John Marchant - Bandmaster WNTS

Can anybody HELP ….. In remembering early days at WNTS (about 1911)  and the Bandmaster;……a John Marchant ?? Here are some details that may 'Jog a Memory' or two? Early days at Watts Naval Training School …….

The 1911 Census of England (Public Document) shows; 1911 Census - Enumeration Form. 

Watts Naval Training School, at North Elmham, Norfolk.

On page 1. Captain Superintendent of WNTS; Captain Harry Stileman RN Rtd. (Age 50yrs) with Staff and families.

On page 2. Head: John Marchant Age 40 (b. 1871abt.) - married  11yrs. - Army Pensioner School Bandmaster – London, Bethnal Green

                   Wife: Caroline Marchant Age 32 (b. 1879abt.) - married  11yrs. - Army Pensioner School Bandmaster – London, Bethnal Green

                   Daug: Doris Marchant Age 7 (b. 1904abt.) -       Norfolk, Gt. Yarmouth

                   Son: Cecil Marchant Age 4 (b. 1907abt.) -       Norfolk, Gt. Yarmouth

NOTE:    2  x further children. Son: John Marchant (10yrs) & Daughter Carrie Marchant (9yrs), both born Gt; Yarmouth are on page 10. 

Information about WNTS.

1. The National Archives at Kew, London.

There are 15 ‘bundles' of Records on Watts Naval Training School at Elmham.

They are Records from the Department of Education, and are held at NA, Kew (see; some held at Norfolk). The content (from Headings) are generally; Board of Education, Technical Branch, and Ministry of Education, Schools Branch: Junior Technical Schools, Files, England, Norfolk, Elmham, Watts Naval Training School.

They have References:  

ED 98/118  (date range; 1913 – 1935)

ED 98/255  (date range; 1936 – 1944)

ED 114/692  (date: 1935)

DN/CSP 16/6 (date: 1906) Diocese of Norfolk, Consecration Papers etc.

ED 30/134  (date range; 1922 – 1935)

ED 30/177  (date; 1939)

ED 30/76  (date range; 1904 – 1919)

C/ED 4/5 (date range: 01 Jan 1924 - 30 Apr 1928)  Admission Registers, Held by Norfolk Records Office

C/ED 4/2 (date range: 01 May 1912 - 31 Aug 1915)  Admission Registers, Held by Norfolk Records Office

C/ED 4/3 (date range: 01 Aug 1915 - 31 Apr 1919)  Admission Registers, Held by Norfolk Records Office

C/ED 4/4 (date range: 01 Aug 1919 – 31 Jan1924)  Admission Registers, Held by Norfolk Records Office

Records Office

ADM 1/14880 (date 1943)  Admiralty and Ministry of Defence, Navy Department, Correspondence and Papers etc.

DN/CSR  (date range: 1744 – 1964) Dioceses of Norfolk Consecration Books, WNTS  Held by Norfolk Registers Office

NOTE: Included in this collection is a bundle re; Parkstone Sea Training School (1948-1965) which I have left out. 

Unfortunately, none of the Records have been ‘digitised’ and are therefore not viewable ‘On-Line, nor are they downloadable’.

To view further anybody searching would need to visit the NA at Kew or those at the Norfolk Records Office, which is at; Martineau Lane, Norwich, (NR1 2DQ) Tel: 01603 222599. The National Archives @ Kew to source documents, are extremely helpful. The NA do have a Service through which you can acquire documents, they search & copy for you (a fee applies), you will need to be fairly precise what you require. Unfortunately its often ‘buy sight unseen’ which is a bit of a gamble.

2.  Books on WNTS.

There are a number of books about Watts, usually written by ‘old boys’, of these are usually ‘general’ in detail, there is mention of the Watts School Band, but specifics about earlier an early bandmaster, Mr Marchant, and any reference to School Matrons, these have all drawn a blank.

The books…….

i). 'One of a Bakers Dozen’ (Badgerwood Publications 2003) by Reg Trew

Ii).  'I Survived A Barnardo Boy’s Memoir’   (Badgerwood Publications 2005)  by Kenneth Brown

iii). 'Nautical Training Ships: An Illustrated History’   by Phil Carradice  (Chapter 7)

iv). ‘The 23rd Little Varmint’ (First Published in 1988 , re-Published as an e-book in 2005 by Steele Roberts Publications)  by Dennis Sloan 

3. Websites that Reference WNTS.

There are any number of these, our Webmasters; father; Richard Eastwood was involved with a ‘Naval Sea Schools’ website that incorporated WNTS as well as RCNS & Parkstone, unfortunately it seems that  this Website is no longer around. 

i). A website that is still going;  (See; has a general description and photos of WNTS from its  very early days.  

ii). Another is; (See; which shows a 1906 Map of the WNTS Site. (NOTE: This Website [Childrens Homes etc.] may well be the Website that has Incorporated a previous Website known as the; 'Naval Sea Schools Website', which it seems no longer exists). The Children’s Homes Website has an enormous number of Childrens Homes, these include Dr. Barnado’s as well as the 'Training Ships’ e.g.; TS Arethusa, TS Mercury, TS Formidable etc. etc. which were all Training Boys for service at Sea at the time of WNTS and RCNS. 

iii). The Prince of Wales Sea Training School (PWSTS – See; )  has a short piece on WNTS but then ‘links’ referred to go nowhere, the old  ‘Goldonian’ Website seems to be long gone.

