One band member, though never a playing member but one of many who was just as essential, was Reginald Decimus Penny. Brother-in-law of Albert Stacey, Reg was a collector with one hell of a reputation, for those who knew him reckoned he could get a pound note out of a brick wall! Today we have Jesse Jones and his unstinting work in the money raising stakes has to be now well in advance of Reg. In the autumn of 1996 Jesse single handedly raised over £1000 and it is difficult to imagine how or who who will be able to improve on that!
Reg had achieved the grand age of 93 when I had the privilege of sitting with him at his home in Newbury. Reg is to be seen on the 1922 photo aged 19, very much an odd job man for the band, keeping the lights that they used when parading round the village in good working order. As stated previously Reg was a formidable collector and being one of as many as five regular men who turned out to help the band. They would have a friendly competition between themselves to see who could collect the most, but this ended in an argument between Reg and the then “Head” collector (probably William Loveday, Reg wouldn’t say) when Reg was able to beat him in the amount collected and from that day on Reg was at the top of any pecking order. Collectors like Reg would also be involved in collecting money for any of the other village organisations that required their services. Reg was a wonder to talk to as it was rather like going into a time machine and it was a rare privilege for me. Sadly, I was only able to visit with him the once and shortly after my visit Reg passed away. The many things I learnt from him was invaluable to this story and I will always be grateful to him for the stories he shared with me.
I would like to describe here, the men that made the band what it once was. Some, perhaps, didn’t become major figures in the band’s history, yet without them it wouldn’t have had one. Unfortunately we don`t know the names of every member, for though faces can be clearly seen on the surviving photos there is sadly no one left alive to put names to them. Still, I have attempted to record for posterity as many as was possible. Also to know a little of the private side of the men of our past is I feel as important as any other of the stories that had to be pieced together. This list also contains the names of any who may have supported the band in other ways. Many of our village men were not known by their christian names but by their nicknames and so I include them as well if they had one:
An adopted boy.
He moved away to Paddington and like his brothers played with their band.
Frederick G Alder
Documented elsewhere but in his retirement he lived at No 8, Lottage Road and worked for Mr Moulding as a painter and decorator, and J Cook as a farrier and he also ran the wet fish shop in West St, a man of much humour.
Frederick Alder jnr “Luke the eleventh”
Like his elder brother Joe, Fred was born in London and came to live in Aldbourne when a young lad. A very good player for his time “octaving” (Playing eight notes beneath the written notation) light years before the majority of the country’s bass players. Fred retired to Australia to be with his son and ended his days there.
James & Joseph Alder
Can be found documented elsewhere.
Joseph G Alder
Born in London, Joe worked on the railways as a painter. Principle cornet and later bandmaster.
William Alder “Petro” b. 1862
William played the trombone in his latter years and can be seen on the 1909 photo. As an old man he wore steel rimmed glasses and got his nickname because of the way he pronounced the word petrol. He lived in Baydon Street and in the 1891 census he was listed as a chimney sweep.
In 1886 band?
James Barrett “Dumper”
A small stocky man.
He was a gamekeeper for the Crowood estate lived Castle St and lodged in with George elder bros ? up Baydon Hill.
Married Mary Witts, 3 children.
Charles Stead Barrett “Bonnie” 1882-1961
He had been a chauffeur at Upham and also drove wagons for Charley Stacey.
In 1930 he had to go to Ramsbury to deliver a load of bricks for Charles Stacey. He had popped into a shop and after lighting a cigarette had then set off on his journey. On his arrival he found a young boy perched on the footboard of his wagon who admitted hitching a ride. (how frightening) For years he walked down from Upham into the village to attend band engagements, often setting out a couple of hours before he was due at the band room so he wouldn’t be late.
Father of Sid, Cyril, Vic and Eric. Lovingly remembered for missing one of the chimes in a solo ” Bells across the meadow”. I don`t think he ever lived that one mistake down.
Eric Barrett 1914-1994
Though he was secretary for 35 years, his wife Nancy did most of the writing. Eric completed 50? years with the band in 1972. He was a first class carpenter and made many of the bands current kit boxes. He was responsible for the band getting back together as soon as they did after the second war. Eric for many years ferried any players who were unable to get to band.
