At a meeting on the 26th January 1915 (at the suggestion of the Senior Warden, Charles Lukey Collard) the Court agreed to present a Gold Watch to drummer, Corporal Spencer John Bent, in recognition of him having been awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroic activities during the night of 1st/2nd November 1914. The Court was soon notified of two further musicians that had been awarded the VC (Drummer William Kenny and Bandsman Thomas Rendle). It was subsequently agreed that the Company would recognise all such awards by the presentation of a Gold Watch.
These are images of the watch presented to Thomas Edward Rendle VC (see below). Photographs are by kind arrangement with the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall (Museum of Army Music).
Those first two of those Gold Watches (to Bent and Kenny) were presented by the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House on 8th March 1915.
For the duration of the First World War, there were a total of 6 VCs awarded to allied serving professional musicians. Unfortunately, one of those (James Cleland Richardson VC of the 16th Canadian Scottish Battalion, see right) had his medal awarded posthumously and did not receive a watch. However, the other 5 recipients were indeed presented with a Gold Watch from the Musicians' Company. The stories of these 5 remarkable men are told below:
Click on the portraits above for much more information on these men and their heroic action. Further details and contemporary discussions of the Gold Watches and their presentations can be found in Book 10 of the Court Meeting Minutes (Click Here).
A booklet (entitled "War Work 1914-1918") was published by the Court at the end of the War, which detailed the work done by the Company and its members during the conflict (cover shown right). It also contains a listing of those that 'served' and the presentation of gold watches to Musician VCs is naturally included. The contents of the book can be seen by Clicking Here.