Major Paddy Dunn RM. In addition to being Chairman of the Band’s management committee Paddy is the current Chairman of Trustees of the Royal Marines Association and in that capacity was the driving force, with Ted Whealing, behind the formation of the RMA Concert Band in 2006.
The history of this is explained in some detail under ‘A Band is Born’. Paddy (real name Patrick) comes from solid military and Royal Marines stock: his grandfather was Capt W J ‘Paddy’ Dunn MVO MC, a pre-WWII director of music of the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues); and as most of the Band know his father was the first Principal Director of Music Royal Marines, Lt Col Sir Vivian Dunn KCVO OBE FRAM RM.
Chairman, RMA Concert Band Management Committee Thus Paddy’s earliest memories are of the Royal Yacht Band at Eastney in the late 1940s, invariably when his father parked him on a chair in his band room for the duration of one of his lengthy and demanding rehearsals; or similarly placed and frozen within an inch of his life on the edge of the parade ground during one of the many Royal Marines major ceremonial occasions.
Paddy, is pictured here in the foreground on 2nd trumpet, during a televised performance of ‘The Messiah’, in 1957.
Later, at Deal, his involvement with the RM Band Service further increased when he studied trumpet under the legendary Bd Sgt Alan ‘Taff’ Lewis, at that time principal trumpet of the Staff Band at the RM School of Music and one of the Band Service’s finest instrumentalists in the broadest sense of the word. This period involved more life-enhancing occasions at so-called ‘Summer’, open-air concerts on Deal’s South Green, defying biting winds and rain which whipped in from the North Sea across the Goodwin Sands, even (or especially) in June and July! Nevertheless during his teens Paddy in fact progressed to a reasonably satisfactory standard as a brass player – but that’s another story – and has ever since had a special affinity with the RM music.
Partly because of this during the early 1960s Paddy joined Boosey and Hawkes (that well-known firm of drunkards!). Here, surrounded by some of the finest brass and woodwind musicians in the world – such as Jack McIntosh and Jack Brymer, in those days the country’s foremost orchestral and band instrumentalists – Paddy quickly realised his musical limitations and in 1964 underwent a career change from the music industry, by joining the Corps! Better the devil you know…..!
In the following 30 years Paddy served mainly in Commando Forces eventually culminating his career as Chief Signal Officer Royal Marines. The Corps’ strapline ‘Once a Marine, Always a Marine’, probably applies to Paddy more than most as he then embarked on a second career as a specialist communications consultant for amphibious warfare in the defence field.
However, in the late 1990s circumstances prompted him to rejoin the music industry and he now runs, as his primary occupation, a tiny niche record label specialising in vintage (generally 30 – 60 years old) recordings. He affectionately describes this as ‘Old Farts Music Dot Com’, but as a number of his father’s classic recordings from the 1960s are included – the EMI Gold Disc era for the RM School of Music Band – he is naturally somewhat guarded about this description! Paddy is immensely proud of what the RMA Concert Band has achieved in its first three years under the leadership of Ted Whealing, unquestionably one of the most experienced military band directors of music in the world today.
Paddy as Chief Signal Officer Royal Marines at Lympstone in 1985 But he is equally grateful to their growing army of supporters and sponsors and, especially, to all members of the Band who week in week out give their time freely and willingly to ensuring that the Band continues the RM Band Service’s tradition of bringing the highest quality, enthralling music to the public with flair, precision and panache at a world class standard.
Paddy and his wife Annie live in London. He is a freeman of the City of London and a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. He also nurses an ambition to join the trumpet section of the Band – if he can ever convince Jon Yates that he can pass muster for inclusion amongst the stalwart gentlemen (and one lady!) currently comprising the second and third trumpet desks. But don’t hold your breath: that could take years yet!