Photo's courtesy John Meir

The organisation of the Fourth reunion of ex RMBs in Australia started with much telephone and email traffic between myself, Bob Chumley and Tom Lambert, culminating in a weekend to remember.

On Friday 28th March we gathered at the Watermark Hotel in Glenelg South Australia and found to our pleasant surprise that of all those who said they would attend, there was only one absentee. Present were, Eric Hayward RMBX3051, Bob Chumley RMBX3195, Tom Lambert RMBX1863, Ralph Payne RMBX1763, Allan Bulley RMBX1927, Mike Butcher RMBX2842, Paddy Semple RMB3868, Ginge Chamberlain RMB3683, Ray Watts RMBX2349, Jim Mason RMBX2353, John Meir RMB3696, Dan Archer RM22378, Taff (Edward) Clark RMB3566, Mick Hutton RMBX2638, Bill Matthews RMBX3242, Barrie Baker RMBX3840, Tony Oberdries RMBX3338, Pat Trevis RMBX2949, Bill Billet RMBX2977, Vince Harris RMBX2255, Ray (Taff) Taylor RMBX3615, Joe Simms RMBX2231, Max Beare RMBX2234, and Michael Thompson RM26543.

Also in attendance were Capt. Richard Long and Sergeant Bugler Mark/Deli Snell who had been given permission to attend by the PDM Lt/Col Chris Davis.

Anyway to continue, on Friday evening there was much "lamp swinging" for a few hours as we all seemed to have so much to catch up on. Of course we had to sample the food and drink, just to fill in time of course!

Now, Saturday 29th was 'THE' day and at 1145 hrs we gathered beside HMS Buffalo to assemble for the group Photograph. We were joined at this time by our guest of Honour, Ex Musician Ted Jones RMBX1179, one of the two remaining survivors of the Royal Marines Band of HMS Exeter, sunk in a surface action in the Battle of the Java Sea on 1st March 1942, the full story is elsewhere on your site. [Click Here]

After completion of the taking of photos we were then 'Piped Aboard' by a group of Royal Australian Navy cadets and assembled on the lower deck for the official lunch. Whilst waiting for our orders to be taken Capt Richard Long came to the fore and he gave us a brief resume of the present day Royal Marines Band Service, and I must say that we all learned something from his talk. Apparently there are no coaling duties or guarding of the depot with entrenching tool handle, torch and whistle anymore. Do ANY of the present generation realise what they are missing. Sorry, I digress.

The 'Loyal Toast' and the 'Toast to Absent Friends', was ably and with humility proposed by Capt. Tom Lambert. He is retired of course, and is now going uphill towards 81 and he remarked at the time that we all seemed to be getting so much taller. (and that will become evident in the photo which should arrive SOON Richard)

Now as part of the reason for Capt. Long's attendance, came the time to make a presentation to Ted Jones of several items to do with the present day band service and also to let Ted view a video of a message sent to him by his long lost shipmate, ex musician Tom King, who lives in the UK and who he had not seen or spoken to face to face for 62 years. I must say that it was very emotional, not just for Ted, but for all present and there were not many dry eyes in the place. Ted was then asked to make a reply and Capt. Long and Sgt Snell handled those proceedings in a most professional manner and brought great credit to the Band Service. Esprit de Corps was most evident in their presence.

The food, as on past occasions on board HMS Buffalo was well presented and there were no complaints. Once again, chatting took up most of the afternoon and the evening was free to sleep it all off, unless of course more liquid refreshment was required.

Sunday 30th dawned cold wet and windy but by the time for our BBQ lunch it had improved somewhat. I did ask that those coming from the UK could bring some UK type rain with them as we in Victoria and South Australia have been in drought conditions for upwards of ten years so we couldn't complain.

It was at the BBQ that we discussed if, and where, the next Australasian reunion should be held and after a few emotional remarks from several members it was decided that it would be held in Adelaide, as previously, and that it would, if possible be at approximately the same time next year. That is most probably last weekend of March 2009, providing we can get the venues for then.

So from here on, both Bob Chumley, Tom Lambert, and I will be at it again, sending out reminders and updates so that as many of you as possible, along with your wives or partners may spend some of the "hard earned", and forward book your fares and accommodation to join us here in Adelaide, South Australia for the FIFTH reunion of ex RMBs.

Just as an aside. Our oldest ex member, other than Ted Jones, he being Ralph Payne RMBX1763 , was invalided out in 1954.

Regards to all past and present members

Eric Hayward OAM RMBX3051

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