Reunion 2012
by Jem Tugwood
October 13/14

Hi Dickie,

Just thought I'd drop you a few lines giving my personal thoughts regarding the reunion last weekend because I know what I like.

As you know my wife Pam and I duly attended, Pam always looks forward to meeting friends that she has become acquainted with over the years, and I know she looks forward to the weekend and especially the music, the display and the total friendship that emanates from all who attend and perform for us, we feel very privileged.

We arrived at the Chief's mess at about 1900 and enjoyed a glass of 'Champers' (well that's what they said it was and it was free so who's complaining?) and after saying hello to lots of friends we were asked to make our way across to the Gym to witness the display by the band, I'm never too sure if it is the junior band or the staff band (do they have one at the School of Music?) but whatever, the performance and musicianship is as always first class.

Two years ago the band raised the bar to an almost impossible height (and all who were there will agree with me I'm sure), although this year's display was excellent they had a very hard act to follow BUT to my mind they gave their best and almost equaled it. I was a little disappointed with the opening sequence, "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and and would liked to have heard a little more ferocity in the forte areas to emphasize the areas or dark, shade and blinding sunshine, but maybe that's just me, having completed the opener, the band commenced the ceremony of Beating Retreat and as such, I could not fault the quality of the music, the dressing and the sheer excellence of the display, it was in short, wonderful, and more than once, I found a little lump forming in my throat (silly old sod!!), the Corps of Drums were brilliant as usual, I say as usual because it's what we come to expect of them, always brilliant, but, on this occasion they had the edge on most of what I have ever witnessed, not only that, when we came to Sunset the quality of the bugling in unison was a joy to listen to (never thought I'd hear myself saying that) but the clarity and tunefulness of the notes was second to none.

Col Grace then spoke to us for 10 minutes or so and made personal mention of your good self which was nice because you put a lot of work into keeping the website updated and I'm sure there are many, many ex RMB's who look forward to reading the notice board and messages from friends past and present.

On completion of the display we all made our way back to the bar to swap stories with our many friends over a few pints, it was nice to see a lot more wives, partners and girlfriends at the reunion this year let's hope this keeps increasing year on year, there certainly seemed to be a larger attendance this year keep it up everyone. The bar was extremely well staffed by members of the band and to them I give my heartfelt thanks, there was certainly no "waiting" to be served this year.

Amongst many friends I met this year were Derek Usher, Dave Stockham and their wives, Merv Durrant, Scotty, Olly (Tony) Oliver, Roger Hammond, Mick Blandford, Stan Puttrell, Paddy Mailey, Hooky Walker, Tich Macleod, Tich Trevis (all the way from Oz) Mick Hickman, another Olly who said he used to sit next to me at Eastney back in 1983, sorry Olly I still can't place you but I value your friendship oh and I mustn't forget Mick Howarth my old mucker from Manadon days and Mick Hutton also of Manadon fame, (those were the days) all those I may have forgotten sorry boys, it's an age thing.

As the evening drew to a close Pam and I made our way back to the Home Club to find the bar still open so we had another drink, a perfect way to end a lovely evening......Hic!!!

In the morning we made our way to the Cathedral where we listened to some lovely music by the orchestra conducted by Col Grace, the opening piece was La Calinda by Delius a piece which I have never heard before but it was delightful, this was followed by Clair de Lune, a piece which took me back many years before I joined the band service when I used to play it on the piano and drove my dad to the pub!!. Next up was the Meditation from Thais and this was played as a Violin solo by a young female musician whose name was not published in the program but who, I can tell you, played absolutely exquisitely, the notation, tuning and delivery were a pure delight to listen, I'm sure this young lady has a wonderful career ahead of her, the orchestral part of the service culminated in "Scenes Pittoresque" by Massenet (movements 1,2 and 3), overall the orchestra was a sheer pleasure to listen to, a big thank you to all the members of the orchestra.

The sermon was given by Rev Michael Meachin RN and was very interesting and amusing, in parts, to include a military band vein weaving through it.

I was interested to read in the program that Elgar was born in 1957 and died in 1934 truly this was a man who surely died before his time!

Well, I guess I've exhausted all there is to tell and I apologise if acute boredom has set in for those whose attention span is limited but, I have to say, I know what I like, and, I LIKED THIS REUNION see you all again next year,

Yours sincerely


PS: I forgot to mention the singing of Sinatra favourites and others by the Band Sergeant in the bar following the Beat Retreat, and the Dixie band which got all our feet tapping I think we all were taken back some years when we heard the favourites we've all played all those years ago.

All the best

Outside the rear of the RMA on Sunday October 14th, 2012

Left to Right: Stan Puttrell, Pat Trevis, Steve Salmon, 'Knocker' White, Alan Webb, Alan Walker, Bill Callow, 'Bubbles' Reynolds,
Mike Howarth, Alan Ham (hidden), 'Wally' Walters, Len Lewry, ?, ?, Graeme Verroken, Tony Oliver, Bob Cummings, Phil Stevens,
Bill Cox (sitting), Bob Scarrett, ? Dave Hough, Tich McLeod, Alan 'Butch' Rutter, Bob 'Aggy' Willis, Dickie Valentine, Merv Durrant (partly hidden), Mike Hickman, Terry wood, Ray Watts, ? Bob Graham, Barry Pettitt, Roger Hollingworth.

Please do let me know and remind me of those question marks and fill in a name. Thank you.

Our thanks to Dee Lindars, Pete Pendlebury & Bill Callow for the photographs.

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