My Life in the Royal Marines Band Service - Circa 1947-1968
by Michael G. Hutton
Next stop a whirlwind tour of costal India with visitations by many local dignitaries involving the Band at every port. You have to realise that it was only ten years since India had become independent after 200 years of being ruled by and part of the British Empire. So our visits were very important to the UK government who were trying to keep on good terms with the Indian and Pakistan rulers. Also helping their defence forces by selling arms and warships and assisting in the training of their servicemen especially the Navy. That was one of the reasons why there were so many Naval exercises during that year.
First port of call was Madras…I remember it with affection as my only claim to fame on the cricket field. Whilst in Madras (now called Chennac) I played for the Royal Navy eleven against the Indian Navy in a two day match making a score of 91 not out in a score of 320 for 6 declared. Then took 4 wickets in their first innings and 2 in their second, giving us a victory by an innings and 40 odd runs. I wish I'd kept the scorecard!!!! This was one of four matches we played in India. The others were in Vizagapatam, Calcutta and finally a club match in Bombay against a European side of Brit's working in India.
When in Calcutta after many Band engagements we were given a tour of the historical sites including the infamous 'Black Hole' (you can check your own history books for information on Clive of India etc;) We were also invited to spend a day on an Indian Navy Training Ship for young officers which included climbing to the top of the main mast which was a bit frightening and having to eat the hottest curry I'd ever had.
my first two and half years in Malta where most of the single guys had
a girl in every port on our travels around the Med - this part of the
world was very different. We were all advised not to get involved with
the locals as venereal diseases were rife on the Indian continent which
was always a problem when abroad. In fact the Band/Sgt was sent home
when we returned to Aden as he was one of the unlucky ones, but it did
lead to me being promoted to acting Sergeant. After India it was back
to Trincomalee for big Naval exercises with all the local Navy's and
more sport including cricket, hockey and water polo. The Band hockey
team played against the Pakistan Navy side and we did manage to score
1 goal to their 14! They were mostly the Olympic side at the time.
Richard Valentine -1996 - 2010 © - All rights reserved