A most perfect example of a bandsman, the like of him is rare indeed.
Vic Barrett 1915-1970
Vic was one of the members that went with Joe Alder when he went to conduct the GWR Band in Swindon. A bass player, his favorite brass band composition, the name of which can to be seen carved on his headstone was Eric Balls beautiful Resurgum – I shall rise again.
Vic had quite a sense of humour. On attending a contest at Oxford he befriended a bass player of the Black Dyke Mills Band and was allowed by him to play an item with them at their concert in the town hall. (the conductor was unaware!) The only Aldbourne player who ever played with at such great heights, such was Vic.
Played in the quartet of young boys that Bridgeman taught during the second war. Never an adult bandsman.
Frank Barrett b 1871
Worked on the railways and played E bass with the GWR Paddington Band.
Father was William and Jane?
Brother of Frank?
James Barrett 1855-1888
Brother of Fred.
Thomas Dixon Barnes 1886-1976
Tommy was a village hauler and coal merchant and coach proprietor buying his original business from Jimmy Martin for whom he was the head groom.
He was also bandmaster and a chapel choir leader for a time. His sons Robert and James followed him into the band. It was Tommy that organised the bands football matches that started in 1925. (continuing until 1936, its 11th) also band sec.
Robert Harris Barnes 1917-1990
A soft spoken man with a very good singing voice. He often sang duets with his wife Stella who incidentally made, along with Nancy Barrett, the bands first stand banners. He worked in the family business all his life. A Methodist lay preacher and WI choir leader. The band played under Bob for many years with great success.
James Barnes 1922-1990
Jim also worked in his fathers coach and coal business that in later years he run along with his brother Bob.
A footballer of great potential, he was once “tried out” for Swindon town. To do this a special dispensation was granted as he was from Aldbourne and not Swindon. He was not successful and continued his football with his own team.
Walter Young Barnes “Pelly” 19/2/1886 – 3/7/1968
A self appointed town crier (photo in MT 1934) with a deep bass singing voice which is ironic as he played the soprano cornet. Also a flugal player and a member for many years. As a postman he would cycle to Lambourn to collect post from the railway and on his return would deliver it as the villages second post. Pelly emigrated to Canada prior to the 1st war but returned immediately to do his duty joining first the Life Guards and then the Royal Engineers. He served for three years on the Western Front during which time he was gassed and also suffered a nervous breakdown he was medically discharged. Lived in Little Bethel, Baydon Hill.
William Braxton “Bollo” d 1995
A cornet player of note (sic). He joined the Royal Horse Guards “Blues” Band in 1933 where he played the trombone as well. He composed a march for the band’s inaccurate jubilee celebrations of 1950 that he called “Aldbourne Band Jubilee”. He followed Joe Alder as the bands principle cornet.
Bill once fell off his horse at a trooping of the colour parade and the then Prince of Wales stated that the Groom in charge was to get the telling off and not Bill himself. He reached the rank of Band Sergeant.
His aunt, Mrs Teagle, created hell with Joe Alder after he helped him get into the army but Joe insisted he did it for the boys own good.
Came to village in the twenties.
Died c late 1987 in Australia.
Thomas Brind d 1869
In 1891 he is listed as a mail delivery assistant. On pc in 1896.
John Cook b 1851 or 1856
A machinist at the chair factory and living in Castle Street in 1891, and later lived in the green. A probable member of Bunces band, and he may also have played in the Edward Stacey orchestra. In 1902 however he played two solos at a concert when he was apparently still “capable of handling a cornet”
Charles Coxhead or Cox
His widowed mother married Harry Westal. Nothing else is known.
One of the small boys who played during the second war.
A first class euphonium player of his day, William worked at Hungerford on the railways. He lived in Pudley Cottage, Castle Street and finally moved away to Basingstoke. Arthur Eric Palmer once met up with him at a Reading contest when William was playing with another band in his later years. As they stood talking to each other a wasp stung William on the mouth and he was unable to play that day. William won many soloist medals during his time as the bands euphonium soloist. I wonder they all went?
