Mr Joyce


Watts Naval Training School  - Parkstone Sea Training School

  Band Master: Victor C Joyce LRAM  (WNTS: 1934-1949 & PSTS: 1949-1960)


1895 – 1973

Royal Marine Bandsman Victor Cecil Joyce

Born: 24 January 1895, Belfast, Northern Ireland son of a Musician/Soldier.

Died: 1973  in Portsmouth



Victor Joyce joined the Royal Marine Band (RmB) on 5th May 1910 at the Royal Marine Artillery Barracks, Eastney, Portsmouth, Band Boy. Service number: 1725.

He was born on the books of the Royal Naval School of Music for the next 4 years.

His music training required him to be versatile in both string and wind instruments. To qualify as a RmB Musician, trainees had to master performance in a Symphonic Wind Band, a Marching Band, a Dance Band and a Symphonic and Salon Orchestra. 

He was promoted Musician; 31st December 1912.


1914 -1919  WW1 

On the 23rd June 1914 Musician Victor Joyce joined the brand new Battleship, 

HMS MARLBOROUGH, Flagship of the 1st Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet.

The complement of Royal Marines for a Battle cruiser at the time of Jutland would number about 115 men as follows;

Royal Marine Light Infantry:

1 x  Major, … 1x  Colour Sergeant …. 1 x Sergeant, …. 1 x Lance Sergeant ,

1  x Corporal,  …. I  x Lance Corporal   Privates,   x  50


Royal Marine Artillery

1 x  Sergeant,  1 x Lance Sergeant , 1 x Corporal, Gunners  x  36    Bombardier x   3


Royal Marine Band

Bandmaster  x 1   Band Corporal  x 1    Musician x 12    Buglers  1 x RMLI, 1 x RMA




Battleship, Iron Duke  Class – HMS MARLBOROUGH

Built; 1912 Devonport Dockyard

Commissioned:  June 1914

Displacement: 29,500 tons

Armament;  10 x 13.5inch, 12 x 6inch,  2 x 3inch 4 x21 inch Torpedo

Speed: 22knots   Complement:  925

1916 – Battle of Jutland, 31st May 1916.

HMS MARLBOROUGH, flying the Flag of Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Burney, engaged units of the German High Seas Fleet. She opened fire in the direction of several German battleships at a range of some 10,000 yds, hits were claimed but these could not be verified. She next fired several salvos at a Light Cruiser, and another at a Kaiser Class Battleship. 

At 1854 she was hit by a single torpedo in the diesel engine room, killing two Stokers., her speed was reduced to 17knots. She was able to continue 

‘In-Line’.  In the early hours of the 1st June, damage control reported that water was gaining, the Engineer Commander considered it was dangerous to maintain 17knts.

Speed was reduced to 15kts. and HMS MARLBOROUGH, left the line, speed was further reduced to 13kts. The Flag was transferred to HMS FEARLESS, orders were to proceed to the Tyne or Rosyth. Conditions deteriorated with water reaching some 4 feet below the gratings at the top of the Boilers. Later in the morning the ingress of water was reduced  and through pumps the level of water lowered. She eventually made the Tyne for repairs.

On Battleships and Battlecruisers the Royal Marines usually manned one of the after turrets (X turret, usually known as the ‘Royals’, Y turret was usually manned by the Quarterdeck Division).   The number of personnel to man a ‘battleship turret’ through to and including he Magazine was (approx) 40 to 45. 

A 12 inch turret crew consisted of;

2 x Gun Layers, 1 x Trainer, 4 x Sight Setters. 2nd Captain of Turret, 2 x ‘guns crews’ @ 5 men each.  Magazine; 1 Corpora/LH  plus12.  Shell-Room crew; 1 x Corporal/LH plus 12 men.  Control Party of 5  plus Officer. 

RM Band at Sea.

Members of the Royal Marine Band were trained to man the Gunnery Fire Control System in the new Dreadnoughts, this allowed for the RMLI to man the Ships Secondary Armament. Band Musicians were also Damage Control parties.

Note; In 1923 the Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI) and the Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) were amalgamated, the rank of Private and that of Gunner were also abolished and the rank of Marine introduced.

After the end of World War 1, Musician Victor Joyce was promoted Corporal, seniority; 16th February 1919.


