The Wrong Draft
The Best Result

This story might be of interest to some that still might remember me.

After coming back to Burford after a 2 year 10 months commission in the Far East, and having all our entitled foreign service leave, we were being drafted to a square number of our choice, or so we thought! I requested a draft to a band in Cosham in Hampshire, and in due time my draft was put up on the notice board to proceed to a place called Corsham in Wiltshire. As the older members will know Corsham was where HMS Royal Arthur, the Naval training camp was. It also had a Petty Officers training school as well as the main camp.

I arrived at Royal Arthur to find the band were at the P/O's school where it went once a fortnight to play during the lunch hour. It was about 2 o'clock when I arrived so the Duty Officer sent me to the galley to get something to eat. The first person I met was a WREN cleaning the mess tables and when I asked if she could find me something to eat, she started to tell me what she thought of Bandsmen ……coming in at all hours for food, demanding this and demanding that. Naturally I wasn't very pleased as in the first instance I wanted to be in Cosham not Corsham, and I had a lousy trip from Burford (not far I know) also being a young 20 year old I was very hungry.

I eventually got a dinner from the irate WREN which she slid down the counter at me indicating that's all I was getting, and don't come back for any more "like you bandsmen usually do." It was during my first week there that I realised that the irate WREN wasn't so bad after all even though we crossed swords a couple times. It was on the Friday that I took the plunge and cheekily asked her out for a run ashore on the Saturday, and to my surprise she said yes.

That was a silly thing to do as I was next door to being broke, and really it was only a passing remark and never expecting her to say yes. The next morning I went cap in hand and told her the run ashore was off. I explained the reason and to my surprise she said not to worry and I'll see you as arranged. We met outside the gate and the irate WREN pressed a pound note in my hand which I didn't refuse!

We had our evening out at the local pub (not a lot to do in Corsham in January!) and with Scrumpy at nine old pence a pint, the pound went a long way. On the way back to camp I was politely told if I always drank like that I had better forget any more runs ashore.

Ken and EsdeAll this happened in 1948 and on November of that year we were married, so on November 6th. this year we celebrate our 60th anniversary. If our Bass player "Slogger" Heath was still about he wouldn't believe it as I think he gave us 6 months, and I wish I could lay my hands on the length of broom handle and note he gave with it. The band presented us with a lovely biscuit barrel which we have in pride of place amongst our possessions, along with a set of unused fish knives and forks!

I am still having my dinners thrown at me, and get my pocket money fairly regularly, but I wouldn't change a thing.

We have three children. Two girls first, then our son. The eldest Lesley is now 55, the other daughter Carole 53, and son Ian 49. We also have 6 Grandchildren and 2 Great Grandchildren.

On my leaving the RMB I soon got into the music world in the area. Brass bands, pit Orchestras, my local Orchestra (47 years now) string Quartets etc. And now I come to the point of this little tale……the lady has been a wonderful "Orchestral Wife" through all the good times and bad, and we have had a few bad ones over the years. On top of all this she has suffered with Asthma all of our married life and never faltered in the up-bringing of the children, and even going to college to become a teacher, when the children were little.

I just have one problem come Nov. 6th. Being our Diamond Wedding anniversary I shall have to get her the diamond ring she never got years ago, and I don't think I have the cheek to ask her for a sub!

Ken Tyler, and the lady in question? Esde.

Buscuit barrel

The inscription reads:

From the R.M. Band H.M.S Royal Arthur
To Mr. & Mrs. K. Tyler
6th Nov 1948

Richard Valentine -1996 - 2008 © - All rights reserved