RMBX 2334 Bandmaster David G. Elliott.
joined the Royal Marines Band Service in January 1946 at Burford in
Oxfordshire - just two days after his 14th birthday. He trained as a
Band Boy to play Violin, Clarinet & Alto Sax. In July 1949 he became
a qualified musician under the School of Music regime and was posted
to the band at HMS Ganges. After a year at Ganges and promotion to musician
1st class it was time for sea bound ships as I’m sure you all
know HMS Ganges was a shore establishment. David was drafted to HMS
Mauritius and then transferred to HMS Kenya where he was promoted to
Band Cpl. He returned to the UK early in 1953 and was then sent to the
Portsmouth Divisional Band. At that time the Divisional Bands were not
affiliated to the Royal Marines School of Music and were run by private
subscriptions, but that was to change almost immediately after David
arrived there and I’m certain that he was one of the first School
of Music players to join the Divisional Band.
After six years with the Pompey Band it was time to move on, so it was back to the RMSM now permanently in Deal for promotion courses. He was made Band/Sgt in 1960 - took the Bandmasters course and was promoted to that rank in July 1963.
Although I had known David as a band boy in Burford, it was during the 60s at the RMSM that we became firm friends. I was Bandmaster of the Staff Band in Deal and the Principal Director of Music Col Vivian Dunn often asked me to organize a trio to perform at VIP occasions which included medal ceremonies at the palace, Lord Mayors banquets, MCC Dinners and such like. All three of us enjoyed this tremendously because David was such a terrific violinist and along with Dougy Drake who was a brilliant pianist, I only had to put in a few notes on my ‘Cello and we became a formidable ensemble.
David’s next post was in HMS Eagle as Bandmaster from 64 - 66 with just about two and a half years at sea which would be more than enough to cope with - with jet planes, sailors and all the ceremonial and entertainment engagements that went with a job like that. Fellow members of that band have been in touch with me to tell me of their admiration for his work during that period. From 68 to 70 David was Bandmaster to the Commander in Chief Far East at HMS Terror in Singapore. While there he was able to form the first Boys Brigade Band which I think is still operating. His final two years were spent between Portsmouth and Plymouth sharing his talents between various RM Bands. During this time his wife Joan died leaving a large gap in his life which lead to a period of great unhappiness.
left the Royal Marines Band Service in January 1972 at the compulsory
retirement age of 40 having completed 26 years of exemplary service
and good conduct. He started work at Boosey & Hawkes in London as
a musical instrument specialist and it was there some months later that
we met up again and I was able to persuade him to come to Christ’s
Hospital as my assistant. We made a great team and the music at the
school which included a military band of about 70 players, orchestra
and Dance Band which David started, went from strength to strength.
I left Christ’s Hospital in 1975 and David took on the job as
Bandmaster. During the next sixteen years the standard of music at the
school improved continuously and with the addition of girls in the 80s
made the making of music even more varied.