Mike Hopkins on Dallas - Ready for Lord Mayor's Show Nov. 1991

Assistant Band Corporal Major

Mike Hopkins

The Band of The Life Guards

1970 - 1992

In the picture above Mike is in `State dress` all real gold with velvet jockey cap much more comfortable than helmet`s and plumes! they really used to hurt!! The horses were specially bred in Ireland for the Household Cavalry and we used quiteter `band horses` that could put up with the noise!! The most famous drum horse was `CICERO` The Band Corporal Major at the the time who used to ride it was Fred Harman son of Ben Harman who was also Band Corporal Major many years before.

Webmasters Foreword:

Mike Hopkins first enlisted in the Junior Leaders Regimental Band in 1968 and in 1970 was granted a place at the prestigious home of military music at Kneller Hall, it was a twelve month course. On leaving he elected to join The Band of The Life Guards, this meant he had to attend a six month riding school, The Life Guards Mounted Band is only one of two in the United Kingdom.

All the musicians play at least two instruments and in Mikes case this was Oboe, Clarinet and Saxaphone. After leaving the Army he took up full time teaching of music and is still very busy passing on his skills in the South of England.

Thetford 1988 - Mike playing Saxaphone.


The first record of the establishment of the Band was about 1795, and later in the Royal United services Journal for June 1831, referring to The Mounted Band of The Life Guards, it says, "After saluting and marching past the King, 'God Save the King' was played on the Russian Chromatic Trumpets..." these being the instruments used by the Band at that time.

The Trumpets had only one valve and were the forerunner of the three valve trumpet in use today. Traditionally a trumpeter from within the Band is on duty 24 hours a day to sound the same calls that were played when the regiment was first formed. Every person in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is expected to know the calls and the times they are sounded.

From 1820 to 1905 the Band was under the direction of Bandmasters (Warrant Officers). From 1905 the Senior Bandmaster of the three Household Cavalry Regiments, C.W.H Hall, was commissioned Lieutenant to the Second Regiment of Life Guards and was their first Director of Music. He retired in 1922 when the 1st and 2nd Life Guards were amalgamated and was followed by:

1922 - 1926 Lieutenant H.E Eldridge 1959 - 1970 Major W.G Jackson
1926 - 1931 Lieutenant W.G Gibson 1970 - 1984 Major A.J Richards
1931 - 1938 Lieutenant S.S Smith 1984 - 1989 Major J.C McColl
1938 - 1959 Lt. Col Albert Lemoine 1989 - 1997 Major C.J. Reeves
1997 - 2002 Major M.J. Torrent 2002 - 2005 Major D.W. Cresswell
2005 - Present Captain R Pennington

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PRESENT DAY
The Band today has 34 musicians and within its ranks there are many fine soloists. Most of the members of the Band play two instruments and have a varied repertoire from Bach through to the latest 'West End' Shows. They perform in London hotels as a Marching Display Band, Dance Band and Rock Band.

The Band can also supply a String Quartet, Brass Quintet or Woodwind Quintet not to mention a very spectacular Fanfare Team. Apart from tours to Cyprus, Bosnia and The USA the Band tour extensively performing as a Concert Band, Marching Band, Orchestra and Mounted Band. In the 70`s the lead trombone player was Chris (Dixie) Dean excellent player now running the Syd Lawrence Orchestra!

From State Investitures, Palace Banquetes, Royal Ascot and the Lord Mayor's Show The Band of The Life Guards feature at every ceremony where the pomp and pageantry of our heritage is highlighted by the woven tapestry of Military Music and State Occasions.

The Band riding down The Mall during The Queen's Birthday Parade.
The Escort to The Queen can be seen in the background.
Getting ready for Trooping the Colour - June 1987
Getting ready yet again June 1987 at Combermere barracks at Windsor.
With son Leon at Windsor - 1984 - Robin Bourne (Band Corporal Major) on far left,on the right Chris (Thag) Allen, who was also Mike's Best Man.
Mike Hopkins -
Kneller Hall inspection - 1988
Castle Hotel Windsor, New Years Eve 1987 - Mike (centre with Glasses) Mike used to run The Life Guards Dance Band and did Many `gigs` all over the country and in Jersey.
Eastbourne 1985 - Mike Hopkins nearest to camera.
MUS Bernard Moore on Hector 1968

MUS Robert Newnham on Coriolanus 1985 - Robert (Bob) Newnham was an incredible artist with a strange strange of humour he used to say don`t boil the water too much (kettle) the water will burn?

Major Colin Reeves leading The Queen's Life Guard to Whitehall - 1993

Side Drum - The Life Guards 1968 Pattern


Copyright text and images: Mike Hopkins, G.R. Lawn (1995)


Back to: Home Page