Monday 3rd March
As it was a "rest day" for the whole fleet on Monday, the majority
of the band spent the day lying on the flight deck of HMS Ark Royal enjoying
the sun and watching Musn Sam Hairsine run back and forth with trays of "goffas"
for his musical companions! The rest day followed our successful concert the
previous night, which had been greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all.
Tuesday 4th March
After spending one more night on the "Ark", early Tuesday morning
we returned by Sea King helicopter to our home ship, good old RFA Argus! We
hardly had time however to say our hellos to all the friendly nurses before
we were thrown a packet of anti-malaria tablets each and bundled into Sea Kings
once again, carrying huge bergans. The plan was to stay for a few nights on
RFA Fort Rosalie and be taken alongside where we would then go to a Camp with
luxuries such as an outdoor swimming pool, PX store and a huge top quality "chow"
hall. We were going to provide the "troops" with our showcase concert
whilst enjoying being on land for a few days. So we made ourselves comfortable
on the Rosalie, all enjoying cabins with port holes, yes, port holes!
Wednesday 5th March
Our trip ashore was however, not to be (this time!) as we found out on Wednesday,
because clearance could not be granted. We slowly picked our morale off the
floor at the news but cheered up as we prepared for the concert band "spectacular"
we were putting on for our guests on board the "Rosalie".
It turned out to be a great evening with our best audience yet. The reception
was so good, (and because we had quite a bit of spare time!) it was decided
to give them more musical entertainment the following nights.
The Buglers during the concert on the RFA Rosalie
... Drum Beatings during the concert
BdCSgt Gordon Carter plays Sax, Capt Grace plays Trombone in the background!
...and the Captain of RFA Rosalie thanks the band at the end of the concert.
Musn Sam Hairsine practises on his Euphonium whilst at sea
Thursday 6th March
To keep up the high level of fitness we had all achieved whilst on the Argus,
we took part in daily circuits taken by "the master of phys" CSgt
Dave Sharp. The RFA guys stared in amazement as the whole band did star jumps
to Earth, Wind and Fires' "Boogie Wonderland" and stood with open
admiration as we performed ceilidh band and dance band later that evening in
their bar. I don't think they could quite believe it was the same set of people!
Friday 7th March
On Friday it was Cpl Shuggie "make it as hard as you possible can"
McGleish's turn to take phys on the small flight deck on the Rosalie. Again
the crew stared on as red-faced partners hugged each other and shouted at the
tops of their voices "Thank God that's over" after an hours work out,
under Shuggies' instruction!
In the evening we formed up as a parade band for the first time as a deployment
band to give RFA Fort Rosalie a musical tribute to sunset. The Buglers provided
an impressive and lengthy drum and bugle display and as the Arabian sun set,
Captain Thompson OBE stood proudly to attention enjoying the bands' rendition
of "The day thou gavest" and Green's traditional sunset.
Saturday 8th March
On Saturday evening we entertained in the bar once again, this time with Trad
Jazz and Big band. We also discovered the Rosalie crew's commitment to their
charity - the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital fund. It is an ongoing
fund they add to every month and were hoping to reach the two thousand mark
by March. We auctioned off one of our specially designed Royal Marines Band
RFA Argus 2003 T-shirts and they bid £230 for it! We couldn't believe
their generosity and each contributed £10 so we could add £320 to
the fund. A very successful night all-round!
Sunday 9th March
We finally returned to Argus after our unexpected but most enjoyable stay on
board the Rosalie, on Sunday. The speedboat journey, which transported us between
the two ships, was great fun but the ten- foot ladders to get in and out caused
a bit of concern among the ranks! We all returned safely to Argus ready to start
a new week onboard.
Musn Ann Jonassen.