A Return visit with Dotty ~ January 29th 2012

During my early 2012 vacation visiting the Midlands, North Wales, Northern England, London and Deal I was enthused to be invited by my host in Deal, one inimitable Tony Oliver to join him on his routine visit with Mrs Dorothy (Dotty) Dacombe. Tony continues his devotion on a weekly basis and as and when he has to be away from Deal, he always lets Dotty know ahead of time and makes every effort to see her upon his return.

Now resident in the nursing care facility 'The Knoll Nursing Home' since 2008 we found Dotty to be enjoying her morning cup of tea with Rich Tea biscuits. As mentioned below in an earlier account, she is as ever sharp witted and recollected the previous occasion that I met her in 2001, politely indicating that I had put much weight on since then (alas). The dear lady, Tony and I exchanged many accounts of times past, people, professors alike and Dotty made us all laugh with her own commentary and recollections of so many decades past.

As you can see in the current photograph, this soon to be 97 year old is making the most of her long life now under constant care not too far from our ancestral home only a mile or so away. One can only wonder what she would think if she saw East Barracks as it is now, compared to the day when her beloved husband Jack Dacombe strode from building to building in his day. Many of us can surely capture in ones minds eye, the tall figure who went from Musician to Drum Major and then later on became Trombone professor at the School of Music.

I'm grateful for Tony's friendship, one of my very best mates who I admire in so many ways. One of his best attributes is that of caring for family and friends. Tony's devotion to Dotty is heart-warming and an exemplary attribute.

I'm sure there are many out there who knew Jack Dacombe and perhaps at some time met Dotty. The nursing care facility is easy to find and I'm sure that a polite enquiry with the staff before a visit would be a great idea and minute or two with Dotty would make her day.

Thank you Tony for this great privilege and a great visit with a dear lady.

The Knoll Nursing Home
196 Dover Road,
Kent, CT14 7NB
T: 01304 374679

Passing Out ~ 1965
Stu' Elms, 'Ginge' Davis (deceased) Professor Jack Dacombe (deceased)
Jackie Semple & Mick Bartholomew
Photo submitted by Jackie Semple


Visit with Dotty July 21st. 2001
Jan 28th. 2008 - I am informed by Tony that 'Dotty' is now in a nursing home and likely to stay there. A frail lady but still has all her wits about her. Tony continues to keep an eye each week. Will keep us informed. [Dickie]
Tony Oliver with Mrs. (Dotty) Dacombe

Readers of the site may be interested in another special visit I made with Tony Oliver during a trip to Deal.

Mrs Dorothy (Dotty) Dacombe 87 yrs young, the widow of the late Jack Dacombe. Trombone professor 1963 - 1976. Died 9 years ago having been taken ill after a road traffic accident.

Dotty still resides in Church Path, Deal in the same house she and Jack moved in to when they moved to Deal in 1963. Dotty is a very bright and sharp old lady, her memories of the bandservice are very vivid. I was amazed at her ability to draw on the past.

Tony visits her every week and she is in good health if a little unsteady on her feet.

Jack's athletic trophies are proudly displayed in her front room cabinet, all to remind every one that apart from being the Drum Major of the Portsmouth Band and a Trombone Player in the band, he found time to represent his country, Combined Services, Navy and Marines in his favoured event of 400 metres. (once round the track as it was then).

Dotty would welcome anyone who knew Jack and was visiting Deal to pop in for a cup of tea, or a drop of the hard stuff, as she does daily. " Jolly good for the system" she proudly announces. A lovely old lady, very proud of her links with the bandservice and a bright and forceful conversationalist. Well worth a visit. Tony Oliver will be pleased to pass on her address if anyone decides to visit.

[Editor] This short visit with Dotty was for me one of the highlights of my time in Deal and will stay in my memory for as long as I have that gift of recollection. Thanks Tony.

Dickie Valentine

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