My Life in the Royal Marines Band Service - Circa 1947-1968

by Michael G. Hutton

Pakistan and Ceylon.

From Mombasa we set sail for home with a weeks stop over in Aden. This was where the Band Sergeant Dan O'Connell got into trouble with the Military Police while ashore and due to the serious nature of his drinking and causing mayhem he was sent home via the RAF who had a base in Aden.

I was promoted to acting Band Sergeant for the rest of the trip but decided to stay below on the Band Mess Deck to keep things running smoothly rather than move into the Sgts Mess, after all there was only a couple of weeks before we would be home. Leaving Aden we headed up the Red Sea through the Suez Canal, then a two day break in Malta before heading for Chatham.

Home to the Hutton household on the 4th October, which was now in Bridle Road, Eastcote. Eileen and Alf now had three sons and in partnership with mum and dad had bought a large detached house between Eastcote and Pinner. Alf was the manager of the largest GPO sorting office, Mount Pleasant in London and dad was still working as an engineer at Slopers in West Hampstead. Just a few days at home then it was off to Dover for a wedding the following Saturday.

Rhoda and I were married at the parish church in Dover 11th October 1958. After a weeks honeymoon in Jersey we set up home in the top flat of 'The Bund' a very small three storey block of flats very near the coastguard station at the far end of Deal seafront. It was back into barracks the following Monday and having relinquished my acting Sgts stripes the next couple of months were spent taking and passing promotion courses so that I was fully qualified for Sergeant early in 1959.

Living at the other end of Deal was a problem as in those days I just had a push bike and in the winter the wind always seemed to be against me in the mornings and again when cycling home at the end of duty! A good part of that year I was again a member of the Staff Band with many engagements including making records at EMI studios, BBC broadcasts such as Marching & Waltzing, Listen to the Band, and Friday Night is Music Night. The Friday Night shows were very popular in the 50s and were performed at the 'Camden Theatre' in London. One of the regular lady singers was Vanessa Lee who was in her early 60s, but had been a wonderful performer in former times in Ivor Novello's musicals. Anyway she took a shine to me and I had regular visits to her dressing room during the shows where we chatted about her life in music etc;! That year there was a Royal Tournament, White City Horse Show and Saffa Tattoo plus a short tour of Canada and the USA…..I don't know how we fitted it all in?

During the summer Rhoda and I moved house from 'The Bund' to Beaconsfield Road, it was the first house on the right from Deal main street so it must had been number 1 or 2? It was quite close to Deal Castle and much closer to the barracks. Our landlord and his wife lived upstairs and we had the ground floor, they were the couple who owned 'The Bund'. By that time we had a Lambretta Scooter so used to bomb around everywhere on that! I was promoted to full Band Sergeant in September and offered a two year commission in HMS Terror a shore establishment in Singapore. This could be accompanied so Rhoda was able to go as well, but she decided that was not for her. Instead I took the job as Band Instructor for a volunteer Sailors Band on HMS Albion. This would mean only being away for about a year, but would still be in the far east around the Singapore area including Japan, Hong Kong and maybe Australia.

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