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"A Conductor's Journey"

At the request of his many friends, Jimmy Howe
wrote "A Conductor's Journey", with over 40 photographs, the story of his fascinating musical life of over 70 years.
Beginning in brass bands in north-east England before joining the Royal Scots as a band boy in 1933, he describe
d Army discipline and the pre-war pleasure of making music around the seaside resorts which was disrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

Serving in France and Belgium as a stretcher bearer, he was taken prisoner by men of the SS Totenkopf Division and he vividly recalled his experiences of the battle, capture and the subsequent trek on foot across the continent into Germany. His time in the prison camp was not wasted. With musical instruments obtained by exchanging personal possessions with Polish prisoners, bartering with German guards and others provided through Red Cross channels, he formed a dance band which helped maintain the morale of the British captives in Poland and Berlin.

After the war he was appointed Bandmaster of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders with whom he served nine years before being commissioned into the Scots Guards as Lieutenant Director of Music.

Preparations and the exacting work that goes on behind the scenes of ceremonial occasions such as Trooping the Colour, the Annual Parade at the Cenotaph and providing the orchestral music at Buckingham Palace are recounted with a sense of humour.

Retiring from the Army in 1974 after 41 years service, his career took on another aspect. Conductor with the BBC, appearances with Symphony Orchestras at the Royal Albert Hall, then as an entrepreneur presenting massed band concerts at major venues throughout the country. His numerous anecdotes and descriptions of unusual events experienced as an adjudicator at Brass Band Festivals and while conducting orchestral rehearsals show that there is a light as well as a serious side to making music. He lived in Eastbourne where he played the cornet in local musical ensembles and conducts bands on the town's famous bandstand during the summer.


Jimmy died on 16th March 2005, aged 87.