THE ROYAL MARINES
PHYSICAL TRAINING BRANCH
Compiled by Peter Brown
Illustrations by Charles Forrest
FROM THE EDITOR
Why do I keep volunteering for these things? It’s bad enough trying to
get former PTIs to even write, let alone pull it all together!
Well, I suppose the answer to that is that when PTIs do write, they do a
great job, with lots of humour and spirit! So I do hope that you will like
this offering to cheer you for the coming year.
Mac Mackenzie (our new Secretary) is doing a great job, so please give
your full support to make it all worthwhile. Bear in mind that we are
doing this voluntarily and under great time constraints. The odd
telephone call or note of support makes it all worthwhile and, if you have
any good ideas, we are always pleased to hear them, or about long-lost
Recently, both Mac and I did the honourable thing and put on our Corps
blazers, ties and berets (for me 15 years after leaving the Corps) for the
first time, on the Royal Marines National Memorial Unveiling Ceremony
(29 October, Horse Guards Parade). It was a wonderful occasion,
marching down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace behind a Corps
band, and being made to keep in step by the Corps RSM, Roger Tinson
MBE (yes, former PTI)! Afterwards, we enjoyed a wonderful reception
in Wellington Barracks, with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and a wide
range of former senior officers and other past colleagues. Everyone was
made to feel greatly welcome and it certainly brought home to me what a
large and wonderful family we are all part of.
So don’t sit back and moan, or criticise – life’s just too short. Please get
involved and share a little humour or support. If everyone gives a little
bit, everyone will benefit and we will all be part of something very
special. Resolve now to do your little bit, perhaps an article, a phone call
to someone in need, a cheery message and perhaps even a small
contribution to help us to produce another newsletter in 6 months time.
Good health to you all and thank you!
Peter Brown MBE
FROM THE SECRETARY
I replaced John Thatcher as your Secretary/Treasurer at this year’s Reunion. As most of you
will be aware, John suffered a tragic personal loss just after the Reunion, and he has replied to
all of you who supported him in this newsletter. To me this is what our Branch and Reunion
Club are all about and the reason why we must all keep in touch from time to time.
Personally, I have been out of the Corps for more time that I spent in it, but over the last few
years, I have come to understand and appreciate what the Corps and the PT Branch in
particular has done for me in my life. Having joined the Royal Marines at the age of 16, I
don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the Corps shaped my life in a way, which would
have been impossible in ‘Civvie Street’, and for that I am very grateful.
Hopefully, many of you will feel the same way and that is why it’s imperative that we keep
the great spirit we have in our branch going well into the next century. It is particularly
important when the very future of our Branch is in question and this is why our ‘Alert’ system
is something we must keep going at all costs.
The ‘Memories’ booklet was a huge success and contributed to our funds. It has to be noted,
however, that every time we do a mail shot to our members, it costs us a huge amount in
postage, printing and stationery. We are extremely grateful to Peter Brown, who bore most
of the costs for producing the ‘Memories’ booklet but this newsletter will deplete our funds
considerably. Therefore, we would like to ask all our readers for a discretionary donation to
the Club, so that we can remain in the black for the foreseeable future. We are not asking for
a fortune, just whatever you can comfortably afford to help keep us going.
If you do decide to contribute, this will be a one-off donation and will not affect your
membership in any way. Any cheques should be made out to ‘The RMPT Reunion Fund’.
Thank you in anticipation!
Since I took over from John, I have had the pleasure to be in touch with more of my
colleagues and spoken to more people than I have for years. The electronic age has helped a
lot too and it’s nice to get the occasional email or just share a short time on the telephone to
talk and swap experiences or jokes! It also helps to hear about someone who is ill or who
could do with a message of support or friendship, so please keep up the good work because I
know that many of you are now getting more connected.
For those of you who have been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21 st century, Tony
Lang (an ex-signaller) has an excellent RM web page. The address is www.civvie-
street.co.uk Good browsing!
Recently, I joined the RMA (about time) and went to London for the re-dedication ceremony
of the RM National Memorial. The sun was shining, there were about 1,000 of us on parade
with the RM Band and Guard of Honour and we had a very moving parade and service in The
Mall, followed by a reception at Wellington Barracks and RMR London. Unfortunately, it
was the weekend of disruption on the railways, but despite that I wouldn’t have missed it for
anything. No doubt The Globe and Laurel will have an article in the next issue.
It only remains now for me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Prosperous New
Year. Hope to see a lot more of you in 2002.
Alastair (Mac) Mackenzie
Secretary PRMPT Reunion Club
THE WIDER FAMILY – JOHN THATCHER
In the Corps, some marriages last longer than others for many varied reasons; some go on
forever. Mine was one of the latter until the 8th July this year when Josie died very suddenly
from cancer. At times like this, you find out who your real friends are. I had a letter three
days after Josie died from a colleague who said: ‘You have many friends, John, who will be
only too pleased to give you their help and support because they want to – please don’t be
afraid to ask for it.’
He was right on the button. I have had messages, calls and visits from friends all over the
world that have been a great source of comfort and support to me, Sara and Matthew. Some
of those friends did not know Josie very well – in some cases, not at all. We do tend to live a
separate life to our wives and families in the Branch and all the memories and nostalgia we
wallow in at reunions and contact calls and letters sometimes does exclude them. Josie very
much believed that the reunion was for ‘the boys’ and that the wives were not forgotten but
temporarily ‘de-prioritised’ while we tried to relive our younger days.
This may have been instilled in Josie at the first reunion in 1971 when I was on my qualifier’s
course. We had to work and our wives and girlfriends attended the reunion evening function.
I was involved in the evening’s entertainment holding planks of wood and tiles for Jimmy
Rea and Paul Evans to shatter with the martial arts skills. I then went back to the table where
Josie and the other ladies were to get the drinks in and went to the bar with Paul Cochrane
where Maurice Logue waylaid us in his argumentative Irish way! By the time I got back to
the table, Josie had been asked to dance by one of the recruit waiters, taken umbrage at me
leaving her alone for so long and had gone home! That was one year into our marvellous
marriage of 30 years and 5 months. A long time, someone said to me soon after Josie died
and I suppose it is to some, but for me it was never long enough – there was so much more
that we had to do.
