NZDF

Drumming to the beat in France

Lance Corporal Cameron Lee drumming during the Battle of the Somme commemorations in Longueval, France
Lance Corporal Cameron Lee drumming during the Battle of the Somme commemorations in Longueval, France

19 September 2016

Lance Corporal (LCPL) Cameron Lee drummed his way through last week’s Battle of the Somme commemorations in Longueval, France.

LCPL Lee, from Christchurch, is a drummer in the New Zealand Army Band. He has been playing in the band since 2011, when he joined as a 17-year-old.

“I am privileged to have been selected from a talented pool of musicians for such a symbolic event,” he said.

LCPL Lee has a connection to the Western Front battles. His great great uncle, Private Henry Alfred Walden, a rifleman in 3 New Zealand Brigade 4th Battalion, was killed in action on 13 June, 1917, at the Battle of Messines. His name can be found at the Messines Ridge Memorial to the Missing in Belgium.

LCPL Lee said one of his career highlights so far has been playing for Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.

“Being able to play music professionally within New Zealand is something special that I do not take for granted,” he said.

“I am able to travel the world doing what I love and performing in places I never thought I would visit as a musician.”

The Battle of the Somme was New Zealand’s first big engagement on the Western Front. It took a huge toll on the 15,000 members of the New Zealand Division who were involved. The Division sustained 8,000 casualties and 2,111 soldiers were killed in action at the battle from 1 July − 18 November 1916. The New Zealand Memorial to the missing in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery lists 1,204 names.

WW100 is a programme established by the New Zealand Government to mark the World War I centenary through a range of activities from 2014 to 2019, in New Zealand and overseas.

For more information about WW100, visit WW100.govt.nz.

This page was last reviewed on 20 September 2016, and is current.