The first Canadian Staff Band consisted of about 18 members who accompanied General William Booth, The Salvation Army's Founder, through Eastern Canada, usually traveling on the same train. When the train stopped at each appointed city, the band would immediately form up and play while the General left the train and was greeted by officers and dignitaries. The band would then lead the parade to the hall chosen for the General's meeting. Although this band only lasted for a little more than a year, it received many good reports on its playing.

1912 Staff Band

"Wanted: Bandsmen who are good instrumentalists, to volunteer for service in a Permanent Brass Band for the Household Troops. We are anxious to raise a good Permanent Brass Band (similar to that led by Staff-Captain Appleby), to travel through the towns and villages of the Dominion, and for duty in special demonstrations. Also to conduct, under an experienced Staff-Officer, weekly and fortnightly Special Campaigns, for the Salvation of Souls. No pay will be given. Any thoroughly converted Bandsman who would like to devote himself altogether to the Salvation of Souls, should apply at once to the Commissioner. Let every applicant say what instrument he can play, and if he can provide a uniform or $12 to get one."

1914 Staff Band

From a large number of applications, the second Staff Band originated. It consisted of 20 players and was known as the Household Troops Band, modeled after a similar group in England. Staff-Captain McHardy was the executive officer and Captain Leonard the bandmaster. They played at summer camp meetings on Wells Hill (now Casa Loma) in Toronto, where they were formally commissioned. Their first trip was by boat to Niagara Falls.

A third Staff Band was in existence during General Booth's visit of 1898 and accompanied him to various cities. This was followed by a fourth group, formed in 1907. It was called the Territorial Staff Band and over a seven-year period consisted of 36 to 42 members. In the early hours of May 29, 1914, while on its way to the Army’s International Congress in London, England, the ship on which they were traveling - the Empress of Ireland - was struck by the Norwegian collier Storstad and sank in 14 minutes. Only eight bandsmen survived.

Following this tragedy, a fifth Staff Band existed for a short period of time during 1917-18. It consisted of 17 members made up of survivors of the Empress of Ireland and other headquarters staff, and lasted for about a year.

Canadian Staff Band History (9 Photos)

Empress of Ireland
1912 Staff Band
1914 Staff Band
CSB unknown year1
1917 Staff Band
CSB 1969 2
CSB in England
CSB in Banff