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

by Michael G. Hutton

My music teachers (instructors as they were called) were Sgt Taff Lewis and Cpl Dennis Dent. They were fine players of both instruments and very strict in their teaching methods with great discipline but were always able to make lessons and learning interesting and fun. Our class at that time consisted of ten boys all of differing standards plus three qualified musicians from the senior wing who came to help us all from time to time. As the weeks went by and the winter turned to spring, music became part of our lives but there were many other activities going on in tandem with learning to play in the band and orchestra. General schooling was part of our curriculum but it was never my forte and lack of it would let me down many years later when in line for a commission.

Sport was great and my main interests were hockey and cricket. The adjutant at the camp was a certain Captain Boycott RM, a very strict officer who was in charge of discipline. (A name that would be part of cricket history in years to come!) This Capt Boycott however was no relation, but he was a very keen cricketer and when practicing in the nets he must seen something in me that looked promising and myself and Mick Bull from my joining up squad were drafted into the cricketing fraternity for the coming season.

Soon it was Easter and time for our first home leave. I had already explained to mum and dad that I was not happy being called Michael Reed again as that was in the past. The good news was that they had taken steps to have me adopted officially and that meant I could change my name legally to Hutton. The actual adoption took place in July but the commanding officer at the RNSM was very helpful and agreed that my name change could take place after Easter leave so all my friends and colleagues at the school could get used to it rather than wait till half way through the year. I also took dad Hutton's name George as my second name as I felt they had done so much for me.

Cricket was great that summer - the team from the RNSM played quite a few matches in the area mostly against other service sides from the army & RAF and although I started as a second change bowler my batting had improved quite a lot and I ended the season going in at No 6. Not bad for a 15 year old in his first year. My voice had broken by now so only a croak was heard when asked to sing!.

Summer over it was back to work at the school of music. The whole school was informed that in January of 1950 the RNSM was going to be moved to the Royal Marines Depot in Deal Kent, so this was to be the last term in the Oxfordshire countryside near Burford. Many of the senior ranks at the school were not too keen on the move but all the band boys were looking forward to it as we had been told that Deal was a great place with lots of girls and much better than being stuck out in the middle of nowhere. However, there was much to do in preparation for the move but we still had to keep to our studies and prepare for concerts that were to be given to the local dignitaries before the end of term. Our batch known as 110 squad had now been reduced to about 25 of the original 40 as some had decided it wasn't for them or more likely they were found to be unsuitable and were sent home! I and my LNTS colleagues were getting on well and our progress was good enough for most of us to be in the boys band by the end of term and some of us were also in the orchestra. The 'cello was very hard to start with but I fell in love with it and as time went by it fell for me!


Previous | Home | Next  1 - Photo  by Richard (Dickie) Valentine  1 - Photo  by Richard (Dickie) Valentine
Richard Valentine -1996 - 2010 © - All rights reserved