Tour of Holland 1947 - Part 1



In 1947 Boscombe was awarded the singular honour of being the first SA Band to campaign overseas after World War II. Realising the enormity of the task in front of them the band devoted much time in its final rehearsal to prayer and meditation. Band-Sergeant Guy Hewitt asked that every bandsman would re-dedicate himself for service. As a result spontaneous prayer flowed ceaselessly and the climax of each petition was that the campaign be crowned with spiritual success.

As the clock of a nearby church began to strike eight on Thursday evening (June 19th) the Hook of Holland continental train slid casually out of Liverpool Street Station carrying Boscombe Band on the second stage of its journey to Holland.

For the 48 men comprising the touring party it was no casual departure. Theirs was the first British corps band to visit the continent of Europe in this new post-war era and whilst Major George Baker (the Boscombe CO accompanying the band as IHQ representative), BM Herbert Mountain and the bandsmen were in excellent spirits, keenly anticipating the campaign, they were humbly conscious of a heavy responsibility resting upon them.

By the time the last stroke had sounded the train had become swallowed up in the distant cloud of engine smoke and as the small company of well-wishers, headed by Major Saywell, quietly dispersed it was difficult to realise that, if everything went 'according to plan', the band would have arrived on Dutch soil before the friendly clock again struck eight.

Brindley Boon

Band 1948

On arrival at the Hook of Holland the band were introduced to the National Secretary for Bands in Holland, Major Van Dalen. He accompanied the band throughout their travels, and any detailed description of the tour is best left to him:-

Boscombe Band opened its campaign in Holland at Dordrecht. The visitors arrived at noon and were greeted by the local corps band. In the afternoon, following a march through the town, the band was received at the town hall by the burgomaster after the Dutch and the English National Anthems were played.

At night, in the beautiful Wilhelmina church, over 1,200 people attended the first festival. Lt. Commissioner Charles H. Durman, the Territorial Commander, who presided, was translated by Major Palstra. Major Van Dalen, till recently the head of the Netherlands Music Department, and Major Deurloo (D.C. South Netherlands Division) also assisted. Echoes of the Hills and Excerpts of Mozart were particularly enjoyed, and a cornet solo by Deputy Bandmaster Harold Walker was much appreciated.

At Rotterdam, when the band's arrival at 9.30am was followed by a march to the town hall, whole streets were kept free and traffic stopped so that the visitors could march unhindered.

Entering the great reception hall, where Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina is received on visiting the town, the band played the British National Anthem. The bandsmen were shown the state room where Mr. Winston Churchill received the Freedom of the City.

Later the band played to the patients of one of the large hospitals of the city. Afternoon tea was served by Rotterdam I Band, whose visit to England last year is still a happy memory. A festival given in a large church, filled to overflowing, was greatly enjoyed and brought much blessing.

Amsterdam's Congress Hall was more than full for the Sunday morning holiness meeting. The congregation gave keen attention as the band played My Jesus and Rockingham. The spirit of devotion was felt in the playing, in the testimonies of the men and the earnest address of Major Baker.

Major Van Dalen writing in The Musician, 1947