Waterer, who made it to the very top of his profession as Lieutenant
Colonel, Commandant of the Royal Marines School of Music and Principal
Director of Music Royal Marines, was one of the most distinguished military
musicians of his generation.
His march Royal Salute, which was written to commemorate HRH Duke of
Edinburgh’s 25 years as Captain General has entered the repertoire
of all three armed service bands plus brass bands ever since. As well
as composing and playing trombone, he was a skilful organiser for such
events as the Edinburgh Tattoo, the last Royal Tournament, the Queen
Mother's 100th Birthday Pageant and the Queen's Golden Jubilee at Portsmouth.
The son of a golf club secretary, Richard Alan Waterer was born in Shepton
Mallet, Somerset on July 26th 1949, and grew up a Beatles fan while
playing soprano cornet in town band.
In 1964 he trained as a trombonist in the Royal Marines Band Service.
He excelled in training under the watchful eye of Jack Dacombe and received
the Parker Cup as best brass instrumentalist of the year 1966. He was
then awarded the top accolade, the Commandant General's Certificate
of Merit as the best all-round musician.
Richard had brief spells in the Portsmouth Group Band and the Staff
Band during which he climbed the first rung of the promotion ladder
by making it to BCpl.
Richard was drafted to RM Band HMS Ark Royal in 1974. He became the
band's librarian and was Band Sergeant when it featured in the BBC television
documentary Sailor. He returned to RMSM following his time at sea and
was selected to attend the Warrant Officer's bandmaster course, he became
a licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music. Furthermore he was promoted
to BCSgt in 1979 and subsequently appointed WO2 Bandmaster of the Staff
Band in 1980 when he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Worshipful
Company of Musicians. Richard was commissioned in 1982 and appointed
Director of Music to the Band of HM Royal Marines, Commando Training
Centre. After a short first marriage, Richard, married Sue in 1982,
and gained two stepchildren Simon & Jane.
Two years later Waterer studied for twelve months at Goldsmith's College
and became assistant to the principal director of music, Royal Marines.
He next became Director of Music at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth
between 1988-90 presiding over trips to Poland and France.
Following a two-year stint as Director of Music training at the Royal
Marines School of Music, Richard was appointed Director of Music to
the Commander in Chief Fleet Band in 1992, the final ever boss of the
disbanded band at RAF Northolt. In January 1994 he spent a six-month
sabbatical on secondment to the Presidents Own United States Marine
Corps in Washington DC, and appointed Commandant of Cadets at Valley
Forge Military Academy at Wayne, Pennsylvania. In July of that year
he was appointed as the sixth Principal Director of Music Royal Marines,
succeeding Lt Col John Ware. Lt Col Waterer inherited a Band Service
under threat and the cost of keeping the School of Music at Deal was
extremely high, he was responsible for finally moving the Royal Marines
school music from Deal to Portsmouth in 1996. At Portsmouth he fostered
a partnership with Portsmouth University, realigned military music training
to recognise civilian qualifications, and built strong links with Russian
and Scandinavian bands.
Richard composed seven marches during his career, notably Royal Salute,
Gibraltar and HMS Ocean. He was awarded with an OBE in 1999 and MVO
in 2002. On 29th June 2002, Richard was ceremoniously escorted from
HMS Nelson retiring from the Royal Marines Band Service after 38 years.
It was complete shock and sadness when it was announced that Richard
had died aged 56, on January 10th 2006, at the Valley Forge Military
Academy in Pennsylvania where he was Commandant of Cadets. Richard's
Funeral Service was held in Portsmouth Cathedral with over six hundred
attending the reception at the Royal Marines Museum. A great tribute
to a real life Officer and a Gentleman.