Lizzie Merrell

Band Corporal Lizzie Merrell – Flute, Piccolo, Saxophone

Lizzie plays three instruments in the Royal Marines Band, as well as singing on occasions, which has opened up a whole host of opportunities to perform in a variety of musical ensembles. She has travelled far and wide, performed in some amazing venues and in front of the Royal Family.

Lizzie is currently part of the team of musicians on standby for operations on board RFA Argus and as much as she loves the musical side of life, training for her operational role has been a great experience.

See Lizzie's interview here

"I chose to join the Royal Marines Band Service because from a very young age I used to be a member of the church lads and girls brigade and by about the age of 15 or 16 I chose to join their national band and we had a lot of Royal Marines who used to come and help us out, especially from the Corps of Drums, so that’s what encouraged and motivated me to take this on as a career.

"Within the Royal Marines Band I play the flute and piccolo and the tenor saxophone, I occasionally get the chance to sing as well.

"All those instruments opens up a lot of opportunity to do lots of different ensembles - anything from function band, where I get to sing or play the saxophone, to big band to wind band to orchestra to small ensembles like woodwind quintet.

"I’ve been in nearly 10 years this year so I suppose some of the gigs that stand out are playing for the Olympics and the Queens Jubilee Pageant. I’ve travelled a lot, been to places I didn’t know existed and I’ve been lucky enough to go to Dubai and Jamaica too so plenty of gigs - it’s a good job!

"Whilst I’ve been in the band I’ve done my Bachelor of Music Degree and if I want to I can take it up to the Masters as well.

"The most enjoyable part of being in the Band is definitely the people that you work with, it’s like a family, you are on the road all the time with them, you get to play in some amazing venues and the fact that you are playing music every day is great.

"I would say if you are considering a career with the Royal Marines Band Service, that it’s a fantastic opportunity, you get to travel the world and the country, you play in some amazing venues and if you love music what better way to get paid."

Operational role

Role - Casualty handler supporting the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) and ward support to the Emergency Department

Tasks - Collect patient from helicopter or sea boat, carry out safety checks and give basic first aid supporting the medical team on the ward as a runner.

"As a Band on the ship we are the main casualty receiving unit, so as soon as casualties come on board, whether it’s off the boat or helicopter we are straight in with the stretchers. You have the team that go out and collect them and a clinical team so there’s no cross contamination.

"Basic first aid is quite important as we have to do all of that kind of thing; we’ve learnt quite a lot which has been really good and very different to our normal day job.

"I worked with the Emergency Department which was quite interesting as it’s the first port of call for a casualty as soon as they come into the hospital. It’s a bit of a learning curve because obviously it’s quite dramatic, it can be really quiet and then all of a sudden it’s all go.

"The kind of things that I’m expected to do on the ward is be a runner, for example, if they needed blood I’d get sent to go and collect that, do paperwork and that kind of thing to help out.

"I personally enjoy the operational side because it’s different, originally I thought I wouldn’t , because I very much love my music but it’s nice to put the green uniform on and do that kind of thing as well. Its good experience."

RM School of Music

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