AG William Deacon “Bill” 1909-1996
Started his working life as an apprenticed baker eventually becoming a bricklayer, eventually he had his own building firm. He was chairman of the band for some twenty years and eventually its president.
William Thomas Dew (Billy)
A Private in the 6th Wiltshire regiment, he was killed nr Albert in France on the 3rd November 1916 aged 23.
Edgar Dixon 1880-1964
Another most loyal long standing member. A bass player and in his latter years percussionist. He homes included Petty Well, a bungalow he built in Lottage Road and another of identical design up Baydon Hill. Born at Marriage Hill and like his father James from Larkhill was a carpenter and his mother Jane came from Ramsbury. He married twice, Roda Sheppard and then Sarah Batchelor and is buried with both his wives. Father of Jack, and uncle of Bert his great nephews Tim and Johnathan from Ramsbury played in the band in the 1980/90’s.
Jack Dixon 1910-c 1969
Son of Edgar, Jack attended Marlborough Grammar School and for a short time was secretary of the band. He played the baritone and it was Jack and Cecil Liddiard who for some reason stole a euphonium mouthpiece from a trade stand at a Crystal Palace Contest in the 30’s, its value was 7/6d. They gave it to Arthur Palmer who used it for the whole time he played euphonium and he still had it in his possession in 1995. (perhaps we shouldn’t know this).
Jack died of M.S.
Tom often collected for us and his son Jesse at the grand age of 91 in 1995 helped me in my research.
Albert Gregory 1895-1962
The first known “foreigner” in the band. He came to work at Smith’s farm in West Street as a farm labourer. Seen on the 1922 for the first time stayed in the band a for good few years.
George was a very competent G trombone player and another man to show his “good” side when posing for the camera. He could sometimes be a show off and might sometimes outstay his welcome. He was an illegitimate child and was brought up by a Mrs Simms who lived at Mow Cop. Every morning she would make him recite the ten commandments before he went off to school pressing her knuckles hard into the back of his neck until he got them right. For all his faults he was a very loyal bandsman and those like him are necessary for the continuation of a band!
Our G trombone player in the 30`s. played the mouth organ.
Thomas Haines b 1861
A bricklayers labourer in the 1891 census. A member of the Brown Bunce Band and probably played the Trombone as Bill Deacon remembered as a lad playing it along with the young boys of the family when they lived opposite him in Baydon Street. The trombone hung on the staircase wall, the slide didn’t work very well if at all. Bill also remembered him repairing the roads using horse dung and stones.
Father of Tom, Fred and Ted Haines.
Playing rep in the 20`s,
Family lived in Coles, Lottage.
Full time soldier drum major in Wilts 1st Regiment.
George Gulliver Jerram 1884-1947
The man with the most colourful of names played the bass drum. He also starred in the village play and also was a well known singer, often entertaining at village concerts. Known to be a little grumpy. Clerk to the parish council and a church steward. Did lead light glazing.
Alfred Vincent Jerram 1889-1959
A G trombone player he was Albert Staceys best man at his wedding and it him with his back to us on the wedding photo. A wheelwright and carpenter by trade. He was also secretary and bandmaster. Alfred completed a total of 38 years with the fire service. he played a violin solo at a harvest social in 1932.
Francis Daniel Jerram b after 1891-1961
A bricklayer by trade
Wilfred Jerram 1895-1981
A member of the prize winning quartet. He became conductor of the band after the war. It was he who raised the alarm for the fire that destroyed the Powells racing stables at High Town in 1921? The burning straw flew as far as four barrows! Dimmock once told him not to be so humble when playing a baritone solo
A carpenter and joiner by trade.
Married Edith Hale in 1922
Father ? of Alan the last blacksmith in the village. Noah, a blacksmith bought the forge in 1910.
Brother of Alan the blacksmith did play in band
A trombone player, he became an auctioneer in Swindon, and a member of the band for fifty years. Arising from some village reports is one interesting point. Initially there appears another conductor in the middle of the period that is accredited to Albert Stacey. Reports dated 1903 and 1907 both mention a Mr Tommy Liddiard as conductor, it would appear that Tommy took the baton when Albert fell out with the band on a couple of occasions.
