Alan George Coad 1941-2003
Alan George Coad was born on Thursday 31st July 1941 in Torquay Devon and was the third eldest of six sons and two daughters.
In his youth.. George had been a member of the local Boys Brigade Company and played in the band as drummer.
George joined the Royal Marines Band Service on 1st September 1955 as part of 7/55 squad. He really wanted to join as a bugler but was told his hands were too small so he became a musician playing clarinet & violin. He was not happy and eventually changed over to became a bugler after plenty of disruption.
George’s two elder brothers went on to be members of the Black Watch Band.
On completion of training.. George joined the Royal Marines Band onboard the light cruiser HMS Gambia. From there he joined the commando carrier HMS Bulwark in 1959/60 which had 42 Commando on board. The unit at the time was involved in Kuwait who were under the threat of an invasion by Iraq.
George became a member of the the 42 Commando Pipe Band in 1961. George was there alongside Sgt Reg Flook.. Reg and George had previously been to Edinburgh Castle to partake in a piping course.. both were accomplished pipers.
George returned to UK in September 1961 when he met up with Scottish lass Janette Henderson for the first time (they had been penpals for ten months).
He travelled to Plymouth and joined Stonehouse Band for a short time before he was sent down the road to the Infantry Training Centre at Lympstone as the Unit Bugler.
George and Janette were married on Easter Monday 30th March 1964 at Burnbank Parish Church in Hamilton Scotland... Janette’s home town.
Following his four-year stretch at Lympstone.. George was moved on at the end of 1966 to the Royal Marines Band at Eastney under the influence of Drum Major Colin Bowden and Bugle Major Joe Coombes. While he was stationed at Eastney he became a candidate for promotion and represented the Royal Marines Corps at water polo.
The patter of tiny feet sounded when baby Alan was born in March 1968... The following year in January 1969.. George secured a four-year draft to the Royal Marines Band Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland (FOSNI) firstly based at HMS Condor in Arbroath before the band moved to their new home at HMS Cochrane.
It was Director of Music Lt Graham Hoskins who encouraged George to attend the Junior Command Course when he was at Rosyth.. he was thirty years old when he returned to Lympstone to complete the Course in 1971.
Their family allowance was increased in August 1971 with the birth of their daughter Jeanine.
Bugler Coad was rewarded with promotion to Cpl Bugler soon after and remained at FOSNI until May 1973 when he was drafted to the Royal Marines Band Flag Officer Plymouth. At Plymouth he became FOP’s allotted bugler at Mount Wise.. not only a bugler but jack of all trades... if anything needed sorting including marquee erecting.. George would be involved.
Beginning on 14th November 1977.. the armed forces including members of the Flag Officer Plymouth Band were deployed on Operation Burberry, to provide nationwide emergency cover as the first UK firefighters strike began. Legend has it that George had fitted some super air-horns on to his Green Goddess, but as soon as they got outside their base at HMS Drake on a call, the wiring caught fire and they had to stop... The following Goddess had to stop and put out the fire on George’s engine !
In 1979.. George was presented with his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal at HMS Raleigh.
He played squash to a very good standard (even in civvy street). He thoroughly enjoyed his fishing to an extent of obsession... He was also a great reader too.. usually ‘Tom Clancy’ books.
George loved to listen to music.. especially ‘Queen’.. Janette wasn’t a fan so he would regularly be banished to the shed !
George was a legend of the Buglers Branch and his time in the Royal Marines Band Service was up in 1986.. His leaving do was held at The Carbeile Inn in Torpoint..
On his reintroduction to civvy street.. Mr Coad became a Coach driver, but his time behind the wheel was ended prematurely as a result of a bad accident, he did manage to carry on and complete three years in the job, but his troublesome knee was too much and had to call it a day.
He was always know as George to anyone who he served with.. apart from his family who all called him Alan... When he began writing to Janette all those years back.. he always referred to himself as Alan.. and that’s how it stayed...
George and Jeanette had also entered the guest house business on his release from the Royal Marines. They set up back in George’s home town of Torquay... It was rumoured that he’d called their B&B Mount Wise.. but St Louis was the real name of their B&B.. He really was the real life Basil Fawlty!
Their daughter Jeanine went on to join the Royal Navy in 1990, training at HMS Raleigh.. and served ten years.
George suffered a heart attack in 2003.. he spent some time in hospital undergoing treatment..
George Coad sadly passed away on 9th February 2003 leaving Janette, Alan, Jeanine and two grandchildren.. four year old Ryan and Samantha who was just fourteen months, George didn’t get to meet a third grandchild.. Alan who was born in 2006.
George's funeral was held at Saint Andrews Methodist Church in Shiphay Torquay on 19th February 2003.
The church was full to capacity including family, friends and many colleagues from the Royal Marines. Two RM Buglers from Commando Training Centre attended and honoured him with a superb rendition of Last Post and Reveille. Gary Powell gave a wonderful tribute and brought a smile to everyone’s faces by collaborating with Dan Archer to convey some of George’s legendary stories of which there are so many.
His ashes are resting in Torquay Crematorium.. However George requested that some of his ashes were deposited in the sea from the Admirals pier at Mount Wise.
The church was full to capacity including family and friends including many ex Royal Marines, bandies and buglers. Two RM Buglers from CTCRM attended and paid tribute by playing last post and reveille.
A special thanks to Gary Powell who made a wonderful tribute to Dad and brought a smile to people's faces at a very distressing time, by relating some of Dad's well known stories (most of them true!).
Thanks to the people who travelled from afar. Dad will be greatly missed by many people and not least by his immediate family.