It is still not easy and I am going from day to day with a tremendous amount of help from
friends and family. I spent the weekend with Mac Mackenzie recently and he told me that he
was collating this newsletter. I am taking this opportunity to thank those of you who have
supported me, directly and indirectly and to thank our wider family – the PT Branch – for its
Almost 3 years ago, I heard the sad news that one of our most spirited and stalwart
warriors, Trog Royle, was lying in Pembury Hospital, near Tonbridge, having
suffered a major stroke. When I visited Trog, it was touch and go as to whether he
would survive and at best he would be paralysed in half his body.
To see one of your former colleagues in such a sad state grabs the attention. However, one
thing that shone through was that, whilst the body was feeble, Trog’s Royal Marine spirit was
still strong and very positive. Additionally, he was extremely fortunate to have the wonderful
support of his dear wife, Barbara, despite the enormous upheaval of their lives. Now Trog
tells his own brief story and outlines how he wants to prove himself again. It would be nice if
we could support him in his forthcoming challenge.
A MESSAGE FROM TROG ROYLE:
‘More life can trickle through a man’s mind than from a gaping wound’
For those who don’t know me, my name is Trog Royle and I was born at a very early
age. Now aged sixty-two years I have had many adventures, some of which I could
well have done without. However, my biggest adventure of 8th April 1997 resulted in
my (not very gracefully) collapsing onto the bedroom floor at 2.30 in the morning and
ending up in hospital with a major stroke, which left me paralysed down one side of
Now over two and a half years later I have, with the help of many physiotherapists
and the generous support of friends, improved to such an extent that I am now in the
need of another adventure or challenge!
At about 13.30 hrs on Sunday 9th October 2000, after a climb of some 830 metres over
a distance of about 4,500 metres, accompanied by my young son, Stephen, and
Captain Jez Hunter RM, I reached the plateau of Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons. A
round trip of six hours with the aid of the walking stick. I now intend to climb all
three major peaks – Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis – to raise money for the
Royal British Legion, Churchill Rehabilitation Centre and funding for Hyperbaric
Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), which is a means of providing additional oxygen to the
tissues of the body which, with the increased oxygen, furthers the body’s ability to kill
germs and increase healing. This is used in the treatment of MS, stroke, burns,
problem healing of wounds and many other conditions.
This venture will hopefully commence on 1st April 2001 and finish on the summit of
Ben Nevis on the 8th April, which will be third anniversary of my stoke. Naturally,
between now and then, I will have to put in a whole heap of preparation and planning
Although my walking ability and gait is impaired, I believe that I am now at the stage
when a challenge will help to consolidate my improvement. I have however been
criticised by some thinking that, in my condition, it’s crazy and much too serious a
project to undertake. Well, I have had 62 years experience of being crazy and am
very good at it now. I have also tried being serious but it doesn’t suit me at all! In
this final challenge, I intend to succeed.
To walk all three peaks will not only be a great challenge but a ‘first’ for me. In the
past, as a competitor in the Barmouth to Fort William three peaks race, I had to run
up and down the same peaks. With your good wishes, I will have a great team
supporting me. We will keep you all informed of progress and thank you all for your
support in the meantime.
Captain Jez Hunter and my son will also help by beating me with a big stick and
employing that well-known motivate factor ‘abuse’ when the going gets tough. In the
words of my mentor, Jez: ‘Success is failure turned upside down’.
KENT BRANCH NEWS – from Bill Howie
We are delighted to report that Ron Hubble, for so many years the driving force
behind Kent PT Branch Reunions, is making excellent progress from his recent illness
and, although he still needs medication and a walking stick, we hope that he will soon
be back on the Gym floor! It’s marvellous to see him mobile again.
We have a buzz (via Tony Higgins) that the old PT School building in South Barracks
may possibly be developed into a modern-day Health/Fitness facility. Let’s hope that
this is true! Watch this space for progress reports. Please contact me, if you would
like further details on any of the following Deal Reunions in 2001.
Kent PTI’s Branch Reunion: 26th May (Bank Holiday weekend)
Sergeants’ Mess Life Hon Members’ Dinner: October (date TBC)
41 Cdo RM (Deal) Reunion: 30th June
Please make every effort to attend the Kent PTI’s Branch Reunion in May,
where you will be made most welcome.
Contact: W M Howie, ‘Calluna’, Hawkshill Road, Walmer, Deal, Kent CT14 7LN
(Tel: 01304 375 900)
FROM SCOTLAND – BILL (JED) SHARP
Alive and well in the West of Scotland
Having been out of the Corps and PT Branch for 8½ years (where does time go), I
think it is time I sat down and put pen to paper about where I am and what I am doing
in case my position geographically or workwise can be of any benefit to serving or ex-
PTIs and I will do my best to help.
I left the Corps in April 1992 and started work in March 1992. I was one of the lucky
ones who actually found employment on terminal leave. My job from 1992 until
1998 was as Project Leader of a Sports Team helping deprived members of the
community, including people with drug, drink and social problems, to take part in
indoor and outdoor activities anywhere in Scotland.
For the last two years I have managed an indoor and outdoor leisure facility in Ayr.
Because of my job, I still play squash and football (both rather badly). However, my
squash team is looking for a venue and opposition for an end of season tour in April
If anyone is coming to this part of the country for any reason (perhaps for golf, etc.), I
would be only too pleased to help in any way I can. My job also has its useful side,
which I can pass on. Hope to see some old friends soon.
Regards to all,
Contact: Bill Sharp, Whitletts Sports Centre, Glenmuir Place, Ayr Tel: 01292 288845
SICK BAY REPORT
For those of you who do not know, our dear old friend (and ex-President of the RMPT
Branch Reunion Club) Joe Field, now in his 90s, has been very poorly in recent
months. Charles Forrest has been in touch with him regularly and we know from
Joe’s wife, Vera, that although he is no longer able to walk and is in a very frail
condition, in true PT tradition his spirit is good.
