Anthony I ‘Joe’ Kendrick 1935-2022
WO1 Bandmaster
Served 1951-1980

Anthony Ivor Kendrick was born on Friday 13th December 1935 in London. His grandfather was a firefighter in the capital including at the time of the blitz of 1940 and 1941. Aged just four, Anthony like many other children was evacuated for his safety.. he was sent to Looe in Cornwall.

Young Anthony was an inmate of the Arethusa training ship in Chatham, before he joined the Royal Marines Band Service as a trombonist at Deal in 1951. His first ship out of training was with the band onboard the light fleet carrier HMS Triumph, the ship that had been used for many years as a Royal Navy officer cadet training ship, Joe served continuously for the next seven years in Royal Naval Ships and Establishments. Joe met Ruby Keddie at the Drill Hall dance venue in Deal.. she was dating an American serviceman at the time but her eyes were fixed in the direction of Joe and the rest was history. Anthony and Ruby were married on Christmas Eve 1955 at St Leonard's Church in Deal.

In 1956, Joe and the majority of the band from HMS Triumph marched into Dartmouth to become the College Band. Twenty-six musicians formed the new band with the new title: The Band of HM Royal Marines Britannia Royal Naval College, under the direction of Bandmaster Phil Coombs.. Joe’s pussers pay at the time was £8. There wasn’t any married quarters available at the time, so Joe and Ruby were accommodated in a bedsit in the town.. the couple’s first child Tony was born in Dover in 1956. Joe was then drafted overseas to the band at HMS Terror in Singapore, where Ruby gave birth to their second son Stephen in the British Military Hospital in 1958.. this enabled their son to remain a British citizen. Joe returned to home soil with a posting to the Royal Marines Band at HMS Daedalus, and the family was completed in 1962 with the birth of their daughter Tracey.

Musician Kendrick was promoted to BCpl and in 1963 appointed as the trombone instructor at the Royal Marines School of Music, it was a position he held for three years and was responsible for the tuition of the likes of Tony Oliver and Chas Fleming, the banter between Joe and Professor Jack Dacombe was priceless. Following his spell in the training wing, it was back to sea, this time as Volunteer Band Instructor (VBI) with a posting to the commando carrier HMS Bulwark. During his time on board, he saw service with 45 Commando in Aden, 42 Commando in Borneo and 40 Commando in Singapore. In addition to his duties onboard as VBI, he was also tasked with the hoisting and lowering of the landing craft. Meanwhile back at home, Ruby had to vacate their quarter as she couldn’t stay there and move into a flat in nearby Broadstairs with their children.

On his return to Deal in 1968, the Kendricks purchased their first home in Cavell Square, Mill Hill for the princely sum of three thousand pounds. BSgt Kendrick received his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and successfully completed the Warrant Officer Bandmasters examination.. a year later he was awarded the 1969 Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians for being adjudged the best student on the course. In 1970, Joe joined the staff of the drafting, pay and records office at Eastney.. and while he served at Pompey, the family lived at Park Farm Cottage in Goring. It was during this period that BSgt Kendrick studied for his diploma as an Associate of the Royal College of Music, and aside from music, Joe spent many hours on the cricket pitch with Pete Westaway and also the golf course. He was however on the move yet again, and a return as the trombone instructor to the RMSM. Joe was promoted to WO2 in 1972 while at Deal and went on to hold the position of Band Service Secretary. Joe, like many others had a hand in the Sgts Mess Pantomimes and conducted the orchestra for the 1973 production of ‘A Christmas Carol’. On 24th October 1974, Joe was appointed Bandmaster of the Royal Marines Band Commando Training Centre, replacing the outgoing Bandmaster Dave Hough. He held the post for two years before taking up the same position with the Commander in Chief Fleet Band at Chatham for a period of twelve months.

Promoted to WO1 in 1977, Joe was rewarded for his outstanding contribution with his appointment as School Bandmaster at RMSM, which was the original title of the present day Corps Bandmaster. Joe retired from the Royal Marines Band Service in 1980, after almost thirty years' service and settled with Ruby at their new home in Blenheim Road, Deal.

As a civilian, Mr Kendrick gained a second career in 1981 as a Doorkeeper at the House of Lords, applicants were required to be from an ex-military background, having served at least twenty-one years and who had reached the rank of Warrant Officer. Doorkeepers played a key role in the smooth running of the House of Lords. They formed a discrete, high profile and instantly recognisable team who were responsible for controlling access to the Chamber of the House of Lords. Former Royal Marines Bandmaster Joe Kendrick completed his service at the Palace of Westminster as the Principal Doorkeeper/Queens Coach Caller at the House of Lords, where he was responsible for twenty-two doorkeepers who collectively ensured security and the smooth operation of the Chamber. Joe was given the Freedom of the City of London in 1999 when he retired from the House of Lords, thus giving him many privileges, including the right to drive his sheep over Tower Bridge! Joe continued with his music despite being a lifelong member of the 53 club on the Strand! He was a veteran of many of the early All Stars Band Concerts held annually at Margate Winter Gardens, he was still playing well into his seventies and was a member of the Old Comrades Band that played at the Deal Bandstand in 2005.... where they performed entirely without rehearsal. Although retired as a Doorkeeper.. Joe continued to work as an Event Manager at Westminster and in 2010 and following difficulties commuting to London due to heavy snow.. Joe reluctantly took the decision to retire from service at Westminster altogether following an outstanding twenty-nine years. Joe, like many members past and present of the band service, was a committed Freemason and regular attendee to the Lord Warden Lodge no 1096 at Deal.

Joe was diagnosed with dementia in 2019, it was this debilitating disease that was the cause of him sadly passing away on the morning of 28th December 2022, shortly after his 87th birthday. Joe’s funeral service was held at Barham Crematorium in Kent on 23rd January 2023 and afterwards in the RMA Deal Branch and Social Club. A generous collection was received on behalf the Royal British Legion.


Paul Foley

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