Clarendon School Band

A love of fine music

By Alan Mitchell

Clarendon School Band

This picture is a wonderful colour photo of part of the band. Unfortunately, I can only remember a few of the faces.  The only ones I can name are Steve Coltrini holding his sticks behind the snare drum, I recognize the trombonist next to him but cannot for the life of me think of his surname (though I think his first name is John). ditto the wee fella behind the base drum and the trumpet player next to him. Next to him is Bob (Whitby?) who became our deputy band leader and on his left the blond chappie looking decidedly stern is Neil Percival who became band leader. Both Bob and Neil were virtuoso trumpet players and it was my pleasure to sit behind them in the seconds and be blown away by the mastery of their instruments.

Memory serves me a little better in the front row. On the extreme left is the be-spectacled Bryan Backman who I was in contact with some years ago and actually sent me this photo. Cannot name curley blond lad but next to him is the cheeky phisog of John Booth who was my mate at the time and enticed me to join when we were in third form. The lad in front of the base drum looks bit like me but if it is earlier than ’62 then it can’t be. I do know that I owned a cornet rather than a  trumpet and my wife reckons it is me but I don’t recall the photo being taken and the fellows in the front row look a lot younger than the 14 years we were when I joined.

The next three guys are familiar to me but again cannot name them.

I am indebted to our wonderful band master, the late Roger Elliott, for the best three years of my school life and for developing in me a love of fine music.

This page was added on 27/11/2011.

Comments about this page

  • Trying to get in touch with Pete Palmer, I’m David Gilbert I played Euphonium in band 01629581076.

    By David gilbert (18/02/2018)
  • Yes Peter Swain that is Definately Roy Rumble. My friend and I were rather fixated on him when we were about 13. He made it his business to avoid us though. We would pursue him persistently poor boy ????

    By Maureen Mellish (10/09/2016)
  • Managed 1 out of 2 when Pete got together with fellow band member Ian McKinnon, Dave Lawrie, Ken Laver, John Johnson and myself for a mini reunion on May 25th in Watford watering hole – Moon Under Water. Much reminiscing by all (well it had been 54 years for some of us!), and if you search this site for CLARENDON SCHOOL – CLASS OF ’62 Mini Reunion, you can see how young we all still look!! 

    By Mike Simpson (31/05/2016)
  • I am trying to get in touch with a couple of people who have made comments on this page

    Bill Brown and Ian McKinnon

    Could you please contact me Peter French either by Facebook or Friends Reunited

    By Peter French (14/02/2016)
  • The wee fella standing behind the bass drum is indeed me – Bill Nalson. Roger Elliott was a brilliant music teacher 

    By Bill Nalson (30/08/2015)
  • I have had 2 email conversations with Bob Whitby and what a surprise in the way he has turned out. Good luck to him and his beliefs. Has anyone seen or heard of the whereabouts of Neil Palmer, if so could you get him to contact me via Our Oxhey who has my permission to give my email address out to people who wish to contact me to talk about the great old times.

    By Eddie Porter (05/02/2015)
  • Its a shame people don’t go on this site more often. Would love to hear from the ones I have left messages for.

    By Susan butler (nee gent) (30/11/2014)
  • Would love to hear from the people I have messaged over the months if they remember me.

    By Susan butler (nee gent) (08/11/2014)
  • Hi What a surprise,I googled Neil Palmer and to my shock I saw our old band photo and remember a few but not all the names. Neil was my best friend back then. I emigrated to Alberta, Canada but am now living in Costa Rica for a few months. I don’t know if anyone remembers me but I’m the shy guy playing trumpet back then on the left of Neil.

    By Bob Whitby (31/10/2014)
  • This picture was taken by my father to go on the front of the band record

    By Anthony Denyer (04/09/2014)
  • Hi just been told about this site,its great to see all the names from the past.Sadly I have not kept in touch with many of you ,we did have a mini reunion a few years back with Dave Seal who sadly passed away this year Ken Laver ,Mick Sprake and Bill Pickford.I left the estate in 1969 but never been far away currently in Bricket Wood.I had not touched a musical instrument since 1962 till last year when i started to play the Keyboard,but not very well at the moment.Would love to here from some of the guys I played football with, sport has been a big part of my life, football,squash,golf and now indoor and outdoor bowls.  

    By Ian Mckinnon (18/08/2014)
  • Hi Barbara – I too very often look at old pictures and remember happy days. Yes school uniform was compulsory right down to the socks – even us girls were checked that we only had one petticoat under our skirts as the fashion was to wear about 3 all made of net to make our skirts fuller!!!! Happy times

    By Susan butler (nee gent) (15/07/2014)
  • Every once in a while i go back to look at these photographs,smile and remember, such happy days.I wonder what happened to all the class mates and where they are. Top of my list is Ian Mckinnon, thought he looked so smart and handsome in his band uniform. Was school uniform compulsory ? I remember going to the head masters office to be told my socks were the wrong colour !!!!!!

