|Medals to Musicians, Bandsmen & Bandmasters
Emanuel SINACO joined the RN on 7 Nov 1873
under this name. He was 19 ½ yrs of age & was
entered as a Domestic 3rd class on board HMS
Nassau(small Gun vessel & Survey ship of `66) &
was to serve on Nassau until 24 Nov ’74. Exactly
what his duties were is unknown but Domestics
generally served as Ships Stewards or
Storesmen. Nassau was paid off on 24 Nov ’74 &
Emanuel entered HMS London(2nd rate of 1840,
became Store ship at Zanzibar Apl ’74) the
following day as a Bandsman. He must have had
previous musical training, & knew how to play a
musical instrument(s), & as Nassau had no Band
(smaller vessels generally did not carry a band),
transferred to London to join her ship’s band
when he was paid off from Nassau on the South
In any event Emanuel Was to remain on London
as a Bandsman until advanced to Bandmaster on
1 July ’76. He was young to be appointed a
Bandmaster at 22 yrs of age, but possibly was
appointed when the previous Bandmaster left, as
no one else in the Band wanted or felt qualified to
take up the appointment. Obviously Emanuel was
competent as he remained as London’s
Bandmaster for almost 2 years.
He rec’d his first GCB(Good Conduct Badge) on 1
Dec ’77. & served as London’s Bandmaster until
being discharged to shore at Malta on 12 Apl ’78.
His conduct since joining the RN had been
assessed as “Exemplary”.
His next ship was HMS Invincible(Central Battery
Ironclad of 1869) which at that time was serving
in the Channel squadron. He was entered on the
Ship’s books on 9 May ‘78 as a Domestic 2nd
class & remained on board until 16 Sep ’79.
Invincible would have carried a Ship’s band & it is
unknown why he did not enter as a Bandsman.
He then went to HMS Euryalus(2nd class
armoured Cruiser of ’77, this time signing on as a
Domestic 3rd class. However he did not remain in
that rate very long for on 16 Dec he was rated
Bandsman. On 27 Jan ’82 he was rated Musician.
(*2 below), & was to remain in that rate until
discharged when Euyalus paid off at Malta on 12
Whilst on Euryalus Emanuel earned the Egypt
1882 medal. Euryalus, as Flagship of Vice Admiral
Wm Hewitt, was to provide many officers &
ratings for service in the Egyptian/Soudan theatre
from 1882-1885. (to view the write up on Adm
Hewitt’s Coxswain pls see C.P.O. Cook page)
However Emanuel never got ashore so he rec’d
the unclasped Egypt medal.
After a spell ashore Emanuel signs onboard HMS
Thunderer(Ironclad Battleship of ’72, & with HMS
Devastation, the first Ironclads to be mastless,
(ie: did not carry any sails) she was based at
Malta part of the Mediterranean fleet. He signed
on as a Bandsman, & was awarded his 2nd GCB
on 1 Oct ’85.
He remained on Thunderer until transferred to
HMS Benbow(1st class Battleship of ’85) again as
a Bandsman on 1 July ’88. Benbow was
commissioned at Chatham in Jun ’88 & went to
join the Mediterranean fleet where Emanuel joined
her band. He was to remain on her until 23 Mar ’
His next ship was the Malta Depot ship HMS
Hibernia where he remained from 26 Mar to 7 Apl,
when he entered HMS Undaunted(1st cl Cruiser of
’86) on 9 Apl & served in her Band until 26 July
when he was “Discharged to Shore, Malta”.
On 5 Nov he joined the band of HMS Inflexible(1st
cl Battleship of ‘78), she was part of the Med fleet.
Whilst on Inflexible Emanuel was promoted to
Band Corporal on 1 Jan ’91. The rate of Band Cpl
was essentially equivalent to the Assistant
Bandmaster of the band. Whilst Band Cpl on
Inflexible in 1891, he received both his Long
Service Medal on 6 May, & on 1 Dec ’91 he was
awarded his 3rd & final GCB.
Whilst on Inflexible Emanuel was to witness the
greatest sea disaster of the late Victorian period –
the collision of HMS Victoria with HMS
Camperdown, on 22 Jun ‘93 which resulted in the
sinking of Victoria. Inflexible was 4th ship astern
of Victoria leading the right column of ships during
the inward turning evolution that resulted in the
fatal collision. He may have even been in one of
the boats crew that attempted to rescue
survivors after the sinking.
On 3 Nov ’93 Emanuel left Inflexible & entered
HMS Sans Pareil(1st cl B/S of ’87, & the only
sister ship of HMS Victoria) still in the rate of Band
Cpl & remains in her Band until 15 Jan ’94.
He then entered HMS Ramilles (1st cl B/S of ’92)
on 16 Jan ’94, remaining on her until 13 Dec ’95.
After a brief spell on HMS Hibernia depot ship he
is `Discharged to Shore, Pensioned, Malta, on 31
He remained on shore for exactly one year then re
enters his final ship HMS Ramilles as a Bandsman
on 1 Jan `97.
Note on his service record – “Allowed to re-enter
& draw his pension while serving”, & was to
remain on her until he is finally Discharged to
Shore on 27 Jan 1900 after completing 26 yrs
Emanuel appears to have remained a bachelor until 5 May 1910. On that date in Church of Saint Lucia, Valetta, Emanuel was married to
Antonia Sammut. He was 56 yrs of age & Antonia was aged 32. Both were: ``Dispensed from Impeachment of Consanguinity, 1st &
2nd Grade Collateral.``
Basically meaning: Consanguinity is a diriment impediment of marriage as far as the fourth degree of kinship inclusive. The term
consanguinity here means, within certain limitations defined by the law of nature, the positive law of God, or the supreme authority of
State or Church, the blood-relationship (cognatio naturalis), or the natural bond between persons descended from the same stock. ….
persons descend, though they do not descend one from the other, and are therefore not in a direct but in a transverse or collateral line.
