This years Adelaide reunion, after some difficulties in finalising a venue for the Saturday lunch, went off okay.

There being only Bill Matthews and his wife Sylvia arriving by air on Friday, this time Bob Chumley did the honours and was there to meet them. This meant that Jan and I only needed to leave home on the Wednesday instead of the usual Monday.We were able to take it easy and were able to have a halfway overnight stop.

We gathered to meet and greet in the dining room of our Motel at 1730 on the Friday. Those attending were, Eric Hayward and Jan, Bob Chumley, Bill Matthews and Sylvia, Barrie Baker and Sandra, Ray Taylor and Jennie, Ginge Chamberlain and Maria, and new to our group Mick Dowrick and his wife Heather. Also joining us were Bill Voice and Jim Dearing and Brian Watkins from the Adelaide Branch of the RMA and from the RAN Tom Marling.

At last years reunion breakup it was suggested that we try to find a different venue for our Official Lunch. So Bob, being a local lad, had been trying for several months to arrange for the lunch to be held in the Sgts Mess of an Adelaide Army Barracks. He had been told that it would be okay. He therefore made all the necessary arrangements. It almost turned out to be a no show as only a few days before we were to be there it all went wrong. Firstly the date had been entered wrongly by the Mess sec. Then, apparently, as the Mess only employs a Chef when and if required, they had forgotten to advise him. Then, they couldn't find him anyway.

At the very last minute Bob made an executive decision and approached our hosts at the motel. They were able to oblige and lunch was served at the right time on the right day which was appreciated.
After The Loyal Toast and Toast to Absent Friends it was time to read a letter that I had received from the PDM, Col Nick Grace OBE. In it he detailed just how busy the RM Bands had been during the Corps 350th year. He also wished us well for our reunion.

We are now hoping that our original Luncheon Venue "HMS Buffalo" will be "re Commissioned" by the date of our 2016 reunion as it has been bought and is being refurbished.

On Sunday it was time for our BBQ by the pool. Again the food was provided by our Motel hosts with of course the bar being open.

Then came the reading of "Paddy's Poem". This has become a tradition over the last ten years when Paddy Semple, even though he can no longer attend, thinks kindly of us and joins us in spirit with his poem arriving by email in time for it to be read by Barrie Baker in as close to an Irish brogue as he can manage.

It was then time for us all to once again, go our separate ways with the promise that we will all meet again next year here in Adelaide on the first weekend in April.

On a sad note one of our stalwart reunion followers, Ralph Payne (88) decided that he would take his wife on a cruise instead of attending the reunion. Unfortunately I was informed yesterday 1st April that Ralph had died at sea. I believe Ralph may have been the last surviving member of the Band of HMS Howe. He had in recent months after much pressuring, been writing his history. This he had hoped would be reproduced in the Blue Band.

WE have been very lucky over the period since 2004 with no change in prices at our Motel.Now as the motel has changed hands I will pass on the new prices when I know them.

My kind regards to all members, serving or having served,



Reunions bring us all together - with some memories from the past
All based on solid friendships - and camaraderie built to last
You never know who you will meet - some pals who served before
A friendship that may have started - on some far distant shore

The one thing we know for sure - and it separates us, from the rest
Friendships in the Royal Marines Band - last forever and are the best
There's just something about it - it's so loyal and so true
When Bandies get together they all know what to do

They sometimes have to swing the lights - reminiscing about time at sea
Or even talk about an event - which they remember with such glee
But most of the time they just sit and smile - with a grin from ear to ear
As they speak together, two long lost friends - both drinking lots of beer

The mood can change quite quickly - when friends, now gone are mentioned
It makes them very sad at times - but all thoughts are well intentioned
Of days now gone, so far away - leaving memories that never fade
Of a banyan or a beer together - in Bugey Street, in the shade

So with respectful thoughts, we raise a glass - to our dear friends, now departed
We thank them for those times together - and the memories before we parted
Every year we think of you - and the times together, we never forget
Not being here with us today - is our biggest, ever regret

(We 'Toast all our absent friends')

For those still going will know only too well - age does not help you try to stay healthy
It is not easy for everyone to try to get through - but staying pain free makes you wealthy
I have had a stroke, a heart attack - and more recently an attack of gout
But I still smile and carry on - and hopefully stay in with a shout

I hope your reunion is a resounding success - and you all enjoy many more
I hope you stay happy throughout the day - enjoy your beer but stay off the floor
Try to take everything in your stride - but remember you are not a young laddie

Next year my dreams may all come true - and you will be joined once again by Paddy

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