caserta which is just north of Naples, then across to Riccione near Rimini on the Adriatic Coast, then back to Padura for another week before returning to Trieste where the battalion had moved to.

We then came home on leave before going back to the battalion in Trieste for another six months."

Bandsman Thomas Hunt, 2012.

The photographs appear in the order in which they appear in the original album.  Sadly the majority of names of those who feature in the album are unknown.


The band of the 1st Battalion, King's Own, going on board a ship on which they gave a concert.  Believed to be HMS Mermaid, Pola, 1946.
Accession Number: KO2905/001


Ship believed to be HMS Mermaid, Pola, 1946.
Accession Number: KO2905/002


Ship believed to be HMS Mermaid, Pola, 1946.
HMS Mermaid was a Modified Black Swan class sloop of the Royal Navy.
Mermaid, built by William Denny and Brothers, Dumbarton, Scotland, was laid down on 8 September 1942, launched on 11 November 1943, and completed 12 May 1944.
During her World War II service Mermaid contributed to the destruction of two U-boats, U-354 in the Barents Sea on 24 August 1944, and U-394 in the Norwegian Sea on 2 September 1944.
In 1945 Mermaid was assigned to the British Pacific Fleet. However arriving at Aden en route she learned of the Japanese surrender, and of her recall for service with the Mediterranean Fleet as part of the 33rd Escort Flotilla. The ship remained in the Mediterranean up to 1954 when she returned to Britain to be placed in reserve status at Portsmouth.
After three years Mermaid was sold. The ship was transferred to West German Bundesmarine as Scharnhorst on 5 May 1959. Modernised in 1961-62 and used as gunnery training vessel, the Scharnhorst was removed from the active list in 1980 and broken up in 1990.
Accession Number: KO2905/003


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/004


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/005


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/006


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/007


The Coliseum, Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/008


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/009


Bandsman Paul Courtenay, a great friend, a brilliant musician he was lead clarinet in the military band and lead saxophone in the dance band.  When we got back to Trieste he left to join the staff band of the Welsh Guards, in  London.  He lived in Heston, London, until his death.  Outside the Grosvenor House Hotel, Rome, Italy, 1946.
Accession Number: KO2905/010


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/011


Stan on his bed, barracks, at Trieste, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/012


The band on parade, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, Trieste, 2nd May 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/013


The band on parade, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, Trieste, 2nd May 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/014


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/015


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/016


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/017


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/018


Naples, just after arrival in 1946.
Accession Number: KO2905/019


Rome, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/020


Transit camp at Naples, Italy, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/021


Naples, just after arrival, 1946.
Accession Number: KO2905/022


Caserta, 1947. this is the palace that Mussolini used when he was in power.  The American Forces had a radio station in the basement.
Accession Number: KO2905/023


Caserta, 1947. this is the palace that Mussolini used when he was in power.  The American Forces had a radio station in the basement.
Accession Number: KO2905/024


Caserta, 1947. this is the palace that Mussolini used when he was in power.  The American Forces had a radio station in the basement.
Accession Number: KO2905/025


Army camp, Italy, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/026


Stan at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/027


'Biff' Smith at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/028


The beach at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/029


The beach at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/030


The beach at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/031


The beach at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/032


Transit Camp, Italy, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/033


Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/034


The beach at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/035


The beach at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/036


The beach at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/037


St. Mark's Piazza (Square), in Venice, Italy.
Accession Number: KO2905/038


At the top of the bell tower, St. Mark's, Venice, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/039


At the top of the bell tower, St. Mark's, Venice, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/040


St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/041


St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/042


St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/043


Gondola Trip on the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/044


Gondola Trip on the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/045


The battalion on parade, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, Trieste, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/046


Gondola Trip on the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/047


The beach at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/048


In the barracks, Trieste, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/049


Stan, at the barracks, Trieste, Italy 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/050


Bandsmen on the beach at a place called Barcola, just west of Trieste, Italy, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/051


Bandsmen on the beach at a place called Barcola, just west of Trieste, Italy, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/052


Bandsman Thomas Hunt, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, Trieste, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/053


Bandsmen on the beach at a place called Barcola, just west of Trieste, Italy, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/054


The band's barrack room, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, Trieste, Italy, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/055


