Nov 8/2011
Chatham Dogends RM Band Reunion
by Terry Freestone

On Saturday 29 October a reunion of former "Chatham Dogend" band ranks was held at the Countryman Inn, Gillingham.

This was an invited group of ex-bandies whose contact details had come into the hands of joint organisers Alan Brooker and Andy (Brick) Wall. About 50 former members responded and a very good time was had by all, with copious draughts of liquid and solid refreshment being consumed.

What was unexpected was the very welcome presence of the current PDM - Lt Colonel Nick Grace and his lady Isobel, who had made the journey to the wilds of the former Dockyard area which built Victory, the world`s most famous warship.

It was good to see former Bandmaster Bob Gill and Drum Major Dave Dawson, and noticeable for several others who had travelled some distances to be there, Roy Fleming from Manchester, Alan West from Guernsey & Addie Harper from Derbyshire.

Colonel Nick gave an amusing and well-informed resumé of the bands who had served at Chatham from 1772 until closure of the naval base in 1983 and removal of CinC Fleet band to Northolt. At one stage it was mentioned that I was the the oldest of the surviving Directors of Music, but I have since realised that we are still blessed with the presence of Lieut. Tom Merrett who had been there when the CinC The Nore command closed in 1961. Tom lives in Walmer and must be 89.

A big vote of thanks to the co-organisers, who I understand are hoping to repeat the event in about four years, so if anyone knows of any who may have missed this, contact details are Alan Brooker Tel: 01634 855797 or Andy Wall`s website:

Terry Freestone

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