Tommy once brought his Fife and Drum band from the Swindon Central Mission hall to play at a Wesleyan fete in August of 1925.
Tommy was described by Mr Reg Penny as a “smart man”, and he once lived in the Old Market House on the green and in later years moved to Swindon and became an auctioneer.
William Liddiard “Busky” 1904-1976
Founder of the building firm and played with the band during the 1930’s.
Theodore T Little 1905-1962
Theo was a workhouse boy from Hungerford who came to live here with Edie and William Tucker along with his brother Bob. He worked for Jack Barrett as a chair polisher but also acted as a Catalogue agent like anyone might do but considerably bigger mode. In later times his adopted father collected for the band. He is buried with Violet his wife whom he married in 1932 and her parents Edie and William Tucker. After returning from a contest the worse for drink he went back to Busky Liddiards for a cup of coffee in an effort to sober up a little. His mother stormed into the room and clouted him severely around the head as he was not to act like like this. Sued May Palmer for using obscene and profane language at his wife. May was fined £5.
Children were Ruby and Mervyn.
He was church organist and did some arrangements of hymns for the band. He also took several of the official photos. He was related to Lawrence`s builders of Oxford Street, Ramsbury.
He also took part in many of the bands concerts accompanying soloists on the piano.
Another illigitimate child, lived at Preston with his mother in the Tollhouse. In the 1891 census his mother “worked in the fields”, (what hard lives our people had). He lived alone in later years.
John Orchard snr “Jack” 1870-1945
A supporter only and on the 1910 photo. He is documented singing at band concerts. A chairmaker by trade till his business went bankrupt, he was also the village postman, living at the post office on the green. His wife was Sarah Rebecca who died in 1964 aged 94.
John Orchard “Jack” 1894-1917
Son of John (Jack) the chair maker. He joined up in 1914 and became a sergeant in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps and was awarded the D.C.M.
He was killed Nr Hooge in Belgium on the 27th of August 1917 aged 23.
Alfred Palmer 1844-1925
A baker at The Old Bakehouse in West Street? A member of Bunces band.
In 1888 he led our band in the Aldbourne Benefit club parade.
Joe Palmer b 1887
Was a hurdle maker and woodman. A pleasant man and a regular chapel goer. He was the father of Bert?
Berties oldest brother and was a labourer for Charles Stacey.
He lived along side the fish and chip shop.
A painter for Mr Mantle. In later years he lived in ? Lottage, and retired to Eastbourne. . He was chairman for ? and even bandmaster for a short time after the war following Arthur Palmer. He was awarded a certificate for fifty years service in 1972.
Albert`s mother used to light the fire in the winter months when they rehearsed in West Street.
Married Hilda ?
Thomas Palmer b 1875
As his father before him he was a woodman and would sell bundles of faggots for 3d a bundle.
He was the father of Jim, Herbie, Arthur and Eva. He joined the band aged 10 in 1884?
Mentioned in the churchwarden accounts.
Herbert John Palmer 1905- 13/12/1972
A woodman, worked at Cowcroft at the top of Ogbourne hill.
Married Elsie Sylvia Grace b. 1910 d. 1967.
Jim Palmer 6/5/1912-15/8/1985
Married Daisy Edwards from Inkpen
Children Rodney, Colin and Keith
Colin played in band till approx 18yrs old
Lived in later years at Axford retired to Chiseldon 20 Butts Rd. Worked with father as a woodman as a youth, then became a building labourer. Joined army Glos Regt military police. Served in India during war. After demob worked in GWR Swindon til retirement.
Arthur Thomas Palmer
Joining the band at the age of eleven Arthur was a very keen bell ringer for an enormous amount of years being taught by Alfred Palmer, also bandmaster for a short period, 1932 – 37 .He played at the annual club dinner at Great Bedwyn from 1912 to 1914 and then at a send off of three of our bandsmen in 1915. Thrown out of fire brigade in 192?
