Unicorn’s Silver Band
When the RNVR was recruiting in Dundee in 1904, the boys’ silver band from the MARS training ship in the Tay was regularly employed to aid recruitment, the band boys being rewarded with chocolate paid for out of the RNVR funds!
In 1907 the MARS band members formed the nucleus for the RNVR’s own ‘bluejacket’ band, based onboard UNICORN, and when the RNVR was mobilised for the Great War in 1914 the silver band went too. The RNVR was mobilised as part of the Royal Naval Division and sent as infantry to Flanders. They were immediately caught up in the chaos of the retreat from Antwerp, and the band hid their instruments in a cellar in the city. After the Armistice these instruments were recovered from Belgium, and were still in regular use with the band until very recently.
The successors to the UNICORN Band, now re-formed as the Dundee Instrumental Band, continue their involvement with the ship, and regularly play at events to support the work of the Unicorn Preservation Society, and also at the annual RNR Service of Remembrance.