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The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals was officially formed on 29th August 1938. The ancestry of the band, like that of the Corps itself can be traced back to the Royal Engineers Signals Service. Formed from the 1st Division Telegraph Battalion, Royal Engineers, the band was almost 100 musicians strong and moved to Catterick, North Yorkshire, moving again in the 1970’s, along with the Royal School of Signals to the outskirts of Blandford Forum in Dorset, where it remained until 2014.

The band today is very different. Over time, several reductions in the size of the Armed Forces have seen the size of the band diminish significantly. By the early 1980’s, the band had reduced to approximately 60 musicians. In later years the official strength was 35, including a commissioned Director of Music and a Bandmaster. In 2014 the band has transformed again and is now one of three new brass band capabilities in the Corps of Army Music and has moved to the West Midlands based at RAF Cosford.

Music in the British Army contributes to the moral component of fighting power by supporting the ethos, tradition and identity of our personnel. Military music sustains support for soldiers at home, on operations and is a means of UK Defence Diplomacy influence around the globe. The band is regularly tasked to support Community Engagement and recruiting initiatives. We are the public face of the Armed Forces and can be seen regularly marching through the streets, performing in concert halls, Beating Retreats and performing in State Ceremonial occasions when needed. As part of its wider commitment to the Army, the Band has traveled extensively; past tours include the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and various locations across Europe. More recently the Band has enjoyed tours to Cyprus and Gibraltar and Afghanistan.

The Band of The Royal Corps of Signals

Director of Music - Capt Shane O’Neill

PGDip BA(Hons) BMus(Hons(T)) BMus(Hons(P)) FRCM LRIAM  CAMUS

Capt O’Neill’s main Army trade is music, a trade that has seen him support State Banquets; Queen’s Birthday Parades; Investitures; Changing of the Guard; Lord Mayors Parades; Beating Retreats; State Funerals; Concert tours and Marching Displays across the globe. 

Capt O’Neill’s thirst for wider Army experience has seen him deploy with the Band of the Grenadier Guards to Bosnia in 2005, to Afghanistan with the Band of the Royal Engineers in 2012, as Mentor, Lesson Co-Ordinator and Military Line Manager at the new Afghan National Army Officers Academy in Kabul for 9 months and again with the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals in Nov 2016. 

Recently Capt O’Neill was tasked by the Director Corps of Army Music to lead a trade specific Short Term Training Team, pan CAMUS and Reserve Army Bands to Malawi, Botswana and South Africa. The mission sought delivery of Defence/Diplomatic diplomacy, Outreach activities, Soft Effect initiatives, Subject Matter Expert Scoping activities, Charity partnerships and direct cutting edge reactive trade training to all local National Defence Force units. 

Capt O’Neill is delighted to hold the post of Director of Music with the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals and has enjoyed the challenge of working with one of the Corps of Armies latest initiatives, the Brass Band.