Published: 10:00, 22 September 2020
| Updated: 13:33, 22 September 2020
Memories of an IRA bombing which killed 11 Royal Marine musicians were "undimmed" by a smaller, socially distanced remembrance service, today.
Families have gathered at the site of the explosion in Deal to pay their respects, 31 years on.
Leading the private service in the Memorial Garden in Canada Road was the Rev Jane Walker, sister of Msn Bob Simmonds, 34, one of the 11.
A bugler sounded the The Last Post and Reveille at 8.22am, the time of the detonation on Friday, September 22, 1989.
Wreaths were laid by families and representatives of the Royal Marines and associated charities.
The Royal Marines Band Service was represented by the Principal Director of Music Jason Burcham, and the Corps Bandmaster Ivan Hutchinson.
Derek Lindars, chairman of the Deal Memorial Bandstand Trust, said: "The memorial service had to be smaller this year to maintain social distancing, but the memories, emotion and affection felt by all were undimmed as we remembered the 11 musicians of the Royal Marines Band Service who lost their lives as a result of the bombing 31 years ago."
An annual memorial rugby match between serving members of the band service and Deal & Betteshanger Rugby Club would usually follow, but was not staged this year due to Covid-19.
The device weighing 15lb (6.8kg) went off in a sofa in the Coffee Boat recreation room, destroying all three floors of the building and damaging dozens of neighbouring houses.
The sound could be heard two miles away, shaking windows in the centre of Deal and creating a large pall of smoke over the town.
Many victims were trapped in the rubble for hours and heavy lifting equipment was needed to clear it, in particular lifting away the collapsed roof.
Ten Royal Marines died at the scene, most trapped in the collapsed building. The 11th, Christopher Nolan, died in hospital from his injuries on October 18.
The IRA afterwards claimed responsibility, having rented a property at Campbell Road to plot the cold-blooded attack.
Hours after the explosion they sent a chilling statement to a Dublin news agency saying: "Mrs Thatcher visited Ireland with a message of war at a time when we want peace.
"Now we have visited the Royal Marines in Kent."
The 11 killed musicians were: Msn Mick Ball, 24, Msn Andy Cleatheroe, 25, Msn Trevor Davis, 39, Msn Richard Fice, 22, Msn Richard "Taff" Jones, 27, Band Cpl David "Mac" McMillan, 26, Msn Christopher Nolan, 21, Band Cpl Dean Pavey, 31, Msn Mark Petch, 26, Msn Tim Reeves, 24 and Msn Bob Simmonds, 34.
Each year, the musicians are also remembered at a Marines on the Green concert organised by Deal Memorial Bandstand Trust.
However this year's event on July 5 was unable to go ahead due to the spread of coronavirus - breaking the annual tradition for the first time since 1991.
The Portsmouth and Collingwood bands take it in turns each year to perform with thousands of people travelling from near and far to attend.
Donations collected pay for the running of the Deal Memorial Bandstand, built and dedicated as a living memorial to the 11.