However, we find it incredibly hard to believe that Joe and Vera had to endure a
burglary recently – supposedly by a ‘friend’ that they knew! How anyone can stoop
so low as to rob someone like Joe, who relies on a zimmer-frame, is almost beyond
belief. Perhaps a short note or card from his friends would keep their spirits intact.
Joe and Vera Field, 99 Dovercourt Road, Horfield, Bristol BS7 9SG.
Tel: 01272 513332
For those who know Gordon, they will know that he has always given 100% to both
the PT Branch and anything in life that he encounters. It was therefore a big shock to
find out three weeks before the last PT Branch Reunion (which he had intended to
attend) that he had been made redundant.
The situation was resolved by Gordon by starting to work for himself doing building
and renovation work. However, a few weeks after starting this perilous road, a large
pane of glass fell down from the roof and, in protecting his head, the glass severed the
arteries of his hand. He lost a great deal of blood and almost his life. The rest he will
undoubtedly tell you himself as fortunately he is now recovering slowly, supported by
Elizabeth his lovely wife. Why not give Gordon a call?
Gordon Russell, ‘Holmview’ Wold Newton, Nr Driffield, E. Yorkshire YO25 0YQ.
Tel: 01262 470 650
Many colleagues may remember Ray, who always had a pleasant manner and a smile
for everybody. After serving in the Corps, Ray eventually ended up with the
Somerset Air Ambulance Service as a Paramedic. However on one Christmas Eve
duty, Ray experienced tingling in his left arm and severe pain in the neck. He was
immediately hospitalised for three weeks, where he was diagnosed as having severe
spondilitis of the spine. He is now redundant and only able to walk slowly for 30-45
mins and is undergoing physiotherapy. A card or letter from any former colleagues
would probably be very much appreciated at this time! Please contact Ray as follows:
Ray Gunning, 3 Jacob’s Ladder, Child Okeford, Blandford, Dorset DT11 8EA
Tel: 01258 860782
Many colleagues will remember Bob as a young gymnast who was also good at
fencing in his RM Deal days in the 60s. Bob left to manage leisure centres for the
local authority. Since then Bob has been through a terrible period of ill health, which
includes severe arthritis, both knees shot away (right knee numb) and blood clots on
his lungs. Despite this Bob remains in good spirits in Kendal with his wife, Sherry.
Why not give him a call?
Bob Gibson, 45 Hallgarth Circle, Kendal, Cumbria LA9
Tel: 01539 740371
The last we heard, Bob was having so much difficulty in walking that he was going
into hospital to have ‘new knees’ or the next best thing! However, Bob’s spirit is
good and, supported by his dear wife Ruby, he managed to get a large article (re the
Olympic torch) in the Daily Mail recently. Good luck Bob! Why not give him a call?
Bob Clash BEM, 24 Cornish Gardens, Bournemouth, Dorset BH10 4HS
Tel: 01202 532208
It is extremely sad to hear that Harry Russell is now very unwell with both
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and is in a nursing home in Hythe but doing his
best in the circumstances. His wife, Joyce, and his family visit him regularly but it is
very distressing that he does not always recognise them. If you would like to send a
card or telephone Joyce, the details are as follows:
Joyce Russell, 74 The Ridge, Kennington, Ashford, Kent TN24 9EU
Tel: 01233 623 164
Trog, despite his severe stroke of almost three years ago, is in extremely good spirits
and, after much hard physiotherapy and self-effort (as well as grand support from his
wife, Barbara), can now walk with the aid of a walking stick. Amongst other things,
he has now taken up Greek Mythology… please see attached article.
Trog Royle, 50 Oatfield Drive, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 3LA
Tel: 01580 714971
After many years of wondering what had happened to that ‘little ginger rat’ Maurice
Logue, we have finally found out his whereabouts. Maurice now lives in the lovely
state of Oregon in the NW of the USA. Maurice is semi-retired and now teaches
calligraphy on a part-time basis. If you would like to contact Maurice his address is
Maurice Logue, 149 School House Road, Talent, Oregon 97540, USA
Tel: 001 541 535 1819 (N.B. 7-8 hours time difference)
Having been in the Oman for many years since leaving the Corps, Stewart has now
settled in Portsmouth and plays a bit of golf. Sadly Graham lost his dear wife very
suddenly not so long ago, but is now getting over it. Why not give him a call or drop
him a line or join him for some golf?
Graham Stewart, 7 Hebrides Close, Stubbington, Fareham, Hants, PO14 3RR
Tel: 01329 661747
Sadly, we have been informed of the passing on of Jack Hawse, who
was in a nursing home in Portsmouth. The family wish a small
farewell and the Reunion Club has sent a donation.
Major Ron Priddle
After many years of almost no contact, we were recently able to get
in touch with former OCTPW Ron Priddle, who had relocated from
Portsmouth to Chittlehamholt, a small village in North Devon. Sadly,
we have just learned that Ron died suddenly of a heart attack on
Thursday 7 December 2000. At the time of writing, a group of PT
Colleagues are planning to be represented at his cremation in
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BOB BELL, SPT1 (PART 1)
It’s Sunday 5 November 2000. Returning home from a weekend in Bournemouth,
where we had won three prizes in a raffle – one being a free weekend for two at the
same hotel and all this for £6-worth of tickets. On checking the answer-phone, I
found a message from Alistair McKenzie asking me to call him urgently as it would
be to my advantage!
Treating this with much scepticism, I did eventually give in to my curiosity. Very
cautiously, I asked him what he wanted. At first he couldn’t remember and moaned
that I had interrupted him watching ‘Songs of Praise’! I now know what it was – as I
am desperately trying to pen some memories together.
I have dug deep into my photos and found my Service Certificate to authenticate some
dates. Along with this was my RM Educational Test One. Marks: arithmetic 80%;
English 73%; general paper 68%. S D candidate material surely? Tucked away also
was a long forgotten Hurt Certificate for a fractured metacarpal right ring finger. An
injury sustained whilst playing hockey and witnessed by RM17241 (Sgt PTI Sherrif).
