Most early images of military musicians show army bandsmen, but there were navy bands too except that they seem to have posed less often for the camera. This stalwart group's caps and collars mark them as sailors, but from what country? The clue is in the cap band: Deutscher Marine V___. But the photographer bumped the tripod as the shutter tripped and the image is slightly blurred.
But the caps are the real puzzle. What are those words? And it seems odd that these men are so old, for there are no raw recruits in this band.
According to the website German Militaria Collectibles.com the lettering pattern on a WWI era Reichsmarine sailor's cap would have a ship's name in block letters. But in 1935 the German navy became the Kriegsmarine, and after 1939 that word, in a large gothic font, replaced the ship name on the cap. And from 1945 to 1955 there was no German navy. So why do these cap bands read Deutscher Marine V_something?
But then I found a reference at the Deutscher Marinebund on the history of German navy clubs which began in 1891. Their first objectives being:
- maintain the love for the Kaiser and homeland.
- strengthen the links among the Navy Clubs.
- preserve the spirit of comradeship.
- support welfare facilities for veteran sailors.
These men look like a veteran's group with a good sprinkling of some old salts. They have a polished look with proper band uniforms, so could they be on tour promoting German tourism and naval comradeship?
Just above the back curtain are two logos, a Freemason compass on the right and the three links of the I.O.O.F. on the left. Remember the Independent Order of Odd Fellows from my earlier post on The Mason City IOOF Band ? This is a concert photo at a local I.O.O.F fellowship hall, but where? If only we could see whose likeness is on the sculpture bust behind the curtain.
My contribution to Sepia Saturday