Home' Advance In Review : Advance in Review July 2014 Contents In 2002 I was lucky enough to be part of the
first Air Force Band contingent to perform
at the Dawn Service in Gallipoli. I had no
idea at the time how the occasion and
place might affect me, but it certainly did!
An Anzac Day Dawn Service in Australia
and New Zealand is one thing, but having
the opportunity to represent your fellow
servicemen and country and to pay respect
to the fallen whilst in Gallipoli is another.
My maiden trip to Turkey began with a
few days taking in some of the amazing
history in Istanbul before heading down to
the Gallipoli Peninsula. When we arrived
at Anzac Cove, it was a glorious day and it
struck me how stunning the place was. So
peaceful, picturesque, and thanks to the
area being a world heritage park, largely
unspoiled. It seemed a world away from the
horrors of war. The stories we had learned
as children at school in New Zealand
seemed to describe some other place far
from here. As we were shown around the
battlefields you began to get an idea of the
hell that unfolded here; it was hard enough
just walking along the ridge lines in the
This year, I again had the opportunity to
travel to Gallipoli. This time we were lucky
to be sharing the stage with performers
from the New Zealand Defence Force, and
their Maori Culture Group. I though it might
be an opportunity to find out about what it
means to our colleagues from New Zealand,
as we are familiar with hearing about the
Now a bit about my background. For those
of you who don’t know me, I hail from across
the ditch. The only New Zealander in our
band at present but there were previously
more of us. Prior to shifting to Australia
and joining the Royal Australian Air Force I
had been a member of the Central Band of
the Royal New Zealand Air Force for nearly
five years, we had many great experiences
but I never had the chance to come to
Gallipoli on Anzac Day. Sixteen years later
and here we are. The Director of Music for
the New Zealand Defence Force Band was
Lieutenant Commander Owen Clarke, a
contemporary of mine, fellow student at
the Victoria University of Wellington, as well
as colleague in the Royal New Zealand Air
His ensemble was an interesting group - a
brass quintet, a drummer and a singer. Four
Navy and three Air Force personnel in all.
Corporal Russel Boyle has been in the band
for nine years and this was his first trip. I’d
never worked with Russel in the Air Force
but I did know him from Wellington Sinfonia,
so I asked him to share his thoughts about
being in Gallipoli.
“It is an absolute privilege and an honour”,
was his sincere response. He then said
he was grateful for the opportunity as he
remembered connections, through his
father, of family friends who had been there.
He was proud to have the chance to be
involved in this once in a lifetime experience
and pay his respect to the memories of
those who’d fallen. I think it’s interesting as
he represents an older generation whose
fathers in particular would have served or
known many that did. His emotions about
what it means for him to be here would be
shared by many young people attending the
So what of my experience of the service a
second time round? I still had goosebumps
as the Last Post was played and the Ode
was read. The terrible hardships suffered
and tragic losses sustained by all involved
in this campaign and the futility of it all are
etched in my mind. The beautiful singing of
the New Zealand National Anthem, by Able
Seaman Musician Rebecca Nelson made
me very proud to be a New Zealander and
part of the great Anzac tradition.
Corporal Duncan Rae
In April 2014, the Air force Band welcomed
another new recruit, flautist Emma Knight
to the band.
Regular audience members may recognise
Emma’s smiling face from past concerts
as a civilian guest musician. We are
delighted to have her join the ensemble
as a permanent member. In this interview,
fellow flautist Leading Aircraftwoman Laila
Engle took some time to find out more about
our newest member.
Laila: Congratulations on successfully
auditioning and then completing initial
recruit training. Welcome to the band. It is
an extremely challenging experience, do you
think it has changed your outlook on life?
Emma: Thank you very much. Yes, my
initial training experience has definitely
changed my perceptions and outlook on
life. I have gained a lot more confidence as
a person because of the initial training and
I’ve learnt a lot more about myself as well.
I never thought that I would experience
the challenges that I had at initial recruit
training (and being able to do it all as well!).
In short, my time at “rookies” will be an
experience that I will never forget!
Laila: You have a family history of service
members. Where did they serve?
Emma: My great grandfather, Dr. Victor
Ernest Knight served as a Flight Lieutenant
with the Australian Flying Corps and trained
and served as a pilot during WWI, and was a
Wing Commander in the RAAF and served
as a Senior Medical Officer during WWII.
He has written a publication called ‘Flying
in Two Wars’ which has been fascinating to
read. He talks about his training in France
and Canada, including his experience
with the Empire Air Training Scheme.
He was posted to many bases but one to
note in particular was to East Sale where
he gave medical training to the WAAAF
during their initial ‘rookies’ training. Other
postings include Senior Medical Officer at
Laverton, Principal Medical Officer at the
RAAF Headquarters in Sydney and then
his final posting was to the No. 2 RAAF
Hospital, showgrounds, at Ascot Vale as a
Commanding Officer. My Great Grandfather
has also donated some items to the RAAF
Museum at Point Cook which include a
tobacco box (made from a propeller hub),
an electric clock and a brooch (made to a
pattern of an Australian Flying Corps pilot’s
brevet). I believe that these items are still on
display at the Museum in the WWI section!
Laila: I believe you did work experience
with the Air Force Band. Can you tell us a
bit about that experience?
Emma: I did work experience with the
band about twelve years ago. I came in as
a nervous seventeen year old but felt very
comfortable during my time there. I played
with the wind quintet and saw the daily
workings of a musician in the band. It was
a great experience that I found to be very
inspiring and interesting. I remember that
one of the band members said to me at the
time, “maybe we will see you working with
us in the band one day”. Little did I know
that twelve years later I would become a full
time member of the band!
Laila: Could you share a bit about your
musical interests/experience before joining
Emma: Before I joined the band I was
teaching part time in four different schools
across Melbourne whilst also juggling a
freelance career. I attained my Masters
Degree in Flute Performance from the
University of Melbourne and have travelled
to play in music festivals in Brazil and
Canada. I have a wide interest in Western
Classical Music and also enjoy other styles
of music including Brazilian choro and jazz.
I have always had a fascination with music
and have grown up playing my instrument
almost every day of my life!
Laila: What inspired you to join the Air
Emma: I think family history has a part to
play in why I joined the Air Force, but also
the opportunity to play in the band as a full
time musician is something I have always
wanted to do!
Look out for Emma at future Air Force Band
concerts and drum corps displays.
Leading Aircraftwoman Laila Engle
OUR FRIENDS ACROSS THE DITCH
KNIGHT ON A HIGH NOTE
Aircraftwoman Emma Knight upon her arrival at
Air Force Band after graduation from Initial Recruit
Training. Photo by Corporal Cameron Scott.
Aircraftwoman Emma Knight during Initial Recruit
Training at RAAF Base Wagga. Photo courtesy of
Aircraftwoman Emma Knight.
Emma playing during her work experience with Air
Force Band (then Central Band) as a teenager. Photo
courtesy of Aircraftwoman Emma Knight.
Aircraftwoman Emma Knight performing for the last
time as a civilian with Air Force Band prior to her
enlistment. Photo by Corporal Cameron Scott.
Corporal Duncan Rae (Centered) amongst Royal New Zealand Air Force and Navy musicians, ANZAC Cove.
Photo by Sergeant Andrew Boyle.
Air Force Band members with Royal New Zealand Air Force and Navy contingent at the Turkish Memorial.
Photo by Sergeant Andrew Boyle.
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