Anyone seen Del Sherrif recently? Under the particular marks or scars section, it
reveals that I have a birthmark, left buttock – no sneaking in the showers at the next
Reunion! The investigating Officer was Peter Pennell – remember him?
To get back to the beginning: I joined the Corps on 9 September 1959 at 96 Green
Lane, Derby, at the age of 16½. On arriving at Deal, after new entry training, we
formed JB4 Squad. Being so young we were billeted in J wing along with the junior
musicians. We were considered too young to be with the older recruits (who would
surely lead us astray). There was no age of consent then, let alone being lowered to
16. We stayed at Deal for a whole year until September 1960. During that time, we
had three weeks at the RN Boom Defence Depot, Aultbea, Lock Ewe. Lots of map
and compass work and seamanship type activities were the order of the day. I had
three weeks at an Army outward bound course at Towyn, Wales, along with other
ranks from various Junior Leaders Regiments. The instructor was a Sgt Brown RHA,
who later turned up at CTC on an all arms commando course that I had the pleasure of
taking. Every dog has his day. We were taken to the Royal Tournament. We also
formed a Guard of Honour outside the Odeon cinema at Deal, for what purpose I
At our PT Pass Out I was awarded the PT medal and interviewed by Ron Priddle
(later to be IPT) as to my suitability to be a PTI. PTIs that I remember during this
time include Bill Birch, Geoff Lake, Andy Lucas, Roy Hinds, and Dave Muller-
September 1960 saw us at CTC RM (then ITC RM) where we joined with 939NS, the
last National Service squad to go through the Corps. We finished training on 27
February 1961 and joined 41 Cdo at Bickleigh. Still being under 18, most of us were
too young to serve abroad.
However, October 1961 to April 1963 saw me in 42 Cdo Singapore and lots of good
trip on The Bulwark. Three times to Hong Kong, trips to Aden, Australia, Sarawak,
Malaya, Bahrain. A week’s leave on the island of Penang and finally the Borneo
confrontation starting December 1962. I was in Gerry Hanah’s section when we were
attached by an elephant, which threw Gerry. He was quite badly injured and had to be
flown out. During this time in Singapore, the Unit Organisation changed from Troops
to Companys. PTIs that I remember then were Pat Maxwell, Bill Sewell, Gerry
Hanah, Joe Milburn, Bill Sykes and Morris Logue. On 26 April 1963 I rejoined 41
Cdo at Bickleigh very briefly until I went to ITCRM for JCC.
From there to Deal in September to await 3/63 PT2 CSE which incidentally did not
start until the end of March 1964 and finished 31 July 1964. On course were Andy
Pettit (not a hair in sight), Ken Fyffe (golfer and artist), Mel Walker (sportsman
extraordinaire), chief clown George Kitson and myself. Sgt Dusty Miller, recently
from Pitt Street, took the course. Capt Robinson was OCPT wing and Pat Maxwell
wing QMS. From here to ITCRM to join the staff under C/Sgt Murray Alexander,
along with Ali Beaton (later to become a Maths teacher), H H Peters, Tug Wilson
(later pilot), Don Newton, Tony Higgins, Ted Kelland, Taff (with the long
fingernails), Ron Moyse, Jimmy Sharland, Gregg Forrest (later pilot). So not all the
brains were in the DL dressing room.
But not for long, as early in 1965 Tony Higgins, Ted Kelland and myself found
ourselves on the 1/65 SCC, which was completed on 19 June 1965. Then straight on
to 1/65 PTI course with (Doc) Marcus Halliday. The course instructor was Sgt Ken
Wilson, universally feared amongst Quals and re-Quals for his ferocious Swedish PT
Prac. Well we were all in the same boat. According to our course photo the course
ran from 7 June to 9 October 1965 but my Service Certificate records that the SCC
didn’t finish until 19 June 1965 and that I joined the Depot on 20 June 1965 – maybe
we were 13 days late or Marcus had a head start on us! At this time, Major Dickie
Meadows was IPT, Capt Ron Priddle OCPT Wing, QMS Ray Cooper Wing Sgt Maj,
Bill Sewell swimming instructor, Morris Logue gymnastic instructor. The rest, as
they say, is another story…. Watch out for part 2….
With best wishes to all,
Have you ever thought of joining the Royal Marines Association (the RMA). Many
of you of course will have been playing a substantial role in the RMA, but many
others may just not have ‘got around to it’.
If the ‘younger’ members of the Corps do not get involved, then the RMA will surely
die as an organisation. But just by turning out occasionally, you will not only have a
great time, but will renew forgotten friendships.
It is quite simple to join and we are very fortunate in having Captain Brian Gibbs RM
(former PT Officer) as the General Secretary of the RMA. Just give Brian a call to
get the details on: 023 9273 1978. The membership fee is modest and the enjoyment
FROM EUROPE – MARTIN JOYCE BEM
From PTI to ‘Eurocrat’
To relate, in one or two paragraphs, how I arrived in mainland Europe, how life has
developed since and my overall impressions of ‘what life is like in these countries’ is
a tall order. However, a request from the Secretary RMPT Branch Reunion Club is
not be denied!
The Corps, the Branch and Sport have all been major influences on my transformation
from SPTI to European Civil Servant. At the end of my ‘22’, I moved from PT to the
post of Deputy Public Relations Officer at the RMO, was living in SE London, and
was very much involved with fencing at national level; assisting the national coach
and progressing through the grades to International President (Referee). I was the
first serviceman ever to qualify at that level. Naturally this necessitated a reasonable
understanding of the rules and regulations in French, and attending competitions at
international level where French was always used. Ah! I hear you exclaim, now he’s
getting closer to the other Europe!
