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Born Ferdinand Friedrich Hermann Nielebock on April 17th 1888 in the small German village of Brandenburg, Herms Niel left school in 1902 and served his early musical apprenticeship in the small town band of Gethin. In 1906 he joined the Kaiser’s Army as a trombonist in the band of the First Infantry Guard Regiment (1. Garderegiment zu Fuss) seeing service through the whole of World War One as a sergeant band-leader before finally being demobilised in 1919.

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