For hundreds of years, drums were used on the battlefield to signal commands and orders, and drummers have been part of Wellington College CCF for over a century. During the 1950s there was an active Corps of Drums, but in 1960 this was subsumed into the general CCF Band, which itself disbanded in 1980, the instruments being placed in storage.
In 1996 the Corps of Drums was reformed under the direction of Head of Percussion, Ray Smith, to perform alongside the College’s Field Gun team. The Drum Corps has subsequently performed at many prestigious events including the British Military Tournament, Sandhurst Academy Heritage Day, and on several occasions for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Drum Corps is an important part of school life and its Speech Day performance before the Master’s Callover is an integral part of the College year. In 2021 Mick Doran became the Head of Percussion at Wellington and is currently Director of the Corps of Drums.
Each year the Corps of Drums take part in the College’s Remembrance commemorations. The drummers perform a piece entitled “Remembrance” during the service on Remembrance Sunday from the gantry above Front Quad, preceding the poignant chimes of 11 o’clock.
The piece, composed by Ray Smith, was originally written as a tribute to one of Ray’s fellow Army percussionists, Dominic Indelicato, who tragically died in 1987 during the weekend of the Remembrance commemorations. It is Ray’s memorial to a fine young musician for whom military drumming was a passion.