Iv). One Website that is well worth a look, (although it reveals nothing specific to staff at WNTS) is; (See; this Website contains a number of archived sites,   scroll down until you find: 'Watts Naval Training School Dr. Barnardos’ …. It has one of the better accounts.


There does not seem to be anything specific about Bandmaster, John Marchant or Caroline Marchant (Assist Matron) at WNTS. When Richard Eastwood first started the Parkstone (PSTS) and the Russell Cotes (RCNS) Website many years ago, it was very difficult to find records and material regarding WNTS.

As we know from days at Parkstone, a number  of the Officers from WNTS that had moved to Parkstone when WNTS closed. Amongst those that are well remembered is, Bert Busby (House Officer, Howard House, PSTS ) for example who was at WNTS much later (1940-48). Bert Busby was also a boy at WNTS, being sent there at the age of 11yrs. (1917). There is an excellent and very detailed account of life at WNTS, on the Parkstone Website under the ‘Tab; Stories’,  its called; The bell, bugle and the Flag by Bertram Busby, at WNTS 1917 onwards.

There could well be Army Records of John Marchant at the National Archives, London, as he came to WNTS after Army Service..  

I hope what I have detailed above, whilst nothing specific ……might jog a memory or two, as our Webmaster, Rachel has had a request from a John Marchant descendant, asking for help. 

Regards to All

John Trott    PSTS Website Researcher


Parkstone Sea Training School.  Arranmore 1955-1959

John Alders

John has been in touch. Having spent many years at PSTS from 56 to 59 in Howard house H35 I was pleased to say that I have made contact with an old friend Colin Rowe who was in Aranmore and is now living in USA. We hope to make skype contact very soon.

Message for Gary Ramplee

We have had an email from Jeffrey Ramsay (then Jeffrey Webster) was at PSTS 62/63. He read about Gary Ramplee on the website and would like to get in touch with him. If Gary or anyone who is in touch with Gary sees this message please let us know.

Brian Hemingway

Brian has been in touch. His email reads "Just discovered this site and have read through it with great interest. I was there from 1960 to 1962 I believe in Broughton House (house number 8). At that time I lived in Chesterfield with my foster parents, having been a Barnado's boy for the first 5 years of my life. The journey to Parkstone was a long one by train of which I travelled alone aged just 12 years. My memories of PSTS are fond ones, if my memory serves me correctly a Mr Butcher was our housemaster. The various activities were great, I joined the band & learned to play the cornet, loved the parades. I was in the chapel choir also in the gymnastics display team (broke my wrist whilst performing at a display in Swanage). In 1966 I joined the merchant navy and had 3 happy years traveling the world. I married in 1970 and have 5 children also 5 grandchildren. Although being from Derbyshire I have lived in Kent for the past 40 years."

Robin (Dinger) Bell

Robin has made contact. "Hi, I would like to join your list of old boys. I was in Broughton House 1958-1962 number 128, played trumpet in band under Bandie Joyce and Mr Challis, was one of the varmints who sounded reveille. Very happy for anyone who would like to contact me. I live in Burnham on Sea, Somerset. Just like to say that PSTS gave me the best grounding anyone could have wished for as a boy and I will always be grateful for the kindness I was shown at the school. Anyone who would like a cuppa if they are in the area would be most welcome." Robin has been added to the "where are they now?" section where you can see what he has been doing since leaving PSTS.

Robert Withers

Hi, as I have had a request from Doug Amos for my contact details, would you please place this in the 'News' section. I would be delighted to hear from Doug and any other 'long lost friends' from PSTS. Please contact me on Best regards Robert (Bob) Withers.

Past and Present Photographs

Donald Morse has emailed us to ask if there are any plans for us to include photos of ourselves. He thinks it would be interesting to compare the recent pictures with past memories of how his fellow shipmates looked. Please write in to let us know what you think.

Doug Amos - Robert Withers

Doug has written in to say "A few years ago I asked if anyone new the whereabouts of a lad whose surname was Withers who was in Broughton House, as we used to knock about together on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. I was pleased to see the article from Robert Withers and I am hoping he remembers me and will get in touch".

Robert Withers

Robert has made contact. This is his message. "Great to see so much history about this wonderful establishment that helped so many young boys such as me. I moved on into the RN as an Artificer Apprentice and put that success solely down to the 'learnings' of PSTS. Very sorry to read of it's closure, but memories abound. Frank Seviour was our House Master and Officer and Mr Joyce, the bandmaster, where I was Drum Major, drummer etc so remember the time very well. Wonderful memories and hopefully many others will remember life at PSTS. Have been living in Australia since 1964, but have never forgotten the wonderful days at PSTS. Congratulations on erecting this site and if others from my era are available, it would be great to receive a response."

Gordon Brocklehurst - Updating

Gordon has written in to say "It is good to bring together our past on this site and the present Barnardo's organisation with it's wide appeal and preservation of the apostrophe 's'! Best wishes.