my career in the RM Band service the man we are all here to honour has
had a kindly influence on mine & many others lives. I first met
Charlie in 1950 when as a 16 year old band boy along with 300 others
the Royal Naval School of Music moved from Burford to the Depot in Deal.
We had travelled by train via Oxford and Charing Cross to Deal station
where we were met by the CO who welcomed us to Deal. Then the Staff
Band led by Drum Major Charlie Bowden plus 300 band boys marched through
the town to East Barracks which was to be our new home. After boys training
and a couple of years away in the CinCs Band in Malta I was promoted
to B/Cpl and drafted back to Deal as a member of the Staff Band under
Bandmaster David Woods with Charlie as Drum Major. During the next 4
years as well as our duties in the Depot where most recruits joined
up, the Band Service encountered many changes including the appointment
of Vivian Dunn as the principal Director of Music. These were difficult
times as all HM services had to make cuts and the RMSM was in some difficulty
as regards survival. We should be thankful for people like Charlie the
senior corps Drum Major with his enthusiasm for the School of Music
for helping to keep the Band service alive.
There were many engagements where Charlie and the Bandmaster along with
the PDM kept us as professional as possible ie; Royal Tournaments, Edinburgh
Tattoos, White City Tattoos, Horse Guards Parades etc plus tours abroad
in the USA and Europe.
I was drafted to another ship HMS Gambia in the late 50s and on my return
with promotion to B/Sgt served another term in the Staff Band and as
a SNCO got to know Charlie more intimately. He was a tremendous help
to me at that time in promotion courses and in my duties as a SNCO plus
many tips on being a Drum Major which on my next draft to HMS Albion
as a VBI plus Drum Majoring duties in HMS Terror were invaluable.
1961 I was in the Bandmasters class for that year and again Charlie
was always available with advice on innumerable subjects to do with
organisation and training in the Band Service. In 1963 I was promoted
to Bandmaster and in forming a band in Deal to join HMS Thunderer Charlie
was again there to help and advise which he did for all in the depot.
I spent two years in the West Country before being selected to attend
the RAM in London in preparation for further promotion and on my return
to Deal was appointed as Bandmaster of the Staff Band.. my Drum Major
of course was Charlie Bowden. From Sept 1966 to Nov 1968 when I left
the Band Service I always found Charlie to be the most loyal friend
and colleague and am honoured to have known him. Michael Hutton.