John ‘JC’ Puddle 1954-2022
CSgt Bugle Major
John Christopher Puddle was born in Hackney, London on 13th July 1954, although the family moved twenty miles away to the relatively new town of Harlow in Essex when he was a young boy. He was raised alongside his older sisters Joy & Barbara by parents Christopher and Joyce. Young John was a pupil at Brays Grove School in Harlow until 1970, he also dedicated his youth to the Cubs & Scouts movement. The association provided fun, adventure and skills for life and gave young John and his friends the opportunity to enjoy new adventures, experience outdoors and take part in a range of creative activities and ultimately have the opportunity to reach their full potential.. the ideal preparation for youngsters for a life in the armed forces.
On 12th May 1970, John travelled the five miles to board a train at Charing Cross and travel to Deal, where he enlisted into the Royal Marines Band Service and thus became a member of the twenty strong 1/70 Troop. He joined as a Junior Bugler at the School of Music under the watchful eye of the Corps Bugle Major John Satchwell. His leadership skills were put to the test midway through training when he was awarded the role of Section Commander. Despite a six-month layoff in the wing due to illness.. JC completed his training in July 1972 and with the majority of young buglers at the time, he was drafted across to the Staff Band at RMSM, his highlights were a trip to Washington DC in 1974 and an appearance on Bruce Forsyths Generation Game in 1977. Indeed, John would go on to spend the majority of his time at Deal, with just a few forays away from the town. In September 1978, he stitched on his first stripe when he was selected for the Junior Command Course (B) at the Commando Training Centre (CTCRM) at Lympstone.. he was of course successful. As LCpl Bugler.. he served with Support Company 41 Commando for their duration of Royal Duties at Buckingham Palace in 1978, before he was promoted to Cpl Bugler the following July.
He didn’t have to wait long for his first move away from Deal.. John was drafted to the Royal Marines Band Commander in Chief Fleet, based up the A2 at HMS Pembroke, Chatham. JC endured a difficult first twelve months under the command of Captain Terry Freestone.. but he won him over to become a popular and influential figure with the Fleet Corps of Drums. While he was there, John was unfortunate that he had to spend eight months at the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar due to illness, he eventually recovered and resumed his role with the Corps of Drums, visiting Hamburg onboard HMS Hermes and many other places. He went on to serve for nearly four years at Pembroke until 1983, when the band moved lock, stock and barrel to RAF Northolt, however JC was only in North London for a few months before returning to the RMSM Staff Band.
1984, he was given the opportunity to assist with the Corps of Drums
training in East Barracks.. Cpl Bugler Puddle was then selected for
the 1985 Senior Command Course (B) at CTCRM.. a success once again,
he returned to Deal where he continued his instructor role on a more
permanent basis and subsequently promoted to Sgt Bugler on 1st January
1986. A few months later in June, he was drafted north of the border
to the Band of HM Royal Marines Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland
(FOSNI), where he was a frequent visitor with the band to Iceland and
Northern Ireland during the troubles, which rewarded him with the NI
General Service Medal. It was while he was based in Scotland, that he
returned from to Kent be married at Dover Registry Office to Alison
Page on 22nd December 1986. Together they bore two sons.. Christopher
He jumped from one uniform to another when he joined the Kent Police in 1994. He worked various capacities throughout that time, including as a Detention Officer in the late 1990’s at Dover Police Station. He also worked in Folkestone, Margate and Canterbury, plus he was tasked with roles at Magistrate’s and Crown Courts and with prisoner escorts.
first began encountering problems with his health way back in December
2008, when he began coughing and having difficulty breathing in the
early hours, his long time partner of seventeen years Elaine dialled
for an ambulance and they took him straight to Intensive Care Unit at
Margate Hospital. He was told that he had picked up a nasty little bug
called strep-pneumonia and had double pneumonia. He recovered and they
discharged him with a bucket full of medicine late on Christmas Eve.
JC blamed it all on the Navy issuing him three hundred blue liners each
month! John and Elaine (Dowsett) were married a few months later at
Ramsgate Registry Office on 30th September 2009.. Mick Hughes accompanied
him as his best man and the happy couple made their home together at
Astrid Road in Walmer. His well earned retirement from the Kent Police
came in 2014 after dedicating over twenty years exemplary service to
JC’s funeral service was held on 8th September at Barham Crematorium, with the service broadcast on webcam. It was testament to his popularity that the RMA Standard Bearer Paul Hardy and five legendary buglers were on parade to drum his coffin into the chapel, supported by family, friends and many other colleagues. A wonderful tribute was given by Derek Lindars and JC was honoured with a superb rendition of the Last Post and Reveille by Cpl Bugler Jo Barnes and Bugler Sarah Burbery. The wake followed at the RMA Deal and donations were received on behalf of the Branch and the Royal Marines Charity. Later in the evening, John’s wreath was laid to rest in the Memorial Bandstand, before the RMA toasted JC and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who had sadly passed away that afternoon.