sad to lose three of our colleagues within the space of just a week
or so. The fact that they were three of the nicest people that I met
and served with in my RMBS time adds to the feeling of loss and I am
so glad that I was able to restore contact with them in recent years.
I am grateful to Paul Castledine for sending photos of Rodney’s
funeral held last Saturday and feel much comforted that he and other
RMB representatives including a Bugler from FOSNI were in attendance
at his farewell.
Apart from sharing time in J Wing, I served in the Pompey Group Band
with Rodney ... and it was there, a few years earlier, in the Summer
of 1961, that I first met the kind and gentle Jeff Boorer who came from
Plymouth Group to replace retiring Divisional Bandsman Frank Thompson
as solo clarinet and was immediately admired for the lovely, warm sound
he produced. I can’t remember if he was thrown in at the deep
end on the Royal Yacht as we took the Royal Family to Cowes Week, Belfast
and their annual family holiday to the Western Isles ... but he certainly
was a welcome addition on the long 6 country tour of West Africa in
After a couple of hiccups, the HMS Centaur Band joined the ship in October
1963, sailing for adventures East of Suez four days before Christmas
(some details of this commission can be found on Notice Board). Our
percussionist was Bob “Sandy” Sanders, an old hand who had
received his LSGCM earlier that year. A kind and affable man well liked
by all, he joined the RNSM on the Isle of Man in 1944 and, in the regular
phone calls I had with him in recent years, he retained memories with
great detail ... and his sense of humour always contributed to our conversations
breaking down in laughter.
We 10 remaining Old Centaurians have sent our condolences to Sandy’s
family, but as three of them have tested positive for Covid-19, as did
Sandy shortly before he died, the details of his funeral are as yet
dear friends Rodney, Jeff and Sandy.