My Life in the Royal Marines Band Service - Circa 1947-1968
by Michael G. Hutton
of the band returned to the UK after two years or more and we all went
our separate ways, some of them I've never seen since. Having passed
the promotion courses in Malta I was promoted to full Corporal and drafted
into the Staff Band of the School of Music in Deal where I met for the
first time Lt Col Vivian Dunn who had become the principal Director
of Music RM. Little did I realize at that time that 10 years hence I
would end up as Bandmaster of that premier band in the Royal Marines.
Staff Band duties were many and varied over the next three and a half
years and during that time I was involved in more musical activities
in and around Kent as well as my RM duties in barracks. There had been
a momentous change at the School of Music in the couple of years that
I had been away which culminated in the arrival of Col Vivian Dunn in
Deal. He had been the Musical Director of the Royal Yacht Band based
in Portsmouth for many years (a position that his father had purchased
for him in the late 30s) and that band along with the Plymouth and Chatham
Divisional Bands had been run by private subscriptions and were not
part of the RMSM even though they wore a similar uniform.
Our duties in the Staff Band covered a vast range of activities including the Depot parades every day for recruits training. There were over five hundred of them under instruction most of the time as the Depot was where they joined up and received their initial training. There were church parades most Sundays - Band on the march then Orchestra in church. Then once a month the whole parade would march down the strand, on to the sea front, turn left by the Regent Cinema and back through the main street along the strand again and in through South Barracks gates. I can tell you that was quite a hike! The only one that could beat that was Winton Churchill's Funeral when we marched and played for three hours.
Since I had been away in Malta the boys wing had moved their accommodation into a new building in North Barracks which was shared with the RM recruits, also a brand new dining hall complex which catered for all, leaving East Barracks just for training and teaching boy musicians. This was all opened by the Queen Mother in the early 50s.
concerts were held every week in our own concert hall run by the PDM
for his benefit and so that promotion classes would get experience conducting
the orchestra. These were very popular with the staff and by the local
community who would fight for tickets! Recordings at EMI studios in
Maida Vale London and broadcasts on the BBC for 'Listen to the Band,'
'Marching and Waltzing' and 'Friday Night is Music Night' were very
frequent. I also remember in those couple of years performing at two
Royal Tournaments and two Edinburgh Tattoo's. We also embarked on a
two week tour of Canada performing concerts in Toronto, Montreal, London
Ontario and Vancouver.
Richard Valentine -1996 - 2010 © - All rights reserved