The Last Ever Battleship

Mick Hutton

Hi Dickie,

1950 was just a little before my time as a sea going bandie, although I do recognise the B/M but can't remember his name, nor the Tuba player but the guy to his right on trumpet I think was Joe Crowther.

1950 of course I was still a Band Boy and we had just moved from Burford to Deal but I did come across HMS Vanguard later in 1952 when serving on HMS Glasgow and the Med Fleet met up with the Home Fleet in Gib. The Euph & Cello on HMS Vanguard was my best mate Eddie Bosher. He and I had been together in the Euph & Cello class since we both joined in 49. I’m sure that the wizard Terry Freestone will be able to identify the B/M and maybe a couple of the others. We are coping well and both of us have had out first jab so just keep on hanging in there. I have the occasional burst on the Cello and also have a Valve Trombone which gets an outing occasionally, but I prefer to just flube around on the keyboard most of the time.

All the best to you and yours, hope very much to see you in October if its possible. Best wishes Michael.


Terry Freestone

Hi Richard,

Interesting to see the band still in RNSM kit. The amalgamation happened on 1 September 1950, the change of clothing viz. collar dogs for lyres and broad trouser stripes took time to come in, certainly in Deal as I was in the first draft band Glory to be kitted up in this new-fangled rig and for a short working up period in Nov/Dec had to endure catcalls and ribald comments from old-timers like BCpl Fred Brisley in the old J block Dining Room for M company in North Barrack.

We joined Glory in 'Guzz' on 12 Jan 1951 after breakfasting there, ironically the newly built Dining hall on the South side of the parade was due to open for dinner that day, but it would be 2½ years before we would use it.

Getting back to Vanguard, the Bandmaster looks superficially like Ben Breeze, but he keeps his face away from view and in any case, Ben Breeze was a QMS (Staff Bandmaster) back in Deal on my CG squad No 2 photo taken 28 July 1950. The bass player looks not far from finishing his 12, I have no recollection of him. So no luck there.


Funnily enough, on return in Glory in July 53 after lots of leave until late September I went back in to Deal and was sent in to the new Dining Hall to work as a DHA-dining hall attendant- which I hated, collecting up dishes to put through the dishwasher and clean the hall after meals. But worse for me was the feeling of loss of opportunity to make progress on my trumpet, having lost so much time on patrols, about 18 months.. So when in late October I was sent for by Sr.Cd BMr Dougie Jarman Asst Drafting officer,who offered me the chance to relieve Cpl McCombe in Vanguard I jumped at it. I had a companion on the trip in early November to Pompey-Josh Gilbert. The ship was alongside S Railway Jetty and seemed vast. Cd Bmr Alfie White was i/c, just 4 or 5 weeks later he announced some band promotions, the last of which was me to B/Cpl (conditional) and a draft as VBI to Caledonia. All another story in itself... I finally got the chance to qualify for my 1953 seniority in September 1958.

Coming back to the clothing change, I don`t know when outlying bands changed their kit, so the pic' of the Vanguard band might have been taken at any time between 1 May and 30 September 1950 as all are in white caps.

I see you have had another blizzard over the pond. Good luck old chum best regards, Terry.

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