Reserve Band

The Waterloo Band and Bugles of the Rifles

The Waterloo Band and Bugles of the Rifles

The Waterloo Band and Bugles of The Rifles is part of 7 RIFLES and rehearses in our own purpose-built modern band block on the same site as A Coy at Edward Brooks Barracks, Abingdon. We wear the same uniforms, play the same type of music and get paid the same as our colleagues in the Regular Army, but only part-time.

What we do

The Waterloo Band & Bugles is a flexible and versatile ensemble and can provide musical support for almost any occasion from a full 35 piece concert band and marching band to groups such as a brass quintet, clarinet quartet and saxophone quintet for smaller venues. Our buglers perform both with the band and alone as a platoon, playing traditional calls for Mess dinners, weddings, funerals and Remembrance ceremonies.
The Band & Bugles travel extensively fulfilling engagements both throughout the UK and abroad. We have played in Bermuda, Denmark and France as well as Horse Guards Parade in London in the past two years, and musicians have visited Georgia and Armenia and performed at the Edinburgh Tattoo.

What you get

RIFLES Reserve musicians get paid to play music to a high standard, in their spare time, with like-minded people from all walks of life.  You’ll get to meet new friends while improving your overall musicianship and gain both civilian and military qualifications.  You will be offered fantastic opportunities to travel too!

All rehearsals and band engagements are paid with travel expenses included, and you will even earn holiday pay. Army Reservists also qualify for an Army pension (pro rata).  Furthermore, you will be rewarded for your commitment to the Band, with a tax-free Training Bounty at the end of each financial year (Conditions apply).


Reserve service in The Waterloo Band & Bugles allows individuals to work as civilians outside the Army and yet commit to being a military musician part-time. Training and engagements take place over evenings and weekends plus a consolidated 2-week period each year. Attendance at any specific training event is voluntary to take into account an individual's civilian commitments. Reserve musicians are paid for the training they undertake and can earn a financial bonus at the end of each year.

  • Aged 18-49
  • Have British Nationality and Citizenship or be a Commonwealth Citizen with indefinite leave to remain in the country.
  • Be medically fit
  • Commitment

The Rifles Reserve acknowledges the personal and professional obligations of civilian life, giving flexibility to individuals to enable you to commit according to your needs.

Our People

Warrant Officer Class 2 Henry Hookings

Henry, previously a Regular Musician took the opportunity to continue playing with a military band by joining 7 RIFLES. Although sometimes a challenge with travelling from Hampshire and juggling full-time self-employment, he enjoys the opportunity to play with the band and also keeps in touch with colleagues, while enjoying the social side of the Band & Bugles. Henry said “ Regular playing has meant I have been able to maintain my musical skills and also a high level of fitness. The best part of being involved has been the engagements that we performed at, some of which have included travel abroad including Cyprus, Bermuda, Georgia, Armenia and Switzerland.”

Musician Steph Hicks

Steph is currently a Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the University of Bath completing the three year NHS Professional Training Doctorate. She has enjoyed the challenge of learning to march and play at the same time, as well as trying to understand army culture which was also completely new to her. Steph said: “It’s given me a new challenge in my playing and allowed me to start developing my music to the point where I might be able to consider music as a decent part of my career. It’s also introduced me to a whole world of military music that I wasn’t aware of before.”


The bugle has traditionally been used in the past to communicate with and to direct Riflemen. The bugle was adopted for use in the eighteenth century as it was light and easy to use unlike the cumbersome drum and carried its note clear for up to three miles whereas a drum signal became indistinct. It was originally an ox bugle but later made in silver which gave a clearer note. The bugle is central to The Rifles’ musical traditions, but music has been carried forward from all of our forming regiments. Daily routine in the battalions is marked by bugle calls, and The Rifles sound, rather than beat, Retreat.

The three Marches are:

Quick March  –  Mechanized Infantry – David McBain

Slow March  –  Old Salamanca – Chris Willis

Regimental Double Marches – Keel Row/Road to the Isles – Traditional

There are standard songs used in The Rifles, these were more prevalent in the forming regiments but still carried forward by The Rifles. These are:

Widdecombe Fair (Devonshire & Dorset Light Infantry)

Farmer’s Boy (Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry)

Blaydon Races (The Light Infantry)

Over The Hill and Far Away (Royal Green Jackets)

Hearts of Oak (Royal Navy & Royal Marines)

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As a RIFLES Reserve musician, you will have the opportunity to train overseas as part of your band or join other bands during their overseas training

In the last few years alone, we have seen musicians and buglers from The Waterloo Band travel to Cyprus, Germany, Bermuda, France, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Georgia, and Armenia.

In recent years the Band has also performed at prestigious home events such as Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle, Sounding Retreat on Horse Guards Parade, playing at Twickenham for the NFL as well as supporting 5 RIFLES at the Freedom of Paderborn, Germany with 1500 troops.

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Band members and buglers also get the opportunity to take part in sports, adventurous training and battlefield studies with other members of The Rifles Regiment.

In recent years our musicians have skied in France, gained a sailing Dayskipper qualification and represented The Rifles and the Army in triathlons.

LIVE: The Rifles Gathering Sounding Retreat.

Contact us

To contact the band for general enquiries, to find information regarding joining or to book the band.​

The Waterloo Band and Bugles of the Rifles

We rehearse on a Tuesday evening from 19.45 – 21.45hrs.