Ex-members of the Hamilton Firefighters Drum Corps are eligible to participate in functions of the Alumni Association.
The current executive is:
President - Bob Saunders Sr. Unlisted     Bob Saunders
Treasurer - Wayne Peters (905) 388-5337  Wayne Peters
Secretary - Gary Zoskey (519) 429-3228   Gary Zoskey
Communications - Gary Zoskey - (519) 429-3228  Gary Zoskey

The Alumni Association is a social organization with the aim of promoting Fellowship amongst ex-members of the HFFDC. There are currently over 300 eligible ex-HFFDC members.

Bob Saunders, Gary Zoskey, Wayne Peters

AA members accompany the Drum Corps on away trips, where feasible.
The AA promotes fund-raising activities of the Drum Corps and lends a hand in running the Banquet Facility.

Full Membership List    - Link to a full list of past members of the Drum Corps 2/6/15

Ray Bertin passed away February 3, 2015, aged 84.

Vic Collins passed away March 26, 2014  

Barney Bovard passed away July 25, 2013

Bruce Wainwright passed away 9/25/2011

Gerry Tremblay passed away November 17, 2010.  He died in a traffic accident while driving from Hamilton to Brantford.

Fred Sanderson passed away in November, 2010.

Joe Riccotone passed away in 2010.

Ted Brazier passed away in June, 2010. He succumbed to cancer.

Don Rattray passed away in June, 2010. Don collapsed at his trailer from a heart attack.


Phil John passed away in September, 2004. Phil was a long time member of the HFFDC. A bass drummer in the original "Colonel" line. Phil had been in ill health for the past few years.


Ron MacIntyre Sr.

Mac passed away Friday, August 20, 2004

A kind of cute email we received the other day:

I am John Bratschitsch, a 1 year member of the band (1976-1977), a 7 year Riley (between 1969 and 19'76), and a RCSCC band member (1968-1969). My best memories
are from those days, and now I'm just a 50 year old corporate creature with a lot of responsibility and no fun. I've been acquainted with a lot of band members past and
present, and I was a pretty good first soprano. I was actually one of the guys that respected Roy Collins. My big mistake was giving up music to become an infantry officer
(mainly out of resentment because Collins passed me over for corporal). But I realized my mistake when it came time to pay mess dues. Anyway, there are several
reasons for this e-mail. One: I am not deceased, though I've had lots of fun telling people that the internet says that I'm dead; Two: I think that I'd like to attend the reunion,
but I'm not sure that I qualify because I was in the Firefighters for only 1 year; and lastly, because I'm starting to believe the website about my demise, and I'd like to be
present at my wake in the event deceased mermbers are recognized more so than when they were alive (more attention than I get at home).

Anyway, if I don't qualify as an alumni can you please correct your website so my mother can be assured that I am not dead, as such things are very upsetting to her? .

Best Regards,
John Bratschitsch

The Colonel is gone

James Inrig Jr.  "Jimmy", "The Colonel" passed away on Friday, December 26, 2003.
Jimmy was the original percussion intsructor of the HFFDC. Jim continude to instruct the Firefighters drum line abd compose all percussion music for over thirty-five years. Jim was and "Honorary Member For Life" of the HFFDC.
Jimmy produced top level drum lines for all of those years. The "Colonel" was in the RHLI Bugle Band, The Viscounts Drum Corps and the Canadian Commanders Drum Corps.
He will be sadly missed by many drummers across Canada and the U.S.A.

Ronald Falla Sr. passed away on Sunday, December 7, 2003, in his 77th. year.
Ron was the original brass instructor of the Hamilton Firefighters Drum Corps when it was started, in 1961 and one of its' founding members. He was the first "non-firefighter" to be a member of the Corps. Ron served as drum major in 1990 an 1991. He had a long and distinguished career in the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Bugle Band, serving as Bugle Major for many years. Ron was one of the original members of the Viscounts Drum Corps.
Still serving member sof the HFFDC are Ron's son Ron Jr, his daughter-in-law Laura Jean, his granddaughter Victoria and Mat Falla.
Ron had been an "Honorary Member For Life" of the HFFDC, an honor that is not bestowed on very many people.

Fortieth Anniversary Party
On October 20th., the Alumni Association sponsored and organized a social event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Hamilton Firefighters Drum Corps. This event was a great success, with many of the alumni attending. Bill Mitchell, the founder of the Corps was honoured by having the Members Lounge renamed and dedicated "The William Mitchell Lounge"
The Toronto Signals Band brought their bus on the way home from the Pumpkinfest Parade. They honoured the alumni by playing most of their show.  Then the Sig's and HFFDC joined together to play a few numbers. A fine time was had by all.
Bob Saunders and the rest of the Alumni Executive are to be congratulated on a tremendous job.
Gary Zoskey took some photo's.  He had them developed in Texas, where he is vacationing, scanned them and sent them along.
Click on the clown and you will go to another page showing the photo's.