When I finished my time at RMO, I arranged an EVT Course as a Technical officer at
Crystal Palace NRC. Finally, I chose to transfer to the Careers Service and worked in
Central London, eventually opening my own sub-office in Blackheath. From the
Careers Service, I joined quite a few ex-colleagues on Black Rod’s staff at the Palace
of Westminster, enjoying the atmosphere and characters I met during my two-and-a-
half years in the House of Lords. Over this period the highlights of my sporting life
have been: fencing official, GB team, Montreal Olympics; manager, GB University
team, World Student Games, Sofia; Captain Combined Services, and Inter-Services
Dismounted Champion-at-Arms; training and fencing with the Scottish team.
Before the first direct elections to the European Parliament (in 1979), parliamentary
sessions alternated between Strasbourg and Luxembourg, and parliamentary ushers
from each of the EU countries travelled to these venues one week in every month.
During this period, my good friend Sandy McVicar (a fluent German-speaker), and a
senior parliamentary usher in the House of Commons, mentioned to me after one of is
trips that the European Parliament was keen to recruit English-speaking officials, one
of the criteria being that one had to speak at least one of the other EU languages.
Again you exclaim, the French and fencing connection! More to come.
I applied, was interviewed in Luxembourg, offered a job as a parliamentary usher, and
accepted. Shortly after, the Head of Security, a former senior Luxembourg Police
Officer and a member of the national fencing team, whom I had known previously
and got to know very well, informed me of a forthcoming vacancy in his service. All
vacancies in the European institutions are filled on the basis of competitive exams. So
I applied, went through the procedures and was accepted for the post. A series of
promotions then took me to the highest level of the Executive grades, and I became
Principal Assistant to the Head of Security with responsibility for security of the
European Parliament’s information offices in the national capitals of all EU countries.
My French improved with a month in Paris at the Alliance Française, and later a
course at Grenoble University. I also completed security courses in the UK at the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with Special Branch, Scotland Yard, and at
Group 4 Headquarters in Broadway.
Following a tour of EP offices in London, Paris, Dublin, Rome and Athens, I prepared
a report with various recommendations, my aim being to have installed in all of the
offices an access control system that was flexible and could be adapted to the analysis
of the risk level at any particular time. This has been generally adopted and has
worked very well.
In the Security Service, my other main area of responsibility concerned VIP visits to
the EP. In this way, I had the honour of meeting and escorting through Parliament’s
buildings on various occasions Anwar El Sadat, Shimon Peres, US President Ronald
Reagan, Yitzak Rabin, His Holiness the Pope, Irish President Mary Robin, Nelson
Mandela, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Her Majesty the Queen, as well as the Heads of
State of all other EU countries. I could have retired at the age of sixty but, as I was
enjoying my work and travel, I continued to the age of sixty-five, which incidentally
resulted in a not-insubstantial improvement to my retirement benefits!
Now retired for six-and-a-half years, my interests and activities here in Luxembourg
are many and varied. I play squash and tennis; enjoy Scottish and Irish dancing
(occasionally taking part in demonstration teams); woodturning takes up quite a lot of
my time, that is when I’m not fishing! So far this year, I have fished (fly fishing)
three times in Ireland, twice in Scotland and also in Cuba and Alaska; in the past few
years, I have also fished twice in Venezuela, as well as in Belize and Mexico.
Luxembourg is a small country bordered by France, Belgium and Germany, with a
population of some 420,000 of whom about 30% are non-Luxembourgers. Although I
do a lot of travelling during the year, I enjoy returning to Luxembourg where the
standard of living is very high, as befits a country which has the highest per capita
income in Europe.
When talking about travel on the Continent and Luxembourg is mentioned, the usual
comment is ‘oh yes, I passed through there on my way to…’ In the future, if any
member of the RMPT Branch Reunion Club is ‘passing through’ Luxembourg, please
contact me (details from the Secretary) or phone/fax me direct on 00 352 33 92 44 as
it would be a pleasure to welcome and entertain former or present member of the
Martin F Joyce BEM
FROM SOUTH AFRICA – KEN WILSON
No one who has met Ken Wilson (former PT QMS and SPTI) will ever forget the
experience – usually at the end of a ferocious PT Prac session! Ken now lives in
South Africa with his dear wife, Joyce, and despite the distance, Ken is a great
communicator, for which we thank him. Unfortunately there is not space to include
all Ken’s articles in full. Nevertheless we are very grateful for the contributions and
here we include some news of Ken.
Ken Wilson (1950-1973) writes to his serving and past retired colleagues, at the
request of the editors. Greetings to all readers of this special issue and congratulations
and gratitude to the editors for ensuring that the spirit and memories of our illustrious
branch are kept alive.
Joining the Corps in 1950: completed recruit training and a basic Naval gunnery
course, was drafter to HMS Euraylus in the Mediterranean Fleet 1952. The warship
was relocated to the South Atlantic squadron in place of the HMS Bermuda – a move
to strengthen the Mediterranean Fleet by the then Admiral Louis Mountbatten prior to
the Suez eruption. In Cape Town, he met his ‘sarie marais’ (Afrikaans for
‘sweetheart’). The subsequently married in Cape Town prior to the end of the
commission in 1954. On return to the UK, Ken completed his JNCO’s course at
Stonehouse Barracks under the eagle eye of Colonel Drysdale of Korean fame.
From there it was a move to Depot RM Deal (not seen since recruit days) and
completed his PT2 course in 1955 under the brilliant tutelage of Ken Ketcher (now
sadly passed on). Almost without being aware of developments, the PT1 course under
Bill Sewell, followed by a guinea pig course as a young SPTI. Crowning moment
prior to discharge in 1972 was the celebration of our Branch Centenary at Depot Deal
(see S H B Cook’s article page 41) in Peter Brown’s ‘100 Years of RMPT Memories’.
February 1973: Ken emigrates to the Republic of South Africa with Joyce and his
two daughters, Zelda and Cheryl. Following an initial three frustrating years of
acclimatisation, he lands a plum job with the most prestigious private school in Cape
Town (perhaps even in South Africa) Diocesan College or Bishops, and is fortunate to
serve the next twenty years in the service of this school/college, taking compulsory
retirement at the age of 63 at the close of 1995.
