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Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Torrent
Late Director of Music, The Life Guards

Malcolm Torrent was born in Bournemouth on 4th October 1950, 20 minutes before his identical twin brother, Peter. He was one of six children (four boys and two girls).  A naturally gifted musician, he began playing the cornet and trumpet aged 11 whilst attending Portchester Road School in Bournemouth.  As a boy, he performed with the Bournemouth Silver Band, the Southern Youth Orchestra and various Big Bands, and this led to his career in military music which spanned forty years.

He started his army career at the age of 15 as a cornet and viola player with the Band of the Royal Artillery in 1966.  Whilst attending the pupil’s course at Kneller Hall in 1969, he participated as a fanfare trumpeter at Caernarfon Castle or the Investiture of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales.  After attending the Bandmaster’s Course at the Royal Military School of Music in 1977, he was appointed Bandmaster to the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment in 1981 and served in Berlin, Northern Ireland and North Yorkshire.  He was subsequently appointed as Director of Music of The Adjutant General’s Corps Band, and then became Director of Music of The Band of The Life Guards for six years in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.  It should perhaps be remembered that until relatively recently the minimum height for a Household Cavalryman was 5 foot 10 inches.  Not least this was to fit horses whose height is still 16 hands and over.  Malcolm was challenged on a horse, with his short legs sticking out to the side when mounted, a proper Thelwell cartoon picture.  The Riding Master insisted that he had filed down spurs as his feet were constantly turned outwards, to stop him always having his spurs stuck in the horse’s ribs.  He usually rode Kittyhawk.  He had many adventures perhaps the most notable being when he left parade at the Edinburgh Tattoo, still mounted, still playing, but the horse walked off parade with Malcolm helpless to influence events.  In any event, he carried out his duties leading the Massed Mounted Band on The Queens’ Birthday Parade and Lord Mayor’s Show.  Latterly he held the position of Chief Instructor at Kneller Hall, the Army training base for all military musicians, and finally returned to The Band of The Royal Artillery in Woolwich for his last two years as a Director of Music.  Malcolm retired from the Army in October 2005 as Director of Music in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

On retirement from the Army, Malcolm moved to Ferndown.  For the first time in over 40 years, he had no commitments and an empty diary, so he went back to his roots and joined various brass bands in the Bournemouth and Ferndown areas.  Encouraged by his wife Isobel, he looked around for something he could do that wasn’t solely based around music.  He saw a flyer for a local Probus (a retired luncheon club) group in the library and went along to a meeting, followed by regular lunches and coffee mornings.  One day he was asked by Ferndown Probus to talk at a meeting about his job, and at the end of the meeting a visiting member from another branch asked if he would talk to his group.  One thing led to another and before he knew it, he was being booked as a guest speaker several times a week all over Dorset for many clubs and societies.  He thoroughly enjoyed presenting his talks being entertaining and engaging as he peppered his talks by playing a variety of musical instruments.  Following advice to engage an agent, he was commissioned to deliver talks on a number of cruise ships, a joy and a duty he undertook many times with alacrity.  A New Years’ Resolution led to Malcolm and Isobel taking up Ballroom, Latin and social sequence dancing enjoying many a Thursday afternoon tea dance at the Royal British Legion in Ferndown.  A great supporter of the British Legion, Malcolm played the Last Post at many Remembrance events and was a hugely popular guest quizmaster at the club’s Sunday evening quiz.  Malcolm had been a member of the Freemasons since the early 1980’s and on settling in Ferndown joined the local lodge.  He continued to play both the trumpet and the viola for many years, but after a stroke stopped him playing, he joined Colehill Community choir where he sang with gusto and great enjoyment.  Malcolm was always incredibly optimistic and positive no matter what came his way. Unfailingly energetic and enthusiastic he was always smiling and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who knew him.  His funeral was attended by a congregation twice the size of the available space.  He leaves a devoted wife, two children and two grandchildren.

 

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