For his World War 1 Service;  he was awarded the following Medals;

1914-1915  Star,    awarded: 5th Dec 1920

British War Medal,  awarded;  14th August 1921

Allied Victory Medal,  awarded; 14th August 1921

(See Note at End)



On the 20th March 1919 he was posted to the Royal Navy School of Music,


Flag of the Royal Marine School of Music.



Royal Navy School of Music, (continued).

The present day Royal Marine School of Music was originally the RN School of Music which had been formed in 1903 at Eastney.


Sea Soldiers were first raised in the reign of King Charles 2nd in 1664, as soldiers deployed on ships. They were known as the Duke of York & Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot.

Much later in 1755 a ‘Corps of Marines’ consisting of 50 Companies was raised and formed into 3 Divisions; Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham. 

All Regiments of the  Army  rank in ‘Order Of Seniority’, the Senior Regiment of the Army is; 

- 1st  of Foot   - ‘The Royal Scots’ … formed in  1661

- 2nd of Foot   - ‘The Queens Royal Regiment’  … also formed in 1661

- 3rd of Foot   - ‘The Buffs’   …. formed in 1665   and so on…..

 The Royal Marines take precedence as…

- 49th of Foot   - ‘Royal Marines’  …… formed in 1755


However precedence can be a tricky matter, especially when you have Guards Regiments and the Household Cavalry. In 1666 King Charles II issued a Royal Warrant … ‘First as to Foot, that the Regiment of Guards takes place of all the Regiments’ …


The Cavalry also get into ‘Seniority’ act, the Life Guards claim ‘Senior Regiment’  of the Royal Household Division, as they were formed in March 1660 by King Charles II just before the Restoration in May of that year.


By 1848  the Royal Marines had grown to 110 Companies; 100  Companies across 4 Divisions, the new Division being Woolwich with a further 10 Artillery Companies at Portsmouth, (Navy List p.61). 

In 1855 the Royal Marine Light Infantry was formed, they were referred to as ‘Red Marines’ and in 1859 the Royal Marine Artillery (as a separate Division), was formed and known as the ‘Blue Marines’.  The ‘Royal’ had been bestowed by George III in 1802. 

In 1923 the RMLI and the RMA merged to form the Royal Marine Corps.


 A Royal Marine Brigade was formed, as part of the Royal Naval Division. 

Royal Marine Artillery Brigades were formed for the Western Front, they used 15inch breech loading Howitzers and were known as the RM Howitzer Brigade.


The Royal Marine Band.

The are a number of contentions as to when the Royal Marine Bands commenced.

In 1767 the Royal Marines Divisional Bands were formed and these were based at Chatham, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Deal. It was not until 1903 that the Royal Naval School of Music was founded to provide Bands for the Royal Navy.

In 1799 the General Regulations and Order for Conduct of the HM Armed Forces in Great Britain laid down that they shall beat at sunset and this has been present in all editions of the regulations right up to the present day.


The RN School of Music was founded in 1903. However Marine Bands certainly existed before that time, although they did not have the ‘Royal’ title.

The ranks for both  Royal Marine ‘Drummer & Fifer’ were listed for pay purposes, are recorded in 1848 (see Navy List p. 180).

Musicians, Bandmasters, Bandsman and Band Boys are also listed in Pay Tables in the Navy List of 1885. 


The Musical Times 1911.

A fascinating article is recorded in  this Newspaper; 

‘The history of the  Band is obscure. Until recent times Service bands were supported by the officers, and therefore there are no old official records in existence. 


The Musical Times 1911. (continued)


At the beginning of the last century it is recorded that the Portsmouth Marine Band

played every morning on the Governor’s Green in Portsmouth during the trooping of the colour and the changing of the Guard. The Band then consisted of two flute, two oboes, eight clarinets, two bassoons,  four horns, two trumpets, two serpents,  one bass horn, four trombones and three ’time beaters’, who were black men, the regimental drummers assisting when necessary.

In the reign of George IV, the band accompanied His Majesty in a voyage around the British Isles. But it was during the time of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort that

At Osborne Palace the Band was most in attendance on royalty. When Lieut. Miller took the Band over, its most cherished tradition was its intimate connection with Queen Victoria and the Royal Family. The band played at the wedding of Prince Henry of Battenburg in 1885, and it also had the sad duty of playing at his funeral in 1896, for which occasion Lieut. Miller composed a funeral march.


