A former RAF Cranwell bandsman recalls his first taste of a combat zone as he prepares for a reunion concert.
Wednesday, January 13, marks the 25th anniversary which saw RAF musicians, for the first time in recent history, drop everything to support front line Forces’ medics in the First Gulf War, looking after casualties.
Former Cranwell bandsman Malcolm Goodman is marking this occasion with a special series of Music for Heroes charity concerts put on by the RAF Music Charitable Trust, of which he is a director.
The Trust raises welfare funds through the performances by RAF musicians to support servicemen and servicewomen.
The series starts at Harrow School on January 15 featuring the Central Band of the RAF and a reunion for RAF music services personnel at Newark Town Hall takes place on January 30 – other concerts will include Newark (June 5), Hull, Doncaster, Sheffield and Bath throughout 2016.
Mr Goodman said: “The June 5 concert in the Palace Theatre, Newark, offers the Band of the RAF College the opportunity to perform in their local community whilst also celebrating this unique anniversary.”
Mr Goodman, who now lives in Newark, said: “As one of the musicians who was deployed with the then Western Band of the Royal Air Force to Al Jubayl in Saudi Arabia on January 13, I know from my own experience how truly terrified we all were, as musicians not used to going to war on active service.”
His band undertook a month’s training before their nine-week deployment to the Middle East, re-equipped with camouflage combat uniforms, gas masks and NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) suits.
Mr Goodman said: “We all experienced numerous missile attacks from Saddam Hussein’s forces so were frequently having to respond on a daily basis to the terrifying air raid sirens and put on our NBC protection suits.”
The Western Band of the RAF closed down after the war and musicians moved to RAF Cranwell to join the re-formed Band of the RAF Regiment.
Since the Gulf War in 1991, all RAF musicians are routinely sent individually, as and when required, to support troops around the world.
For further details contact the RAF Music Charitable Trust: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or website: www.rafmusic.org.uk