THE ROYAL MARINES RETURN TO BRITISH MADE DRUMS
Pictured: The Corps of Drums of Her Majesty's Royal Marines play the British Drum Co. RS1 Victory model snare drum during the Mountbatten Festival of Music at London's Royal Albert Hall in March 2019.
Pictured: The commemorative plaque built into the RS1 Victory model snare drum featuring a fragment of the ancient oak sourced from HMS Victory.
The British Drum Co. is proud to reveal that their new Regimental Series flagship snare drum, The RS1, has been selected as the instrument of choice by the world-renowned Corps of Drums of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. The decision represents a welcome return to the historical tradition of the Royal Marines playing British-made drums following a period in which foreign instruments were the only viable alternative on offer.
This remarkable development is a major milestone for the relatively young UK drum manufacturer, which is still only in its fourth year of operation. The Royal Marines’ decision to choose the RS1 is testament to the high standards of quality and innovation built in to the drum. The drums have been designed to be lightweight yet also ultra-reliable and simple to maintain. Brand new technologies were developed entirely in-house at the British Drum Co. solely for the Regimental Series drums. Chief amongst these was the Levitone™ parallel snare mechanism, a system which allows the snare wires to retain their tension even when disengaged, allowing for a smooth and silent transition between the playing states on both upper and lower heads. The Levitone™ systems bring an unprecedented level of innovation to what is essentially, a very traditional instrument, but the benefits are very much appreciated by today’s musicians.
In keeping with British Drum Company’s fine attention to detail, the RS1 model produced for the Royal Marines contains a very special component. Each drum possesses, with the kind permission of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, a fragment of English Oak retrieved from the ancient timbers of HMS Victory, incorporated into the inside of the drum’s shell. This, in itself, is a remarkable achievement as use of the wood is rarely granted and then, only for extremely worthy situations, so it was important that the limited quantity of this precious material was employed wisely and effectively. The Victory Oak has been sensitively, but beautifully presented in the form of a commemorative disc accompanied by an inscription of the lyrics of the Regimental March Past of the Royal Navy, “Heart Of Oak”. The drum also bears the Royal Marines’ motto, “Per Mare Per Terram”, which means By Sea, By Land, on all the lug washers. The emotional and cultural significance of this inclusion has not been lost on members of the Corps of Drums who have instantly formed an abiding bond with their new instruments.
Equipped with their new instruments and bursting with pride, the Corps of Drums of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines marched out on to the stage of the Royal Albert Hall in London to perform with their British Drum Co. RS1 Victory model snare drums at the Mountbatten Festival of Music in March 2019. In attendance was His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, who is the Captain-General of the Royal Marines. The spectacle of 28 drummers playing this innovative, yet traditional British-made snare drum in its debut performance was something quite special to experience. In keeping with the British Drum Co. brand promise, the RS1 drums looked amazing, sounded amazing and made everyone involved, feel amazing.
British Drum Co.’s Marching Division Manager, Stu Warmington, said, “I am immensely proud of the Regimental Series drums. The RS1 Victory model produced for the Royal Marines represents the pinnacle of our achievements in marching drums so far and I am delighted that the Corps of Drums of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines have chosen our instruments as their drums of choice”.
Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, said, “The Royal Marines Band Service is considered to be one of the finest in the world. How fitting then that a piece of the finest historic ship in the world should feature inside the drum. HMS Victory is often used as a stunning backdrop for its music and we are honoured that she should be remembered this way”.
Keith Keough, CEO of the British Drum Co., added, “As the CEO of the British Drum Co. - a UK manufacturing company that’s only just over three years old - I am incredibly proud to be able to launch the Regimental Series. Every single member of the BDC team has put their heart and soul into this project and the Marines’ overwhelmingly positive reaction to our drums has been a validation of our drum-making expertise”.