MBE BMus(Hons) PGDip LRSM AMusTCL RM
Major Pete Curtis joined the Royal Marines Band Service in January 1986 as a young Solo Cornet player and now, some 25 years (and 17 houses!) later, having travelled the World with numerous Royal Marines Bands, including a spell as the Director of Music of The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines CTCRM and Portsmouth (Royal Band), he is the Director of Music or The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Collingwood.
Throughout his quarter of a century's Service, he has also maintained various links with the civilian music world, including the Salvation Army where he first learned to play, having played for or conducted numerous Brass Bands such as Woodfalls, Camborne Town, Leyland, Besses O' The Barn, Ocean Brass, Tullis Russell and Totnes Bands.
He was especially delighted when, in January 2011, he was appointed as the Director of Music of the Band of The Hampshire Constabulary.
For a full biography of Major P J Curtis, click here
Major Pete Curtis is currently assisted in his role as Director of Music by Deputy Bandmaster, Greg Walker.
Major Jason Burcham joined the Royal Marines as a pianist and cornet player at the Royal Marines School of Music, Deal in 1986. On completion of training, he briefly joined the Commando Training Centre Band before being drafted to the Staff Band at Deal. A move to the Band of the Commander-in Chief Naval Home Command in Portsmouth brought with it promotion and the opportunity to serve on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
In 2009, Major Burcham was appointed as Director of Music of the new HM Royal Marines Collingwood Band.
Len Lewry a native of Edinburgh, joined the Hampshire Constabulary in 1983 and was appointed Bandmaster two years later. Len had a distinguished career in the Royal Marines Band Service, including time on the Royal Yacht. He left to join the police service, in the rank of Band Colour Sergeant, his final posting being to HMS Collingwood, Fareham where he was the Bandmaster of the volunteer band. Based in Portsmouth, he retired from the Police Service in September 2001.
Doug Johnstone was bandmaster for 17 years, and was recalled from The District Police Training Centre to take the position shortly after the amalgamation of Hampshire Constabulary. He had learnt his craft in the Royal Marines, and on a posting to France during the war, had heard 'The Marseillaise' played the French way, with much elaboration. As bandmaster of the band of the Hampshire Constabulary, playing at the Cenotaph in Southampton for the Bruneval Commemorative Festivities, he incorporated these frills into the band's rendition. At the end of the ceremony, a French woman exclaimed 'Monsieur Chef D'Orchestra, the way you play 'The Marseillaise' makes me cry'. This was taken to mean that it reminded her of her former home. Doug was a French speaker and was the first to take the band abroad. Over the years, many reciprocal visits have been made and international relationships established. Doug passed away in 2000.
Percy Hankin joined the Rifle Brigade as a boy soldier. He attended Kneller Hall and trained there as a bandsman, becoming skilled in the clarinet, violin and piano. As a soldier he served, among other places, in Malta. At the age of 21 his mother bought him out of the Army and he joined the Police. During the war he was recalled to the colours but surprisingly did not rejoin the Army. He had developed an interest in aircraft and persuaded the powers that be to allow him to enlist in the RAF. There he became an officer cadet and subsequently a fighter pilot flying Spitfires. He was later posted to Canada and then America as a pilot instructor. Percy died in April 1977.
Stan Roper came from three generations of Portsmouth musicians, his father owning a music shop in that city. Stan joined the Royal Marines as a boy musician at the age of 15 on 28th January 1929. During his service as a bandsman in the Royal Marines he served aboard the Royal Yacht, HMY Victoria and Albert. He was also the holder of the King George V Silver Jubilee Coronation Medal. Discharged from the Royal Marines on compassionate grounds in 1937, he applied to join the Southampton Police and was accepted. The reason Stan applied to Southampton and not to Portsmouth was because the former had a band. Invalided out of the Force after 28 years service he remained in poor health and died in February 1968.
Charlie Rhodes had been an Army bandsman, being trained at Kneller Hall, the Royal Military School of Music. He was always recognised as a brilliant musician, and played with many local bands. Even after retiring from the Police band, he could often be found 'listening' to practices at Hulse Road, Southampton and offering constructive and accurate criticism on matters of performance.
Charlie Saunders joined the Army as a boy soldier straight from school. Enlisting in the 9th Lancers he was quite naturally taught to ride. The Lancers also taught him to be a musician, playing the clarinet, saxophone and flute. In 1924 Charlie left the Army and joined the Southampton Borough Police. In 1930 he was posted to the Mounted Branch and probably the most famous picture of him is riding 'Warrior' leading the Old Contemptibles Association Church Parade in 1935. This is the last picture of Warrior who died shortly afterwards. Charlie played in the band for several years and it was to him that Chief Constable Tarry turned when he decided to re-form the band shortly after taking command of the Force. The band was initially reconstituted as a small dance band under his baton. Retiring from the Force in 1950, he died in March 1976
Arthur Muddiman hailed from the small Northamptonshire village of Long Buckby. He was enticed South when he was offered the post of bandmaster to the Southampton Police band in 1905. Besides being a conductor, Arthur was also a professional adjudicator of bands. By trade he was a leather merchant and shoe repairer and on arrival he set up a small business in St. Marks Road, Southampton. He then moved to 295 Shirley Road where he traded until his death in 1943. Under his guidance the band soon attained broadcasting standard. Arthur Muddiman is the band's longest serving bandmaster, a period of 35 years. Whilst never a serving officer, his son Frank, was an Inspector who played the cornet in the Band for many years. Arthur is seen here (right) being presented with a clock by Chief Constable Tarry in recognition of his long and valued service. The clock is still the valued possession of his family. Arthur was also the Bandmaster of Woodfalls Silver Band, Downton in Wiltshire, who under his stewardship competed at the Royal Albert Hall.
William Leeson was born in St John's New Brunswick and joined the Southampton Police on 11th October 1895. He was 50 years old, and was a musician by occupation. He had previously served in the 1st West Riding and 1st Lancashire Regiments. He cut a fine figure at 6' tall with brown hair and grey eyes. He had no previous police experience and was engaged as a Hackney Carriage Inspector and Bandmaster at £1 0s 0d per week. There is a possibility that he was shown 'on the books' to enable him to be paid for his duties as Bandmaster. The record shows that he resigned from the force on 2nd May 1901 but continued to serve as Bandmaster until 1905 when the Watch Committee Minutes show that he was retired as he was no longer capable of carrying out his duties because of his great age. If this record is correct then he would have been only 60 years of age; this tends to suggest that he was much older then 50 when he became Bandmaster.