He believes that this 20 year stretch almost rivals that of his days in the Corps and the
Branch. He was appointed by the then Headmaster, Mr Anthony Mallet, himself an
ex (Hostilities Only) RM Lt/Captain and a squash and cricket player bordering on
English selection in both sports. Readers may recall the name as Anthony’s son,
Nick, has just resigned from the position of Springbok Rugby Coach.
Ken was pleased to take this position as school P E Master from three previous ex-
APTC instructors and, on his retirement, was the last in line of ex-servicemen PTIs.
He now spends his retirement quietly in the West Coast fishing village of
Melkbosstrand 30km north of Cape Town, loves walking on the beach, reading and
assisting in the development of his two grandchildren.
During his time in RSA, he served briefly with the SABRMA finally as Secretary
before the Association disbanded sometime in 1980. He has seen the fall of the
Apartheid government and the brilliance of ex-prisoner and great world statesman,
President Nelson Mandela – ‘Madeba’. He would love to see the end of the
decimation of countless rare animal species by poachers and others, the end of global
warming, pollution of the rivers, streams and oceans, which are the dumping grounds
of the uncaring, an answer to the vile spread of the HIV ‘Aids’ virus and its
counterpart cancer, the safety of all the world’s children and the chance to live and
breathe in a world free of fear.
Perhaps the new generations of this land and the world at large will be able to impose
a greater understanding and peace in the world in future years.
FROM THE USA – BILL TURNBULL
Fellow Clubswingers! First of all let me congratulate Peter Brown and all those who
contributed to the ‘Past Memories’ booklet. I found it entertaining, colourful and a
pleasure to read and reminisce of days gone by.
To my friends, who may be wondering whatever happened to Willie Turnbull, I can
assure you all that I and Janet are well and in good health. In 1988, Janet and I took
the opportunity at the invitation of John Ellis and his partner to move to the USA
where I directed and developed their Indoor Sports Center in Manassas, Virginia. I
was very successful in developing the business into the best centre in the metropolitan
Washington DC area for team sports. I was there from 1988 until 1997 when I
decided to break away completely from leisure related activities and moved to
Wilmington, North Carolina. With no employment offers, I just decided to ‘up sticks’
Wow! What a shock to the system. There was really nothing other than service
industries so I took some time off for good behaviour and went sightseeing for a
couple of months – after all, the USA is a ‘big country’. When I got back, I was
offered a ‘shitty’ job selling toilet paper, soap and paper towels to restaurants and
convenience stores. I reckon in the nine months that I was doing that, I must have
been into every shithouse in North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. I
used to go to sleep at night dreaming the same dream – that I was drowning in it. I
can’t remember covering this in the PT syllabus!
By this time, I had bought a new home in Wilmington and things were rolling along
when one day the bombshell dropped when my employer ‘let me go’. He said he
wanted to go in a different direction, so I took another two-month vacation and spent
some quality time – landscaping my new home and learning to play golf.
One day, I got a call to go and see this foot doctor (I later found out they are called
podiatrists). He wanted me to help him develop his business. He had invented a latex
waterproof cast/bandage protector, which really looks like a giant condom, shaped
with a thumb and a blood pressure pump! Inside it creates a waterproof seal when the
air trapped inside the protector is extracted through a one-way valve. A brilliant, but
simple, idea and the only one like it on the market today. Besides running the day-to-
day business activities, my main responsibility is to develop the domestic USA and
International markets. I do business with 17 countries and interest continues to
increase through exposure at medical trade shows.
So, if any of you ex-Clubswingers, who are scattered around the world, are in trouble
with a broken arm or leg and desperately need to take a shower or bath, call me or
email me and I will let you know where you can buy my product. Or, if I am feeling
generous, I may send you one! By the way, the product is called XeroSox waterproof
cast protector and we sell them for arms and legs. Of course, if you break both at the
same time, it could cost me ‘an arm and a leg’!
Besides myself, the following ex-PTIs are living and working in the USA. Mac
Mackenzie (Secretary of the Reunion Club) will be able to provide their contact
John Ellis, Manassa, Virginia – US Women’s National Soccer Coach, Soccer
Academy – World Traveller.
Frank Halpin, Portland, Oregon – sleeps during the day, bus driver at night,
nocturnal is Frankie!
Maurice Logue, Medford, Oregon – practising his bow and arrow skills for the
next ‘Battle of – owner.
Alan Dunphy, Orlando, Florida – Keeping Florida pretty with a Landscaping and
Keith (Tug) Wilson, Sarasota, Florida – Security (Cloak and Dagger stuff!) and
Worldly the Big Horn’.
Finally, if y’all want to visit at any time, my home is always available! You can
contact me at:
Bill Turnbull, 6428 Sentry Oaks Drive, Wilmington, NC 28409, USA
Tel: 001 910 790 3951 Email: email@example.com
Janet and I wish all of our fellow Clubswingers and their partners the best of health
and a wonderful New Year.
FROM THE USA – JOHN ELLIS
I am currently honoured to be the Assistant Coach to the US Women’s National
Football (Soccer) Team. Current World Champions and Silver Medal in the
Olympics. A great team to work with. I have been in the appointment for one year
travelling the world. The Head Coach, April Heinrichs, came to my company –
Soccer Academy Inc – ten years ago asking to be trained as a football coach. After
two years, I recognised her potential and told her that I believed she had the ability to
be the first female national team coach in Soccer. Was this something she would like
to do? She said ‘yes’ and for the next numerous years, we worked to prepare her for
this appointment. She was appointed one year ago and asked me to be her assistant
We have now played 44 international games in the past year world-wide on every
continent and the only game we lost was in the final of the Olympics! But we played
exceptionally well in the final and on any other day would have won by three clear
goals. But it was not to be, but it was a magnificent Olympic experience.
