By Submitted Article on January 21, 2020.
By Graham Ruttan
Robert Findlay donated a tuba to the Galt in June 2019. Findlay told Galt staff that he was a member of former local bands that were directed by the late Frank Hosak.
During the Second World War, the British Army captured thousands of members of the German army in northern Africa, including “Rommel’s Desert Corps Band.” The captured band was transported to Canada with their instruments, where they were imprisoned in Prisoner of War Camp 133 in Lethbridge. Hosak, a local band leader, came into possession of the instruments sometime after the German prisoners of war were released and repatriated to Germany.
Hosak offered music lessons in Lethbridge and directed several different bands over the years. Findlay came to know Hosak when he began to take lessons with him as a member of the Lethbridge City Band in the 1950s. Findlay said Hosak kept the instruments in his garage. “I got to be really good friends with [him] and when his wife died he had to move out of his house. That’s when he wanted to know if I wanted the instruments so that’s when I got them. [He offered them to me] because I was starting a community bandÉ [in] CoaldaleÉ out there at the schools, and we didn’t have any money for instruments.”
Findlay took most of the instruments, including the POW camp tuba, “[This tuba] was very unique with the four rotary valvesÉ It’s a real quality instrument, that tuba. It would be sort of the predecessor of what they call a Miraphone tuba which is a real expensive type.” Findlay previously donated a flute and flugelhorn with the same Camp 133 origin story to the Galt in 1990.
The Galt Museum & Archives cares for an extensive collection of objects that help show how people experienced Lethbridge and southern Alberta in the past. These objects are important parts of our cultural heritage. You can explore the full collection of objects online at collections.galtmuseum.com.
Your old photos, documents, and artifacts might have historical value. Please contact Galt Museum & Archives for advice before destroying them.