The Band of His Majesty’s Royal Marines answers the question: “What’s Your Day Job?”

Royal Marines ‘Bandies’ often get asked, “What’s your day job?”. They may also find themselves answering other popular questions such as, “Is being in the Royal Marines Band Service voluntary?”

As Beating Retreat draws nearer, audiences are excited as ever to see The Band of His Majesty’s Royal Marines perform on Horse Guards Parade. The band has always played a crucial role in the military, providing musical support to phase one training, through to freedom parades, remembrance parades and state ceremonial events, ensuring that music is an integral and valued part of military identity. However, there are numerous misconceptions about the life of a Royal Marines Bandy and the unique life they lead.

A common misconception is that members of the Royal Marines Band Service do not work in the band full-time, and therefore must have a ‘day job’ on the side. This is untrue – their role within the band is their full-time career. Bandies are regular service Royal Marines the same way that Commandos are – not reservists or cadets. Musicians and Buglers are fully trained and operational military personnel. Last year, three different Royal Marines Bands were involved in various exercises and deployments.

Many people are also surprised to learn that Bandies must choose to be in the band when they initially join the Royal Marines. Sergeant Gwilym Davies, who plays for the band in CTCRM Lympstone, says:

“There are a lot of misconceptions about us. One of the biggest is probably the idea that people join the forces as infantry and then randomly get assigned to the band – that’s not how it works. You have to choose to join as a musician, and then join as such. And no, we don’t do assault courses with instruments!”

The Royal Marines Band Service is in high demand, both at home and overseas, completing a staggering total of 1480 commitments in 2023, ranging from a single bugler performing at a funeral to the massed bands performing at high profile military, state and international events. They have always been, and continue to be, a cornerstone of the Royal Marines, providing musical support which plays a huge part in maintaining morale for the whole of the service. They also deliver wide-ranging Defence Engagement for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, whilst promoting Global Britain.

If you’d like to see the renowned band play at the infamous Horse Guards Parade, tickets are still available for Beating Retreat on the 11 and 12 of July 2024 at All proceeds from this event will go towards the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and RMA – The Royal Marines Charity, to ensure sailors and their families are supported – for life.

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By @Cobseo 55 years ago

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