I left the Royal Marines in 1981. I completed my time as WOI PT Branch and had a
clear vision that I wanted to do ‘something in sports’ but mainly football. I elected to
do an EVT course on Small Business Ownership. As part of that course, I was
required to write a business plan. I used the wonderful knowledge I had gained in the
PT Branch and re-engineered it to fit into civilian logic. I had options to go to
Australia, USA and Saudi Arabia. I quickly recognised that the USA was ideally
suited for my ideas.
Immigration to enter the USA was not easy. However, being a Royal Marine helped
me considerably and eventually I obtained a work permit and I formed my company –
Soccer Academy Inc. – providing football services to clubs, teams, coaches and
players. It was long hours of work and initially poorly paid because America simply
was not used to paying for football services for youth players. Everything was on a
voluntary basis and in many ways, still is. However, in recent years, it has become
accepted to pay for coaching services. I came to America with US$10,000, my wife
and daughter, Jillian, and a vision to succeed. My son, Paul, remained in the Royal
Marines – mainly in 42 Commando RM.
I wanted to build a sports complex with an emphasis on indoor football. After 326
presentations, I found a partner to invest in me and our sports network was built in
1986. Quality staff with knowledge and dedication to promote sport day in and day
out and all night, if possible, is very difficult to find. I remembered former WO2 Bill
Turnbull. He had spent three years liaison with the OCS Marine Corps. He was the
Assistant Director of a sports centre in Crawley, Sussex. I telephone him and made
him an offer he couldn’t refuse. I had my Director!
My first love is Soccer Academy and, as the business grew, I searched for people I
knew were well trained and dedicated. I selected CPO Derek Godwin who was the
RN Football Coach – he is still with our company. My son Paul, after seven years in
the Corps, was brought here and trained for ten years and is now our Director of
Football Education and Training. We have had several exceptional former PT branch
members visit and work in Soccer Academy – SPTI Keith Wilson, Sgt Jan Lacey.
As a company, we have been recognised as leaders in modern teaching methods in
football throughout the USA. The area that we mainly work in is Virginia, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Delaware and the capital city, Washington DC – an area as big as
Britain. We enjoy selecting some 20 Brits to come and work for Soccer Academy in
the USA for three months in the summer every year.
The football clubs we work with have memberships of 3-5,000 players and we work
with some thirty clubs. We are a highly qualified staff and now conduct 75% of all
adult coach training and qualifying courses in the area. As a company, we consult on
building million dollar sports complexes and provide the management to sustain a
customer orientated and successful business. We design for our member clubs ten-
year training programmes for young players aged 5 to 19 years old.
During the summer months, we have excellent facilities to conduct elite residential
programmes where players can improve their game and knowledge. The refreshing
thing about America is that ‘dreams come true’. The people you work with are eager
to learn and really appreciate dynamic instructors who have a charisma that only the
RMPT branch knows how to produce. So you see – there is life after the Corps!
With best wishes to you all,
FROM NEW ZEALAND – GED SHARP
Ged Sharp was ‘initiated’ into the PT Branch in early 1965 which he never forgot
because the whole maternity ward at Buckland Hospital, Dover, complained of the
smell when Ged visited his new-born son, Chris, as well as his wife! Here he offers
some insights to life in N.Z.
G’day from New Zealand! Our SPTI was Bill Sykes – I qualified with Nutty
Edwards, Mike Euridge, ‘Bogey’ Knight, Spot Watson, etc.
There is an ex-RMA here in New Zealand, based in Auckland, and there is one ex-
RM in Invercargill. Other than that, we are few and far between. My brother Adrian
stayed on in Plymouth after his 22 years and is coming out to N.Z. for a holiday with
his wife at Christmas 2001. His address in Plymouth, if you are every there, is 35
Victoria Road, St Budeaux. You would like him, I’m sure. He’s a top guy. Anyway,
less of the prattle and a little bit about N.Z. But before I do, has anybody ever heard
of the whereabouts of Jimmy Raines? He left the RM about 1968 and went back to
his home town of Leigh. If you ever come across his address, let me know please.
Also Graham Edwards and his wife, Hessie? Right, now back to the one-fingered
Picture, if you can, a country slightly larger than the UK with 3.5 million people and
45 million sheep. Add, for good measure, mountains up to nearly 13,000 feet with
some active volcanoes, boiling mud pools, a little snow in the winter with good skiing
in the mountains, geysers, cool winters and relatively warm summers varying from 20
to 35 degrees, plus really friendly people and you have New Zealand.
The population of N.Z. is in the main split between two main islands, imaginatively
named the North and South Island. There is a further island, Stewart Island to the
south of South Island and the Chatham Islands, lying 800km to the east of South
Island. By far the largest city is Auckland, towards the north of North Island with a
population of over 1 million people. The capitol, Wellington, lies at the southern end
of the North Island and is the seaport for the inter-island ferry, there being no tunnel
or bridge liking the two islands. On the other wise of Cook Strait, the largest cities
are Christchurch and Dunedin.
The main exports of N.Z. are meat and dairy products with farmers receiving no
subsidies for their products, relying solely on their farming skills, yet still being able
to compete favourably with the rest of the world in the market place. How would the
French farmers be able to cope on even terms with N.Z. products. Next time you see
N.Z. lamb in the shops, buy it. It’s BSE-free – so is our beef! Still, I digress…
The N.Z. way of life could generally be called laid back, except in Auckland where it
is ‘dog eat dog’. But the average Kiwi is by nature very competitive in everything
they do, especially sport – rugby being the national religion. On many occasions, my
loyalty to the English rugby and cricket teams have cost be dearly in the pocket and
my wife constantly telling me ‘I told you not to back them’! However, the Kiwi’s
dread ever losing to England because I don’t let them forget it for ages! Thank
heavens for Manchester United… Quite a large number of people also enjoy going
bush, shooting deer and wild pigs. Fishing is also very popular with both the Brown
Trout and Rainbow Trout the main freshwater targets and a large variety of sea fish
there for the taking. Golf, lawn bowls and cricket would be the main summer sports.
