7th Infantry Brigade Band: Bandsmen who owned their own instruments

10 August 2015 by Theresa Cronk

The Australian War Memorial is currently involved in a project to find stories related to music during the First World War and the individuals who were involved in contributing to musical performances within the AIF at this time.

The following is a list of selected members of the 7th Infantry Brigade Band who were known to be musicians and also took their own instruments with them when they enlisted. The instruments are recorded as returning to Australia after the war and the Memorial would be interested to know any information as to what happened to them.

If you know any information about the following people or their instruments, please contact Theresa Cronk at pubanddig@awm.gov.au.

  1. 6580 Private George McNeil. Side drum with serial number 3139. 26th Battalion. Born in Belfast, Ireland in 1894 and worked as a barman at the Royal Exchange Hotel in the Brisbane suburb of Toowong prior to enlisting in the AIF on 2 October 1916. He sailed from Sydney with the 19th reinforcements of the 26th Battalion from Sydney aboard HMAT Wiltshire on 7 February 1917. He returned to Australia on 15 May 1919. He was discharged from the AIF on 15 May 1920 and according to his service record died as a result of his war service on 5 July 1953.
  2. 5710 John Michael Grey Pirie. Cornet Bb with serial number unknown. 26th Battalion. Born at Mackay, Queensland in 1895 and gave his occupation as carpenter and joiner when he enlisted in the AIF on 15 April 1916. He had previously served with the 2nd Kennedy Regiment for 3 years and 8 months. He sailed with the 15th reinforcements of the 26th Battalion from Brisbane aboard Clan MacGillivray on 7 September 1916. He returned to Australia on 16 May 1919. He was discharged from the AIF on 21 August 1919. 
  3. 62360 Private Cyril Emanuel Smith. Baritone with serial number 3577b. 26th Battalion. Born at Kadina, South Australia on 5 February 1900 and gave his occupation upon enlisting in the AIF as a sheet metalworker.  At the time of enlistment, he was only 18 years old and 4 months. His uncle, Walter Carter, signed the consent form allowing him to enlist as his mother had died. He departed Adelaide aboard A37 Barambah on 29 August 1918 with the 5th General Reinforcements and was assigned to the 27th Battalion on 14 November 1918. He was detached to the 7th Brigade Band on 15 February 1919 and returned to Australia on 5 June 1919.
  4. 4186 Sergeant George Peter McCormack. Cornet Bb with serial number 534231. 26th Battalion. Born at Coburg, Victoria during 1892 and gave his occupation at the time of enlistment as a bootmaker. He enlisted at Blackboy Hill, Western Australiaon 9 February 1916. He departed Fremantle with the 10th reinforcements of the 28th Battalion aboard HMAT Ulysses A38 on 1 April 1916. He was attached to the 7th Infantry Brigade Band on 7 July 1917 and returned to the 28th Battalion about a month later. He returned to Australia from England on 18 July 1919.
  5. 52085 Percival Edward Minchin. Trombone with serial number 11036. 28th Battalion. Born at Guildford, Western Australia during 1893, he gave his occupation at the time of enlistment as a schoolteacher. He enlisted in Perth on 21 August 1917 and departed Albany on 8 May 1918 aboard HMAT Port Darwin with the 1st General Reinforcements. He was assigned to the 28th Battalion on 7 July 1918. He returned to Australia from England on 8 July 1919.
  6. 52175 Arthur Vivian Tissott. Cornet Bb with serial number 35819. 28th Battalion. Born at Warnambool, Victoria on 20 October 1896, he gave his occupation at the time of enlistment as a fireman. He had previously served for 2 years with the Senior Cadets before enlisting in the AIF on 17 January 1918. He departed Albany aboard HMAT Port Darwin with the 1st General Reinforcements on 8 May 1918. He was later allotted to the 28th Battalion at Fovant Camp on 17 July 1918. He returned to Australia from England on 1 June 1919.