WO1 Bdmr Rodney E Williamson

How 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 the Autumn.

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 unknown.

RIP dear friends Rodney, Jeff and Sandy.


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