On a more personal note, I transferred from the Metropolitan Police to the New
Zealand Police in 1974 and was posted to Invercargill, a city of 50,000 people at the
south of the South Island. After I finished playing rugby, I took up coaching at senior
level and also went into administration at club level. In summer, I played cricket and
lawn bowls, before getting hooked on golf. I have been to places on my club course
where no player has ever previously trodden, and in only a vague sort of way does my
game resemble that played at the Royal and Ancient, St Andrews! I now work for the
Prison Service. My son and daughter have gone their own ways with Chris working
at Schippol Airport in Amsterdam and Michelle working for Air New Zealand until
she and her husband have their first child in late-February 2001. That will leave Liz
and myself to do our Darby and Joan thing over the following years and should
anybody ever decide to come over on a trip to New Zealand, please feel free to
contact me and I will do my best to ensure that their stay is a happy experience. With
the exchange rate at its present level, it would be a reasonably inexpensive holiday.
Be happy and be safe and look out for yourselves and your families!
YOUR FEEDBACK PLEASE….
We do hope that you have enjoyed hearing about the varied lives and times of your
former colleagues. We have been promised many articles, news, etc. from other
colleagues and we hope to be able to produce another PT newsletter for you in about
six months’ time.
However, as each newsletter produced for our current address list (approximately
350-400 names plus 100 for the serving branch) costs in the region of £600, we can
only do this if we receive voluntary donations and your endorsement that the
newsletter is a good idea. Therefore, please complete the attached feedback sheet
and return it to our Secretary, Mac Mackenzie, as soon as possible.
Thank you! Peter Brown
THE ‘ALERT’ SYSTEM
The aim of the ‘alert’ system is quite simple. It is a system that alerts relevant former
colleagues in times of tragedy, sickness, bad times, good times or just to stay in touch.
All you have to do is to keep your ‘alert’ card handy and stay in touch occasionally
and the system will work beautifully. If you do not have any ‘alert’ cards, just
contact our Secretary (Mac Mackenzie), who will be pleased to send you some. We
have the kind support of our Alert Representatives, who should be the first point of
contact for your area. Then we can get into action to offer any assistance that we can
to help. Here are some introductions to your Area Alert Representatives:
SOUTH EAST – BILL HOWIE
‘Alert’ cards are being sent out to all Kent Branch members in the near future.
However, although the concept of the card is excellent, it will only be of value to our
organisation if we use it regularly. Please put it where it can be seen, not in a drawer
or out of sight. Remember it only takes a telephone call, which is both cheap and
convenient for most people now. In short: use the Alert card – stay in touch – keep
the spirit alive!
Contact details: Bill Howie, ‘Calluna’, Hawkshill Road, Walmer, Deal, Kent CT14
7LN Tel: 01304 375900
LONDON – JOHN FARLIE
For me it is now 16 years since I departed from the Corps and entered the real world,
only to find that relationships with people in civilian life were slightly different!
Many of my current workmates greatly envy the close relationships made in the
services that still continue today. Having been made redundant twice in recent times,
relationships made a work never stand the test of time in the same way that those
made in the Corps do and we should value them. We are a great ‘family’ but we must
make the effort to keep in touch. Therefore, please make the effort to use the ‘alert’
cards to remind you to contact someone close by, you may find that the call could
make all the difference, especially in time of need. As your (London) Alert
representative, I will endeavour to keep you all in touch with a frequent update on
those former Clubswingers in our area. However, I can only do this if you take a few
minutes to call me – so get ringing!
Contact details: John Farlie, 22 Welham Manor, Welham Green, Herts AL9 7EL
Tel: 01707 265 914
SOUTH WEST – MEL WALKER
‘Boys from East Side’! As you are all aware I have been a long time ‘Lert’ but now
I’m the East Devon ‘Alert’ Representative! I’m not here just for the sad and
unpleasant bits, but if I can help at all (does not include mortgage payments, etc.).
E.g. need to find an ex-Clubswinger or have a good idea and want to share it, or just
fancy a few wets with the boys – please give me a ring.
Lots of us are busy and don’t make contact, plus we have all started a whole new life
now. A chance meeting with the boys is often just what we need. Thinking on those
lines, I will look for some likely venue, or event, that we can use to meet in the New
Year and pass the word around. So don’t keep putting it off. If I can help or you
want to spread the buzz, please contact me – now!
Contact details: Mel Walker, Willow Cottage, Mamhead, Nr Kenton, Devon EX6
8HP. Tel: 01626 865706 (H) 01392 282491 (W).
PORTSMOUTH AREA – CLIFF McGAUGHEY
Just a few lines to introduce myself to the majority who don’t know me. Qualified in
1965 and fortunate enough to be selected (along with Arwyn Rees) for the first
Remedial Gymnast course available in the Corps in 1968. Retired in 1984 and
continued with PT in Oman for a few years before returning to physiotherapy, I feel
that I am now in the fortunate position of being fairly easily accessible on the end of
the phone. Just as we all have pride in the Corps, so I feel that we have an even closer
tie with our own PT Branch. I sincerely believe that we should continue to nurture
these ties in the way things are already happening. To this end, I am happy to offer
any help to all members who need it, even if it’[s just finding out for them the right
channels to approach in a particular problem. Just contact me
Contact details: Cliff McGaughey, 32 Bucklers Court, North End, Portsmouth,
Hants PO2 9AW. Tel: 023 922 95995 (W) 023 923 49047 (H)
OTHER ‘ALERT’ CONTACTS:
PLYMOUTH: Brian Stokes, 82 Furzehaff Road, Plymstock, Plymouth,
Devon PL9 8QD Tel: 01752 402365
SCOTLAND: Charles Forrest, 13 Aitkenbrae Drive, Prestwick, Ayrshire
KA9 1BU Tel: 01292 475955
Your central ‘Alert’ system co-ordinator is, of course, our very able Secretary:
Alistair (Mac) Mackenzie, Little Barn, Ednovean Lane, Perranuthnoe, Penzance,
Cornwall TR20 9LZ Tel: 01736 711054 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If anyone reading this wishes to offer further support or ideas, we will be pleased to
hear from you. Please contact Mac Mackenzie above.