Jack Gray x162

My dear Richard,

As is noted on the introduction to our wonderful website, to continue the camaraderie that has been in existence for centuries. I now can endorse that with the following story, your readers will no doubt be aware of a story I wrote to the recent edition of the Blue Band, it concerned a chance meeting with an "oldie" from the late 20s, Jack Gray x162, joined the RNSM in 1927, and went on through the war years, and even had a stint on the Isle o' Man as a violin instructor, that story in itself was rewarding to me, but is now surpassed by a letter I received yesterday from ex B/M Eric Jackson X109, this as a result of my earlier letter to the Blue Band.

My letter contained another letter directed to Jack Gray, which I was asked to forward, but in fact I did better than that, and delivered it by hand at Jack's retirement village residence, these two old soldiers were great friends and shipmates on HMS Formidable, it goes without saying that there were tears of joy and emotions not often shown by hard nosed Bandsmen. Jack and Eric are both in their 90s, and from what I saw and read both are alert and still have the Corps and Band Service very much to heart, no doubt communication will be difficult for both because of the distance they live from each other, but with a telephone link and the use of my PC, many memories will be shared by these two old comrades. Eric mentioned a Kami Kazi pilot smashing into HMS Sussex, broadside when it made a MESS of the Band mess but happily did not ignite, therefore all the band survived. I wonder if there are any other of that Band still around, if so Jack and Eric will be more than happy to hear from them or their relations. So on that I shall close and trust that this may be of interest to your readers.

Let's all rejoice in the knowledge that we are all part of this wonderful marvelous RM Band Service.

Bernard S (Maxie) Beare

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