Commando Ron’s birthday surprise

Ron Moyse with the Royal Marines bandsmen who performed for him on his birthday.
Ron Moyse with the Royal Marines bandsmen who performed for him on his birthday.

A former commando enjoyed a 93rd birthday surprise thanks to some covert manoeuvres by his family, the Royal Marines Association and our Poole home Canford Chase.

Ron Moyse said he was ‘absolutely flabbergasted’ to witness a ‘mess beating’ performed in his honour by five musicians from the Royal Marines along with a visit from two veterans he served with in the Korean War 71 years ago.

Ahead of the birthday, there was close co-operation on keeping all the arrangements a secret.

On the day, Ron said he suspected ‘something was happening’ when his son Rob, himself a former Royal Marine with 25 years’ service, arrived in uniform and there was talk of Ron being invited to go into the garden.

But Ron quickly entered into the spirit of the occasion, asking for his beret and medals, and saying he would be delighted to be taken outside.

Unbeknown to him, five bandsmen had arrived and, temporarily stationed in the summerhouse, changed into their uniforms until the order came that Ron was in position and it was time to play. The five then stepped out onto the lawn and in full ceremonial regalia saluted him on drums and bugles watched by a gathering crowd of Association members, Canford Chase residents and staff, and other well-wishers.

Ron joined the Royal Marines in 1943 aged just 14 years and nine months, beginning his military career as a junior drummer and bugler just like the bandsmen who performed for him on his birthday.

Reflecting on his birthday, Ron said: “It was a complete surprise, I was absolutely flabbergasted to see all my old friends. When I watched the bandsmen play I thought to myself, ‘That was me at 14’. It was such a happy day.”

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