Published on March 5th, 2018 by gavin

Historical Research Uncovers a Royal Gem for Lewis-Merthyr

The Lewis-Merthyr Band from Rhondda, South Wales are currently undertaking in-depth research into the band’s history, and this week uncovered a royal gem in the form of some previously unknown Pathé newsreel footage band’s antecedent, the Cymmer Military Band, parading before HRH Edward, Prince Of Wales (later King Edward VIII) on a royal visit to Rhondda in December 1932.

The band can be clearly seen – and heard – c.0:55 seconds into the video, as they parade past HRH performing “Land of Hope & Glory” on the march. An article in Wright & Round’s Brass Band News, held in the archives at the University of Salford, confirms that it is indeed the Cymmer Band, thanks to a news report included in the January 1933 edition.

Speaking of the find, Lewis-Merthyr Musical Director, Craig Roberts said: “We’ve been doing a lot of research into the origins of Lewis-Merthyr recently, and while the band was previously thought to have been founded in 1880, we’re currently back to 1855 and still going. We knew the band had performed for King George V in 1912, but to find the video and audio of the band playing for Edward VIII today was just fantastic”.

The link to the original footage is now available online via the band website

If anyone has any additional information or artefacts relating to the band in any period in its history, they are asked to please contact the band via the site.

Dai Alphabet

In a letter to the band of March 1976, Muriel Amy Martyn (daughter of Mr G. F. Martyn, the former longstanding conductor of the Cymmer Band, had previously related a tale of the Prince’s visit, whereupon His Royal Highness, on seeing the band on parade, remarks to his host, Colonel David Watts Morgan, “That’s a damn fine band, who is it?”. The quote is now included in the band’s biography

Colonel Watts Morgan was a leading Welsh trade unionist, Labour politician, and a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1918 to 1933. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for bravery at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, when – after being added to his already burgeoning CBE DSO MP JP – earned him the nickname of “Dai Alphabet” with the miners.

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