This note was received from Bill Brown as his reply to the 40th. Anniversary invitation.

History Note      Nellie Heddle

Bill Hart, a founding member and past-president of the Corps', mother-in-law passed away on September 1, 2001.
In the early 1960's, Mrs. Nellie Heddle designed and constructed, three of the flags that the HFFDC has carried for many years. 1) The Drum Corp Flag;  2) The flag with the fire-axe head;  3) The flag with the Maltese  Cross. The photo at the right shows all three flags being carried in the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade in 1990.
The photo shows the Corps on 5th. Avenue, in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral. After the Corps played "Danny Boy", the Bishop of New York came down onto the street and shook the Drum Major's hand.
Two of the three flags are still in regular use to this day.


Al Morrison Testimonial Dinner
Retirement dinner to honour Al's many years of playing and instructing the Corps.
Friday, October 6, 2000 (It was almost a Commanders reunion).

In Memorium
John (Jack) Gibbons, Baritone Line
Born March 17, 1930 - Passed away October 2, 2002 in his 73rd. year
In Service with HFFDC 6 years.

11th. Field Battery Trumpet Band - 1946 - 1948
1st. Independent Signals Squadron Band  - 1952 - 1954
Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Bugle Band  - 1956 - 1961
Viscounts Drum Corps  - 1959 - 1964
Canadian Commanders Drum Corps  - 1964 - 1966
Hamilton Firefighters Drum Corps - 1996 - 2002
Canadian GAS Ensemble  - 2000 - 2002

In Memorium
John (Jack) Hargrove, Colour Guard, Drum Line, Glockenspiel, Cymbals
Passed away February 16, 2001 in his 71st. year
In Service with HFFDC 7 years.

In Memorium
Jim Lisson, Drum Line, Bass & Specials
Passed away January 24, 2001
In service with HFFDC approx. 10 years.
There aren't many pictures of Jim.  This is the only one we could find.  It was taken marching in the 1969 Grey Cup Parade, in Montreal.

In Memorium   Lynda Dowell, Colour Guard  Passed away October 19, 2000.  In service with the HFFDC - 2 1/2 years.
  Lynda is on the far right in this picture of the Guard.

In Memorium
Milt Kindree, Colour Guard
January 16, 1923 to September 14, 2000
In Service with HFFDC  - September 1, 1961  to September 13, 2000

In this photo, Milt is the second man from the left, carrying the Canadian flag. He served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, running convoy escort for the merchant marine in the triangle from from New York City to Newfoundland to England.
Milt was an active Hamilton firefighter for 37 years. He was one of the original founding members of the HFFDC.  Along with sixty other firefighters, he canvassed the downtown merchants of Hamilton, raising the initial funds to start up the Corps. He served on the executive board of the Corps for several years during the early 1980's.

Although he had been sick for the past two years, Milt remained on the Corps' "active" roll, because he always wanted to be an active member and, after 39 years of continuous service, couldn't bring himself to retire.

Milt was actively marching with the Corps up until about two years ago, and even after that, he and his wife Eileen, still participated in many Corps activities.


"Uncle Miltie" always attended, and enjoyed the G.A.S. reunions, wherever they were held. The picture to the right shows him at the Y2K G.A.S. Reunion in Baltimore this past May. Milt is seen wearing his (now famous) Hamilton Tiger-Cat pyjamas, talking to Carmen, of the Audubon Bon-Bons Chorus.

In Memorium - Ray Andrew, 1st. Soprano
August 5, 1945 to April 4, 2000
In Service with HFFDC  - Sixteen years


In Memorium - Warren Sabourin, Drum Major
Feb. 20, 1945 to Feb. 2, 2000
In Service with HFFDC  - Total of 28 years

In Memorium - Lloyd Williams, Drum Major
March 6, 1938 to March 30,1998
In Service with HFFDC  - September 1, 1962 to January 1, 1996

St. Patricks Day Parade, New York City 1991

In Memorium - George Sheppard, Drum Major, Founding Member
In Service with HFFDC  - September 1,1961 to December 2, 1980

Photo's by Bill Hart

In Memorium - Eric Wildish, Vice President, Founding Member
In Service with HFFDC September 1, 1961 to January 1, 1992


This image is from a 35mm slide, taken in 1972 by Eric's long time friend, Bill Hart.
It was stored in damp conditions and has deteriorated somewhat.

Many of the HFFDC Alumni are ex-members of the Viscounts Senior Drum & Bugle Corps


A number of the HFFDC Alumni Association are also ex-members of the Guelph Royalaires


To contact the AA by e-mail: Bob Saunders, President;  Gary Zoskey, Communications Chair or Wayne Peters, Treasurer

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Last Updated December 31, 2015 by Peter Mason