MILITARY bands played a crucial role in World War One, keeping up morale with their music and often doubling up as stretcher-bearers during battle.

This picture of the band of the first Bradford Pals (the 16th West Yorks) belonged to Charles Pickworth, who is pictured on the front row wearing the leopard skin. He played the drum, cornet, French horn and bugle.

Mr Pickworth, who died in 1958 at the age of 66, kept a diary of his service with the battalion, in which he was also a stretcher-bearer.

His entry for July 1, 1916, said: "The enemy shelled us with tear gas. The band lost two men and a few shell-shocked. At this stage the wounded had to be fetched in.

"Our front line filled up with dead and wounded. It was a terrible job. We worked day and night under heavy fire from their artillery and the snipers were very busy.

"The shelling continued but both sides were busy with wounded and dead."

On July 6, the band played the survivors of the battalion out of the trenches.