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HMS Collingwood Volunteer Band
1960 - 1995

by Andrew Morris

I served in HMS Collingwood 10 times in 35 years ending up as Lt (SD) (E) (WE). My VBI Bandmasters that I can recall were 'Neff' Collins, John Hargreaves, John Odey, Len Lewry, Ben Robinson, Paul Weston and Dave Thornber. I have some good phots of my time there, and also some massed band phots from HMS St Vincent. Ironic that BRNC RM Band has ended up in HMS Collingwood. I wonder if the Commodore HMS Collingwood will let the volunteer and RM bands play together so that they can again play Mechanised Infantry and Little Bugler with about 20 Bugles.

I could scan and e-mail those phots if you want them for your excellent website. I've a good one of John Hargreaves with the Queen Mother when she visited HMS Collingwood in 1966. She seemed to know John!

Click images for full size.
John Hargreaves
John Odey
Len Lewry
HMS St Vincent

John Hargreaves was with the Queen Mother when she came to HMS Collingwood in 1966. She presented a white ensign flown at the Battle of Jutland which is still on display in the Wardroom. John Odey was officiating at the Freedom of Fareham celebration in about 1974. Len Lewry was in charge at the Royal Military Police do in Chichester circa 1982. The HMS St Vincent Royal Marine Band were included in the Ships Bugle Band in 1960. Dave Aves was the Bugle instructor who used to take the lads down to the US Civil War cemetary in St Vincent and I am sure they probably did waken the dead.

'Dusty' Miller
'Dusty' Miller
John Odey

Dusty Miller was my Bandmaster in HMS Invincible 1989 and these phots (above) were the Official before and after the reception. They always seemed to have plenty of Rum even though the tot had long gone.
John Odey was VBI for the Freedom of Fareham about 1974.

HMS Invincible witih 'Dusty' Miller 1989/90

Dusty Miller with Concert Band playing for the Cocktail Party in Wilmington North Carolina
Dusty Miller leading Beat the Retreat in the hanger.
Morning colours in Fort Lauderdale.
The Ship was lucky enough to be West Indies Guardship during this period as there were few conflicts to bother us then.

John Hargreaves was my Bandmaster in 1966 and we had a good band with plenty of fine young artificers
who could play well. With a good supply of Buglers from HMS St Vincent, Mechanised Infantry which we always marched onto Ceremonial Divisions to, sounded very good from a drummers point of view.
In 1974 John Odey was our 'Bandy' and playing started to improve with my first Volunteer Band Festival at HMS Collingwood although I think they had been going on before this. John is conducting the HMS Collingwood Band from the old dais and the massed bands is after the band festival.
With the introduction of Royal Marines Band Collingwood the parade ground will once again ring with the sounds of the Great Old Marches.

1960 HMS St Vincent Bugle Band in half blues, Royal Marine Band Full Blues. Doesn't seem fair really!
With the reduction in numbers of Royal Marine Bandsmen at the end of the eighties, we seemed to get the gigs that the Royals didn't enjoy so the Massed Volunteer Bands supporting the
Royal Naval Association at the Royal Tournament in 1990.

Some of the Band Photos from HMS Collingwood not sure of the years but will try.
Simon Morgan? not sure if it is him but circa 1980 HMS Collingwood
Ben Robinson HMS Collingwood circa 1976
Paul Weston HMS Collingwood circa 1990
All Band Colour Sergeants RM as VBI's. Not sure they all enjoyed the job though.

Dave Thornber relieved Paul Weston in about 1993.
1991 Paul with Captain HMS Collingwood and the Premier Volunteer Band of The Royal Navy
and the Things I did for John Odey in about 1973 when Lord Mountbatten visited HMS Collingwood for Trafalgar Night. I Played Lillibulero up and down the rows of tables and the chuck up we got at the end still rings in my ears. The other 2 lads were PO Chefs commandeered for their role. I volunteered!
Cheers Richard and Good Luck with your excellent Website.

It's fascinating and brings back so many fine memories.

Andrew Morris

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