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These handsome lads are members of the band of the Dover Volunteer Force, pictured about the turn of the century, thinks Miss Kathleen Nicholls, who is the daughter of the accordian player seated on the left of the centre.

Miss Nicholls, of Athol Terrace, Dover tells me her father joined the regular army in 1884 as a 14-year-old boy and was stationed at the Western Heights, as a member of the Royal Artillery, Cinque Ports Division.

The young gunner was discharged five years later through ill-health, the grateful receiver of sixpence a day pension.

Devon-born, he remained in Dover at 30, Clarendon Place and continued his Army duties on a part-time basis and joined the Volunteer Force, whose headquarters were in St John's Street.

During the first world war, married with seven children, he worked on the Western Heights in the Army and Navy canteen.

After the war he took a job as a shopkeeper in Trevanion Street (where the swimming pool is now). He died in 1932.

This picture, taken by Charles Harris, of London Road, shows a very varied array of instruments for an Army bank. In the back row a mouth organ player and next to him a man with a comb and a piece of paper. Down below, Mr Nicholls with his squeeze box and one along, there's a banjo player. Must have been quite a band.

Miss Nicholls hopes someone might recognise a father or uncle, among the band of musicians.

Linked toWilliam NICHOLLS

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