Gregory Barrett was born in Bexley Kent on Friday 12th June 1964, he was raised along with his brothers Tony and Simon in Brookside Road Northfleet near Gravesend by parents Harry and Joan. Young Greg was educated at Meopham School between 1975-80 and his major pastime was spent performing alongside his brothers in the ‘Gravesend Corps of Drums’.. an American style marching band.
Greg joined the Royal Marines Band Service as a Junior Bugler on 8th September 1980 along with former Corps Drum Major James ‘Wiggy’ Whitwham, Mark Snell, Paul Foley, Tony Moore, Baz Hansford, Andy Orfila and John Hobson. They all quickly adapted to service life in basic training under the instruction of Sgt Tony Hewling and learned their trade under the guidance of Cpl Bugler Mick Hughes. The Buglers of 3/80 were thrown in at the deep end.. and fronted the Junior Band as early as May 1981, none of us will ever forget our first gig.. the 1981 Buglers Reunion at Eastney, then the United States Marine Corps Ball at London’s Grosvenor Hotel or the dream gig at the time.. the 1981 FA Cup Final Replay.. between Tottenham and Manchester City, made famous by Ricky Villa. Greg was a fit and extremely agile young man during training and would frequently perform to his buddies.. thinking nothing of doing fifty handstand press-ups against a locker or walking the full length of the room on his hands. He had a great sense of humour.. was always the entertainer and never short of a girlfriend.
Following success in his B3’s in 1982, Bugler Barrett was awarded a preference draft to the Royal Marines Band Commander in Chief Fleet based at HMS Pembroke. He was initially under the watchful eye of Captain Terry Freestone before his successor Captain Ted Whealing was appointed. The main photograph of Greg was from May 1982 shortly after his arrival at Fleet Band. It was during the Falklands War and Chatham Dockyard had just spent two-weeks hastily refitting HMS Falmouth in support of the Task Force... Greg is pictured saluting the ship as she pulled out of Bull Nose. Greg was happy to be just a short distance from his hometown.. but it wasn’t for long though as Fleet Band relocated in May 1983 to RAF Northolt in Middlesex. In 1984, Greg was selected for sea time as Ship’s Bugler on the County-class destroyer HMS Antrim (D18). He was onboard for her final deployment to the Caribbean before being decommissioned, the ship was due to be handed over to the Chilean Navy.
Greg was drafted to the Royal Marines Band Commando Training Centre (CTC) at Lympstone Devon in 1985 after agreeing to a swap draft. He arrived just in time to be selected for the bands’ football team... Greg opened the scoring for CTC in a 3-1 victory against the Commando Forces Band in their defence of the Montague Cup. The band at that time would have been under the direction of Captain John Ware before he was succeeded by Captain Jim Rider in 1987. While he was there he enjoyed a trip to the South of France in 85, at least one visit to Belize and Arctic Survival Training in Norway in 1987.
The Royal Marines Band Service was shocked and saddened to learn the tragic news that Greg had passed away as a result of a motorcycle accident near Nutwell Rd, close to CTC on 2nd June 1989, he was aged just 24.. and just a few days short of his 25th birthday. Greg was returning to the barracks following a 10am trip to the cash point during stand easy and for a reason still unknown.. his bike collided with a lamp post. The CTC Band were due to fly out for an engagement to the United States and Greg’s family kindly agreed to delay his funeral until the band returned.. Greg’s life and career was tragically cut short.. in those nine years he spent in the Royal Marines.. it’s fair to say he lived life to the full.. performing at many high profile engagements with Fleet, CTC and Massed Bands.
Greg’s funeral took place at St Albans Church, which is situated within CTC, music was provided by the Band’s Brass Quintet led by Captain Jim Rider and the Buglers paid him the ultimate tribute with Last Post & Reveille. Greg’s final resting place is at St Mildred's Church, The Little Church in the Field, Meopham in Kent. A plaque in memory of Greg is situated in Exeter Crematorium. There’s also a tribute in the Bandroom at CTC, the brass engraving there was originally placed on a memorial bench.