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Deal bombing: Band of HM Royal Marines return to Walmer for 30th anniversary concert

By Eleanor Perkins

The 30th anniversary of an IRA bomb which stole the lives of 11 Royal Marine musicians will be marked with a concert on Walmer Green on Sunday.

The Band of HM Royal Marines are expected to play to tens of thousands of people who will gather to pay their respects in Deal.

Among the crowd will be residents whose memories have never faded of the morning which shook the seaside town to the core.

The aftermath of the bombings at the Royal Marines School of Music in Deal on September 22 1989
The aftermath of the bombings at the Royal Marines School of Music in Deal on September 22 1989

That includes Derek Lindars, who will be making his debut as the new chairman of the Deal Memorial Bandstand Trust which organises the event.

Born in Brighton, Mr Lindars joined the Royal Marines Band Service at Deal in 1972, aged 16, as a cornet and trumpet player and completed his training in 1975.

He was working in the East Barracks of the School of Music on September 22, 1989, when the bomb exploded in the recreation room of the staff band.

He told KentOnline: “It’s a day that cannot be forgotten.

“I, like others, rushed to the scene and helped as best we could to rescue casualties from the remains of the building and get them medical attention.

Derek Lindars is the new chairman of the Deal Memorial Bandstand Trust
Derek Lindars is the new chairman of the Deal Memorial Bandstand Trust

“In seeing the devastation, it was inevitable that there would be fatalities and so it turned out to be with ten dying that day, with an 11th musician succumbing to his wounds in hospital a couple of weeks later.

“My overriding memory is of so many people selflessly helping – the servicemen and women and civilians who worked in the barracks, the emergency services, GPs and other servicemen coming from Dover.

“All carry their scars of that day whether they be emotional, physical or both.

“Thirty years on, I reflect on the how people the people of Deal rallied round to comfort and support us and that strong bond continues today, for which all former Royal Marines in Deal are grateful.”

The annual Royal Marines concert in Walmer is enjoyed by thousands of people
The annual Royal Marines concert in Walmer is enjoyed by thousands of people

Having travelled extensively around the world, including deployments on warships in support of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, Mr Lindars retired as a bandmaster in 1996.

On leaving the Royal Marines, he utilised the skills and experience he had gained in recruitment and training and undertook an MSc in human resources.

He now works as human resources director for Avante Care & Support, a large charity employing around 1,300 people across Kent and south London.

He has been a committee member of the Deal Memorial Bandstand Trust for eight years and, in 2018 on the retirement of John Perkins, he took on the role of chairman.

He may be a familiar face to some through his involvement in the resurrected Sergeants’ Mess Panto, performed in the Astor Theatre each January in order to raise money for service and local charities.

HM Portsmouth Band led by Lt Col Jon Ridley will return to Walmer Green on Sunday
HM Portsmouth Band led by Lt Col Jon Ridley will return to Walmer Green on Sunday

He said: “It is an undoubted privilege to be chairman and it is only through having a great team of volunteers that we are able to sustain the bandstand, both as a memorial to the 11 Royal Marines musicians whose lives were callously taken, and as one of the focal points of Deal for music making.”

Mr Lindars has two children, Stuart and Anna, and five grandchildren and lives in Deal with his wife, Kim, and her daughter.

On Saturday, the day before the concert, the Bowling Green pub in Deal will host a family fun day to raise money for the Deal Memorial Bandstand Trust.

Live bands will provide entertainment from noon until 9pm followed by karaoke.

There will also be a barbecue and activities for children including face painting.

Programmes from the memorial concert are proudly produced by the KM’s sister title the East Kent Mercury and are available from its office at 13 Queen Street, Deal.

They will also be available to purchase via donation on the day.

The concert will start at 2.30pm, with music from the Greatest Showman played in the interval.

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

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