(6) 101st ex RMB Reunion October 2004
My first draft was to HMS Victory back in 1957. The only difference from those days to today is, that in today's climate you have civilian police on the gates, as was evident on the evening of the 4th Oct. But in 1957 the policing was done entirely by ratings stationed in HMS Victory. There must be many ex RMB's out there who can remember watch keeping on the main gates seeing their buddies going ashore "on the pull" and wishing you were going with them.
Also being pulled into the guard room to make sure you were not taking more than 25 Blue liners (cigarettes) ashore. By the way can anyone out there tell me when Blue liners stopped being sold on HM ships and shore establishments, or can you still get them?
Pompey may have changed over the years. With the loss of such watering holes. The Lennox scrumpy house, and the Sussex pub, which the band used to frequent in those days. And after the pubs closed we all used to converge onto the Theatre Players club on commercial Road for that extra pint or two. But I certainly wouldn't want the venue for the reunion to change. Every ex serving Bandsman has fond memories of certain Naval Barracks, and as I mentioned HMS Victory was my first draft, and I am sure everyone remembers their first draft. I may be rabbiting on a bit for which I apologise, but I cannot apologise for writing what comes from my heart. [Editor] I truly concur.
On the train from Deal to Pompey Charlie Laws and myself were talking about certain jobs we had whilst we were serving in Deal from time to time. I as company runner and postie, and Charlie as storeman. There were some people who couldn't understand why we did those jobs instead of music. Well as most people know that in Deal if you weren't in the "Staff Band" then you had to do something, so that is what we chose to do. And good jobs they were. Also it gave us the opportunity to pursue our other interests, I football, and Charlie swimming, but on leaving Deal for drafts, be it foreign or home bases we would pick up our instruments and do the job we were paid for.
As I mentioned in my last letter the memories I brought back from Pompey will stay with me for a very long time. Why I never attended them in the past I will never know. So if there is anyone out there that has never been to a reunion get yourself into gear and start thinking about next years reunion hopefully in Pompey.
Once again Richard my thanks go to you, W O II Tommy Lawton, W O Hill, and all ex and serving RMB's for a memorable week-end. Long may it continue.