Simon Topper

Musician Simon Topper – Solo Clarinet

Simon’s day job as a solo clarinet player in the Royal Marines Band has taken him all over the world. He joined after his A levels and has since gained his Bachelor of Music Degree. He’s performed in front of Sydney Opera House and deployed to Afghanistan in support of UK Medical Group. You’ll more commonly find him rehearsing for his next gig in a band room in Hampshire but he also has a critical role to play on operations. As one of the team at 5 days-notice to move in support of the Royal Navy’s hospital facility at sea, Simon has recently been training on board RFA Argus.

See Simon’s interview here

"I did my A levels at school and wasn’t really sure what to do after that. My music teacher at school was a former musician in the Royal Marines Band and he said why don’t you try this – and here I am.

"As a solo clarinet player in the Royal Marines Band I lead the concert band, I’m also involved in orchestra, parade band and smaller ensembles like woodwind quintet.

"So far in my career the highlights are playing in Buckingham Palace, I’ve played in front of Sydney Opera House, I’ve played in India - the foreign ones are usually the best.

"I’ve completed a Bachelor of Music Degree and I’m hoping to study for the Master of Music Degree.

"For me the most enjoyable part of being in the band is performing a piece that you’ve prepared for, for weeks, and it comes off perfectly.

"If you enjoy music and you like to stay fit and want some variety then I’d say a career in the Royal Marines Band service is good for you."

Operational role

Role - Casualty handler supporting the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) and ward support on Intensive Care.

Tasks on board - collect patients from helicopter or sea boat, carry out safety checks, basic first aid, patient transfers, collect results from labs, feeding patients and emergency ward evacuation.

"On board Argus our primary role is to receive the casualties from the flight deck, from wherever they may have come from, other ships, land based conflicts, civilians into the hospital complex, clean them up, make sure there is no danger to the hospital or any its staff and get them down to the Emergency Department.

"At first you feel the pressure but once you’re used to what you are doing it’s fine, we practice it a lot. All the training just means that your so prepared for it, it’s almost impossible to go wrong.

"It gives you a sense of importance that you are part of something bigger and helping people that need the help is a good feeling.

"In 2011 I deployed on Operation Herrick 14 to Afghanistan where I was a communications specialist in the ops room for UK Medical Group."

Royal Marines Musician

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