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There have been 321363 visits since 2005-10-19
This page was last accessed on 2021-05-07


Message Number: 2860 - Thu, May 6, 2021 04:48:48
[IP =] -
Name:  Derek Usher
Service Number:  RMB 3645
Hometown:  Portsmouth
Instrument/s:  Cornet/Fiddle

I've just dropped another little email to Willi Watson, who is now long into his second week recovering from his major lung operation.

It's not been easy for the poor fella obviously, and made worse I'm sure, due to the visitor restrictions in hospitals currently. His poor wife (Lesley) must also be finding it tough living 45 miles away and no longer driving. Hopefully she'll have friends and rele's who can help in that department but it can not be easy for her either poor lady.

Therefore, to those who know our Willi, it'd be appreciated I'm sure, if you could just drop him a very quick GWS (get well soon!) email to cheer him along and know that he has the RMB family's full backing!

Cheers everyone! Here's to the Reunion this year and really hope it happens this time! If things continue to get better there's now talk of social distancing being withdrawn towards the end of June or July so that will definitely make it easier for all concerned!

A manly hug, but strictly "no tongues" would be nice again!!!

Willi's email is:


Message Number: 2859 - Wed, May 5, 2021 12:54:52
[IP =] -
Name:  Adrian Brett
Service Number:  RMB 3730
Hometown:  London/Folkestone
Instrument/s:  Flute and Piano

Today 62 years ago I joined the Royal Marines. In memory of Jack Arbery RIP, who joined with me and my room mates, Dave Clegg and Les Evans I offer this short excerpt from my autobiography, soon to be published, which I think will jog the memory of all those boys who undertook the very same life journey. Stay safe!!


I walked up the old stone stairs into a small room on the top floor. Entering this old and tall building I reflected on my day, the important and binding contract I had signed that morning and how it initiated my personal journey towards an independent life, away from the confines and tension which surrounded me at home.

The travel from the Isle of Wight had been long and tiring but here I was once more in the town I knew so well and where I had grown up, had my first musical successes, and lived my first 12 years. I was relieved to be shown a bed in the corner of the room with a long mattress with blankets and pillows rolled up at the head. Opposite were four similar areas, all with a bed. Seated on a simple tubular steel chair I reflected on my day. A tall empty XXXXl locker towered over me but, unknown at the time, it would house everything that I possessed to make me what I had decided to be—a musician in HM Royal Marines. It was May 6th 1959. I was 14 year and 2 months.

I was soon joined by three other young boys who had clearly made a similar decision.

“Eeyoop lad! ‘ows tha’goin’? Owt’oop?”

“Pardon me”, I tentatively replied, not having understood a word the short blond haired boy had said.

“Wey aye man…Gang well?”…another strange voice uttered from a much older red-haired youth opposite. What had I done? Where was I? What were these strange languages?

It was obvious these room-mates had made the same decision that I had and it immediately occurred to me that for them the experience of leaving home may well have been more traumatic than it had been for me as, after all, I was returning to the town of my birth and which I knew so well. This local knowledge proved to be very useful in my early days of being accepted in this new environment and news travels fast. A local boy had joined. What did he know about the town? Who did he know? I was soon approached by several older boys, much older boys from the New Block opposite. They all wanted to know about one subject—how many girls did I know in Deal? Which ones had a reputation and track record for romantic ‘adventure’……

Now having been a star boy soprano locally I was very well known to the young girls who were in the Girl Guides at St. Leonard’s Church and there were also those who I had been to school with at South Deal County Primary. Quite soon I discovered that when these older boys from the barracks were in the town and trying to chat up the local talent the mention of my name afforded an instant introduction to the girls they wanted to know. My name became a social bridge to young romance——and it made me popular in my new environment.

Continued........go to What's New section


Message Number: 2858 - Fri, Apr 30, 2021 07:34:03
[IP =] -
Name:  Pat Hill
Service Number:  Q004163M
Hometown:  Pompey
Instrument/s:  Euph/Cello

Congratulations Paul! I too was a RHS boy (Hawke) student of the late great Bandmaster Ernie Buckingham MiD Royal Marines.


Message Number: 2857 - Fri, Apr 30, 2021 01:03:09
[IP =] -
Name:  Paul Collett
Service Number:  RMB38927
Hometown:  London now Wimborne

1st May will be 60years since I joined (3/61 squad).

Coming from RHS Holbrook I knew what to expect but some might have found it a culture shock.

