Simon P (Sid) Davis 1959-2021
Simon Peter Davis and twin brother Chris were born on Friday 22nd May 1959 in Eastleigh Hampshire. Simon was only seven when he began having violin lessons at his primary school. He was sent to school with his satchel that contained his initials S.P.D.. One day, the curly bit of the P fell off and from that day he was forever known as SID! At the age of nine he joined the 2nd Eastleigh Boys Brigade Company, where his musical talent was enhanced by learning how to play the cornet. Sid’s secondary education was taken at the Montgomery of Alamein School in Winchester, from September 1970 until his graduation in 1975. Further musical experience led him to perform with youth orchestras and brass bands.
followed his brother by enlisting into the Royal Marines Band Service
on 25th April 1977 as a cornet and violin player. He was an adult entry,
joining 1/77 Troop, which consisted of just eleven ranks, under the
guidance of Troop Instructor Sgt Danny Blatchford. On completion of
training, Sid was sent across the parade ground to the Royal Marines
School of Music Staff Band, where his initial task was to learn how
to point a hose towards a fire.... Operation Burberry had just been
implemented following the first UK Fireman’s strike in 1977 and
his first taste of life as a trained rank was putting out fires with
Red Watch onboard a Green Goddess. The crew was based at Pollokshields
Infant School in Glasgow. Musician Davis was in the band at Lord Mountbatten’s
Funeral, held at Westminster Abbey on 5th September 1979. In August
1980... Sid was amongst the ranks of Staff Band and Britannia Royal
Naval College (BRNC) Bands that flew to Toronto for the Canadian National
Sid was in the spotlight in Staff Band, under the leadership of the PDM, Lieutenant Colonel James Mason. Over the next ten years he would have been on as many as twenty-two massed bands engagements: Mountbatten Festival of Music, Edinburgh Tattoos, Horseguards and Tournaments. He undertook many prestigious gigs, including as a member of the fanfare team for Prince Andrew & Sarah Ferguson’s wedding held at Westminster Abbey in 1986. In April 1988, Sid travelled with the Band to Sydney for the Australian Bicentennial celebrations led by the PDM Lieutenant Colonel Graham Hoskins. Musician Davis’ first step on the promotion ladder was confirmed in 1989, when he was made up to Band Corporal... he celebrated with a trip to the Ascension Islands in 1990. Sid was selected to attend the 1991-92 Bandmasters Course and after successfully qualifying in the summer of ‘92, Sid was promoted to BSgt and an Easter draft to the Royal Marines Band BRNC, just in time to be selected to travel to the Falkland Islands to participate at the tenth anniversary commemorations of the War. BSgt Davis was also the proud recipient of his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1992.
1994, Sid headed back to sea when he took on the role of Volunteer Band
Instructor on HMS Ark Royal, but not before a Dartmouth leaving run
of the highest order... with all the lads distinctly dressed as ‘Sid
Davis’.. meticulously decorated with false tashes and specs!
Sid earned promotion once again in 1999 to WO2 and returned to Dartmouth as Bandmaster, some five years after departing for the Ark Royal. He hadn’t been back very long before he was thrust into the limelight... narrating ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas’ during a series of festive concerts in the Caspar John Hall. His time at BRNC was spent working alongside successive Directors of Music... Captains Phil Watson, Andy Thornhill and latterly Mick Dowrick. It was during this second stint at the College that Sid was promoted to the rank of WO1.. a fitting reward for all his years of hard work. He travelled with the Band on the visit to Washington & San Diego in 2000, where they were required to play at the Hungnam Commemorations. He also enjoyed the 2001 outing to play at the Hamina Military Tattoo in Finland, before a trip to Rome in 2002. Bandmaster Sid took over the leadership of the Band following the departure of Captain Thornhill. During 2002/03... Sid and the majority of the Band Service found themselves deployed on Operation Fresco. They were tasked to supply emergency cover during the second UK firefighter strike. Sid Davis had now become a legend of the Green Goddess.. having been involved in both firefighting Operations Burberry and Fresco. WO1 Davis received a Commendation for his contribution to Operation Fresco. He was also a recipient of The Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
in 2003, Sid was drafted once again to Scotland Band. This time to work
alongside Director of Music... the late Captain John Kelly and a fellow
student on the Bandmasters Course twelve years before. Captain Tony
Smallwood then took over as DOM before the band travelled to Normandy
in 2004 for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. Then it was a return to one
of Sid’s favourites... Gibraltar, to commemorate the 300th Anniversary
of British rule. The band jetted off to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo
2005.. not in the capital of Scotland... but in Sydney Australia. Sid
left Scotland Band early in 2006, to begin a new challenge... Bandmaster
of the RMSM Training Company.. commanded at the time by Major Nick Grace.
RIP Sid, one of life’s true gentlemen.