Mike H ‘Pincher’ Martin

Mike ‘Pincher’ Martin joined the Royal Naval School of Music as a saxophonist at Burford in 1946. He gave service in Eastney while the Royal Yacht Band was away, returning to Burford in 1947. March 1948 saw Mike embark on both HMS Forth and HMS Newcastle, he spent a total 21 months on board, returning to Devonport in December 1949.

Pincher then joined the newly named Royal Marines School of Music at Deal in 1950, following its move from Burford. He was only there for a year, before moving to HMS Excellent. In September 1951 he was drafted to New Zealand on a three year posting.

Pincher's first ten years in the Band Service were extremely eventful, a return to RMSM in 1955 was quickly followed by a posting to the Home Fleet, serving on HMS’ Ark Royal, Apollo, Tyne, Glasgow and others...visiting USA, Russia and most European countries. He returned to Deal in 1957. Mike was drafted to RM Band Britannia Royal Naval College in January 1958, he enjoyed a full two years at the College before being drafted to the Med for a two year stretch with the Band of HMS Phoenicia.

Back to Dartmouth it was in 1962, this time for three years, until packing his kit once again and heading for HMS St Vincent. It was then back to RMSM where he had the pleasure of a three-month tour of America, before returning to the West Country with HMS Raleigh. Pincher returned to BRNC in 1968, where he received his Long Service Good Conduct medal from Captain Tait in 1972 and to complete the remainder of his service, along with his faithful dog Skipper... Mike was all set to remain single for the rest of his life until he succumbed to local lass Bet, they married in 1975.

He was just about to end his time in the Band Service when he was granted a sixth-five, which was a rarity in those days, and would take him up to 1980. Pincher had a two week spell at FOP Band in 1977, when BRNC Band went to Berlin, he exchanged with Kelvin Smith from Raleigh. He was the third longest ever serving member of Dartmouth Band, behind Les Sheppard and John Lusher with a total of 17 years in three different spells. Twelve years being his longest stretch.

Pincher ran the Coffee/Loan Boat, he was the King of cards...especially Euchre and was also a dab hand at crosswords. He was an institution, and will always retain legendary status among those that served alongside him. Pincher retired from the Royal Marines Band Service in 1980 after 34 years to work at the Post Office.

Pincher Martin sadly died on Friday 6th May 1983, his funeral at St Saviours Church was on Wednesday 11th May. A small orchestra played at the service and four his colleagues from the Band acted as pall bearers. The Buglers sounded the Last Post. The church was almost full as ex Bandies from all over the country came to pay their respects.

Paul Foley

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