1 MEDICAL BATTALION GROUP SAMHS
The Group was established in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, as the Natal Volunteer Medical Corps in 1899, consisting of the ambulance detachments of the local KZN Units which were started earlier, in 1895.
In 1904 the group was renamed Natal Medical Corps, later in SAMC: 2nd Field Amb., 2nd Mounted Bde. FA, 5th MBFA, 1st FA. 17 FA raised 1940.1 Field Ambulance & 17 Field Ambulance amalgamated in 1981 to form what is now known as 1 Medical Battalion Group. The Unit has been wearing the MacKenzie Tartan since 1939 after the death of Dr. (Lieutenant, later Colonel) Archibald Mackenzie, MD, FRCS (Edin.), MO to Durban Light Infantry. OC and Hon. Col. of 1 Field Ambulance, SAMC, successor to the Natal Volunteer Medical Corps. (Left) Doctor Archibald Mackenzie
The band’s leadership has changed hands over the years, with each Pipe Major sharing their own talents:
Mike Patterson was the original Pipe Major and lead the band for two years (1990 – 1992). In 1992, Ian Dunsmore assumed the role and stayed-on for a year before moving to the UK. John Nel then took over the role of Pipe Major until the end of the competition season in 1994.
The band proceeded to perform well in this grade until 2008, when the band was invited to the country’s premier grade – the photograph below of the band in full dress uniform, outside Durban Light Infantry in 2002.
Below is a photo of the band taken at the South Coast Gathering in Amanzimtoti in 2004. This is the band which played at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and World Pipeband Championships in August 2004. Clearly the band and digital photography have come a long way!
Following three years for the bands promotion to the premier grade in South Africa P/M Thomas Fuller decided to take a back seat and handed the leadership over to P/M Bradley Boxall who is the current pipe major. Since then the band continued to grow and achieve even better results with 2013 being the best year so far for competition results. We are looking forward to an even better 2014!
Here is band in the final championship gathering in Benoni 2013.