RMBx 171 S/Bdmr Walter P 'Bomber' Wells. BEM, (MiD-HMS Dido)
Colleagues may recall that a year or so ago the son of former Staff Bandmaster 'Bomber' Wells,, CSM of Boys Wing at the time of the Amalgamation in 1950, wrote enquiringly of his father asking if anyone remembered him. I remembered him well for I was a 14 year old boy musician at the time and knew 'Bomber' to be a fair, kindly father figure. To those of us suddenly thrust into a different world at Royal Marines Deal from the home of the Royal Naval School of Music at Burford in leafy Oxfordshire, his kindness and mature understanding was hugely welcome. It gave me enormous pleasure to respond and to be able to speak to his son assuring him of his father's valued contribution in those days to the lives of young embryo boy musicians assailed on all sides by hardened Marines training for their role as RM Commandos. Recently I have learned that a WW2 'ditty box', pictured here, and carrying Bandmaster Wells' name has been located and undergone careful renovation. The amazing sequel to this is that the 'ditty box' has after so many years made its way back to Deal for a member of 'Bomber' Wells' family now lives in the former barracks Sergeants' Mess, recently converted into elegant private accommodation. Pride of place there now, and rightly so, is this family heirloom. A lasting memorial to a man of considerable moral stature and one of our best who made an enormous difference to innocent young lives and who deserves never to be forgotten.
Graham Hoskins OBE MVO