I had been in Berlin for some months and some friends mentioned if I was planning to go to the British Tattoo at the Deutschlandhalle. I was immediately interested – I knew what Tattoo’s were as I had been to some in England as a child. And, yes, I did want to see another one, especially as I was told that the Tattoos in the Deutschlandhalle were spectacular and had been held in Berlin every other odd year.
By now the posters were everywhere and soon it was time to go. I brought my tripod, the Nikon F2S, two or three lens, five or six rolls of slide film and took the bus to the Hall. I was half expecting to be told I could not take all that equipment once I arrived to buy my ticket but the ticket sellers and the gate attendants said not a single word. I had a feeling about this time that all the camera gear I was carrying was nothing unusual when it came to the Tattoo. I was able to get a seat in the middle of the hall about the second or lower third tier up; all-in-all, not a bad seat unless the events would be facing the other side of the arena. I tried to be very careful going to my seat but every once in a while I would bump one of the other people in the row and some took it in good grace, others not so gracefully…especially when it involved the tripod.
The Berlin Observer (a word of caution – this link takes a very long time to load: I’ve
provided an extract of the article) gave a short story on the cover page with the picture of the Drum Major labeled “The Face that Launched a Thousand Trips”. As you can see in the Observer’s description, the Tattoo was quite the show with the Massed Bands, The White Helmet motorcyclists, the Royal Navy Ladder team, gymnasts, the Welsh Choir, a London theme, and of all things, a Sioux helicopter was towed in and flew around the arena.
This was the first of two Tattoos I saw. The second was in 1977 with my wife, pregnant at the time with our oldest son who was keeping time with the Pipes and Drums.
I have about 70 or so images from the 1975 Tattoo, obviously way too many for a single post. So, I will stagger them over the next few weeks starting with the Royal Navy Window Ladder display.
I hope you enjoy seeing a little bit of Tattoo history. I have looked for other photos from this particular event but haven’t been able to really run across any. There’s more to come!
Tools: Nikon F2S, 80-200 mm; 24mm; 43-86 mm; PS5, NIK Software