John A ‘Andy’ Cleatheroe 1964-1989
Andrew Cleatheroe was born on Wednesday 22nd April 1964 and was raised
along with his little sister Janice Anne, by parents John Andrew and
Jean Ann in the village of Crofton near Wakefield, Yorkshire. A unique
situation where all the members of the family had the same set of initials.
Young John inherited both of his christian names from his father and
maybe it was the reason he was more commonly known by his middle, possibly
to avoid further confusion.
made his way to Deal to enlist in the Royal Marines Band Service on
8th September 1980 where he became a popular member of 3/80 Troop and
Neptune House. He joined as an alto-saxophone and violin player, gaining
his musical expertise under the guidance of influential instructor BSgt
Frank ‘Wiggy’ Bennett... Frank would call him ‘Jimmy’
after the comedian Jimmy Clitheroe.. Frank remembers a rather embarrassing
moment when Jimmy’s (Andy) parents came down for open day and
entered his classroom office, wanting to know if he knew where he was
likely to be drafted. When they sat down.. Frank noticed a look of horror
on Jimmy’s face and realized he hadn’t taken down a sign
which he used frequently... It was a large picture of an anchor with
a W over the top!
Andy’s leadership skills were evident midway through training when he was tasked with the role as a Section Commander and it would seem a transfer to Gloucester House. He was also one of the first guys in the troop to pass his driving test.. and own a car.. he was deeply in love with his orangey/yellow Ford Capri.
On completion of training Musician Cleatheroe was drafted across the parade ground to the Royal Marines School of Music Staff Band.. the only Royal Marines Band that he would serve with. Andy loved his rather large head of hair and by the time he got to staff band he had perfected the art of hiding lots of it under his cap, much to the annoyance of Drum Major Dawson.
Andy crammed so much into a short space of time at Staff Band.. one of his first gigs as a trained rank was the massed bands at the 1983 Edinburgh Tattoo.. Andy’s family, who were reasonably well off as a result of their haulage business, had recently exchanged Andy’s Capri for a red Ford Mustang and a speedboat.. he was in his element water skiing with his pals under the Forth Road Bridge. In addition to his music.. Andy was a qualified HGV Driver and would help out with the family business whenever he was on leave.
was a participant in the Royal Marines School of Music tour of North
American in 1985, where the band featured in seventy-four shows over
a sixty-nine day period.. a tour shared with the Pipes and Drums of
the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
was on the passenger list for the month-long trip to Sydney Australia
in 1988, for the Australian Bi-Centenary celebrations, which included
the main event.. The Royal Sydney Easter Show.
was enjoying life to the full that he was sharing with his girlfriend
Natalie Sparnon.. until he went to work one morning and never returned