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‘Kilroy’ – The Band That Was Here!

The marquee photo is of the first 'Kilroy' appearance on a wet Folkestone Town football ground. This photo was taken by the local press and appeared in the Folkestone Herald in July 1968.

The posed photo of the four piece band with Jackie was also taken by thelocal press and appeared in the Folkestone Herald in October 1968


‘Kilroy’ kicked off in the summer of 1968 at a rain sodden event in a marquee on Folkestone Town football ground.

The band began life with Melvin Watts and Ed Parry, who had played guitars and taken on vocals in a number of line-ups while serving together in the Royal Navy. It has to be noted that they had become accustomed to playing in rather sunnier climes in places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, the Philippines and Malta. On leaving the navy, they settled in Mel’s hometown of Folkestone.

As a first step towards starting a band they recruited Bob Lind on drums, who had previously played with a number of local bands. Bob was soon followed by Mickey Matcham on bass Mickey was more accustomed to playing 6-string guitar, but volunteered to take on bass with a borrowed instrument.

So it was that ‘Kilroy’ played live for the first time in the marquee only a day or two after being formed – in keeping with the weather, they opened the show with a rendition of ‘Summertime Blues’.

Following this damp start, Mickey decided to take some time out to consider his options, whereupon Mel took over the bass and the band continued for a while as a trio. The three played support to Fleetwood Mac at the Leas Cliff Hall, and performed at all the other local venues such as the Hillside Club in Folkestone, the G Ranch in Maidstone, the Bridge Country Club and the Bee Hive in Canterbury.

The band subsequently recruited Jackie Small (then in the army and based at Shornecliff Camp) as lead vocalist and made a second appearance at Leas Cliff Hall playing support to Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Unfortunately, just as things were progressing very promisingly, army duties took Jackie away and ‘Kilroy’ was forced to continue once again as a three-piece outfit.

As so often happened with bands in those days, the initial enthusiasm turned to disappointment and ‘Kilroy’ played it’s last gig in a church hall late in December that year.

Following this, Melvin continued playing bass with a number of bands, then also took up 6-string guitar again and later keyboards. Work commitments (the scourge of all bands!) later took a priority as Mel went into management and some college lecturing, then moved to Maidstone. He continued playing with a number of duos and bands.

Bob, who had been a lorry driver, then followed up another ambition and became a paramedic in the ambulance service. The nature of shift work soon put paid to further exploits in the band world for several decades and more. However, a few years ago, Bob, who is still with the Kent Ambulance Service, began toying with the idea of taking up the drums again. After a while playing with an electronic set of drums pads, he invested in a full set of drums and now plays regularly with a band comprising doctors and others in the medical field.

Ed returned to his native London soon after the demise of ‘Kilroy’, and played with numerous outfits and made several recordings, before embarking on a belated full-time education. Reasons of space and finance eventually forced the sale of all the band equipment save for an acoustic guitar, and his last performances were as a solo act. Ed went on to work in the field of energy management, only taking up the guitar again after meeting Mel and Bob thirty years on.

Mel and Ed are now regularly playing together again in a four-piece band on the local pub and club circuit.

After the doubts following the wet marquee event, Mickey decided to take up the bass guitar after all, and played on and off with a number of bands. Mickey still lives in Folkestone and has worked locally in a variety of trades, including a country park ranger and taxi cab driver. Much later, when his two sons took up guitar and drums, he joined them as a trio. They are currently still out and about playing the clubs.

As for Jackie, one time front man, the trail disappeared with him into the army, and it has not proved possible to trace him subsequently.

What of ‘Kilroy’ as a band? Well, in September 1999, the original four-strong line-up that first appeared in the rain in the summer of 1968 made it back to the stage over 31 years later for a reunion gig. True to form, they kicked off with ‘Summertime Blues’!

This event was very appropriately held in Newington Village Hall, which had once served both as a regular venue and as a practice hall for the band. It also provided the  backdrop for the photo that appeared with  a feature article on the band in the local Folkestone press in the autumn of 1968. This reunion gig also included performances by Mickey’s sons and Mel and Bob’s daughters. 

Like most bands, ‘Kilroy’ also depended upon the help and assistance of a number of supporters in particular, Dave Andrews (known to all as ‘Weasel’) and Ron Bell. Not long after the end of ‘Kilroy’, Ron moved to live and work in Germany, where he has stayed ever since. Dave, who was as good as another member of the band, still lives and works in Folkestone, and it was especially fitting that he was on hand to help the reunion event become a reality.

So, here’s to the next thirty years……………………

February 2002




The individual pics of Jackie, Mel, Ed and Bob were taken at a gig in Newington Village Hall


The pic of the three piece line up was taken at a gig in Chichester Hall in
Sandgate in December 1968, after Jackie had left the band.

The Reunion
The B & W photo was taken immediately after the press photo on the stage in the Leas Cliff Hall 1998 and shows Ed, Mickey, Bob and Mel..






The coloiur pic is of Mel, Bob and Ed performing again as a three-piece at on open air gig in Newchurch (Romney Marsh) in the late summer of 2000

Pic from the Romney Marsh newspaper - this was syndicated around the local press and shows a 'before and after' photo. The 'after' pic
was taken on top of Leas Cliff Hall in the summer of 1999.The 'before' pic was the one that appeared in the Folkestone Herald in October 1968

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