The Band had lots of engagements, both military and civilian while we were stationed in Paderborn and I was getting on very well with my music. I had become much more confident and began to really appreciate dance-band music. I practised a lot especially with my Band Sergeant Major, Brian “Taffy” Helps (pictured with me above), who was also my teacher and friend. When he asked me if I would play in a duo with him, I jumped at the chance. To have someone of his musical calibre wanting me to play alongside him was a huge boost to my confidence and it was from then on that I woke up as a musician and really started getting serious about it. At that time our Band Master, Peter B. Smith, had in my opinion taken the band to a new level, since his choice of music was totally different from what we had been playing in the past. He arranged some great pieces and he wanted a working band which was something I liked although I don’t think every single band member at that time shared this view. Certain band engagements were regularly played on Sundays, which meant I couldn’t play football on these days. I didn’t mind this as I was not only improving my musical skills but getting paid extra for these engagements as well. I therefore dropped into the reserve football team at Tus Sennelager as a result, but both I and the club owner Juppi Peitz had both known from the start that playing for their first team would be short-lived because of my military commitments.
Along with four of my senior colleagues at this time, I was told that we should get the relevant qualification to become a warrant officer. This would mean going to the education centre to study for the promotional examination certificate. I really wanted to do this, so I went on the course and saw it through to the end, passing all the relevant parts needed for promotion. Unfortunately, my other colleagues did not do so. We all enrolled together, with the same chance to succeed, but all the others dropped out along the way. Only I saw it through to the end and passed.
During this period, the Band was very busy. Both the military band and the dance band were playing at all the big balls in and around the towns far and wide. We also played in many schutzenfest (a traditional German shooting and beer festival) around Germany and in live and recorded broadcasts on various German radio stations. I was promoted to trumpet Major which meant that every day I had to play trumpet calls within the garrison outside the garrison HQ along with the other regimental trumpeters. It was a Queen’s warrant and I was quite surprised to get it. We also had to play fanfares and trumpet calls at numerous official occasions as well as at store openings, sporting events, civic balls and other functions. Not much time had passed when I was called in by my superiors and told that I was going to be promoted to Band Sergeant Major Warrant Officer II. I was shocked because like everyone else, I expected one of my senior colleagues to be promoted to this position. However, I was the only one who had passed the promotional exams and so I was promoted ahead of them. I relished the challenge in my new role and was excited about the whole idea of it.
When I got promoted, I was offered army married quarters at An Der Kapelle, so I was able to move out of the house in Ostenland which Juppi Peitz had so kindly provided for me and my family up to that point. However, whenever I could, I still played football for his team Tus Sennelager, which by now had merged with the Schloss Neuhaus team and become Tus Schloss Neuhaus.
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