Bandsman Keith Gregory in barracks, Trieste, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/056


Bandsmen on the beach at a place called Barcola, just west of Trieste, Italy, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/057


An American Band in their camp just west of Trieste, the day the band of the 1st Battalion, King's Own, did a parade with them.
Accession Number: KO2905/058


We had four trucks taking us from place to place when on tour, all with German Prisoner of War drivers, the chap in the centre with legs apart, was called Otto, he was a great guy.  When we got back to Trieste we gave all the drivers a party it was a very good evening.
Accession Number: KO2905/059


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  The transit camp is believed to be at Vilach in Austria.
Accession Number: KO2905/060


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  The transit camp is believed to be at Vilach in Austria.
Accession Number: KO2905/061


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train showing bridges destroyed by the Germans as they retreated north.
Accession Number: KO2905/062


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train showing bridges destroyed by the Germans as they retreated north.
Accession Number: KO2905/063


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/064


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/065


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph of the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/066


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph of the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/067


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/068


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/069


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/070


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/071


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/072


The British Cemetery at Anzio, south of Rome.
Accession Number: KO2905/073


On our journey back to Lancaster, England, we travelled by train from Trieste, through Austria, Germany, to the Hook of Holland, then sailed to Harwich.  Photograph from the train.
Accession Number: KO2905/074


Part of the 'Big Band' playing at the Military Police Barracks, Trieste, Italy, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/075


Casa Del Combattente, Trieste. (‘Home of the Fighter’ – Barracks?)
Accession Number: KO2905/076


Faro Della Vittoria, Trieste. (Beacon of Victory)
Accession Number: KO2905/077


Palazzo Municipale, Trieste. (City Hall)
Accession Number: KO2905/078


Piazza Unita, Trieste (Unity Square)
Accession Number: KO2905/079


Marching and concert by the band of the 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, in a square in Trieste, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/080


Enlargement of the pouch badge.
Accession Number: KO2905/080a


Pescheria, Stazione Marittima, Trieste. (Fish Market and Marine Station)
Accession Number: KO2905/081


Barcola Riviera, Trieste
Accession Number: KO2905/082


Stazione Marittima, Trieste (Marine Station)
Accession Number: KO2905/083


Panorama, Trieste
Accession Number: KO2905/084


Marching and concert by the band of the 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, in a square in Trieste, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/085


Enlargement of the pouch badge.
Accession Number: KO2905/085a


Piazza Della Borsa, Trieste
Accession Number: KO2905/086


Castello di Miramare, Trieste (Castle Miramare)
Accession Number: KO2905/087


Piazza Umberto I, Trieste (Umberto I Square)
Accession Number: KO2905/088


Cattedrale di S. Giusto, Trieste (Cathedral)
Accession Number: KO2905/089


Marching and concert by the band of the 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, in a square in Trieste, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/090


Piazza Dell’Impero, Trieste (Empire Square)
Accession Number: KO2905/091


Via Giosue Carducci, Trieste
Accession Number: KO2905/092


S. Giusto, Monumento ai Caduti, Trieste (Monument to the fallen)
Accession Number: KO2905/093


Riva Tre Novembre, Molo Audace, Trieste
Accession Number: KO2905/094


Marching and concert by the band of the 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, in a square in Trieste, 1947.
Accession Number: KO2905/095


Castello S. Giusto, Trieste
Accession Number: KO2905/096


Piazzale S. Giusto, Monumento Ai Caduti, Castello, Trieste. (Castle and Monument to the Fallen)
Accession Number: KO2905/097


Giardino Pubblico Di Via Franca, Trieste (Public Gardens of Via Franca)
Accession Number: KO2905/098


Panorama, Trieste
Accession Number: KO2905/099


The end of ten weeks training at Hadrian's Camp, Carlisle, taken around April or May 1946.  Private Thomas Hunt is first left on the front row.
Accession Number: KO2905/100


The beach at Riccione, Italy, 1946/47.
Accession Number: KO2905/101


Rome, 1947, on the roof of St. Peter, Bandsman Thomas Hunt, Stan and friend who played the piano in the dance band, a great player, but couldn't read music, just give him the key and he was ok.
Accession Number: KO2905/102

 

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

© 2012 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum