The Drum Major Public House

The Drum Major was named after Senior Drum Major Colour Sergeant Charles H. Bowden BEM who served as a Drum Major for 22 years and 2months. This was the longest period known for any Drum Major in any service. Charles Bowden’s total Royal Marines career lasted 32 years and 3 months.

The Royal Marines Band Service is notable for many remarkable public performances including performing the theme music from Gerry Anderson’s successful 1965 TV series Thunderbirds. In the final scene from his 1966 film Thunderbirds Are GO, the band performed the music on the parade ground of the Royal Marines Depot, Deal. This sequence was synchronized with the end credits of the film, with the very last scene showing the band standing in a large representation of the words ‘THE END’. The person who bellowed “Thunderbirds...are...GO!” was Senior Drum Major Charles Henry Bowden BEM.

Following the decision to relocate the Royal Marines School of Music to Portsmouth in 1996, the ceremonial end of the presence of the Royal Marines in Deal was marked by a Beating of the Retreat on 22nd March 1996. This saw the Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines marching out of the Jubilee Gates of South Barracks to the gates of East Barracks, which were then locked for the last time by Band Sergeant Larry Andrews.

The Royal Marines School of Music in Deal closed on 29th March 1996 and became operational at Portsmouth the next day.

Above: Senior Drum Major Colour Sergeant Charles H. Bowden BEM

Closing credits from "Thunderbirds Are GO", 1966

A new inn-sign painted by Bass Charrington artist, Mr. Bill Pearce, with the Corp's Senior Drum Major as model, c.1971

Trail Directions: Continue towards the sea front, stopping at the next Trail Marker.