Not sure how many are left but I send best wishes to all


Message Number: 2856 - Thu, Apr 22, 2021 04:28:31
[IP =] -
Name:  Michael Hickman
Service Number:  RMB 3482
Hometown:  Roquetas de Mar Spain
Instrument/s:  Bass Trombone

Greetings to all who still respond to this wonderful site. I myself have been absent for a while do not ask me why. On the subject of the funeral of Sir Winston, how I remember it well all Adrian mentioned is a good memory. My memory started on the Sunday after he had crossed the bar, I had retired to my local ale house in Deal for my usual couple of ales and the usual round of crib and domino sessions no sooner had we started, in came the provos saying go home pack your gear the transport is leaving for Portsmouth at I think four that very afternoon and we were whisked away to Pompey for a few days of slow marching along Eastney to Southsea seafront morning and afternoon for three days and then off to the big city and the rest you know.

So you all take great care you are special people many happy memories. Let's hope this years Reunion can go ahead and many people who have been for years or not all will attend and swing the lamp after all the lockdowns we have had to live through.


Message Number: 2855 - Mon, Apr 19, 2021 15:30:32
[IP =] -
Name:  Adrian Brett
Service Number:  RMB 3730
Hometown:  London /Folkestone
Instrument/s:  Flute and Piano

The subject of Churchill's funeral has been mentioned. I clearly remember the rehearsal at 2am on a cold January morning, slow marching through the City. We paused outside the Daily Mirror offices in Fleet Street and a few of us asked if we could go in for a pee as it was so cold. Once inside the building we were greeted with cheers from the workers and, in true Fleet St. tradition bottles of Scotch appeared from various drawers and cupboards and offered to us to relieve us from the bitter cold outside. Another, but more prolonged pause occurred in Whitehall right by Downing St. After some 10 minutes I bravely asked Charlie Bowden a pressing question:

"Excuse me Drum Major but what are we doing here exactly?"

"You are rehearsing for Churchill's funeral..."

"But what are we rehearsing standing still for 10 minutes in the bitter cold?"

Charlie's reply still rings in my ears....

"You're rehearsing waiting lad!!"


Message Number: 2854 - Sun, Apr 18, 2021 11:16:45
[IP =] -
Name:  Mike Tellick
Service Number:  RMB 3512
Hometown:  Sittingbourne
Instrument/s:  Clart

In reply to Michael's post. I was in the band at RNEC MANADON at the time of Churchill's funeral, Michael was the B/M. I remember watching the event on TV in the band mess, so I wonder if Michael was in the fanfare team as the band was not required for the the parade.
Yesterday's parade was a lesson in organisation which can only the Brits can do to such a standard in such a short time. Well done to all concerned.

Take care everyone,



Message Number: 2853 - Sun, Apr 18, 2021 07:50:40
[IP =] -
Name:  Barry Radford
Service Number:  RMB 3507
Hometown:  Meols Wirral
Instrument/s:  Euph and ‘Cello

Dear Richard,

Well said Michael.

I was tempted to reply to Bill but thought why bother! Things never change 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️.

A great send off to a great man, such a superb Musical presence on this great but sad occasion and surely as Michael stated, a great honour to have been a part of.

I also played at Sir Winston Churchill's funeral. Home Fleet Band stationed at Horse Guards Parade and to this day I am proud to have been there.

Regards to all



Message Number: 2852 - Sun, Apr 18, 2021 03:10:39
[IP =] -
Name:  Michael G Hutton
Service Number:  RMBX2638
Hometown:  NEWBURY
Instrument/s:  Euph & Cello

All I can say to Bill Hartland is, get over it! We all had to do gigs that were not to our liking, I recall Churchill's funeral when we stood in the rain by the Thames for what seemed hours. All part of what you joined up for.....I thought the Duke's send off was great. He has been an asset to the Royal Family all these years and I don't think any of those guys and girls that were on parade for his final gig would have not felt proud to be part of it. Well done everyone of them. Michael.


Message Number: 2851 - Sat, Apr 17, 2021 05:37:32
[IP =] -
Name:  Ernest Hartland
Service Number:  RMBX3050
Instrument/s:  Solo Clart

I am here in my bedroom watching the procedure for the Funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

This takes me back to 1965, when I should have been leaving HMS Terror, but as with others, we were kept on Station so that those who would relieve us were available for a Dignatories Funeral, I cannot recall whose funeral, maybe Sir Winston Churchill. So along with David (Jock ) Grieg, we had to spend another two months on Base. But later, that was increased to further two weeks spent in the Hotel Singapura awaiting a Flight Home.

I feel some sympathy for those Musicians who are part of this Funeral, they must be well cheesed off, and I am sure that the Late Duke would not have wanted this for his funeral.

Bill Hartland

PS. For those who may wonder about the Village Name in which I live, it was the Village of St. Conga and was also a Sea Port for the Romans who built a Fort on what we know as the 'Roddy' which is also now known as the Rhodyate Hill. A place of Scientific Importance.