A Blast From The Past
Band Photo's Through The Years
1884 1899 1902
1904 1907 1908
1912 1914 1916
1922 1926 1932
1936 1941 1944
1946 1951 1959
1965 1970 1974
1979 1981 1984
1922 Band Open Air
Sea disaster part of story of local band
Thirty members of the Salvation Army Peterborough Temple Band went to the Salvation Army's Great International Congress held in London, England, beginning June 11, 1914. The congress was held every 10 years, and this was an auspicious opportunity to share experiences and enthusiasms with thousands of people from 58 countries including England, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada. At the time, this was the most extensive trip ever taken by a Peterborough Corps band.
The largest delegation, outside of England, was from the United States, which sent 600 men and women and 100 children. The American delegation included four bands, from New York, Chicago, Worcester, and Flint. The 55 band members from Flint were auto workers, and their expenses were being paid by local businessmen. Elsewhere, American delegates paid their own expenses.
In 1913, the band received $500 from the city council, which also gave a grant to the Band of the 57th Regiment, the oldest local continuing band, founded in February 1858. The Salvation Army Band raised money "serenading at Christmas" which in 1913 netted $800.
The Canadian delegation was expected to send several individuals, as well as Toronto's Central Service Band, and the Peterborough Temple Band. According to the 1914 pamphlet in the Trent Valley Archives, the Peterborough band was the first Canadian Salvation Army band to have members from England. They had band members from Reading, Tunbridge Wells, Marylebone, Southend, Kilburn, Leeds, Sheffield and Carlisle. The Peterborough Temple Band claimed to be "one of the best Salvation Army Bands in Canada."
General William Booth, the founder of Salvation Army, visited Peterborough in 1888 and was greeted with a local band, which started in 1886 just a year after the first services in Peterborough of the Salvation Army. The first director of the Peterborough Temple Band was William Payton who arrived from Stirling in 1892 to be the band director. Over the next 22 years the band had carved a niche, and by 1914 seemed to have matured.
The brochure shows the band posed in front of the local Armoury, and there seem to be about 35 bandsmen, and the instruments include saxophones, melophones, and trumpets and a couple of drums. The officers of the Peterborough Temple Corps included William H. Peryer as Bandmaster.
William Peryer was a machinist at Canadian General Electric and lived at Bethune and Dublin until he died in 1954. He was a significant figure in Peterborough's musical history. During World War I he led the 93rd Overseas Battalion Band, and when he returned the band members who had served with the 59th and the 93rd joined together to form the Band of the Great War Veterans' Association (GWVA), which competed for several years with the local militia band which was known under various names. The GWVA later became the Canadian Legion. The band leaders of the GWVA were Walter Hughes and later William Peryer. When Rupert Gliddon stepped down as the leader of the local military band which he had led since 1898, Peryer became its bandmaster. During 1946 and 1947, it was the Band of the Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, but the military sponsorship ended in 1947. Peryer led the band as it became exclusively a community band, known then as the Peterborough Civic Band. Peryer handed the reins to Wally Parnell in 1950. Parnell was in charge of the band for 24 years until he moved to Oshawa.
We can identify some of the other members of the 1914 Salvation Army Band. The five saxophone players were Bandsmen W. Leader, R. Seif, J. James, Albert E. Moynes and Band Sergeant R. Brown. Soloists at 1914 programs included F. W. Robinson with the euphonium, A. E. Sandford on the trombone and E. Sergeant on the horn. Several songs were interspersed with the instrumental numbers, and vocal soloists included Moynes and Brown.
In the early hours of May 30, 1914, the Norwegian coal freighter S. S. Storstad hit the S. S. Empress of Ireland broadside and sent the Canadian Pacific steamship sinking within minutes, soon lying on its side some 40 meters below sea level, where it remains still.
The commission of inquiry, headed by Lord Mersey, who had headed the inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, found the Storstad responsible and that company went bankrupt in meeting the claims of Canadian Pacific. The Canadian government also held a royal commission to inquire into all aspects of the Empress of Ireland disaster.
There were 1,057 passengers and 420 crew on the Empress of Ireland that night, and about two-thirds, 1,012, lost their lives in about 14 minutes. The speed of events meant that only six life-boats were put into action, and many of the crew died in their sleep. Many were rescued by the crew of the Storstad and by ships in the area, including the S. S. Lady Evelyn. There is a monument in Toronto's Mount Pleasant Cemetery to the 167 members of the Salvation Army from Toronto who died that night. The daughter of the Toronto bandmaster, Grace Hanagan Martyn (1907-1995) was the last survivor of the shipwreck.
One of those who died on the Empress of Ireland was the mother of William Peryer. As she was packing for her trip she cheerfully sang "There will be no Dark Valley when Jesus comes to gather His loved ones home." Her husband never found her body.
There was great excitement as the Peterborough bandsmen prepared for the big trip to London, England. People around Peterborough discussed whether these people should be going to London when such a disaster had occurred. However, Mrs. McElhiney, the wife of the adjutant of the Peterborough Temple, felt that people felt an obligation or duty to go, as they were expected. Many leading people in Peterborough had contributed to their expenses. The disaster was known, but the extent or the consequences were still unfolding as the Peterborough group went down the St. Lawrence from Montreal on the Cunard ship, the RMS Alaunia, a ship that only served from 1913 to 1916 before being destroyed by a wartime mine. They had heard of the Empress of Ireland disaster when a Salvation Army man came aboard just before Montreal. They decided they had to be brave and do what was expected.
The Peterborough Temple Band gave a concert in Montreal's Victoria Square before getting on the boat. Because of the unfolding news of the disaster the concert was changed to a "memorial festival." Col Gaskin. The field secretary of the Salvation Army in Canada presided. The concert was the band's final farewell, but the Montreal group tendered a banquet for the Peterborough group followed by massed bands parading to the steamboat wharf playing "God be with you till we meet again."
Writing from the ship, the band was "determined to rally around Peryer and make everything a success." As they wrote this letter, the Alunia passed the Storstadt, and observed "her bow was smashed up pretty badly." Now, there was no turning back.
The Peterborough city council, on June 2, passed a resolution of sympathy to Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, president of Canadian Pacific, and a resolution of condolence to the Salvation Army in Toronto. The two stories were entwined forever.
(provided by (The Peterborough Examiner)
CHECK OUT STEVE PAVEY's NOVEL:
1912 Band Serenading
In 1886, Captain Bertha Smith and a group of eight bandsmen were arrested and charged with creating a disturbance in the streets and marching on the sidewalks contrary to the statutes. Fines of $225.00 or five days in jail were levied. On the day they reported to court with no funds to bail themselves out, an unknown boy turned up to pay their fine and court costs in postage stamps. However, Mr. Roosher was imprisoned for two months in the Peterborough Jail for beating a tambourine in the street.
The first Band was formed in 1890 under George Stevens, both reed and brass and by 1908 had a reputation of being one of the finest bands in Canada. In 1914 the Band under Bill Peryer attended the Congress gathering in England taking the place of the Staff Band, many of whom had drowned in the sinking of the Empress of Ireland.