The Band of The Army Air Corps

The Band of the Army Air Corps was formed in 1993 from a nucleus of the former Royal Artillery Alanbrooke Band and volunteers from other Corps and Regiments. An inauguration concert was held to celebrate the formation of the band on the 18th January 1994.

Over the past twenty years, the band has performed at an ever-increasing number of high profile engagements including the 50th and 60th anniversary of D Day commemorations in Normandy and Arnhem, Buckingham Palace Garden Parties and the 50th anniversary celebrations of the formation of the Army Air Corps. The band has also travelled extensively, with notable engagements in Athens, Vienna, Bratislava Switzerland and most recently Abu Dhabi.

In January 2012 the band were proud to be awarded the Ward Booth Trophy; an award that acknowledges the work of those who bring the greatest credit to the Army Air Corps through their actions.

Under the Future Army Music 2020 directive, The Band of the Army Air Corps re-located to Colchester and were re-tasked as one of three Specialist Contemporary Bands within the Corps of Army Music. Since this change in April 2014, the band has been concentrating on delivering the latest Pop, Rock and Jazz styles; performing to new and exciting audiences, whilst retaining the connections to its proud heritage.

Warrant Officer Class One Robert Smith

Bandmaster, The Band of The Army Air Corps

Growing up in Nottingham, WO1 Smith began learning the trumpet aged 11 and after school, gained a place at the Birmingham Conservatoire to study for a BMus(Hons) in music performance. Whilst in Birmingham, he received tuition from some of the country’s finest instrumental professors, sat principal trumpet with all of the Conservatoire’s leading groups as well as performing with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and London Sinfonietta.

After completing his degree, WO1 Smith continued to pursue a varied freelance career together with teaching as a brass teacher with Hampshire Music Service. It was with the area and county youth ensembles in Hampshire that he first began conducting and this provided the catalyst for joining the Army as a musician in 2005 and his ambition to succeed as a Bandmaster.

After completing his initial training, WO1 Smith was posted to the Band of the Adjutant General’s Corps, based in Winchester and during his 5 years with the band, enjoyed several overseas tours throughout Europe and further afield. In 2009, due to an unfortunate lip injury, WO1 Smith was forced to transfer his studies from the trumpet to the tuba, but was able to adapt to the challenge quickly and achieved an ATCL in performance within the year.

In the same year, he was selected to attend the prestigious Bandmasters' Course at Kneller Hall and began his studies in 2010. On completion of the course, WO1 Smith gained a Licentiate Diploma in Wind Band Direction from the Royal Schools of Music. After graduating, he was assigned to work at Headquarters Corps of Army Music and spent 8 months working on the future restructuring plan for Army Music; work that earned him a commendation from the Director, Corps of Army Music.

In July 2013, WO1 Smith took up the post as Bandmaster to The Band of The Parachute Regiment and performed with the band on a wide variety of engagements, with highlights including the Arnhem Commemorations. This was quickly followed by an assignment as Officer Commanding the Band of The Army Air Corps on their reformation as a Specialist Contemporary Band in April 2014. Now a trained Sound and Light Engineer, WO1 Smith continues to be a key figure in the evolution of this new and exciting capability.

He is married to Melissa, and together they have two children; Thomas (7) and Samuel (5). Outside the Army, his hobbies include marine fish keeping, taking part in a variety of sports and supporting Nottingham Forest Football Club.