Lieutenant Colonel Mark Aldridge was born in Dundee and began his military career at the Army Junior School of Music, Bovington in January 1986. On completion of training he was assigned to the band of the Royal Highland Fusiliers where he served in Edinburgh, Cambridge, Northern Ireland, Belize and Kenya before the formation of the Corps of Army Music (CAMUS) in 1994. During his service as a Regimental Bandsman, his secondary role as a medic was called upon regularly, but most notably when dealing with the horrific aftermath of the Lockerbie airplane bombing of 1988, for which the unit received the Wilkinson Sword of Peace.
On the amalgamation of the Scottish Regimental Bands, he served in the Lowland Band of the Scottish Division until 1999 when he was selected to attend the three-year Bandmaster Course at The Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall, graduating with a Bachelor of Music Degree. After assignments to the band of the Royal Irish Regiment and the Scots Guards as Bandmaster, in 2007 he commissioned into the rank of Captain as the Director of Music of the newly formed Band and Bugles of The Rifles. A tour as the Officer Commanding of the CAMUS Recruiting Team followed before again being appointed as a Director of Music, this time to the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps based in Catterick Garrison. During his time in the North East he lectured in composition at Newcastle University, as part of a joint recruiting project.
In 2016, Lt Col Aldridge returned to his roots in the Scottish Division when he was appointed as the Director of Music of the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, before taking a year’s career break to become the Head of Music at Bede Academy, a state secondary school in Blyth, Northumberland.
On returning to uniformed service in 2017, he was assigned to HQ CAMUS as a staff officer responsible working in personnel, before being appointed as the Director of Music of the Band of the Scots Guards.
His time in London was interrupted by the national Covid pandemic, when he was deployed to the Welsh Government as a Military Liaison Officer dealing with delivering medicine to remote and isolated locations, at the outset of the initial national lockdown.
On returning to London, Lt Col lead a Company of Foot Guards musicians who deployed as Mobile Vaccination Units around the whole of Greater London. During this tour, the Scots Guards were tasked with the poignant duty of performing in the tri-service massed band for Prince Philip’s funeral and was the lead band for the socially distanced Queen’s Birthday Parade in 2021 at Windsor Castle.
His final tour as a Major was a welcomed return to Scotland as SO2 RCAM Soldiers, the career manager for all the Army’s musicians, before promoting to Lt Col and taking Command of Regional Bands in July 2023.
A published composer, he has written and arranged many works throughout his military career for almost every music genre, and he can still be found performing as an instrumentalist with the British Army Jazz Orchestra, of which he is the Officer Commanding.
Abide with Me – William Monk, arr. Graham