Colin Bowden BEM

Colin Bowden BEM joined the Corps at Portsmouth as a Bugler/Drummer in the days before the amalgamation of the Divisional RM Bands of Portsmouth and Plymouth with the Royal Naval School of Music to form the Royal Marines Band Service. Colin was a member of the RM Band in HMS VANGUARD with Queen Elizabeth ll embarked for a visit to South Africa in 1947. He remained at Eastney Barracks throughout his entire career in the Corps and rose from Boy Bugler to Drum Major. Significant duties included many foreign trips on board the Royal Yacht Britannia where he enjoyed the privilege of having his own cabin. In 1966 he proudly led the Massed RM Bands at Wembley Stadium when England won the football World Cup. On retirement from the Corps he became a RN/RM Careers Officer based in Worcester in the rank of Lieutenant before hanging up his uniform. He was a valued Corps Historian with a massive collection of relevant memorabilia. He finally accepted a management role with National Car Parks in the Midlands before retiring completely. He then was much in demand as a public Speaker raising funds in support of the Cystic Fibrosis charity. He had been a footballer of note and was a lifelong Jazz enthusiast. Each year he would spend time in America as a guest of the US Naval Academy in New York where he was involved with the training of Merchant Navy Undergraduates. Colin became a recognised Public Speaker, was a UK Probus Club member, and orchestral enthusiast particularly when the John Wilson Orchestra was involved! Performances in Birmingham were never missed. He valued a long and close friendship with General Nick Vaux of Falklands fame. The General had earlier served in Portsmouth’s Eastney Barracks as Adjutant and Band & Drums Company Commander. Colin’s impressive collection of Nautical Memorabilia included a ship’s binnacle complete with its antique compass. Items associated with his career such as a Drum Major Staff, ceremonial Sash, etc. Colin was also an avid collector of valuable Illustrated Victorian Music covers mostly those of songs with a nautical theme. In short Colin Bowden was recognised as a good man among men. Enthusiastically interested in all around him and widely read. He was for many years a valued member of the RM Historical Society. Much admired by colleagues at all stages of his life each of whom will now mourn his loss. The Corps has lost a veteran of stature and ability and I the friend of a lifetime.

Graham Hoskins.

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