• Christina Drummond

Royal Marines School of Music bombing


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1989, ten Royal Marines were killed in an IRA time-bomb explosion at the Royal Marine Barracks at Deal, in Kent. Those who died were from the Royal Marine Band Service:

(Top row, left to right):

Marine Richard George Fice, age 22, from Cardiff

Marine Timothy Reeves, age 24, newly engaged to be married, from Oldham

Corporal Trevor James Davis, age 39, married with four children

Marine Richard Mark Jones, age 27 and married

Corporal David McMillan, age 26 and married

(Lower row, left to right):

Corporal John Andrew Cleatheroe, age 25, engaged to be married, from Wakefield

Marine Robert Simmonds, age 34, from Deal

Marine Mark Petch, age 24 and married

Marine Michael Ball, age 24 and married, from Ramsgate

Corporal Dean Patric Pavey, age 31 with two children, from Bournemouth.

A month later, Marine Christopher Nolan (not pictured), age 21 with one child, died from his injuries. Twenty others were seriously injuired.

The bomb detonated in the recreational centre at the Royal Marines School of Music, and caused extensive damage on the base, including destroying the recreation centre as well as the accommodation building beside it. It was twenty-two minutes past eight o’clock in the morning, and most of the personnel who would earlier have been inside were practicising on the parade ground. It took many hours to free those trapped in the tons of rubble and thermal image cameras were used. Fire engines arrived from Dover, Sandwich, Eastry, Thanet, Folkestone and Canterbury. The Kent Ambulance Service was on strike at that time but personnel agree to call a halt and help the injured. No-one has ever been arrested for this atrocity.

One week after the bombing, the staff and students of the Royal Marines School of Music marched through the town of Deal to the applause and respect of thousands of people. They left gaps in their ranks to mark the positions of their dead or severely wounded colleagues.

When the base was decommissioned in 1996, the Royal Marines School of Music was based in Portsmouth - every year they visit Deal to pay their respects at the memorial bandstand dedicated to those who lost their lives in the barracks bombing.

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