Tambourine from Battle of Jutland finds a new home with the Royal Marines

A MILITARY tambourine used by a veteran who survived the Battle of Jutland has been returned to the Royal Marines.

Friday, 22nd July 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:17 pm
Musician Richard Sharp with Marian Le May

Marian Le May, 74, gave back the instrument that belonged to her grandfather, Private George Fly, to the Royal Marines School of Music at a presentation at the Royal Marines School on Music at Portsmouth Naval Base.

George was a Royal Marine bandsman during the First World War and was aboard HMS Castor for the Battle of Jutland in 1916, one of the largest naval battles of all time that claimed more than 8,500 lives.

Private Fly survived and died in 1934, aged 58.

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Private George Fly, who lent his tambourine to his five-year-old daughter Edna a year after surviving the Battle of Jutland

The tambourine was also used by his daughter, Edna, in Gosport in 1917 during St Vincent’s May Day parade and she kept hold of it until she passed away in 2002.

Marian, her siblings and her children all played it down the years, and it still remains in good condition and helped inspire members of her family to pursue a hobby in music themselves.

Marian, from Drayton, said: ‘We’re so glad the tambourine has came back home to the right place and didn’t end up in a charity shop where it might not have been appreciated.

‘Here, it will be loved instead of being locked in a cupboard like it was with us.

Private George Fly's daughter Edna aged 16

‘When we were moving house and found it, we weren’t too sure what to do with it. My daughter works here and came up with the idea.

‘Most of my children are musical and it’s all because they played this tambourine from a young age. My son played the drums in the sea cadets and my daughters all played various instruments growing up.’

The tambourine will go display in the School of Music’s percussion suite to help inspire young musicians.

Captain Andrew Gregory, assistant director of music training, said: ’It’s so pleasing the instrument can return to the heart of the Marine’s heritage.

Private George Fly, who lent his tambourine to his five-year-old daughter Edna a year after surviving the Battle of Jutland

‘There were complete bands who were sadly killed during the Battle Of Jutland, so it’s amazing that it has survived.

‘The fact the tambourine was used during the St Vincent parade means that it was tied together with us in all areas some way or the other.

‘It’s quite surprising it has survived this long. We have a lot of old string instruments but not many from the percussion quartet. We’ll now hang it on display in the percussion practice room to give the younger generations something to strive towards when they’re practising.’

Private George Fly's daughter Edna aged 16