    By Barbara Birch (04/07/2014)
  • Hi Eddie Porter hope you get to read this. We were at school together – in the same class at one time. We used to hang out together and you used to carry my school books home (corny eh!!!). Hope you are well. Would like to hear from you sometime. I lived at 3 Puttenham Close from 1952 until 1963 when my dad’s firm moved and we had to move. Surprised to read you still live on the Estate. I have really happy memories of South Oxhey and often pay a visit just to see how it is. Best wishes – Sue

    By Susan Butler (nee Gent) (09/06/2014)
  • My late husband Clive Willimott played trumpet in the school band from 1958 till 1962. Has anybody got a photo of the school band with him in it please!?

    By jill willimott (31/08/2013)
  • Trumpet player 3rd row 5th from right is Tony White who joined the Royal Marines Band Service, I can confirm 3rd from left is John Booth (me) I joined the Royal Artillery Band Service in 1964.

    By John Booth (06/08/2013)
  • I should have added Bernard York who is standing next to Vernon Duke on the left of the middle row. Bernard was a good middle distance athlete and enjoyed a successful career in the police force.

    By Peter Swain (01/08/2013)
  • To add a couple of others: Middle row on left is Vernon Duke and front right is Roy Rumball (I think). I’d like to join those who revere Mr Elliott and his band.

    By Peter Swain (30/07/2013)
  • The lad sitting to the right of the snare drum is John Thorburn. The picture must have been before 1962 when I joined the band at 11 years old ‘playing’ the cymbals and waking everyone up at morning assembly.

    By Martin Fry (15/06/2013)
  • Blond trumpeter 3rd from right in middle row is Neil Palmer. He went on to become a professional musician.

    By Martin Fry (15/06/2013)
  • The boy in the back row third from the left, is definately Ian Mckinnon, I had the biggest crush on him, I have a photograph of us and our “gang” includes Brenda Allen and Mick Praide. I look back very fondly on those years at Clarendon Secondary Modern, we were all so proud of our school band.

    By barbara birch (16/05/2013)
  • Lovely to see the picture of the school band, especially Graham Brockbank who I think you’ll find emigrated to Tasmania

    By Janet Grove (23/02/2013)
  • I surprised myself by recognising Tony O’Callaghan before reading the comments but that’s the only one. He was a class mate. How lovely to see our school band, I still talk about the school band, they were good and I was very proud of them. It was lovely to see a photo showing the best ever music teacher Mr Elliott.

    By Anne Sansom (07/05/2012)
  • The band did a trip to Bacherach on Rhine near Mainz where they performed in an old persons home, plus we also performed in the street of the town we stayed in. The band got a silver plaque to commemorate its visit. There used to be a musical performance held at the Town Hall each year by schools through out Watford (bands, choirs etc) and the band was always a big hit, not only musically but also with the girls. Clarendon School also used to hold concerts/revenues at Xmas time when the band were the star performances. The band performed at each morning assembly. I can only recall from my great years at Clarendon between Sept 58 until July 63. The best years of my life. The teachers were great and treated us like adults.

    By Eddie Porter (18/04/2012)
  • From my memory on the back row next too RE is Jan Voss. Far end of same row is Anthony Denyer. Middle row row is Pete French, small blonde is Neil Palmer, Bob Withby, Tony White. Trombonist next to drum is a lad called Thorburn. Otherside is me. The front row, like others know the face but nor name. My late brother Roy,  died on 10th Nov 2011 was vice band captain but not in the picture which I think must have been taken 1960/61.

    By Eddie Porter (16/04/2012)
  • If my memory serves me right, and it has been driving me mad trying to think of his name the boy behind the bass drum is Bill Nelson.

    By Peter French (12/03/2012)
  • In the back row that is Jan Vos who emigrated to Australia many years ago and now calls himself Robert. Graham Brockbank back row 2nd in from left. Right hand side to the base drum Eddie Porter, and that is about all I can add to the list.

    By Peter French (12/03/2012)
  • Front Row from LH side. Brian Backman, Robert Radcliffe, John Booth, Gordon Swafield,????, Nicholas Kemp, ???? Trombone player is John Thorburn. I know he lived up Maylands Road but now as I understand, he has unfortunately passed away. Bob Willis

    By Robert Willis (05/02/2012)
  • Sticking my neck out could it be Jan Vos in the back row fourth from right?

    By Brian Hicks (18/01/2012)
  • Blimey some of you have good memories I recognise a lot of faces but other than Tony O`Callagan I could not put names to them Well done Mike Simpson.

    By Colin Hicks (15/01/2012)
  • I am pretty bad at remembering names and recognise many members of the band but all I can say for sure is that it is me on the cymbals.

    By Tony O,Callaghan (09/12/2011)
  • A few more names for you Alan: Ian McKinnon top 3rd from left Chris Clark top 6th from left David Seal? top 8th from left Pete French 2nd row 1st from right Kevin Gear to his left Tony White 2nd row 5th from right Tony (Gas) O’Callaghan – Cymbals Vernon Dukes – Extreme left in picture

    By Mike Simpson (08/12/2011)

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