David A ‘Charlie’ Cowling 1947-2019
David Arthur Cowling was born in Plymouth on Wednesday 19th March 1947 to parents Dennis and Ellen. Young David was a pupil at Knowle Primary School in Plymouth which was situated at the top of a hill and quite a steep walk for about three quarters of a mile. When he was starting at the school, David’s mum asked another older boy if he could go to school with him.. he agreed and from then on the boys became friends. There was an electric milk float that used to go up over the hill and honestly.. the driver’s name was Ernie, but he definitely did ‘not’ have the fastest milk cart in the West! What the older boy used to do was hide behind the bushes and when Ernie’s cart slowed down to go uphill, he’d jump on the back without him knowing.. he taught young David how to do the same, saving them the long walk up the hill. David’s mother was strict with him.. probably too strict and he would usually tremble when he was being told off. One day the boys were caught by Ernie who give them hell, he used to deliver milk to both of their houses, so he obviously knew their parents and told them what they were doing each morning, he said if a policeman saw them he would be in trouble. David’s Mum went loopy and banned him from seeing the boy and told him he was a bad influence on him. The older boys’ dad knew Ernie and knew he liked a beer, he bought him two double diamonds a week in agreement that he could travel on the back of his cart pretending he didn't know, which he accepted ! Poor David had to walk up to the top of the hill in the rain while watching his pal get cosy on the back of the float... three months later the boys met up again, they would meet up on Saturdays and often went down to the local creek, David’s mother would say to him, “Are you sure you’re not meeting that lad” and she’d give him hell... David’s dad was a lovely man, he used to laugh at the boys behind her back!.. God forbid if she had ever noticed him!
boy in question was also in the Royal Marines Cadet Band as a drummer...
he was David Langmead who went on to join the Royal Marines Band Service
as a Junior Bugler in 1960.
Charlie managed to find his way back home with a draft to Royal Marines Band Commander in Chief Plymouth based at HMS Drake, under the command of Lieutenant Ben Finney. Charlie was still a novice bugler with a lot to learn. For six-months at Plymouth, he and the other younger lads gained valuable experience from LCpl Bugler Langmead.. with one or two rollicking's.. he helped Charlie improve and become a good bugler. CinC Plymouth Band was renamed Flag Officer Plymouth in 1969 before moving across to HMS Raleigh in 1971. Charlie was a good darts player and was part of the buglers team that used to challenge other pubs out of darts season. The buglers also had a football team, Bugler Al Sutcliffe was captain and ran the team, he was from Salford so he got them to wear a Man Utd strip. Charlie played in goal and was regarded as quite a good keeper. The team were doing fairly well and held their own until they travelled to Milan in Italy to perform beat retreat and tattoo for the British trade fair fortnight. They played a local youth team and were thrashed 7-0, Charlie had to take all the flack, because he was in goal!
was honoured when Charlie asked him to be his Best Man when he married
Stonehouse girl Pauline Frost in November 1969 at St Thomas Church in
Keyham Plymouth. Charlie and David didn’t meet again for around
45 years. The couple were blessed with a son in 1971 when Anthony David
was born. Their family extended further when their second son Michael
John arrived on 27th June 1974.
passed his Senior Command Course but struggled to get through his B1’s
exam, following a gap of twenty-years he was drafted back to the Royal
Marines School of Music Staff Band Corps of Drums at Deal following
Easter leave of 1983. Charlie moved his family in to married quarters
on Freemens Way, before departing with the band to St Kitts.. Staff
Band were accompanying Princess Margaret on her visit in ceremonies
to mark the islands’ full independence from Great Britain.
Charlie and his family suffered a devastating loss when Pauline sadly passed away in August 2006. Charlie suffered with ill health himself.. he was forced to contend with heart problems for many years and was cared for by his loving family.. a family that in addition to his sons and their wives included four grandchildren. Besides his cardiac issues, he later developed the mentally crippling Alzheimer’s disease.
Charlie and David Langmead met for the first time in forty-five years when they both attended a Buglers reunion at Exmouth about 2015, David was a little upset as Charlie didn't recognise him at first. Gary Powell told him who he was... Charlie grabbed hold of him and said, “At last.. I’ve met you again before I go”, David said “Go where ?”... Charlie just smiled.
David ‘Charlie’ Cowling sadly passed away following a determined fight on 18th November 2019 aged 72, just a few days before his and Pauline’s Golden Wedding Anniversary. Charlie’s Funeral service was held at the East Devon Crematorium, Whimple Exeter on Wednesday 4th December. Gary Powell paid tribute with a eulogy to Charlie and Bugler Daryl Williams played Last Post & Reveille. Charlie’s wake was held at the Clinton Arms in nearby Littleham.