Two original musical scores have recently been donated to the Royal Marines Museum archive in the hand of the former Director of Music Lt-Colonel Vivian Dunn. One of the compositions was hitherto unknown, and was titled ‘The Amphibian’, and was specially written to commemorate the visit of Major General Houghton CBE MC to Deal in 1962. The General was Chief of Amphibious Warfare at the time, and visited the RM School of Music on the 9 March that year. It is believed this was the only occasion the piece was performed.
The Royal Marines School of Music was originally named ‘The Royal Naval School of Music’ and it was formed at Eastney Barracks (the current Royal Marines Museum location) in 1903 when the Royal Navy passed responsibility to the Royal Marines for training and providing ship’s bands. Every major British ship carried a Royal Marines Band who had a military as well as a musical role. During the First World War forty-nine musicians were killed at the Battle of Jutland alone.
The Royal Marines Band Service Corps of Drums are at the Museum today to have new offical photographs taken.
The new photos give the band an opportunity to show off their new drums which have been specially made form them by Pearl. The drums have been a year in production and take over from a previous make and model of drum which the band have used for the last 25 years.
If you'd like to see the band in action tickets for the Mountbattern Festival of Music went on sale on 9th January and are available from
This photograph arrived at the museum recently amongst a donation of documents, and depicts a mixed RMLI and RMA ship’s detachment ‘band’. It was common for casual players to form up amongst the detachment for their own and ship-mates entertainment, and Banjos and Mandolins were very popular instruments between the 1900s and the 1930s.
‘Banjo’ in Royal Marines slang can mean ‘to hit someone or something very hard’, so presumably if Royal didn’t master the instrument, he could always add it to his weaponry!
Next in our extraordinary stories series is Captain Green.
The Band of the Royal Marine Artillery was given the honour of becoming the official Band of the Royal Yacht after they impressed King Edward VII.
The band, under Captain Green, played at many prominent events such as the funeral of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII’s Coronation and on a Royal tour to India. Whilst Green was a Director of Music the band visited and played for those serving on the Western Front on several occasions during the First World War.
Friday 5th August, 2:00pm, The Guildhall Portsmouth
For those of you who were disappointed by the cancellation of the Outdoor Band Concert at the Royal Marines Museum, here's a chance to hear an unbeatable concert featuring the Big Band, Concert Band, Corps of Drums and Orchestra of the Royal Marines School of Music.
Don't miss the world famous Ceremony of Beating Retreat in the Guildhall square.
When the Band of the Royal Marines, Portsmouth, plays their annual musical concert in front of the Royal Marines Museum on the 17th July they will be echoing similar performances given by their predecessor band, the Royal Marine Artillery Band.
On the 13th July 1907 the lawns, as can be seen in the adjacent photograph, were similarly filled with tents, marquees, audience and music.
A sequel to 'The Royal Marines Band Service' this book concentrates on the story of the drummers, later buglers, since 1664 and the musicians of the Divisional Bands since their inception n the 18th century.
Come to the Museum on Sunday 17th July 2pm to see the Royal Marines Band perform in an outdooor concert.
Royal Marine Buglers are known for their intricate drum beatings, stick drill and displays; for the sound of their bugle calls and of course their smartness, panache and élan at the front of a Royal Marines Band. However, it wasn’t always so...