Symphony earns Sydney sailor a Queens Birthday honour

Published on MIDN Aaron Wischusen (author)

Musician Leading Seaman Martyn Hancock, who also composed the musical piece
Musician Leading Seaman Martyn Hancock, who also composed the musical piece "March of the Silent Service", stands in front of decommissioned submarine HMAS Onslow at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney.

Caringbah resident, Leading Seaman Martyn Hancock has been named as a recipient of the Conspicuous Service Medal in the Queens Birthday honours list this weekend.

The father of two from the Sutherland Shire, New South Wales, has been awarded for his work in the composing and arranging of music for the Royal Australian Navy Band, particularly for his symphony for the 2013 Fleet Review.

Originally a member of the Royal Marines Band Service in the United Kingdom, Leading Seaman Hancock said he was a little taken aback by the honour. 

“It is fantastic to be recognised for my work, this means so much to me and my family,” Leading Seaman Hancock said.

“I worked very hard on my piece for the Fleet Review, sometimes working upwards of 200 hours in a month, over a six-month period.”

“The forty-minute, four movement symphony was about bringing all of the participating countries together in one musical piece, incorporating an array of traditional styles, folk tunes and patriotic melodies into one symphony.”

Although Leading Seaman Hancock admits the task was sometimes arduous, he said the end result was well received by all.

“It was difficult to recreate a number of the traditional sounds, sometimes played with exotic instruments that we were unable to source,” Leading Seaman Hancock said.

“However, through much experimentation we were able to achieve it using conventional woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.” 

“A copy of the symphony was presented to each of the nations taking part as a gift for their participation in the review.”

“The symphony was also played at the centenary celebrations of the Royal Australian Navy Band in 2013.”

Originally born in Leicester, in the United Kingdom, Leading Seaman Hancock transferred from the Royal Marines to the Royal Australian Navy in 2007, adopting Caringbah as his new home.

“We love the outdoors, so moving to Australia was something we had always considered,” Leading Seaman Hancock said. 

“When the opportunity came up, my wife and I knew we had to take it.

“We haven’t looked back, the family love it here, especially weekends spent four-wheel-driving or hiking through the Blue Mountains.”

 Leading Seaman Hancock has most recently composed a musical piece for the centenary of the introduction of submarines into the Royal Australian Navy, titled ‘March of the Silent Service.’

“It’s almost like I have come full circle, because 13 years ago I produced a musical piece for the Royal Navy for their centenary of the introduction of submarines,” Leading Seaman Hancock said.   

The Conspicuous Service Medal, which will be presented to Leading Seaman Hancock later this year, is given to those who show outstanding service or achievement in non-warlike situations.