War memorial to Royal Marines musicians is opened

Daily Echo: HMS Barham exploding after being torpedoed HMS Barham exploding after being torpedoed

A new memorial to Royal Marines musicians killed in the First and Second World Wars has been opened in Hampshire by a veteran whose twin brother died while on active service.

The Band Service Memorial Room at the Royal Marines School of Music at Portsmouth Naval Base, lists the 448 musicians lost during the two conflicts.

Special guest at the opening ceremony was Dennis Miller of Portsmouth whose twin brother George was killed in 1941 while serving as a Boy Bugler on board HMS Barham.

The battleship was torpedoed in the Mediterranean and sank with the loss of 841 lives.

Mr Miller had also applied to join the Royal Marines as a bugler but was turned down as he had a gap in his teeth which meant he was unable to play.

Had he been accepted it was likely he would have served alongside his brother on board HMS Barham.

He said: ''I think about George often and wonder what kind of life he would have had.

''So being invited to the opening of the memorial room has been an absolute privilege - it has been beyond my expectations.''

Major Jason Burcham, director of music (training) at the school, said: ''The memorial room is a living commemoration to those musicians and buglers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

''It is a place for us to remember with pride the achievements of our forbears and current comrades in all aspects of their operational and ceremonial roles and endeavour to live up to their example.''

Drummers and buglers at the school put on a display on the parade ground before the room was officially opened.

Previously, the boards honouring the marines were displayed across different sites at the school and band service headquarters but the new room brings them under one roof for the first time.

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