Reunion 2015
by Jem Tugwood

Hi Dickie,
Been a bit lax on sending in this report of the bash way back in October so as far as my memory goes I will attempt to summarise the evening in HMS Nelson as Derek has already written about the church service and orchestral programme.

As usual I arrived in Portsmouth with Pam and having been unable to book into the Home Club weeks before we eventually booked a room in the Holiday Inn in Gunwharf Quay so only a short distance from Nelson.

We duly repaired to the Home Club in the afternoon and met up with Barry Pettit, Ollie, Roger Hollingworth and others whose names escape me now (sorry boys) and after our traditional bottle of wine and plenty of banter we had some actual grown up conversation!! Anyway it was great meeting up and at about 1715ish we decided to return to the hotel to get ready for the "gig".

On arrival at the mess we were greeted with a tot very gratefully accepted and we also duly completed our name tags so names and forgetfulness were not a problem again this year. At 2000 we made our way to the gym and once seated (I reckon there were about 150 members plus) a good turn out, the musical display started this year with the Corps of Drums marching into the gym and performing their drum routine before the actual Beat Retreat. Something a little different but believe me we were not disappointed with the quality of the drumming and the breathtaking stick drill to the Sgt Bugler who was solo drumming and the bass drummer who was going like the " clappers" well, the clapper is a percussion instrument so rather "apt" I think.

On conclusion of this magnificent percussion display there were the usual 2, 3 beat rolls and the band marched on to 633 Squadron, the band played this exciting March with vigor and excellent dressing throughout, it would have been nice to have had 4 French horns but the size of the band didn't permit. Having marched on the band then went straight into Holyrood to put them into position for the break from quick to slow march playing the World in Union by Holst arr. Brown, this piece was unfamiliar to me and I couldn't find anything about it in my Dictionary of Music, from Holst, to Goodwin with Aces High and a fine rendition of this ever popular march. During this wonderful musical treat the band managed to get themselves into some interesting formations and a couple of times I thought they'd taken a wrong turning and disaster was approaching but as usual no need to worry they have rehearsed these routines to perfection and never once put the proverbial foot wrong.

The finale consisted of a piece called Planes by Valenzuela arr. Trudgeon and from Planes moved on to Amazing Grace, Sunset and Rule Britannia, following Col Nick Grace spoke to us about the training of the band members some of whom are so young in service to perform in the band such a difficult routine shows how the standard of training has risen over the years. The National Anthem was followed by Heart of Oak and our regimental March A Life on the Ocean Wave. The band was under the direction of WO class 1 Bandmaster Ross Hunt and led in the most professional manner we have always come to expect by Sgt Bugler Stew Vyse, Drum Major (Training) Royal Marines.

Well done the band you did us proud the best free show in town.

The time had come to repair to the mess for much lamp swinging, quaffing of ale and meeting and greeting friends old and new see y'all again next year.

Derek has reviewed the church service and I fully concur with all he has said the music selected was in my opinion absolutely superb, light, well played and fitting for our Memorial Day Service, I would just mention there was an error in the programme inasmuch Heroic Elegy by Ernest Farrar gives his correct date of birth but he died in action near Le Cateau, Cambrai in the 1st World War in 1918, not 1934 Heroic Elegy was probably the last piece he composed, the orchestral played beautifully throughout the service.

If it is possible next year I would love to hear one or two pieces from John Barry's suite The Beyondness of Things, a selection of tunes that signify occasions of serenity and ideal for our memorial service, perhaps No1 The Beyondness of Things, and 4, Give me a smile, it's just a thought.

Sorry to hear that you couldn't be with us Dickie I understand you had connection problems meaning you were neither here nor there, hope to see you next year.

Best wishes

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