During my spell at the Guards Depot I began to brush up my trumpet -playing. Apart from the opportunity for practice provided by the long periods of inactivity, there were also quite a regular number of dances held in the main gymnasium. For these functions a unit from the regimental Band of the Grenadier Guards used to provide the dance music.
The standard was high, which is not surprising, because during the war many of the leading jazz and dance musicians were enlisted into the Household Brigade bands. Names like Harry Hayes, Lad Busby and George Evans could be found in the rosters. Although these regimental bandsmen were attested and enlisted like ordinary recruits they were really semi-pro soldiers who were free to carry on their engagements in London theatres and dance orchestras once their military duties were done.
So throughout the war many idols of the followers of popular music could be seen trudging along at the head of a column of guardsmen. At one of the dances at Caterham I sat in on trumpet with the band. Being struck by the clarinet-playing of the bandsman sitting next to me I asked him what his name was. When he said: ‘Nat Temple, sir,’ I very nearly stood to attention and saluted.
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On 6 June 1941 Lyttelton enlisted in the Brigade of Guards and took his commission at Sandhurst. He landed on the beach at Salerno as a signals officer with a pistol in one hand and his trumpet in the other. He saw some savage fighting before being invalided first to Africa and finally home. Humphrey travelled to London on VE Day where he was pushed about in front of Buckingham Palace in a wheelbarrow whilst playing his trumpet.