By Mike Webber

Young and old alike must realise that the vast majority of ex RMBs joined the service aged between 14 and 16yrs of age and served on average for some 17 years. Memory allows us to go back quite accurately to the day we joined up! Time and events prior to this are patchy to say the least. One thing is a certain outcome "Out of the boy grows the man we are today!!" Many of us will remember parading to collect our Ten Shillings (50p) of which Two & Sixpence was sent home to Mum. Being a ( W ) I paraded longer than most!!!! I never met any 'rich' bandboys! These deprivations shared led to many lifetime friendships. Space deprivation aboard ships solidified these friendships. I still remember vividly the first time I visited the 'heads' up forward on H.M.S. Maidstone with no doors on the loos!!!

All of the above can only make one feel certain that most of us will vote FOR an annual reunion. However with one ex RMB living in Dingwall (Scotland) and another in St Just, (Cornwall) a distance of 726 miles, getting together is both logistically and fiscally expensive!!

Fortunately, the R.M.B. is blessed with a good sprinkling of Cat IV gigs these allocate fees in a 'laid down' manner, this results in all members of the band allocated certain percentage of the fee. I particularly remember as the incumbent Bandmaster at both Portsmouth (Royal Yacht) and Plymouth Group (3rd Cdo bgde) that each band fund ran into Five figure sums!? This means that a donation from each of the remaining Five R.M. Bands can quite easily finance an annual R.M.B. reunion to take place within the Chief's Mess! I am convinced that the S.N.C.Os and Warrant Officers within that Mess can do an annual 'freebie' in return for the use of the Mess on an annual basis??.
There are other possibilities!

1: Each band makes an annual subscription of £3000.00p which would rise in line with inflation each year after 2020.

2: Each musician would forego 1% of his/her Cat IV gig fee, the band sec' would then ensure that this was done correctly.

3: 2.5% of each Cat IV gig allocated direct to the Reunion fund. You will all note that all the above is based on Cat IV gigs.

Think how much EVERY bandsman has 'donated' to various causes during his career? Five and Six figure sums will be common! Think how many Banquets, Mess dinners etc each musician has contributed his talents to during his service career?

Any, or a combination of the above ideas will, ensure that reunions now and ad infinitum will be funded fairly and adequately and will ensure that future reunions will forevermore, be a 'NIGHT TO REMEMBER'.

NB. We could even ensure that travel costs are refunded to those who are not fortunate enough to enjoy good pensions in retirement! It could also be used to help our disabled comrades.

Mike Webber



Richard Valentine - 1996 - 2019© - All rights reserved