Witnesses at their marriage were: Francis Xavier Elbrel of l. Saviour, & Emmanuel Farrugia of l. Joseph. Officiating Minister was: Monsig.
Federico Marengo - Curate of Senglea.
Contracting parties were: Emmanuel Sinerco if l. Anthony & Vincenza Gristi, and Antonia Sammut of Victor & M. Dolores Sinerco.
Note that Emanuel Sinaco`s name is spelled with 2 m`s, & again, along with Dolores, the surname of Sinerco. (see below).
They likely had children but, at this writing, their names are unknown, as are Emanuel & Antonia’s dates of death.
Emmanuel Alfred Albert Michael Paul Sinaco (using
all of his names as quoted on his Certificate of
Baptism), was born on 30 June 1854 in Valetta,
Malta. His father was Antonio, & his mother was
Vincenza Gristi. It is unknown what their ages or
occupations at the time might have been.
Emanuel was baptised in the Collegiate & Parish
Church of St Paul Shipwrecked in Valetta on 3 July
1854. His parents were present as were sponsors
Albert Gristi of l. Augustin, & Giovanna Sinerco*
of John. The minister who performed the baptism
was Can(on) Generosus Bugeja.
|ABOVE: HMS Nassau – Emanuel Sinaco’s first ship – a |
smaller Gun vessel of 1866 - one of the many small
ships that served on the overseas stations.
|ABOVE: HMS Thunderer BELOW: HMS Inflexible|
both Ironclad Battleships of the late Victorian era. It was on this class of ship that
Emanuel Sinaco served most of his career.
|ABOVE: HMS San Pareil –Ironclad Battleship & the only sister ship of HMS Victoria. Emanuel |
Sinaco served in her band as Band Cpl.
BELOW: Band of HMS Black Prince ca 1870 – This is how an RN band would have looked
like in the late Victorian era. Note that Bandsmen wear a different uniform than that of
sailors, or ratings wearing the Class III uniform. The Bandmaster is shown on the right of the
photo & the Band Corporal (wearing the Sergeant chevrons) is on the left. The musicians in
the front row are quite young. A Band would normally carry 2 to 5 (under age 18) Band Boys.
This band is a little larger than normal but is typical of the period Instrumentation – normally
one musician per instrument. Typical Instrumentation might be: Piccolo, Flute, 2 or 3
Clarinets, Oboe, 2 Cornets, 2 or 3 Horns, 1 or 2 Trombones, Tenor or Baritone Horn,
Euphonium, Bass, plus a Snare Drummer & Bass drummer. The cymbals would be played on
the march by the Oboe (or if carried) the Bassoon player.
Notes: *Concerning Emanuel’s surname:
For some reason his family surname on Emanuel’s Baptismal certificate was shown as Sinerco, as was his sponsor Giovanna. Possibly
that was the family name at that time.
The name Sinerco is also shown on his Certificate of Marriage.
However it is possible that this might have been a transcription error on the part of the Parish priest reading & transcribing the original
documents in 1919 – he may have read the a as an er. The same occurs on the later Certificate of Marriage.
As there were no RN attestation papers completed for new entrants after 31 Dec 1872, it is unknown exactly if his correct surname
was SINERCO, or if he had adopted the surname SINACO. His two silver medals are named SINACO & he is shown on the Egypt roll
as this surname so presumably this was his correct surname.
Notes *2: Concerning Bandsmen & Musicians.
Not all ships carried a Band, only the larger classes of ships carried a full complement Band, depending upon the size of the ship. The
Band complement was usually of about 12-24 instrumentalists, the Battleships would have carried a larger band than the Cruisers. In
the day most of the musicians in the band were “multi- handed”, that is to say they could play more than one instrument. Many of
them were quite talented & could competently play one or more wind instruments (ie: Clarinet, Flute, Cornet, Trombone, etc) & a
string Instrument (ie: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass). Thus a ship would have both a Band & an Orchestra that could perform at many
varied functions afloat & ashore.
Now the smaller ships such as Corvettes, Gun & Patrol vessels, TBD’s, smaller Cruisers (ie: 3rd cl Cruisers), would not carry a Band,
but would carry one or two Musicians on complement to provide music as required, but mainly to entertain the ships company in both
working & non working hours. Usually this Musician was quite talented & was definitely “multi handed”. I have an example in my
collection of a Violin player who was also shown as a Vocalist, so presumably had singing talent as well. As an example, the Ship’s
Band or the Ship’s Musician were always employed in playing whist the ship was coaling, which was a very regular evolution in the
It seems to me from what I have seen on Service records & reading about bands & bandsmen of the Victorian era, that if a member of
the Ship’s Band the instrumentalist would be rated as a Bandsman, but if alone on a ship that carried no Band he was rated as
Musician, however that is by no means a firm deduction.
Another anomaly is the rate of pay for the two rates: In the 1884-90 time frame a Bandsman rec’d yearly pay of 24/6/8, where a
Musician rec’d pay of 30/8/4. Why the difference is unknown, as is why Sinaco was appointed a Musician on a ship that carried a full
band. Possibly he was somehow employed as a Musician separate from the regular band.
|As can be seen below, medals to Bandsmen & Musicians can be quite contacted from frequent wear, especially if they contain the Khedives star.|