In 1875 the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) made a Royal Tour of India he travelled on HMS SERAPIS (Euphrates Class Troopship – Sail & Steam).

The RM Contingent consisted of; 1 x Major, with 2 x Lieutenants, 3 x Sergeants, 3 x Corporals, 1  x Drummer and 92 Privates RMLI.  Plus 1 x Sergeant and 3 x Gunners RMA. The Band of the Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI) of the Portsmouth Division also embarked for the tour.



Royal Marine Light Infantry Band – India 1875






1919 -1921 HMS AJAX  

On the 30th December 1919 Corporal Victor Joyce was posted to HMS AJAX, 4th Battle Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet.

HMS AJAX had re-commissioned in Malta in January 1920 when she was ordered to the Black Sea to assist in the evacuation of White Russian Military Forces and Refugees from ports. At Odessa in February, HMS AJAX Shelled Bolshevik Forces whilst she embarked the remaining elements General Schilling’s Volunteer Army. Next in March, she moved to Constantinople , which was under Martial Law and landed parties of Royal Marines to restore order. 

Later in June 1920 she was  Guard Ship at Sevastopol and then at Batoum where RM Artillery were ashore tasked with blowing up Guns, before the Bolsheviks arrived.



Battleship, King George V Class – HMS AJAX

Built; 1910/1912 Scotts Shipbuilding, Greenock

Commissioned:  31 October 1913

Displacement: 23,400 tons

Armament;  10 x 13.5inch, 16 x 4inch,  3 x21 inch Torpedo

Speed: 21.5knots   Complement:  900




On the 15th October 1921 Corporal Victor Joyce joined HMS Emperor of India, in the Mediterranean, Flagship of Rear Admiral Culme-Seymour. In 1922 she was in refit.



Battleship, Iron Duke  Class – HMS EMPEROR of INDIA

Built; 1911/1914 Vickers Barrow-in-Furness

Commissioned:  10th November 1914

Displacement: 29,500 tons  - Speed: 22knots   Complement:  925

Armament;  10 x 13.5inch, 12 x 6inch,  2 x 3inch   4 x21 inch Torpedo



1922 -1929  Royal Naval School of Music.

Corporal Victor Joyce was posted back to the Royal Naval Music School on the 6th March 1922.

He was awarded his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal; date; 6th March 1928

On the 26th December 1925 he qualified as Bandmaster II


Rank Badge of; Bandmaster Royal Marines

Victor Joyce was promoted Bandmaster 1st Class 13th December 1928




On the 24th April 1929 Bandmaster 1st Class Victor Joyce joined HMS VINDICTIVE.

With the event of aircraft at sea, the Admiralty decided HMS VINDICTIVE (originally named Cavendish) was to be converted as an experimental Aircraft Carrier. She was redesigned with a ‘hanger’ on the Forecastle, capable for 6 or 8 aircraft. A deck landing arrangement was constructed aft of the funnel.

After these initials trials which had ‘flying off’ and ‘flying on’ operations completely separate, the Admiralty opted through deck Aircraft Carriers.

HMS VINDICTIVE was refitted back as a Heavy Cruiser in 1924, initially with a capability for catapulting aircraft, this was later removed. In 1929.



Heavy Cruiser, Hawkins Class  – HMS VINDICTIVE

Built; 1916/1918 Harland and Wolff, Belfast

Commissioned:  1st October 1918

Displacement: 9,500 tons

Armament;  4 x 7.5inch, 4 x 12pdr,  4 x 3inch 6 x 21 inch Torpedo

Speed: 29knots   Complement:  700 



1930-1931 HMS HAWKINS  (D86)

On the 1st January 1930 Bandmaster Victor Joyce was posted to HMS HAWKINS on the East Indies Station, which was part of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron.

In May 1930 Bandmaster Joyce gained his LRAM (Licentiate of the  Royal Academy of Music), a most prestigious award.




Heavy Cruiser, Hawkins  Class – HMS HAWKINS

Built; 1916/1919 Chatham Dockyard

Commissioned:  25 July 1919        Displacement: 9,750 tons

Armament;  7 x 7.5inch, 8 x 12pdr.  2 x 2pdr. 6 x 21 inch Torpedo

Speed: 30knots   Complement:  690



1931-1932  HMS LONDON  (69)

On the 17th June 1931 Bandmaster Victor Joyce joined HMS LONDON, Flagship of the 1st Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean.  In October of 1931 HMS London was ordered to Cyprus, landing her RM Detachment to assist the Civil Authority with the severe outbreak of rioting. Ring leaders of the Riots were arrested held prisoner onboard London.