Eva Palmer c1908-Nov 1999
A staunch supporter of the band all her life. Even now, though well into her eighties takes an interest, although her health doesn’t allow her to make any appearances. She has fond memories of her father Tom and her brothers Arthur, Herbie and Jim playing with the band. Although in times past it was unthinkable for a woman to play she was truly a bandsman at heart and if born today would be accepted gladly into the movement. When the band went to London to play at the Crystal Palace, Eva would always come along and support them as she was in service in London.
William Palmer “Fanny”
Was a chair turner and a fine G trombone player for his day.
Cyril John Palmer 1917-1993
Eventually a G trombone player and went with Alder to the GWR Band in Swindon. He was brother of Arthur Eric Palmer.
Arthur Eric Palmer 1916-1995
The only player to become both the principle cornet and principle euphonium player of the band.
Reg Decimus Penny 1902-1995
Born the tenth child (Decimus, get it?) of thirteen and the brother of Mable Penny. Collected for the band some ten years. He was out one day, just listening to the band, when they were playing at the Swindon town gardens, and he was seen by a man from Ramsbury who made comments that he was safe from Reg as he wasn’t collecting that day. Few were missed when Reg had a box in his hand! He ceased being a member when due to the lack of work left the village in 1928.
Jim Penny d 1974
He died in 1974 and his family presented the band a conductors stand in his memory. It was stolen in 1995 at the Yeovil contest.
Thomas William Stacey b 1870
Cornet player, a bricklayer and brother of Harry and Charles the village builder. Also a cousin of Albert.
Henry Stacey b 1877
A cornet player was a shepherd for the Brown family.
Edward Stacey “Mobey” b 1856
In the 1871 census an agricultural labourer. A general dealer and toy shop owner. wife was Ann b. 1845. His father was Job Stacey b.1827 a woodman from Lambourn.
Edward Sheppard b 1888
In 1891 living in oxford Street.
Henry Brind Sheppard 1868-1946
Was the very first carrier in the village. He also did hair cuts and shaving from his premises on the green. He started the Sheppard farm in ? as a small holder until his son Fred expanded the farm.
His wife was Rose Ann Dew. Mightily proud of his village once stated in 1926 “a football team any village might be proud of and a band that was second to none” also said “the band contribute a good deal towards relieving the monotony of the life in the vilage”.
A prominent member of the parish council and a writer of many letters to the Marlborough Times. One, written in 1909 complaints of the treatment of our school children on winter mornings when he felt they should, after walking many miles into school have been given a hot drink. I wonder if he got his way?
Sec of Rational Benefit society.
Frederick Henry Sheppard 1901-1971
A carpenter by trade also helped his father on his small holding. Later Fred expanded the farm and became a full time farmer. Worked on building aircraft during first war,
Henry (Harry) his son and a future principle cornet followed in his footsteps, and James, his son a tuba player in 1995.
James Stroud b 1874
Brother in law of Tom Palmer came down from Paddington Band after working on the railways and played bass.
Married Sarah Hatheril in 1901.
Horace Vockins “Cake-eye”
Was a workhouse boy from Hungerford? and taken in by a Mrs Deacon. He got his name when asked the colour of his trousers answered Cake-eye instead of Kakhi. His father also collected for the band.
A footballer of some renown his grandson, David played for a short time in the seventies. Her married Florence Rosier in 1920.
Harry Westal b 1876
Harry appears on nearly every early photo there is(all?). He worked for Jack Orchard at his chair factory in Turnpike and this was the trade he was apprenticed to. He lived in Lottage Road and at Mt Pleasant. He married for a second time in 1909 to Mary Ann Cox. His first wife was ?????????
Son Charles played in a military band and after the war beat the bass drum sometimes for us?
[Chris Rust: Having traced him to be a 7th cousin once removed, I can say: He was born 1875, had three wives: Mary Ann Scarlett, Mary Ann Cox and Violet Eva Evans]
The son of Harry on 1900 photo as a baby and a cornet player in 1922?
FG & ? Wicks
Father and son from Lambourn and both saddlers. They played in the band in the twenties and early thirties when they were needed.
They were never regular members of the band and fell out over non payment of expenses.
A Mr Wicks died in 1900 at Lambourn and is said to come from Bishopstone.