S/Bdmr Rodney Oxborne Farrell, LRAM

Rodney was born in Buxton Derbyshire on 7th November 1936 and began piano lessons at the age of eight. A gifted musician, he went on to study the violin and became a flautist when joined the Royal Marines Band Service In 1953, a career that was to span 24 years.

Between 1955-57 Rod toured South Africa, and in 1958 joined the RM Band HMS Excellent at Whale Island. He then spent seven years as pianist on the Royal Yacht Britannia and was on every Royal tour between 1960-67 as a Band Corporal.

He achieved a distinction on his Bandmasters course and obtained the LRAM diploma. He was awarded the prestigious silver medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 1968. The next adventure for Rodney was a posting to the Band of the Commander in Chief Far East Fleet and served in Singapore during 1968-69.

Back in the UK, he attended the Royal Academy of Music’s advanced conductors' course. In 1971 he was appointed Staff Bandmaster and took charge of the Royal Marines Band BRNC. Rod spent five years at Dartmouth where he finally ended his career in the Band Service.

Rod Farrell the civilian remained in Dartmouth with his wife Edwina and their three sons Carl, Marc and Jeremy, he was also Grandfather to three. In the early eighties Rod was the manager of a Dartmouth Jewellers. He also taught piano & flute in the town and sat on the town council for four years. He was accompanist for many local groups including eighteen years with the Torquay Operatic Society (TOPS), he also gave great service to the Dartmouth players, and the Britannia Choral Society. Rod also played at the St Giles Free Church Chapel at BRNC for an astonishing 30 years.

Rod was a committee member at the Dartmouth branch of the Mission to Seafarers and undertook a great deal of music transposition work for composer Ed Welch.

Rod Farrell was diagnosed with cancer in January 2006 and died shortly after on 11th March at Dartmouth Hospital aged 69. His funeral at St Saviours Church in Dartmouth which was a musical tribute to him, was well attended by former members of the Band. He was widely respected throughout the Royal Marines Band Service and the town of Dartmouth for his fine musicianship, and immaculate appearance, he was a friend and gentleman to everyone.... he also loved taking snuff...

Rod received a letter from Buckingham Palace saying how the Queen remembered with fondness his piano playing whilst aboard the Royal Yacht.

Paul Foley

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