March of the Silent Service commemorates the 2014 Australian Submarine Centenary, and is a unique achievement of Martyn's as he also had the privilege of composing the British Submarine Centenary march back in 2001, titled The Jolly Roger.
In contrast to The Jolly Roger’s powerful themes evocative of the daring submarining feats of the Royal Navy, March of the Silent Service reflects the expertise and intelligence collection that the RAN Submarine Service is better known for, hence their motto “Silent Service".
Although playable as a parade march, the version for concert platform (as in the recording) also uses additional instruments for certain effects. Of particular note is an ostinato vibraphone with fast motor that can be heard throughout the second half (Trio section) to emulate a submarine’s sonar. In addition, repetitive ascending and descending lines within the tenor section throughout the introduction depict a submarine’s diving alarm. Also, very subtle hints of the theme to the film Crimson Tide, as well as the Beatle’s song Yellow Submarine, can be heard within the bass solo passage and the trombone countermelody (towards the end of the Trio section) respectively.