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Ships Band 1949

Royal Marine Band 1949 Cruise
The Band has had a very full programme this cruise and lived up to its name for versatility. The following details of their performance will show that it ranged from a full orchestral programme in Gibraltar Cathedral to dance music concerts or ‘Sailors Opera’ in the rec. space.
During a normal week the band played in the evenings for the Wardroom, Cadets and Ship’s Company and at any official receptions or “at homes’’ on board. The latter were given at Grenada, Barbados, Montego Bay and Kingston, and as described by the Daily Gleaner’—” The band provided a rich soft and entertaining musical background.’’ At Grenada the band played a military band concert on the esplanade. The weather just held out and quite a large crowd collected. A welcome supply of beer was provided at the end.

Sponsored by the Navy Welfare League a dance for the Ship’s Company was given at the Paradise Beach Club, Barbados. The dance band played amid a fine tropical background of swaying palms and murmuring waves, and despite the effects of rum and ginger and an out of tune piano everything went with a swing.
Montego Bay kept the band very busy. Beating of the Retreat was carried out twice once at the Country Club when a subscription for charity, canteen funds and band fund realised £13 10s. 0d. The Senior Cadet buglers took part in these ceremonies with great success.

The second time was after the ship’s football team had beaten the local team
1—0. The band played during the interval and then “Beat the Retreat.” Musn. Alltimes had to do a swift change from football rig to uniform and during this interval Sgt. Turner with twenty-two Royal Marines gave a short drill display.

Both the drill display and the Retreat went off well in spite of the crowd, who could not be kept under control and insisted on surrounding the band and drill. squad, and nearly succeeded in cutting them off from each other. The band returned on board and, straight away sat down to play for an official party.

At Montego Bay the band also played at the sports meeting, and the dance band at two dances — luckily both ‘‘private engagements’’
thereby increasing their rabbiting capacity on arrival at Kingston.

One more dance at Kingston completed the dance band’s outside engagements.
The highlight of the cruise for the band was undoubtedly the orchestral programme
in Gibraltar Cathedral. The band played at the evening service on Sunday, 27th
March. In addition to accompanying the hymns the orchestra played the well-loved
Chorale of J. S. Bach, “ Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” and the Adagio movement of Haydn’s Oxford Symphony before the commencement of the service, and three pieces from the Suite in D, by Bach, with the Aria “ Sheep may safely graze ‘‘ (also by J. S. Bach), after the service was over. This programme was much appreciated and is a great achievement for a ship’s orchestra. To provide this programme a lot of hard work and practice was put in while crossing the Atlantic. The Bach Chorale and Aria were both specially orchestrated by Bandmaster W. G. Cotton. The Haydn work, too, had to be specially adapted to suit the orchestra’s limited combination.
The ‘Sailors’ Opera” programmes on Monday evenings were always a great success and both Leading Seaman Grant (the compere) and P.O. Lilley helped to make them go with a swing. The band wish Leading Seaman Grant every success in the future as he is leaving the ship.
An experiment of raising boats to music at sea was tried and certainly brought the boats up, attention to ‘‘high ‘nuff’’ tended to be a little difficult once the band were away with the ‘‘Can Can’’ from “Orpheus in the Underworld’’ but luckily no boats “clewed up’’ on top of the funnels.
A tiger skin was received before leaving England and worn by Cpl. Wain at the beating of the retreat He does not recommend it for tropical wear.

In the field of sport, the band again formed a successful association with the communication division ‘‘teleband” which has proved something of a dark horse in inter-part football this cruise , this team having fought their way astonishingly into the finals by beating the boys 3—0, the Seamen “A’’ 2—0, and the Cadets 3—2. The final, with the Miscellaneous as their adversaries, has yet to be decided and the issue is the cause of much speculation it will certainly be hotly contested

One Response to Ships Band 1949

  1. A/b George Rusell

    August 29, 2011 at 16:02

    Just browsing and came accross the above article. Remember the Paradise Beach Club. Ships crew were made honoury members so we could enjoy the facilities. From there, one of the owners took myself & friend round the island & to the mansion of Sir Edward Cunard, 7th baronette of Cunard White Star line.

    Trotting down the deck to Orpheus in the Underworld also stands out in the memory: 2 rows of us, on comand “marry the 2 ropes”, and then away

    After 62 years, it’s a pleasure to share Devonshire a memory from someone

    To anyone with similar memories, all the best from Sheffield

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