On 17th February 1932 he was promoted Company Sergeant Major (CSM)


Heavy Cruiser, County Class – HMS LONDON

Built; 1926/1929 Portsmouth Dockyard     Commissioned:  31st January 1929

Displacement: 9,750 tons           Speed: 32knots   Complement:  784

Armament;  8 x 8nch, 4 x 4inch,  8 x0,5inch 8 x21 inch Torpedo




1932 1934 - Royal Naval School of Music

On the 2nd July 1932 Company Sergeant Major Victor Joyce returned to the Royal Naval School of Music.



The Royal Cypher – Royal Marines




1934 –1949 WATTS Naval Training School.

After retiring from the Royal Marines, Victor Joyce joined WATTS as Band Officer. He was a most able Musician and inspired many a young boy to master an instrument.





WATTS Band with Bandmaster Victor Joyce


1949 - 1960 Parkstone Sea Training School.

In 1949 WATTS closed and the school moved to Parkstone, in Dorset. The Russell Cotes Nautical School, which had opened in 1919 merged with WATTS and was renamed Parkstone Sea Training School. Its first Captain Superintendent was Commander ES Felton, RN.

1949 - 1960 Parkstone Sea Training School. (continued)

It was through the dedication of Bandmaster Joyce that boys achieved a mastery of music that enabled them to join such well known bands as the; Royal Marines, Life Guards, Royal Artillery Mounted Band, Rhine Band of the Tank Regiment and many others ….. and a drummer from our Watts Band … left us in 1938 to join the Middlesex Regiment … (Jack Tar 1957 Winter).


The Band appearances at Poole Speedway, were always important engagements, spectators were always generous, with both donation collections and applause at half time when the Band gave its display.


To name just two of the many Memorial Occasions for the Band, they must be;

The 1953 Spithead Review of the Fleet by HM Queen, the PSTS Band being invited onboard HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.

An equal first is the 1958 Max Bygraves ITV Christmas Special, where the PSTS Band appeared on the T.V. Max Bygraves OBE, the consummate entertainer, died aged 89 in Augusts 2012. 



1973 – Bandmaster Joyce … an  Epitaph ….. ‘Bandy’ Victor Joyce  .. was a true gentleman.



Unfortunately We have only been able to list  Bandmaster Joyce WW1 Medals (3) plus his LSGM. He was undoubtedly awarded more (WW2 ?), unfortunately we are not able to access Information on WW2 Medals from the National Archives. 

A glance at a couple of the photos of Bandy Joyce, shows him with some 7 to 8 Medal Ribbons on his uniform.

Assuming he was recalled to duty for WW2 (as many were, we are unable to access WW2 Service details) the award of the WW2;  War & Defence medals would account for this. If anybody knows of any details we would be only too pleased for additional Info.



1, Ships of the Royal Navy; The Complete Record of All Fighting Ships, JJ Colledge

    and Ben Warlow, Case Mate, 17 Cheap St., Newbury, RG14 5DD, 2010.

2. Jane’s Fighting Ships, various editions, 1922 to 1945, Sampson, Low, Marston &

    Co. Ltd. London.

3. Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, World War I, 1914-1918. RN Warships &

    Auxiliary Crew Numbers and Types.

3. The Dreadnought Project, Naval History 1890-1920, Report of Proceedings,  

    Editors; Tony Lovell & Simon Harley.

4. The Royal Marines Museum (Royal Marine History) Eastney, Esplanade,

    Southsea, Portsmouth

5. Imperial War Museum & The National Archives, Kew, London. Commander J.

    Bostock DSC, RN . HMS AJAX. 1914-1921.

6. The History of Portsmouth: Maritime Portsmouth – The Royal marine Bands.

7. The Navy List, 20th June 1848, Royal Marine Forces, H.Q. of Marine Companies

     p.61 & Pay, Royal Marines, p.180, Admiralty, HMSO.

8. The Musical Times, September 1st 1911, Vol 52 No. 823. Page 569.

9. Watts Naval Training School, Goldings by Frank Cooke

10. Jack Tar Winter 1957.  PSTS  (p. Band Notes).